Barack Obama and his acolytes have concocted a new Domino Theory which is just as harebrained as the Vietnam era Domino Theory. Obama supporters parade and trumpet this crackpot theory with all the sublety of a hoochie-koochie dancer in a traveling carnival.
The original Domino Theory, which President Dwight Eisenhower postulated, declared that American Cold War interventions around the world were necessary because nations were like dominoes: You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly.
Eisenhower thought neighboring nation-states would fall one after the other to Communism – if the first domino (Vietnam) fell. We now have, Barack Obama’s very own narcissistic Domino Theory.
Obama’s Domino Theory is that, during the primary, states will fall like dominoes in worship of him if Iowans give him a caucus win on January 3, 2008.
Obama’s Domino Theory, bought wholesale by the gullible and the self-interested Big Media and Big Blogs, has been repeatedly circulated by David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, to Big Media outlets such as Politico:
In a new, public memo, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe makes the case for Obama’s strategy: A win based on organization and the hunger for change in Iowa, followed by a roll through the rest of the early states.
The memo had one interesting claim, of South Carolina: “We believe South Carolina is now a very competitive two-way race, with Edwards, who won this contest in 2004, in a very distant third.”
You can also tell from the memo one way in which this race hasn’t changed from Day One: Experience is still Obama’s central challenge. Plouffe quotes Obama’s line that he he “may not have the experience that Washington likes, but he has the experience that America needs,” and stresses his “20 years in public service.”
To effectuate Obama’s Domino Theory requires a minimal Obama presence in some states and concentration of forces on Iowa. After Iowa, victories in New Hampshire and all the early primary states will fall into his lap. Obama supporters, bereft of hope after months of bad poll news, have embraced this Domino Theory like corrupt Saigon Colonels embraced Eisenhower’s discredited theory.
Obama’s Domino Theory fails for the same reason Eisenhower’s Domino Theory was flawed. Both did not take into account the stability of neighboring states and the strength of the opposition which will resist public relations hoopla. Both theories also did not take into account a realistic assessment of the “hearts and minds” of the citizenry. For Obama’s Domino Theory to have validity, post-Iowa primary/caucus states would have to be lukewarm for Hillary and Hillary supporters would have to be lukewarm in their support as well.
There is plenty of long-term, scientific and anecdotal evidence which demonstrates Hillary’s frontrunner status (nationwide and in individual early primary states) and strong support, particularly from her base – women.
Not only is Hillary receiving strong support from her affinity group – women, but yesterday we got this bit of news which demonstrates strong Hillary support in what Michelle Obama presumes will be Obama’s vote:
Six weeks out from the first round of presidential voting, Hillary Rodham Clinton gets better reviews than Barack Obama among African-American voters, a crucial voting bloc in Democratic politics, a new poll shows.
The survey of 750 African-Americans, conducted from Oct. 5 to Nov. 2, and released Tuesday found that the senator from New York was rated favorably by 83 percent of respondents, while 10 percent perceived her negatively.
Obama, meanwhile, garnered favorable ratings from 74 percent of blacks, with 10 percent viewing him negatively. [snip]
For Obama, the poll provides one more indication of just how steep a climb remains for his campaign to overtake Clinton.
Obama has mounted possibly the most viable presidential run by a black candidate ever.
But Obama’s symbolic status has not so far won black voters to favor his campaign.
In contrast, Clinton’s status as the first woman to have a feasible chance at winning the presidency has won Democratic women overwhelmingly to her candidacy and largely explains her lead in the race.
The expectation that Obama would win African-Americans has led the campaign to flatly predict, as Obama pollster Cornell Belcher did to Politico this summer, that they would win the Jan. 19 South Carolina primary.
The state is 29 percent African-American, but the Democratic primary electorate is at least half black.
The Palmetto State was expected to play a pivotal role in the Democratic nomination fight, allowing Obama to halt momentum Clinton may gain after Iowa and New Hampshire, two states that are overwhelmingly white.
In South Carolina, Obama aims to siphon off some of Clinton’s core supporters — women — making African-American women key players in the Palmetto contest.
“If Obama was really going to challenge Hillary, I have always thought he was really going to have to challenge her among women, not just black women but even white women,” said David Bositis, senior research associate at The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which conducted the poll.
Obama plans to tour the early primary states with Oprah Winfrey in early December.
Notably, they are spending the most time in South Carolina.
But the campaign will also stop off in New Hampshire and Iowa.
Obama currently is locked in a head-to-head race with Clinton in the Hawkeye state. [snip]
Nine in ten black voters supported Al Gore and John Kerry in the previous two general elections.
Oprah is not going to sell Obama like she does books. If celebrities sold candidates, Barbra Streisand would be touring with Hillary right now. Hillary is and will maintain her lead with women voters. Hillary support with African-American voters appears equally strong. Obama, how is he doing?
My colleague Carrie Budoff Brown e-mails over the explanation from South Carolina State Rep. Harold Mitchell, who reiterated at an endorsement event with black ministers today that he was switching his support from Obama to Clinton:
“I got caught up in the hoopla,” Mitchell said of Obama.
The “hoopla”. He got caught up in the hoopla. The transitory effects of a flimflam show versus the steady support of a long time friend can be measured in this “hoopla” statement.
Is Representative Mitchell alone in his support of Hillary?
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton picked up endorsements from dozens of Upstate black ministers Tuesday morning.
Five dozen ministers lined up with Clinton as she spoke in Spartanburg Tuesday morning.
Spartanburg Representative Harold Mitchell organized the session. He says the group thinks Clinton is the best candidate to address issues like health care, jobs and other issues.
Clinton told the crowd of about 450 people she will work on health care, education, and improving the nation’s image around the world.
She says she would send representatives around the world to let countries know the era of cowboy diplomacy is over.
Hopkins Senator Darrell Jackson says similar announcements will be made in the Midlands and Lowcountry.
Reverend Timothy Brown, also of South Carolina, isn’t concerned about the “hoopla”. Reverend Brown is against false prophets:
Nearly half of South Carolina’s Democratic primary voters are black, and ministers can play a huge role in shaping the political direction of their congregations. More than 60 ministers gathered with Clinton on a stage at a hotel and her campaign said 88 were in the room where the endorsements were announced.
Clinton, in a wide-ranging speech to a crowd of more than 450, touched on her plans to expand health care, better public education and improve the image of the U.S. She said she would send emissaries around the globe – and mentioned former Secretary of State Colin Powell as “someone I know very well” – to send a message the era of “cowboy diplomacy is over.” [snip]
The Rev. Timothy Brown, of Cleveland Chapel in Spartanburg, said Clinton will get government to a “better plateau.” He also referenced Obama, a first-term senator who wrote a book called “The Audacity of Hope.”
“We need to look for a leader that is ready to lead right now,” Brown said. “We don’t need to be filling our heads with hopes and dreams.”
Also Tuesday, Clinton’s campaign released her proposal to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS, which in part focuses on fighting the spread of the illness in minority communities. Clinton would double the HIV/AIDS research budget at the National Institutes of Health to $5.2 billion annually and spend at least $50 billion within five years around the globe, according to an e-mail from her campaign. [snip]
The endorsements from the South Carolina ministers came as Clinton tries to widen what one recent poll showed was as much as a 10 percentage point lead in the state over Obama, an Illinois senator.
“This is just the beginning,” said state Sen. Darrell Jackson, a Columbia minister working for Clinton. Similar announcements are in the works in other regions of the state, he said.
Another state senator, Harold Mitchell, told CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod that his heart had him backing Obama early on, but he switched to Clinton last month.
“We’ve got to get away from these emotional feelings,” Mitchell said. “If you put that aside and look at the candidates… it’s a no-brainer.” [snip]
Don Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, said courting the pulpit is key for the black vote here.
“The church and individual members play an extremely important role in black politics,” Fowlers said in an interview last month.
“There’s very stiff, intense competition for the hearts and minds of the African-American clergy,” he said. “Collectively, they have huge influence.”
Hillary is increasing her lead in a state where Michelle Obama is practically living in. Hillary visited supporters in Spartanburg as well as Aiken, South Carolina yesterday:
New York Senator Hillary Clinton drew a large crowd of at least a thousand people on her presidential campaign stop. It was a very energetic crowd. On Tuesday, Senator Clinton telling them her experience in Washington at the White House and in the Senate, is what makes her the best choice for the next US President.
“It’s sort of a once in a lifetime opportunity to see her speak,” says Sandy Vogus.
She wasn’t alone. This man standing right by her side.
“Have an opportunity to meet someone I think in my belief is going to be the next President of the United States,” says Robert Lans. [snip]
“I think her plan to reestablish our stature on the world scene again. Very rational, reasonable. And I’d love to see her win,” says Van Lunans.
Hillary also appeared in Bennettsville, South Carolina:
Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton said she will cut minority dropout rates in half during the next decade by spending $1 billion to identify at-risk children, get teachers into high-need areas and through early childhood education programs.
The New York senator told a group of educators at a middle school in this early voting state, which is plagued by high dropout rates, that she wanted to address the “crisis of untapped potential” that comes from students leaving school.
“A lot of our children are going to be fine. They’ve got families backing them up. They’ve got great schools and communities in their corner. But a lot of our kids need some extra mentoring and support in order to make it,” Clinton told The Associated Press in an interview after discussing her plan. “I want to start in the preschool years to give disadvantaged kids a chance to get the same benefits of readiness that we take for granted with our own kids.”
“They leave school before they have the skills that are going to give them a chance for a good job and a good standard of living and in the global economy we can’t afford that,” she said. “And the costs associated with someone who drops out of school are extraordinary because they’re eight times more likely to end up in jail or prison.” [snip]
“I’ve been to large endorsement meetings, but this was significant,” Clinton said in the interview. After the meeting, more than a dozen other pastors signed on, Clinton said. “So it’s mushrooming. So it’s not just a static number. People are hearing about it and coming on board. And that is a real vote of confidence that I appreciate,” she said.
At a later stop in front of a crowd of about 1,400, Clinton talked about health care, ending the war in Iraq and her qualifications to be the next president.
While Hillary was garnering kudos and support from African-Americans, Obama was getting brickbats from another of his increasingly unhappy supporters:
Jesse Jackson, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times today about the presidential candidates, manages not to mention the name of the candidate he’s nominally endorsed, Barack Obama.
He does have this to say:
The Democratic candidates — with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign — have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country. The catastrophic crisis that engulfs the African-American community goes without mention. No urban agenda is given priority. When thousands of African Americans marched in protest in Jena, La., not one candidate showed up.
Though his son cut a radio ad for Obama in South Carolina that cast the candidate as Jackson’s heir, a piece like this suggests that there’s just a bit of friction there.
Of course, Hillary spent the entire day (not to mention the past 35 years) addressing the needs of African-Americans specifically. Be that as it may, the Chicago Sun-Times column was not the first time Reverend Jesse Jackson has expressed unhappiness with Obama. On September 19, Jackson blasted Obama on the Jena 6 issue in an interview with the influential The State newspaper in the vitally important to Obama, South Carolina. Hillary had spoken on the Jena 6 issue earlier in the month while addressing the NAACP convention in South Carolina.
For all the Big Media/Big Blog hoopla about ‘Hillary Sinking – Obama Surging’ the facts on the ground remain the same. Hillary is still doing exceptionally well nationally and in just about every state other than Iowa.
Obama’s Domino Theory is as flawed as Eisenhower’s.
Hillary’s support is strong and is not going to dissolve. Not only does Hillary have strong support among all of the Democratic base groups, the Democratic establishment and elected officials can see Hillary’s strengths and Obama’s many weaknesses. Obama should tend to his own dominoes, like Jesse Jackson, which appear ready to fall.