Thursday, May 22, 2008

In John McCain's world, the Iraq war began in May 2007

“Senator Obama has consistently offered his judgment on Iraq, and he has been consistently wrong. He said that General Petraeus’ new strategy would not reduce sectarian violence, but would worsen it. He was wrong. He said the dynamics in Iraq would not change as a result of the ’surge.’ He was wrong. One year ago, he voted to cut off all funds for our forces fighting extremists in Iraq. He was wrong…

...Why, if it had been up to Obama, we never would have gone to Iraq in the first place!

h/t Steve Benen

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sorry, he needs you to fight his forever-war

In John McCain's dream world, by 2013 the Iraq war has been won, bin Laden will be captured, and the soldiers who signed up after 9/11 still won't be eligible for benefits under his GI bill:
[Webb's bill] would increase education aid to all military members who've served on active duty since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The House version has 294 co-sponsors; the Senate bill has 58.

McCain countered that the bill is misguided because it doesn't encourage soldiers to re-enlist.

Under the proposal, all veterans, including those who served in the National Guard or Reserve for at least 36 months since the attacks — not necessarily consecutively — could get full in-state tuition, regardless of cost, as well as some money for books, fees and a stipend for living expenses. Certain grants also could be provided for those who attend private colleges.

McCain, a former Navy pilot and Vietnam POW, has joined Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and others to push an alternative that would make it easier to transfer education benefits to spouses and children and to provide more generous education benefits to personnel who serve for 12 years or more.

"This is not World War II we're fighting. This is not Vietnam," Graham said. "This is a global struggle with an all-volunteer force. And anything we can do to help retain people, I think, would be great."

True. This isn't World War II. World War II would have been over by now.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

$4.00 a gallon

From the CATO Institute, 2003:
One last word on the rising cost of gasoline. American motorists should be mighty pleased that the United States does not adopt the economically dysfunctional high-energy tax policies that are commonplace in Europe. In the Euro nations gasoline often reaches $4 a gallon with more than half the price collected in taxes. Perhaps $2 a gallon gasoline is a bargain after all
$4 a gallon! Boy those Europeans sure were a bunch of suckers.

Monday, May 5, 2008

This election is all about the Iraq war

Fresh insight from a man who once suggested the Democratic race could end after the Iowa caucus:

DAN BALZ: I think the degree to which that it is a reminder that, in a long election, the terrain shifts. And, so, the ability to say, well, who is the best candidate in November when are you not entirely sure what that terrain may look like.

Eight or 10 months ago, there was so much talk about how the Iraq war would define, not only the general election, but also the outcome of the primary fight between Obama and Clinton. And now we have -- you know, it is not that Iraq is not unimportant. But, clearly, the economy and gasoline prices have risen considerably in terms of people's significance.

Newsflash: Barack Obama is winning the Democratic nomination because of the Iraq war. The Republican party is collapsing for the same reason.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Gallup's daily tracking poll January 3 - May 1

Reinforcing my point that this race has been over since February, take a look a Gallup's daily poll numbers since January. Clinton started with a 10-20 point lead nationwide, which Obama erased on Super Tuesday. Since then, they've been essentially tied. There is no momentum, we're just coasting to the finish line.

Others disagree however. Here's a short list of articles describing the momentum of the race - in reverse chronological order.

Trailing in Money, Votes, Clinton Gains Momentum

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary Tuesday night with a 10 percent victory margin. The win gives her momentum as the race moves to North Carolina and Indiana.
Poll: Obama Speech Doesn't Slow Clinton Momentum

The Gallup Daily Tracking poll shows that for the first time in a month, Sen. Hillary Clinton has opened up a statistically significant lead over Sen. Barack Obama in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Today's poll shows Clinton with a 49% to 42% lead over Obama in national Democratic voters' presidential nomination preference.
Clinton Picks Up Momentum Post-Ohio And Texas

Monday's polls hinted at a Clinton comeback in Ohio and in Texas, which prepared us for what came yesterday night. Now, surveys are registering Clinton's rise outside of Ohio and Texas, suggesting that her improved stance was not just related to her campaigning in those two states and that Democratic voters might have some buyer's remorse naturally.

Florida voters retain clout

Tampa-based Democratic consultant Ana Cruz, who has been organizing Democrats for Clinton, says Florida stands to catapult Clinton into the Feb. 5 contests. Florida is the first mega state to weigh in on the Democratic nomination, after all, and it's the first primary where only Democrats can vote. Obama benefits when unaffiliated voters are eligible.

"Six months ago, people were upset and angry and saying our votes won't count," she said. "Boy the tables have turned. ... The biggest swing state in the country is going to give the Clinton campaign momentum to continue on with the marathon."
Clinton Momentum Sweeps Across the Country

Fresh off its stunning come from behind victory in New Hampshire, the Hillary Clinton for President campaign today kicked-off its post-New Hampshire efforts with a series of events across the country.
Iowa Winners Count on Momentum

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is still the front-runner, though fallout from the Obama win could upend those estimates. She's leading by some 21 points nationwide, according to averages of polling data gathered by Real Clear Politics. There is little historic precedent for a candidate with a lead that large to lose a party nomination.

In Nevada, Clinton leads Obama by more than 20 points, ditto for California, Florida, and Michigan (where Obama and Edwards are not on the ballot). In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it's closer to a 30-point lead.
Two New Polls Show Clinton Momentum

Two new polls released this morning show Hillary Clinton holding a lead in the Hawkeye State, continuing to build on her momentum in the final days before the Iowa caucuses.
Clinton sure has had a lot of momentum this race. However, that wasn't always true:

Clinton Slips As Richardson Gains Momentum

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Hillary Clinton has lost some ground but still maintains a lead in the Democratic primary race in New Hampshire, and opponent Bill Richardson has made the biggest jump.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The next president can't save us from Bush's power grab

Steve Clemons at The Washington Note suggests that anyone at an Q&A for McCain, Obama or Clinton should ask the following question:
Question One: Specifically, which powers of the Presidency that the Bush administration has acquired for itself would you roll back and give up?

That's a great question. Unfortunately, it falls into the same category as asking the son of a jewel thief which of his father's gems he'd give back. It implies that the decision is his, not the law's.

This election has been over since February

Map of the county-by-county primary and caucus results by dreaminonempty

There's the media's view of the current election:

Victory gives Clinton fresh momentum

Barack Obama faced renewed questions yesterday about his ability to deliver a Democratic victory in November after his failure to knock out Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary.

With the protracted campaign entering its final phase, Clinton won the primary with 55% of the vote against 45% for Obama, a majority achieved by decisive wins among white voters, Catholics and low-income households.

The result did not significantly dent Obama's lead in delegates, popular vote or fundraising, neither did it fundamentally alter his status as the Democratic frontrunner. But Clinton cast it as a turning point. "The tide is turning," she said in an email to supporters yesterday morning.
And then there's reality.

This election has been over since February, even if we didn't realize it at the time. Clinton has won all the states that she was expected to win the day after Super Tuesday (and by similar margins). Obama has won all the states he was expected to win. The Reverend Wright, NAFTA, Tuzla and "bitter" controversies haven't affected the race at all.

Take a look at the map above and you'll see that Hillary's greatest support follows the Appalachian mountains from northern New York state down through Tennessee then slides into Arkansas and Texas. Obama's strength has been in the south and northwest. A bright 7 year-old could tell you where the next blue and green pieces of that puzzle will go.

What looks like momentum is simply a fluke of the primary calendar. Despite reports of voters who haven't made up their minds - they basically have.

Barack will win in North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and Montana. Hillary will win in Kentucky, Puerto Rico and West Virginia. Indiana is a tossup. He'll end up with about a 150 pledged delegate lead.

And the superdelegates aren't going to overturn that result.