Weekend reflections (Iowa edition)

It’s time again for weekend reflections. With the 2008 US Presidential campaign now officially underway, I’d be interested in hopes, fears and predictions after Iowa. My massively premature call on the result: a relatively narrow win for an Obama-Clinton ticket over McCain-Lieberman for the Republicans. Feel free to fill in, and dispute, the underlying analysis.

73 thoughts on “Weekend reflections (Iowa edition)

  1. Crikey EmJay, that story is more than a month old! I’m well out-of-date. Can’t imagine how they couldn’t raise 2 million which ought to be chump change for those guys. Thanks for the good news link.

  2. At this very moment 10.57 AEST, Fox News is reporting that the results from the first precincts to close show Clinton leading Obama 37:36.

    That’s with only 9% of precincts reporting and I suspect she’ll drop substantially from there.


    “Early returns from the New Hampshire presidential primary show Hillary Clinton slightly edging out Barack Obama in the Democratic race and John McCain leading Mitt Romney by a significant margin in the GOP race.

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign had been girding for a defeat Tuesday following her third-place finish in Iowa, but with 9 percent of precincts reporting, the New York senator had 37 percent while Obama had 36.

    With the same percentage of precincts reporting on the Republican side, McCain was pulling 37 percent of the vote while Romney was pulling in 28 percent.”

    So far, this looks like Clinton’s done much better han was predicted over the last few days.

    So I’m wondering if the Clinton campaign deliberatey played down her prospects to reduce the perception of her as arrogant and unfeeling.

  3. Obama is now in big trouble.

    With a slew of southern primaries coming up, the wind is now in Edwards’ sails.

    And Edwards’ social progressivism will play well in crisis-wracked America.

  4. Sometimes, God really is on the side with the most regiments or, in this case, district workers.

  5. katz, i actually think obama will do ok in the south. don’t forget that although blacks there are a minority, they are virtually all democrats and in most southern states there are enough of them that they are a major bloc of democratic primary-goers. so racism is unlikely to be a factor.

    in 1988, jesse jackson won democratic primaries in alabama, georgia, louisiana, mississippi, virginia and his home state of south carolina, so there’s no obvious reason to assume the hopelessness of obama’s southern cause. al gore (then a mediocre senator from tennessee) was also a candidate that year, so jackson got those results with competition from another viable southern democrat (who, incidentally, played the race card).

    i think hillary is the democrat who is likely to struggle in the south.

  6. Oh boy! I’m waiting for the thread on New Hampshire.

    The turnout for the Dems was not so far above that for the GOP this time, but the things to note are that (a) Clinton-Obama combined scored 41.3% of the total vote compared to McCain-Romney 31.3%; (b)57% of voters at the Dem primary were women and they voted for Clinton 46 to Obama 34.

  7. Yeah Katz, Hillary’s strongholds are on the coasts meaning the New Hampshire result was huge (her high double digit leads in the huge delegate states is secure). It now looks pretty unlikely Obama will break through the machine and everyone else is finished. Shame, but it satisfies the maxim that applies to my personal preferences in US Presidential politics: bet against whomever I support heavily, irrespective of the odds.

    Btw, my call on what did it for HRC in NH is the gender card. The media here has a lot of people who infuriate women by how they cover Hillary, (i.e. their thinly veiled hatred which they construe as misogynistic, and probably is), which was clearly an important factor. The other factor not to be discounted was Gloria Steinem’s NYT Op-Ed on the day of the primary entitled, “Women are Never Frontrunners”, with the explicit implication, “even when they are running against black males”. That appallingly emotive propaganda was on a huge number of Democratic primary voters’ doorstep the morning of the primary, and prominently displayed in their heavily traversed opinion section. Presidential politics consistently brings out the worst in this country.

  8. bah humbug. The dems look like they’re going the way of 2004: pick a candidate certain to lose. I knew from the very beginning that Kerry would be a loser and I have the same feeling about Hillary.

  9. Hmmm, I guess my belief that not only the 2000 presidential election but also the 2004 one was stolen (remember the Diebold voting machines?) just makes me a crazy conspiracy theorist?

    Well, I like to quote Gore Vidal on conspiracy theories. He said basically this. If you beleive everything is a conspiracy then you are crazy. If you beleive there are no conspiracies then you are totally naive.

    2000 and 2004 were definitely stolen/rigged. The biggest myth of world politics is that the US is a democracy.

  10. It’s also worth noting that Clinton already leads Obama the delegate vote by 183 to 78.

    That’s largely due to her support from so-called superdelegates.

    She’s already almost 10% of the way to the 2021-odd delegates required to carry the nomination.

    Richardson had 19 superdelegates who have now been released by his withdrawal. I suspect Hillary will pick up most of them.


  11. Ian,

    Can you site your source for Richardson supporter’s second choice? It’s not intuitive that they would break cleanly for any candidate, but Edwards has been the leading second choice candidate amongst Democrats (although that was pre New Hampshire. As far as the superdelegate contingent, believe me, the last thing those want to be seen as doing is deciding nominations. They are irrelevant, as is the delegate count more broadly. All that matters now are wins- Nevada (because SC will be tough for Clinton, especially after all the borderline race baiting that went on in NH), and then of course super Tuesday, which is a delegate bonanza. Right now, you’d have to give the edge to Clinton, but slightly. It’s going to be an eventful few weeks…

  12. M. my assumption that Richardson’s support will as I said “probably” tend to go to to Clinton is based on him being a fellow DLC “New Democrat” centrist and his ties with the Clintons as a former member of Bill Clinton’s administration.

  13. Ian,

    My understanding is that in Iowa most of Richardson’s voters shifted to Edwards in the precincts where he didn’t get the 15% viability. I believe more went to Obama than Clinton. This may not apply everywhere, but at least on some issues Richardson was running to the left of the others, closer to Edwards irrespective of his DLC background. If Edwards is seen as viable I suspect he’ll pick up most of Richardson’s support, but if he can’t start making ground soon he may get written off and people will bypass him. Whether they will prefer Clinton or Obama is an open question.

  14. Of course the real question that people have largely ignored is where will Edwards’ supporters go if he drops out. If his and Richardson’s votes had favoured Obama over Clinton by 2:1 New Hampshire would have been an easy win for Obama. I’ve no reason to think that would happen, but I’m surprised there has not been more discussion.

  15. Stephen L,

    There actually has been a lot of discussion about how Edwards is hurting Obama (and I suppose vis versa, although obviously Obama has been more successful to date). However, most of the damage has been done to date, which is to say, incomparably more so than will be going forward. Whether or not Edwards stays in, his campaign is clearly in terminal decline, so most people who strongly favor Clinton over Obama or vis versa for second choices will now make the practical choice and jump ship. The remnants will see the choice far more ambiguously, so it’s much harder to say where they break, (although you have to say his leaving the campaign would still likely favor Obama, given there is no love lost between his campaign and HRC’s).

    Btw, Ian, I think that line of reasoning is abjectly insufficient. For example, it would have Kerry supporting Edwards, etc. etc. Politics has a short memory.

  16. The real question is why would anyone want to be Bush’s successor, considering the total mess he has made out of absolutely everything. There’s a good chance of the chickens coming home to roost in the next Presidential term, and the next President will probably get the blame from an idiot media and public.

  17. Gerard, on the positive side, any of the current candidates other than Ron Paul would be an improvement over the incumbent.

  18. What is it abotu Ron Paul that attracts you?

    His desire to leave the UN?

    The desire to abolish the EPA and the FDA?

    His desire to take away Federal jurisdiction over civil rights?

    his support for individual states’ power to impose laws against homosexuality, abortion and interracial marriage?

    His votes against renewing both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act?

    His support for the John Birch Society?

    His beleif in a New World Order conspiracy?

  19. Hilary now leads the delegate count 190 to 78.

    Since Richardson pulled out and without any primaries or caucuses in the meantime (the Michigan caucus didn’t count as no delegates were at stake),
    Hilary has picked up 7 superdelegate votes since Richardson pulled out.

    Obama hasn’t picked up any.

  20. Oh believe me there’s nothing about Ron Paul that attracts me AT ALL. He’d definitely be terrible for the US (although worse than President Cheney I’m not sure), just better for the rest of the world. I’m talking from a global point of view.

    Anyway he’s got no chance of being President, but I’m glad he’s in the race, just to drive a wedge through the GOP. Loved the video of his reporters chasing Sean Hannity and shouting “Fox News Sucks!”

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