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« Step in the Right Direction: Judge Decides KBR Rape Case Should Go to Court | Main | Bush Administration Ignored Corruption »

May 13, 2008



We're in roughly the same stage as we were with McCain after Romney dropped out but before Huckabee dropped out. (Hillary, it appears, ALSO majored in miracles.) I'm not sure what Fox was saying then, but my guess is that it was something like "why is Huckbee still in this?" I mean, honestly, Deb, we both know why it's Fox news and not the others that are saying this. Fox news is consciously trying to undermine the Obama campaign, as they have been since early March.

Assume EVERYTHING works out the way you hope. Hillary wins WV and KY and PR by 40-50 points, and basically splits OR, MT, and SD. Michigan and Florida are seated in full. The above won't happen, but for argument's sake, let's go with it.

Even in that scenario, Obama still has the pledged delegate lead, and gets the "Pelosi club" superdelegates, plus a majority of the add-ons, plus the large group of S-delegates that he is simply holding back (dripping out endorsements by the 3's and 5's every day). He's already there. He will be over the magic number by June 10.

The only scenario where Hillary wins is if something dramatic happens that REVERSES the committed superdelegates' opinions. Nothing I wrote above, nor any popular vote or "electability" argument, would do that. It would have to be a phenomenal scandal, something beyond the ones Obama has fended off thus far.

Any predictions for WV? I think Obama keeps it under 40%; anything under 30% is a surprise. It doesn't much matter because it's guaranteed to be double digits and Hillary gets to hold her rally the minute the polls close. There's really only 4 delegates at play here - we'll be somewhere between a 21-7 and a 17-11 split, probably closer to the former.

D. Cupples


The point is that we don't KNOW what will happen. Hillary COULD still take a popular-vote lead -- which COULD compel some superdels to commit or switch to her.

Pledged delegates are NOT the only criterion for superdels to consider. If they were, then we wouldn't need superdels.

If they do consider pledged delegates, should they do it based on their own districts (unlike Rockefeller and Kennedy) or should they consider other states' pledged delegate numbers over those of their own states/districts?

I don't know the answer, and I don't think anyone else does either.

Fact is, superdels can do whatever they want. Right now, a lot of them are supporting Obama.

If the DNC quits fighting the idea of factoring in FL's popular vote AND if Hillary takes the popular-vote lead at the end of all the primaries, how do you KNOW which superdels would or wouldn't commit to Hillary?

I'm not saying the chances are heavy, but there is a chance -- which is why I wish the media would stop acting as though Obama HAS won until the last primary vote has been counted.

It's only 3 weeks. If the Dems can't unify in 4 1/2 months (July - early Nov), then what makes anyone think they can unify in 4 1/2 months + 3 weeks?

Keep in mind also the context: some media folks have been calling for Hillary to drop out since just before Ohio and just after. That was BEFORE we knew what would happen in Indiana.

I'm sort of desensitized to it all.

I don't care what Fox's motives are. They've been doing what other media (i.e., Obama-infatuated outlets like MSNBC and CNN) SHOULD have been doing months ago -- avoiding actively campaigning for Obama.


Saying Fox is "avoiding actively campaigning for Obama" is sort of like saying George Bush avoided building a large budget surplus.

Your media narrative RE: Obama remains stuck in January. I've never claimed that Hillary has gotten good treatment, but Obama's coverage has been at least as shoddy, and increasingly more negative. He has been attacked in the media ever since he took the lead. The Democratic frontrunner gets picked at; that's how the MSM works. With Fox, it's more focussed and more malicious.

Some people have been calling for Hillary to drop out for a long time. That's true, and it was silly. In fact, it's silly to call on her to drop out now (I agree - what's the harm in three more weeks, as long as it's fairly positive campaigning). But that's not what this is about.

This post, and our discussion, isn't about whether Hillary should drop out. It's about predicting who the Democratic nominee will be. And the talking heads like Russert were absolutely right to say it's Obama, just like they were right to say it's McCain after Romney dropped out. Odds on Obama winning are overwhelmingly high at this point.

You bring up all sorts of arguments about what criteria the S-dels could use. All perfectly true. But that wasn't my point. I'll just paste what I wrote:

"...[Obama] gets the "Pelosi club" superdelegates, plus a majority of the add-ons, plus the large group of S-delegates that he is simply holding back..."

I'm not judging their decisions here. Every superdelegate has heard the electability arguments and the popular vote arguments and the pledged delegate arguments a million times. They've made their decisions in their own individual ways. I'm simply pointing out that when they all get added up, Obama has enough of them to win.

Again, the only way Hillary wins is if something happens that is so dramatic that COMMITTED Obama superdelegates start reversing course. The probability of that is sufficiently low that it qualifies as needing a miracle.

D. Cupples


No, my media narrative is not "stuck" in January. that's an unfair dismissal -- though January is relevant, given that it was the beginning of Obama's real momentum (what I think of as his garnering of massive support largely through false advertising).

The Obama-supporting TV people might have gone negative (over stupid crap like Wright), but they STILL HAVEN'T looked into real stories like the special interest dollars.

They had the ability, and they didn't have to trust bloggers. I got my info from USA Today, The Hill, LA Times....

All of that was available to TV people (pre- and post-January), but most of them simply chose to ignore it.

YOU might be able to rationalize away the story, but I don't think that all voters would. And they deserved to know about it and make up their own minds.

The TV people said nothing about crap that Hillary faced in debates, yet in April, they jumped all over ABC for its questions. That's blatantly selective.

The TV people didn't even slam Obama for Goolsbee and Power. THOSE are stories that voters who can't rely on Obama's scant record should be privy to.

Instead of really reporting, MSNBC actually knee-jerk defended Obama and attacked CTV -- without even bothering to check it out.

And the media's complicity in the racism accusations against Hillary: my god! That was in January AND just before North Carolina.

All it took was a few Obama supporters with some stature to make the accusations, and the media was parroting it -- essentially turning it into conventional knowlege -- though it was utter crap.

You're right: I phrased it poorly (Fox avoiding campaigning for Obama). What I meant is that Fox is the only place you could count on for even a glimpse of a negative story (BEYOND the stupid crap like Wright).

And Fox (ironically) was the only place regularly pointing out how pro -Obama some of the other TV outlets were.

You likely didn't notice what the MSM was doing from Jan through May, because it largely favored Obama (except the stupid stuff like Wright, Ayres, flag pins...).

I KNOW that Fox's motives aren't good. It doesn't matter to me, because MSNBC's and CNN's motives (and performance of duty) haven't been good either.


I agree January is relevant. I've never denied that Hillary got much more negative coverage before Obama took the lead in February. My contention has simply been that the MSM gets fed most of its talking points from the right. The right was firmly focussed on Hillary at the outset, because she was the "inevitable" nominee.

Once Obama took the lead, the right began attacking Obama with a growing intensity. By early March, once Obama was cemented as the frontrunner, the focus of negative coverage clearly and plainly shifted from Hillary to Obama. This is not to say that Hillary was suddenly portrayed as a saint, but far more on-air time was being spent hashing and re-hashing whatever damaging material was brought up concerning Obama.

Obama got plenty of bad coverage for the Goolsbee and Power episodes. Plenty. Each was the big "cable pundits yelling at each other over split screen" story for several days in a row. I've never understood why you think Obama got a free pass on those stories. He most assuredly did not. I'm sure a Lexis-Nexis hit count would back me up on this.

The idea that MSNBC and CNN are backing Obama or avoiding his negative stories is absurd. Olbermann and Maddow? Sure, they're ignoring the attacks or calling them silly. Obama has supporters on TV, but the overall narrative is not dictated by those people.

The overall narrative is better represented by guys like Joe Scarborough and Lou Dobbs. Those guys are out front leading the charge against Obama. Chris Matthews is simply a fool who will ramble about whatever he's told the "big story" is, and when the media narrative shifted to attacking Obama he happily played along. Guys like Russert or Stephanopoulos are perfectly willing to attack anyone.

"The Obama-supporting TV people might have gone negative (over stupid crap like Wright), but they STILL HAVEN'T looked into real stories like the special interest dollars."

I've responded to this several times, but I am happy to do so again.

1) The media is throwing what they think is Obama's most damaging material on the air. I know YOU don't care about Jerimiah Wright or the "bitter" comments. But the right wing pundits think those stories are more damaging, so those are the ones they blather about or feed tidbits on to the network execs.

Frankly, I also think that the concerns you have on Obama are relatively insignificant. I think they are fair game, but networks have chosen to focus on other negative attacks. It's a sign of poor priorities, for sure, but not a sign of bias.

2) There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Hillary could have made these things an issue if she had wanted to. One thing Hillary's campaign has been very effective at is introducing stories into the media cycle. The latest example is the "white working class voters" theme - Hillary wanted to make this the dominant MSM discussion, and her campaign managed to do it.

Hillary included references to "bittergate" in her speeches. Hillary attempted to re-kindle the Wright controversy when it died down. But Hillary never brought up Obama's connections to lobbyists in her stump speeches. Her campaign never mentioned his industry ties in conference calls. They CHOSE to ignore this issue, and focus on an array of other attacks (elitism, unelectability, white voters, Wright, gas tax holiday, et cetera) in stead.

You know why *I* think they ignored it - I think it was because they felt that an open discussion of lobbyists or campaign contributions reflected more poorly on Hillary than it would on Obama. But the point is, as a Hillary supporter, you can't really complain that this didn't become an issue. Hillary's campaign consciously chose to NOT make it an issue.

D. Cupples


January is hyper-relevant, because Obama's "momentum" (i.e., his garnering of supporters) stems largely from the MSM's having (questionably) sold Obama to ordinary folks.

No, the MSM didn't rehash "whatever damaging material" existed about Obama. The MSM rehashed the stupid crap that informed voters don't care about and REFUSED to cover real stories that they do care about -- things that give some indication of who Obama really is (like Obama's campaign funds and stealthy campaign tactics).

I disagree about Goolsbee and Power. At first, Obama's fans in the MSM actually debated CTV without even checking out the story. The few days of coverage did very little, because some prominent MSMers refused to go after Obama about those issues as hard as they should have (i.e., as hard as they went after Hillary over Bosnia).

Remember, the ignoring of one story can be just as influential on public opinion as the harping on another story.

Scarborough and Dobbs have a largely right wing audience. Most intelligent Dems (who actually participate in primaries/caucuses) don't take them seriously, but they DO take Olbermann and Maddow seriously.

In other words, Olbermann and Maddow have more influence over voters in the Dem primary, whereas Scarborough and Dobbs will have greater influence over voters in the general.

I know that you think my concerns over Obama's misleading the public (campaign funding, campaign tactics) aren't important. That's because you're a solid Obama supporter.

I think plenty of people (who aren't just like me) would find Obama's hypocrisy and disengenuousness a big story and relevant to who he would be as a leader.

You make a good point re: Hillary's ability to introduce stories. I've NO clue why she didn't pounce on Obama's hypocrisy and misleading statements.

I disagree with you about open discussion on lobbyists, because Hillary could have framed it (and to some extent did) in the same terms that I do: our campaign finance system has caused all three candidates to need to take special-interest dollars -- Obama is just dishonest about having done it.

I haven't checked all the top industry donors at CRP, but I do know that Hillary took more oil $, and Obama took more Pharma $.

If Hillary's campaign had followed your logic, then I think it made a big mistake.

D. Cupples


It just occurred to me: maybe Hillary's camp failed to bring up the dirty-money issue, because it knew that the MSM would ignore it (accept to point out that Hillary is negative).

I mean, Gravel brought it up in detail at a debate (Obama's lobbyist and special interest money), yet most MSM didn't bother pointing it out to the general public.

Again, a major plank in Obama's platform is his being new and clean and wanting change (as opposed to entrenched in the special-interest-driven system).

Showing evidence that said plank is based on falsehoods IS a story.


Gravell's comments were not going to get anything anywhere.

Hillary could have made it a story. She didn't. It was a choice. You're saying she didn't try because she thought she would fail? Odd, considering every other attack she's leveled at Obama has gotten coverage.

To me, your argument fails a basic sniff test. Hillary's campaign has been consistently effective in inserting words/phrases/stories into the narrative. The obvious reason they didn't bring it up is because they thought it was a political loser, not because they feared being ignored.

D. Cupples


We're both speculating and we disagree. It's as simple as that.

As I remember, Hillary did bring up the argument at a debate (or maybe to a reporter): she said that none of the candidates' have taken corporate funds, because of the Tillman Act.

Her point was that Obama's claims are misleading.

Most of the MSM ignored her argument -- the same way that they ignored USA Today's, LA Times' and The Hill's actual data on Obama's special-interest money.

She also said (definitely at a debate) that Obama's claims about lack of ties to lobbyists was a crock (the Pharma lobbyist who co-chaired the campaign).

That one did get coverage, but that was early on.

Which of Hillary's attacks on Obama got great coverage (as opposed to guys like Olbermann rushing to Obama's defense)?

D. Cupples


Here's a link to an article that quotes Hillary bringing up the argument -- for all the good it did.

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