Thoughts on the Republican Debate: “Facts are Stubborn Things”

January 31, 2008

During last night’s debate, the Straight Talk Express derailed into distortion, revealing the true character of the candidate.  Over the ninety-minute long affair, John McCain resorted to a barrage of incorrect assaults aimed at his chief rival for the nomination, Mitt Romney.  The most egregious moment revolved around a question debated for the last week – did Romney support a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, a claim pushed by McCain.  The resounding answer, from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal, was no.  Yet on the debate stage, McCain stuck to his original statement, refusing to retract it.

McCain’s dissembling stretched far beyond that, reaching into the realm of immigration.  When asked if he would vote for McCain-Kennedy, the now-dead immigration bill symbolic of McCain’s political apostasy, the senator demurred.  Disapproving of hypotheticals, McCain said the legislation wouldn’t come up for a vote.  Yet on Meet the Press last Sunday, he said he’d vote for it.

The flaps continue: citing an endorsement he never received, mischaracterizing a study to paint Romney as incompetent.  “Facts are stubborn things,” Romney said at one point.  Indeed, they are.  It’s time for the media to wrest the mantle of straight talk away from McCain and grant it to someone more worthy.


Candidates’ Responses to State of the Union

January 29, 2008

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama focused on the economy and Iraq, pushing their similar stimulus packages and calling the surge a failure. Mitt Romney took the opportunity to bash Washington, citing the inability to reach a deal on immigration or Social Security. Although John McCain didn’t release a formal statement, the speech’s content was fitting for his candidacy. The president emphasized the surge’s success and the need to rein in wasteful spending, both issues McCain cares deeply about.  However, the lame-duck president’s seventh and final State of the Union was overshadowed by the day’s politicking, with Obama receiving Senator Ted Kennedy’s endorsement.

A Thumping. A Rout. A Landslide.

January 28, 2008

55-27! Some numbers to gnaw on:

*Obama received more votes (295,901) than all the votes cast (293,843) in the 2004 South Carolina Democratic primary.

*Turnout among college-aged voters tripled, compared to four years ago. Turnout among blacks doubled. Overall turnout was up by 75%.

*He received more votes than the top two finishers in last week’s GOP primary combined. The victor, John McCain captured 147,283 votes, while runner-up Mike Huckabee reeled in 132,440 votes.

Obama is displaying his ability to expand the electorate, a skill crucial for the general election.

Bill Backlash

January 27, 2008

The results from where Bill Clinton campaigned last night:

Greenville 14 607 — Obama 80% (488 votes), Clinton 14.8% (90), Edwards 2% (12)

Greenville 19 705 — Obama 78% (548), Clinton 16% (115), Edwards 5% (37)

And the exit polls show among those who considered Bill Clinton’s campaigning important, 48% voted for Obama, while only 37% went for Hillary.

“Out Of Many, We Are One”

January 27, 2008

The video of Obama’s victory speech:

And the transcript after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


January 27, 2008

Obama's Rout

Let the enormity of the results sink in.  More depictions at the Electoral Map blog.

Anything Goes

January 26, 2008

The Clinton coronation was derailed one Philadelphia night when she waffled on drivers’ licenses, reviving long-dormant memories of Clintonian parsing. Now that parsing has morphed into outright lying. Take the allegations pushed by Bill and Hillary that Obama praised Reagan’s ideas: blatantly false, yet the campaign pushed them in a 30-second spot on South Carolina TV. Let’s just ignore the fact that both of them fulsomely praised Reagan, with Hillary saying he “played the balance and the music beautifully.” The Clinton campaign has disintegrated into Karl Rove tactics, adopting a cutthroat, ruthless strategy to return to the Oval Office.

Not to mention the red-faced, finger-wagging Bill Clinton disgracing the dignity afforded an ex-president, all in his quest for a third term. His constant referrals to “we” are removing any lingering doubts that a co-presidency is in the works. Hillary was supposed to be a tough girl. Now, she’s just a wife sending her husband to go shout at the neighbors.

This myopic focus on the immediate win, without regard to potential blowback, severely undermines the Democrats’ chances in 2008. Once again, the party threatens to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. A Clinton nomination riles the right, the elixir for the lack of enthusiasm on the Republican side. And, the process of obtaining it splinters the Democratic party. Many, as Jonathan Chait put it, “just really wish they’d go away.”