Reality Based Community

It’s five minutes before ‘I told you so’.

Political reality is nudging political fantasy.

Hillary Clinton opponents and Big Media increasingly acknowledge Hillary is THE frontrunner.

“An important threshold has finally been crossed for Clinton: Even her opponents have joined the media in acknowledging that there is just one front-runner in the Democratic race. Considering where she started six months ago, it’s a remarkable feat. She’s done it without winning a single caucus or primary. Only Gore in ’99 and Mondale in ’83 were in this strong of a position in the last five contested Democratic contests.”

We here at Big Pink know what the political reality is and has been regarding Hillary. What political fantasies are giving way to political reality which have led to Hillary’s “remarkable feat” and strong position? Why is Hillary receiving so much support from the Democrat base of working class voters and the poor?

Denise Bren’s voice trembled as she stood in a city park near her home to ask Sen. Barack Obama what he would do to help people like her struggling to pay their bills. “From the cost of gas to the cost of a dozen eggs, the price keeps going up and the wages don’t,” she said. “I’m in a family of two and can’t imagine what it does to a family of four or more.”

Skipping any expression of sympathy for Bren’s personal plight on a day when he was focused on the Iraq war, Obama (D-Ill.) launched into a detailed, six-point plan outlining the economic policies he would change as president. As thoughtful as his response was that recent morning, touching on everything from annual minimum-wage increases to pension protection, it left the 52-year-old cold.

“He tried to answer my question but also was leery in a way to get into it and feel somebody’s pain,” said Bren, who is unemployed, never finished college and is leaning toward supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Wine versus beer.

A former Harvard Law Review president and constitutional law lecturer at the University of Chicago, Obama can sometimes seem professorial. It is one of the reasons he sometimes fails to connect with working-class voters.

Pollsters call Bren and those like her “beer-track” voters, while those with higher incomes and more education are dubbed “wine-track” voters. The first group tends to care more about pocketbook issues. The second places greater value on more global matters.

Wine-track voters can provide money, votes and other important resources for a campaign, but it is the beer-track voters who have proved critical for winning the Democratic nomination.

Intellectual liberals with outsider messages who fail to connect with this demographic group have often failed. Think Bill Bradley in 2000 and Howard Dean in 2004.

So far, Obama has done well attracting the Chardonnay crowd, but he has had less success winning over Joe Sixpack. Clinton, meanwhile, is winning them over, aided by name recognition as a former first lady and a perception that she is tough.

Hillary doesn’t whine. She fights.

Still, a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll illustrates his problem. It found Clinton dominates the Democratic field among working-class voters in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In all three states, she leads Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards among voters in households earning less than $40,000, although among all voters the race remains close in Iowa.

A Gallup Poll, meanwhile, recently reported that Obama is highly competitive with Clinton among the most-educated segment of the party. But he lags among those who have had some college or less.

“At least one candidate has exhibited a pattern similar to Obama’s educational skew in each election cycle since 1988, but that candidate usually does not end up winning the Democratic presidential nomination,” Gallup said.

Working-class voters traditionally have been the bedrock of Democratic primaries. They are a key reason Clinton leads in many state and national polls, mirroring the support her husband enjoyed with the group.

“Hillary’s strength is in traditional Democratic strongholds, and that is the beer track,” said J. Ann Selzer, who conducts the Iowa Poll for The Des Moines Register. “She is sort of the solid, institutional Democratic candidate.”

Obama and Axelrod in Fantasy Island.

Obama’s campaign argues it is bringing in a whole new set of voters, including younger ones and even some independents and Republicans.

But there are risks with that strategy, especially in Iowa, where the average Iowa caucus participant is in his or her 50s.

“They are less likely to actually show up,” Selzer said of the younger and potential first-time caucus participants. “The real question is can [Obama] harden up that support.”

A man of the wine people only.

Still, during his first major Iowa farm visit earlier this summer, he made it clear that he sometimes forgets he is not in his intellectually and financially affluent section of Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.

On the farm that day, while trying to make a sympathetic point that farmers have not seen an increase in prices from their crops, Obama posed the following question:

“Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” he asked. “I mean, they’re charging a lot of money for this stuff.”

That comment came despite the fact that Iowa does not have any Whole Foods stores, nor do its farmers typically grow the leafy green.

Hard-working anecdote

The need for Obama to appear more working-class is perhaps reflected in the periodic inclusion in his stump speech of a recent experience helping a union health-care worker as part of the Service Employees International Union’s “Walk a Day in My Shoes” program for candidates.

“I went with her to work that day, and we made his bed and helped him get dressed, and we scrubbed the floors and made him breakfast and cleaned the house and did the laundry,” Obama recently told an audience. “I have to say, it was one of the best days I have had on the campaign so far.”

Still, after a hard day’s work, Obama seems to prefer wine to beer. In another section of his stump speech, he recalls a recent decision to visit a remote South Carolina town with relatively few voters to woo a state legislator’s endorsement.

“I must have had a glass of wine or something because I said ‘fine, no problem,'” he says in one of the anecdote’s laugh-lines.

It should not be suggested that Obama is without blue-collar support. A speech he gave last week to the Service Employees International Union, for example, won strong reviews.

Still, it was white zinfandel with an Obama logo on the bottle that was for sale at a rally one recent evening in Dubuque, Iowa, where a local winery had offered them as a campaign fundraiser.

The adjoining building was a former brewery, but there was no Obama beer for sale that night.

In August we wrote the aptly named article The Coming Obama Whine . In that article we took note of the fluid situation regarding the primary schedule. We further noted that the likely outcome regarding the primary schedule will be much earlier primary electioins and caucuses. Most importantly we addressed
the effects of earlier elections on the primary election voting population. We wrote this:

And here comes the whine. Obama, and to a lesser extent Edwards, has built his failing campaign under the delusion that students will support Obama at the polls. To that end Obama held his super-rallies geared to a youth audience and in some cases solely with the college networking site Facebook subscribers as the rally organizers. The Obama strategy is in conflict with the current primary calendar. If the primary schedule keeps moving earlier and earlier the universities and colleges of Iowa and New Hampshire will be on vacation when the voting takes place.

None of this can come as a surprise to the Obama campaign. But they have been silent on the issues relating to the calendar. We suspect that as their campaign collapses they will find in the calendar the ready excuse they will need. They will whine that the calendar robbed them of their organizers and voters. In Iowa, they will yelp that there is no way to caucus absentee.

Depending on how the calendar finally settles students will have to decide whether to return early to or stay late in the icy Jack Frost states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Obama of course thinks he is the sun to the youth vote. The likelihood is that Cancun and Daytona will be a more seductive destination for winter break than canvassing for a lusterless former fad candidate.

One month later, a Big Media outlet follows up on our article:

In interviews students said Obama’s campaign has been the most visible and aggressive on campus. But it is unclear whether this strategy will do much good, especially next year when the caucuses fall on Jan. 14, the first day of classes after winter break.

The University of Northern Iowa also begins on Jan. 14. The University of Iowa is the only state university still on break on caucus night; the spring term begins Jan. 22.

And

The doomsday scenario for organizers at Iowa State and UNI is if the caucuses are rescheduled for before Jan. 14. Iowa Democratic Party leaders have said they would move the caucus date up if other states challenge Iowa’s leadoff status. If that happens, most students would be in their hometowns, some of them in other states. [snip]

At the University of Iowa, where students don’t get back until Jan.22, organizers hope students will end their break a week early. Students who live off campus can come back whenever they want. On-campus, some residence halls are open during the break and some aren’t.

Dreams die hard, mistakes get repeated.

Scott County Auditor Karen Fitzsimmons looks at the youth voting from two perspectives, as an election official and as county coordinator for Obama. Four years ago, she was county coordinator for another candidate who had strong appeal with college students: Howard Dean. She was disappointed when many of Dean’s college-age supporters didn’t show upon caucus night, contributing to his disappointing third-place finish.

But Fitzsimmons said she thinks Obama’s supporters are more likely to follow through than Dean’s.”I get a sense, and so does (Obama), that these young people are going to show up. That’s what we hope for, or course. Time will tell,” she said.

Another ugly reality: Obama and LOBBYISTS

When Barack Obama and fellow state lawmakers in Illinois tried to expand healthcare coverage in 2003 with the “Health Care Justice Act,” they drew fierce opposition from the insurance industry, which saw it as a back-handed attempt to impose a government-run system.

Over the next 15 months, insurers and their lobbyists found a sympathetic ear in Obama, who amended the bill more to their liking partly because of concerns they raised with him and his aides, according to lobbyists, Senate staff, and Obama’s remarks on the Senate floor.

The wrangling over the healthcare measure, which narrowly passed and became law in 2004, illustrates how Obama, during his eight years in the Illinois Senate, was able to shepherd major legislation by negotiating competing interests in Springfield, the state capital. But it also shows how Obama’s own experience in lawmaking involved dealings with the kinds of lobbyists and special interests he now demonizes on the campaign trail.

And

The bill originally called for a “Bipartisan Health Care Reform Commission” to implement a program reaching all 12.4 million Illinois residents. The legislation would have made it official state policy to ensure that all residents could access “quality healthcare at costs that are reasonable.” Insurers feared that language would result in a government takeover of healthcare, even though the bill did not explicitly say that.

By the time the legislation passed the Senate, in May 2004, Obama had written three successful amendments, at least one of which made key changes favorable to insurers.

Most significant, universal healthcare became merely a policy goal instead of state policy – the proposed commission, renamed the Adequate Health Care Task Force, was charged only with studying how to expand healthcare access. In the same amendment, Obama also sought to give insurers a voice in how the task force developed its plan.

Lobbyists praised Obama for taking the insurance industry’s concerns into consideration.

And

In one attempt at a deal, Obama approached the Campaign for Better Health Care with insurers’ concerns, asking if the group would consider a less stringent mandate than requiring the state to come up with a universal healthcare plan. The coalition decided not to bend, said Jim Duffett, the group’s executive director.

“The concept of the Health Care Justice Act was to bring the sides – the different perspectives and stakeholders – to the table,” Duffett said. “In this situation, Obama was being a conduit from the insurance industry to us.”

Obama later watered down the bill after hearing from insurers and after a legal precedent surfaced during the debate indicating that it would be unconstitutional for one legislative assembly to pass a law requiring a future legislative assembly to craft a healthcare plan.

During debate on the bill on May 19, 2004, Obama portrayed himself as a conciliatory figure. He acknowledged that he had “worked diligently with the insurance industry,” as well as Republicans, to limit the legislation’s reach and noted that the bill had undergone a “complete restructuring” after industry representatives “legitimately” raised fears that it would result in a single-payer system.

“The original presentation of the bill was the House version that we radically changed – we radically changed – and we changed in response to concerns that were raised by the insurance industry,” Obama said, according to the session transcript.

And, how do you spell hypocrite?

Still, Obama’s willingness to hear out insurers and their lobbyists is revealing given the posture he strikes today on the presidential campaign trail – that lobbyists, insurance companies, and other big-industry special interests have an outsized and polluting influence on policy-making in Washington.

In a new television ad his campaign unveiled last week, Obama says that cynics “don’t believe we can limit the power of lobbyists who block our progress, or that we can trust the American people with the truth. . . . In 20 years of public service, I’ve brought Democrats and Republicans together to solve problems that touch the lives of everyday people. I’ve taken on the drug and insurance companies and won.”

And yet while serving in Illinois, Obama was willing to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists. Obama’s state Senate campaign committee accepted contributions from insurance companies and their lobbyists – including $1,000 from the Professional Independent Insurance Agents PAC in June 2003, and $1,000 from the Illinois Insurance PAC in December 2003 – while the Health Care Justice Act was wending its way through the Illinois General Assembly. Obama also collected money from the insurance industry and its lobbyists for his successful US Senate campaign in 2004.

Reality bites.

Share

37 thoughts on “Reality Based Community

  1. chris bowers is having a heated cat fight with Obama/Edwards supporters over ‘no residual troop’ ad. It’s actually pretty hilarious.

    There’s a reuter article focusing on the importance of baby boomer voters in Iowa. It’s pretty negative towards Obama’s chance.

  2. Kostner, do you think Obama is beginning to regret not attending the AARP debate? 🙂

    Good article on senior voters.

  3. I read this morning, Axelrod is sending out operatives to Iowa’s High Schools for signing kids up who will be 18 yrs old come Primary time. They’re playing the averages if college students are not around from break, if the dates stay the same.

    I’m getting the feeling there is going to be a attempted theft of the Iowa Primary.

    I can see the yellow school buses now, rolling out to the polls….

    Mrs. S.

  4. kostner, i read that link u provided above and that lady who said about obama’s “hope”. she replies”hope for what? very telling of the wierd rational for his candidacy.

  5. The talk about the young vote reminds me of Souffle Boy’s memo this weekend. He brought up the Harkin Steak Fry and the number of folks there supporting Stinky as being indicative of the unpolled support for BO. A big problem there- lots of folks from Illinois came over the border and Obama bussed in folks for the event. He also failed to mention they handed out free tickets to get people there and gave them t-shirts.

    Might I add that Stinky spoke there last year and said he would not run? I have seen more than a couple of comments calling him a liar for saying that and then announcing a run just shortly thereafter. Makes voters feel like you think they’re stupid when you come to a very public event to raise money for someone else and state you have no ulterior motive but you’re propping up your support for what you know you will do anyway. At least Edwards was honest about his intentions.

  6. OkieAtty I agree, someone should ask this to his face, why did he say he would not run for President, only to shortly there after announce he WOULD run for President.
    Remember at one of the debates, he complained how early this race started? Well, he could have waited…. Vilsack was the first to announce his run for the Presidency, and he did so in November 06.
    Obama jumped into it in February. He seemed to be in a rush. With the fuzz about him he could have successfully have played hard to get:”Will he? Won’t he run?” etc… Build up the ‘excitement’. He seemed eager to get in, as if this was his chance to shine, yuck, he just wants to be President, no sign of actually wanting to make a change for the better.

    As admin quotes: “it left the 52-year-old cold.
    “He tried to answer my question but also was leery in a way to get into it and feel somebody’s pain,” said Bren”

    His ambition and also I get a sense of “I deserve to be President” attitude with him, although lately it seems to be fading!! 

    I find it funny that the other candidates chances is if Hillary makes a mistake, maybe this is what Obama is so hopeful about.
    But she is just getting started, just starting the engines, just watch what she mastered this Sunday!! It must be dawning on them how inexperienced they and their campaign people are in comparison. And they still have a long way to go, they just don’t seem to have the stamina for it.

    I would almost feel sorry for them if I wasn’t a person who rather relishes these kinds of things!
    (my bad- hihi)

  7. Out of all the candidates, Obama stands out (to me) as having a serious corruption problem. I’m not talking about petty corruption, I mean sociopathic corruption. He’s never shown remorse for anything he’s done or shown Empathy for serious problems relating to the suffering of the electorate. Notice how he’s shied away from the Jena 6 problem. He doesn’t even try to be empathetic..as many people can be even hypocritically..

    It would be a helpful if he were professionally profiled by a top notch team. It would be interesting to understand what is that certain something, that is missing in his psychological profile. Whatever it is, is deeply embedded within him and he is very skilled at keeping that part of himself well hidden.

    Someone needs to shine a light on it and see what crawls out from under the rock…

    Mrs. S.

  8. Hiya GANG!!!!!!

    I am back!!! I had some trouble with campaigning but I am back on track!

    As HILLARY supporters, we all expect GOOD things from her. She has never dissapointed most of us.

    But this LATEST SUNDAY morning talk show grilling made me open my mouth in AWE and say “OMG, she is even BETTER than I ever imagined.”

    HILLARY was stunning!!! She deflected the most difficult “gotcha” questions with grace and ease, and even made the interviewers look ridiculous in some cases (FOX NEWS).

    This is going to be a GREAT PRESIDENT. HIllary is at the SAME level as people like JFK and FDR. Trust me folks, I am not young. We are, in fact, living HISTORY. “Our girl” is going to be the BEST PRESIDENT of our lifetimes. I have NEVER SEEN anyone like this EVER.

    GOD BLESS PRESIDENT HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON!!!!

  9. Sandy, I share your enthusiasm in spades.

    I have written a book on leadership based on what I have observed in the course of my career. It discusses the attributes of an effective leader, as I perceive them. It also acknowledges that there are certain individuals who practice leadership at a whole different level. But they are rare, so much so that in my life I can honestly say I have met only three of them. One was the commander of Company A 1st Marine Raider Battalion on Guadalcanal, one was a businessman who built an empire out of nothing, and the third is our girl Hillary. Each of these people had a grand vision, the will and capacity to implement it, and as Carl Bernstein wisely noted about her the ability to make the world a better place.

  10. New Rasmussen FL primary poll. Clinton is widening her lead.

    Sept(Aug)
    Clinton 47 (43)
    Obama 22 (24)
    Edwards 11 (11)

  11. oh my, look at this background on a certain pal of Lazio and Obama endorser Seabrook. It seems that Bloomberg and Lazio aren’t the only Republicans that he’s big buddies with. He’s also friends with convicted felon and bribe taking ex-state senator Velella (R). I think Team Obama maybe should start vetting their endorsers. But when this is obviously the only Labor endorsement that theyre going to get, phonies can’t be choosers:

    Velella Got Ride to Freedom From Guards’ Union Chief
    By KEVIN FLYNN and PAUL VON ZIELBAUER

    Published: October 7, 2004

    Most released inmates have to ride the city bus off Rikers Island, but former Senator Guy J. Velella was driven from the jail last week by the president of the correction officers’ union, who took him to meet his family at a favorite Bronx restaurant.

    Norman Seabrook, the president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, said he extended the courtesy because Mr. Velella, a Bronx Republican, had been a loyal friend to the union.

    Advertisement

    But the ride was another instance in which the treatment of Mr. Velella appeared to be at odds with that afforded the average inmate. Ordinarily, prisoners must take a city bus or licensed van service over the bridge to the mainland, because private cars are not allowed on the island.

    Last week, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ordered an investigation into the circumstances under which Mr. Velella received one of the few early releases from prison granted each year by an obscure panel of mayoral appointees. The panel, known as the Local Conditional Release Commission, serves as a local parole board. It released Mr. Velella on Sept. 28, just three months into a yearlong sentence for conspiracy to accept bribes.

    The panel reviewed 32 letters of support for Mr. Velella, including one from a representative of the Archdiocese of New York and another from former Mayor Edward I. Koch. The commission’s chairman has said the panel acted out of compassion after deciding that Mr. Velella, a first-time offender, had been shattered by his fall from public office, the loss of his law license and by his time in jail.

    Though about 7,000 cases were eligible for review this year by the panel, Mr. Velella and two other men convicted with him were three of only five people who have been released.

    Mr. Seabrook said that Mr. Velella, 60, had called him several times from prison, complaining that he could not sleep, and the union president offered to give him a ride home to the Bronx. “That man has carried a lot of pieces of legislation in Albany for us,” Mr. Seabrook said.

    He said he drove in the pouring rain to the island, where only people with special passes are allowed, picked up Mr. Velella at the visitors center, where released inmates are left, and then drove him to the Pine Tavern in the Bronx. Mr. Velella’s wife and son were waiting there, Mr. Seabrook said, and they chatted for 10 minutes before Mr. Seabrook left. Mr. Velella said he was looking forward to a shower in his home.

    City officials had been quoted in initial news reports as saying that Mr. Velella had departed the prison by bus shortly before 3 p.m. A Correction Department spokesman, Thomas Antenen, said that most released inmates do take the bus but that the agency had not specifically monitored how Mr. Velella left.

    “We dropped him at the visitor control center,” he said. “We don’t track his movements after that. And Mr. Seabrook, of course, has access to that as president of the union.”

  12. Interesting article by David Brooks in this morning’s New York Times on the overrated effect and marginal influence of the netroots on the processhttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/25/opinion/25brooks.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin:

  13. Just saw this on talkingpointsmemo.com. What do you guys think?

    Barack Obama’s campaign is employing an unusual method, for a Democrat, of grassroots campaigning in South Carolina: Bible studies. The campaign is launching a “40 Days of Faith and Family” campaign across the state, courting religious voters through Bible study sessions and gospel concerts.

    The campaign bills the effort as “an opportunity for people of faith to come together, across racial and denominational lines, to talk about how they live their faith outside the four walls of the church, what they want to see from their presidential candidates and how Obama’s faith informs how he thinks about the issues of our time.”

  14. BTW, Obama’s reliance on young voters is hardly a prescription for success. They are the most unreliable voters. I remember how well Kerry did among them going into November 2004 only to find out they didn’t make much difference in the outcome after all. It was pretty disappointing.

  15. I find the bible study thing as inappropriate as I did when GWB did that sort of thing in 2000/2004. Will they keep their tax exempt status if they participate in a political campain to such an extent, or will the sessions be held off church property? Either way, I don’t like this trend anymore than I do when Republicans are doing it. I hope Hillary will not do such things in the GE.

  16. The job of President of the United States is a 24/7 job. Hillary knows that from experience. Since January she has managed to conduct a vigorous flawless presidential campaign on the one hand, and to honor her senatorial responsibilities in an exemplary manner on the other. Given that fact, I find it very revealing that Senator Obama has missed three times as many votes as Hillary since the beginning of the year, because it bears not only on his performance as a Senator, but on his fitness for the office of President to which he aspires.

  17. sure Mrs Smith

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/07/nyregion/07guy.html

    Plus, heres another nice piece from the village voice;

    http://www.villagevoice.com/blogs/runninscared/archives/2005/11/

    I hope Admin sees these, Id love to see what she could do with them!

    Brother Bloomberg
    posted: 7:23 PM, November 9, 2005 by Tom Robbins
    It’s good to know that corrections union chief Norman Seabrook, who personally drove ex-Senator Guy Velella out of Rikers when he won early release from jail last year, is out of the Bloomberg dog house. Not that he was ever really in it.

    At a pre-election labor rally on Monday evening, the mayor singled out Seabrook for an extra special helping of praise, assuring all his new-found union allies that Seabrook, who alone endorsed Bloomberg in his first race, would always be first in his book.

    The scene was the hotel workers’ hall on West 44th Street, packed with union business agents in suits, rank and filers in tee-shirts and sweats, and some three dozen labor leaders jammed together in the sweltering hall.

    Bloomberg, whose own union experience consisted of avoiding the use of trade union labor in the installation of his financial data computers, addressed the crowd as “Brothers and Sisters.” He then went on to single out his friend Seabrook.

    “Four years ago I didn’t have a lot of labor support,” said the mayor to chuckles on the stage. “In fact, I had one union guy. And if I’ve done a good job you owe him a debt of gratitude – Norman Seabrook.”

    This won cheers for the corrections union leader, but did it also mean that the mayor had never complained to him about serving as Velella’s personal chauffeur? Velella’s early release was an embarrassing episode for Bloomy, one that he corrected by firing the panel that released the ex-senator and empanelling a new one that made him serve six more months in jail.

    “I’m not about to reveal personal conversations I’ve had with the mayor,” Seabrook said at Bloomberg’s Tuesday night post-election extravaganza at the Sheraton.

    Actually, Bloomberg told Newsday’s Bryan Virasami and Dan Janison a couple of weeks back that the Velella escort service by his key union endorser was just fine with him. “Mr. Seabrook can drive anyone he wants,” said the mayor.

  18. From the N.Y. Daily News article on the EE interview:

    “Clinton’s campaign declined to respond to Edwards’ broadsides.”

    I guess there’s no point getting in a catfight with her, lol.

  19. Op-Ed Columnist
    The Center Holds
    E-Mail
    Print
    Save
    Share
    Digg
    Facebook
    Newsvine
    Permalink

    By DAVID BROOKS
    Published: September 25, 2007
    In the beginning of August, liberal bloggers met at the YearlyKos convention while centrist Democrats met at the Democratic Leadership Council’s National Conversation. Almost every Democratic presidential candidate attended YearlyKos, and none visited the D.L.C.

    Skip to next paragraph

    David Brooks

    Columnist Page » At the time, that seemed a sign that the left was gaining the upper hand in its perpetual struggle with the center over the soul of the Democratic Party. But now it’s clear that was only cosmetic.

    Now it’s evident that if you want to understand the future of the Democratic Party you can learn almost nothing from the bloggers, billionaires and activists on the left who make up the “netroots.” You can learn most of what you need to know by paying attention to two different groups — high school educated women in the Midwest, and the old Clinton establishment in Washington.

    In the first place, the netroots candidates are losing. In the various polls on the Daily Kos Web site, John Edwards, Barack Obama and even Al Gore crush Hillary Clinton, who limps in with 2 percent to 10 percent of the vote.

    Moguls like David Geffen have fled for Obama. But the party as a whole is going the other way. Hillary Clinton has established a commanding lead.

    Second, Clinton is drawing her support from the other demographic end of the party. As the journalist Ron Brownstein and others have noted, Democratic primary contests follow a general pattern. There are a few candidates who represent the affluent, educated intelligentsia (Eugene McCarthy, Bill Bradley) and they usually end up getting beaten by the candidate of the less educated, lower middle class.

    That’s what’s happening again. Obama and Edwards get most of their support from the educated, affluent liberals. According to Gallup polls, Obama garners 33 percent support from Democratic college graduates, 28 percent from those with some college and only 19 percent with a high school degree or less. Hillary Clinton’s core support, on the other hand, comes from those with less education and less income — more Harry Truman than Howard Dean.

    Third, Clinton has established this lead by repudiating the netroots theory of politics. As the journalist Matt Bai makes clear in his superb book, “The Argument,” the netroots emerged in part in rebellion against Clintonian politics. They wanted bold colors and slashing attacks. They didn’t want their politicians catering to what Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of the Daily Kos calls “the mythical middle.”

    But Clinton has relied on Mark Penn, the epitome of the sort of consultant the netroots reject, and Penn’s approach has been entirely vindicated by the results so far.

    In a series of D.L.C. memos with titles like “The Decisive Center,” Penn has preached that while Republicans can win by appealing only to conservatives, Democrats must appeal to centrists as well as liberals. In his new book, “Microtrends,” he casts a caustic eye on the elites and mega-donors of both parties who are out of touch with average voter concerns.

    Fourth, the netroots are losing the policy battles. As Matt Bai’s reporting also suggests, the netroots have not been able to turn their passion and animus into a positive policy agenda. Democratic domestic policy is now being driven by old Clinton hands like Gene Sperling and Bruce Reed.

    And while Clinton may not go out of her way to offend the MoveOn types, on her TV rounds on Sunday she made it obvious that she’s not singing their tune.

    On “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” Clinton could have vowed to vacate Iraq. Instead, she delivered hawkish mini-speeches that few Republicans would object to. She listed a series of threats and interests in the region and made it clear that she’d be willing to keep U.S. troops there to handle them.

    The fact is, many Democratic politicians privately detest the netroots’ self-righteousness and bullying. They also know their party has a historic opportunity to pick up disaffected Republicans and moderates, so long as they don’t blow it by drifting into cuckoo land. They also know that a Democratic president is going to face challenges from Iran and elsewhere that are going to require hard-line, hawkish responses.

    Finally, these Democrats understand their victory formula is not brain surgery. You have to be moderate on social issues, activist but not statist on domestic issues and hawkish on foreign policy. This time they’re not going to self-destructively deviate from that.

    Both liberals and Republicans have an interest in exaggerating the netroots’ influence, but in reality that influence is surprisingly marginal, even among candidates for whom you’d think it would be strong.

    Several weeks ago, I asked John Edwards what the YearlyKos event was like. He couldn’t remember which event I was talking about, and looked over to an aide for help.

    Next Article in Opinion (8 of 15) »

  20. With just a few days to go until the third quarter comes to a close on Sunday, the Clinton campaign has come up with a novel way to boost donations between now and then.

    In a letter from Bill Clinton to potential supporters, the former president offers to watch one of the next presidential debates with a few lucky people who have made a contribution during the final days of the month.

    “Hillary’s campaign will pick three people – each invited with a guest to watch one of the upcoming presidential debates with me,” Bill Clinton writes. “We’ll sit down in front of a big TV with a big bowl of chips, watch the debate, and talk about the race. If you enter before the Sunday midnight deadline, you and a guest could be the ones to sit down with me to watch a presidential debate.”

    (The former president as fundraiser, seen above at a recent meeting for contributors to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign in Laredo, Texas. AP Photo by Laredo Morning Times/Susana Segovia)

    He may have a future taking over for Ed McMahon and the Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes. But clearly the campaign is trying to capitalize on Bill Clinton’s popularity as they attempt to bump up their numbers.

    The third quarter is traditionally a little slower than the first and second, and Hillary Clinton has consistently trailed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the money chase.

    Just to make sure potential contributors know that they’ll have a good time if they win an evening with Bill Clinton, he offered this testimonial:

    “When I tell you I like watching Hillary debate, I mean it,” the former president wrote. “You’re talking to the man who stayed up until four in the morning on a trip through Africa just to catch on of her debates live. So if you want to watch a debate with me – or if you just want to help Hillary win – enter today, and you and your guest might join me for a debate soon.”

  21. I think as long Hillary leaves the attacks from EE alone and doesn’t dignify them with a response, they’ll become less and less effective, then eventually go away.

    It was cute when EE got into it with Ann Coulter and even funny they used it to raise money, but now she seems shrill- even slightly off her rocker. Will she start talkingabout men in black following her next?

    The novelty of Tammy Wynette politicking has long worn off and these comments make it seem like Johnny is using her because he’s too afraid to engage. We know it’s his way of getting around the rule about attacking your opponent means you will lose, they will ose and someone else will win. It’s a bad calculation and worse, makes them both seem unpresidential and un-first ladylike.

    So sad….

  22. There was an article on this over the weekend which contended that Hillary opened the door to the more assertive role we see played out by Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama in the primary process. Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not recall Hillary attacking Bill Clinton’s opponents in the primary like these two are now doing as surrogates for their spouses. It would be easy enough to answer them, but as noted above her interests are best served by ignoring them, emphasizing common interests and having Bill say he likes all the candidates.

  23. Wbboei, the Brooks column sounds like what we have been writing about for a long time. Good to see Big Media realizing the Big Blogs are nuts.

    We differentiate between the self-interested Big Blogs and their Stalinist owners and the REAL netroots. Unfortunately the “netroots” as a word has become so debased by the Stalinists that we need a new word. We try to use “Big Blogs” and “Nutroots” to distinguish them from the real netroots.

    The real netroots are comprised of the 1 million Hillary supporters online, Democrats who exchange information and articles and organization tips via the internet (like Big Pink). We include in the real netroots our opponents in other campaigns who are not Hillary haters. We include those who might disagree with us about Hillary but whose genuine interest is to participate and benefit progressive values by engaging in Democratic Party politcs.

    The Big Blog nutroots are self-interested saboteurs with their own secret Naderite agenda.

  24. Wbboei, you’re right. Hillary was attacked from Day One. She did get on TV though- when the Flowers scandal came to light. She was a behind the scenes, work with local activists kind of gal. She worked on policy. she didn’t go battle for Bill.

    And, yes, Bill has done well saying he likes all of the candidates. He did it on Daily Show again just last week. You know, with a great wife and partner in Hillary- he can afford to be magnanimous. I guess we know MO and EE can’t afford to be.

  25. Paula wrote about Obama starting Bible groups for his campaign. Obama is developing a messiah complex. Not only does he think that to know him is to love him but there is this (2 article summaries from the Hotline about his “Believe” theme, btw the Believe ad is just horrible):

    Obama’s first NH TV ad, “Believe,” goes up today (see 9/25 Hotline). Obama spokesperson Rich Cherlin “declined to specify when and where the ad would run, saying only” that it’s a “substantial state buy-in.” Obama “has been running
    consistently behind” Hillary Clinton in NH polls (Schoenberg, Concord Monitor, 9/25).

    Obama’s camp also placed “50 signs” around NH over the weekend reading: “Do You Believe?” The signs were replaced 9/23 “with signs featuring Obama’s campaign logo” (Elliott, AP, 9/24).

  26. Breaking NH poll news: WMUR/CNN poll has Hillary up 23!

    Clinton pulling ahead in New Hampshire, poll says

    On the eve of the Democrats debating Wednesday at Dartmouth College, a new poll out today shows Hillary Clinton apparently widening her lead in New Hampshire, home of the first primary.

    Clinton, the national frontrunner, has the support of 43 percent of Granite State Democrats, according to the CNN/WMUR poll, compared to 20 percent for Barack Obama. In a similar poll in July, Clinton led Obama by a narrower margin, 36 percent to 27 percent.

    In the poll, 54 percent of those surveyed also said that Clinton has the best chance among the Democratic contenders to beat the Republican nominee, up from 37 percent in July.

    Also encouraging for Clinton, 36 percent said she was likeliest to bring needed change, compared to 24 percent who said Obama, who has made change a key theme of his campaign.

    John Edwards has moved up to third place, with 12 percent, up from 9 percent in July. Bill Richardson has dropped to fourth at 6 percent, down from 11 percent.

    But only 17 percent of respondents said they have definitely decided on a candidate.

    The poll, conducted Sept. 17-24 by the University of New Hampshire, surveyed 307 New Hampshire residents who said they plan to vote in the Democratic primary. The margin of error is plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.

  27. Admin., yes I agree, Brooks is reiterating much of what you have been saying in this column for months.

    Moreover, if MSM does a post mortem on the Obama candidacy, I bet it will identify the strategic mistakes you mention in the next chapter entititled JB Pritzker. In that case, you will have an equitable right to the Pulitizer Prize they award to one of their own for outstanding political journalism.

  28. Thanks, dem dem fpr the links.. 🙂

    Very good wbboei, I concur. Admin., will certainly be eligible for a Pulitier. I would like to make mention of how we appreciate and learn from your daily briefings. Thanks…

    Mrs. S.

Comments are closed.