Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Duper Tuesday Observations

I am rooting for Obama for the Democratic nomination, and the presidency. I’m under no illusions that he is some kind of savior, or that he will be able to fix all the deep problems our country has. But one thing I’ve learned over the last 7 years is that while a politician may not be able to make things a lot better, a determined one can make things a lot worse. Of the viable candidates out there, Obama seems like he will do the least amount of damage, and has the best possibility of accomplishing good. How’s that for a ringing endorsement?

It looks like after all is said and done from yesterday, Clinton picked up 5 more delegates than Obama, so it was essentially a tie. However, I found the total delegate count after yesterday interesting:

CandidatePledgedSuper DelegatesTotal

2,025 delegates are needed to win

Pledged delegates are based on popular vote and caucuses, and superdelegates are party officials and insiders who decide to pledge their vote to one candidate or the other. So, Obama is leading by votes, but Clinton gets a bonus for being a party insider. It isn’t terribly democratic, but I like the way it honestly reflects how we really elect our politicians. Those with them most connections to power and the most willing to serve power are given extra help.

One interesting thing about the voting results so far is that Obama seems to be winning a lot of the Red States (South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Idaho Wyoming), and Clinton a lot of the Blue States (Californa, Northeast). I can’t tell if this is good or bad. Obama will not be winning those states in November, but it might point to him doing well among independents, which will matter in swing states. However, I would bet that everyone who votes for Clinton now will vote for Obama in the fall if he is nominated, so it isn’t clear that not doing as well as Clinton in Blue States will hurt him much.

On the Republican side, it looks like McCain is going to win. He is both the best and the worst Republican candidate. Best in that he scares me the least of all other Republicans and worst in that he has probably always had the best chance to beat a Democrat.

What I don’t understand about McCain is why Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter and all the other gasbags on the right hate him so much. I understand that he doesn’t seem conservative enough for them, but that doesn’t explain the sheer amount of vitriol directed at him. Coulter says she would vote for Clinton over McCain, because she is more conservative? That may be true, but I still can’t see Republicans breaking ranks like that. After all, that has always been their strength – support your person in power no matter what kind of quagmire he drags the country through. I predict that they were just trying to scare their base away from McCain for Super Tuesday, and will find some trivial reason to support McCain again by November.

As for Obama, I think the best thing for him right now would be for McCain to wrap up his nomination quickly, so Obama can start getting all of McCain's independent votes.

Lastly, polls still indicate that McCain would beat Clinton in the general election, and Obama would beat McCain. If that holds after today, it clearly indicates that Democrats will nominate Clinton.


Eric Sink said...

McCain scares you less than the other republicans? I don't get that.

I don't think any of the republicans will make our war situation any better, but I think McCain will make it worse. Maybe a lot worse. If Bush doesn't take us to war with Iran, McCain will.

And I still think McCain would beat Clinton but lose to Obama.

Bottom line: Democrats who vote for Clinton are voting for war with Iran.

Tim said...

I'm starting to feel toward the people who vote for Clinton the same way that I felt toward the Nader voters in 2004: you're just giving the presidency away to the Republicans.

Rightly or wrongly, conservatives (and independents) hate Clinton so much that she will energize them to vote against her. Obama has broad appeal, mostly to younger voters and independents. That should tell you something about how he represents the greatest departure from the current administration.

Dan S said...

Note that "scares me less" is a relative term. The difference in hawkishness between McCain and Romney and Guiliani rounds to zero for me, but McCain is at least against torture.

I suppose you could argue that Huckabee would not jump into a war with Iran, but he seems scary in different ways, albeit, related to my prejudice against ever electing someone who truly believes God wants them to be president.

You put it well - a vote for Hillary is a vote for invading Iran. And if McCain doesn't do it, Hillary will.

Tim, I had not considered Hillary=Nader, but that makes sense. If Democrats can't figure this out, they don't deserve the presidency.

Robert Sievers said...

I still don't understand how a one term senator has anywhere near the experience to run this country. It's like asking the janitor to run a marketing department because he seen all the slides before throwing them out.

Dan S said...

Bob, we've seen how well experience has served us the last 8 years. You need more than experience to be an effective leader.

And did you really just compare Obama to a janitor?

Robert Sievers said...

Actually, Dan, you just made my point. How long had Bush been in politics before being elected? Are you really suggesting lack of experience and job performance has zero correlation?

Dan S said...

Experience is nice, but not essential, and I doubt it is a major predictor for success. Clue is more important, as one of my favorite authors argues.