February 12, 2008

‘Beltway Tuesday’ Post: McCain Underperforms, But Wins; Obama Crushing Crushes Hillary

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:45 pm

Hillary Clinton hasn’t experienced losing margins like the ones she has seen in the past four days since she was a Goldwater Girl in 1964.

I can understand why David Horowitz, while he was a guest on Hannity this afternoon, was speaking of Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy in the past tense. I’m not there yet, though I have already predicted, and still believe, that its end is coming soon — maybe very soon.

The latest hope for resurrection is that Texas and Ohio become Mrs. Clinton’s “demographic brick wall,” giving up the black and youth vote to the candidate I often refer to as BOOHOO (Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama), while going after older blue-collar and Latino voters. Imagine a Republican articulating such a strategy, and surviving as a viable candidate for more than about 5 minutes.

Winning as the Clintonistas intend would seem to require an ugly, divisive campaign pitting ethnic and socioeconomic groups against one another.

I don’t see how it will work anyway.

Is it possible that top-tier Dems or donors might demand that the fight be stopped rather than endure the ugly spectacle?

As to Beltway Tuesday primary specifics:

  • VA GOP: McCain has won, but is ahead by only 9% (50-41) with 97% counted. The “presumptive nominee” may not get a majority. Lucky for him it’s a winner-take-all for the delegates. The 4% or so voting for someone other than McCain, Huck, or Paul should be considered a protest vote. Update: The VA Board of Elections GOP page shows McCain ending up with close to 51%, with Huck at 40%.
  • VA Dems: At that ABC link — Obama, who was polling 18 points ahead of Hillary in Virginia, has cleaned her clock by 28 29. Update: The VA Board of Elections Dem page shows Obama winning by between 28-29.

  • MD GOP: The state’s polls apparently were kept open late by a judicial ruling because of the weather, so it will be a while before meaningful results come in from there. McCain and Obama are considered shoo-ins. Here’s the link to ABC’s continually updating numbers for Maryland. Update: With 36% counted, it’s clear that McCain has won and swept all the delegates.
  • MD Dems: The Obama margin bears watching. If it’s well over the 22.3% RCP rolling average, as I expect it will be ….. wow. Early returns are running 61-36 Obama. Update: Just over half the votes are in, and it’s Obama by 26. There’s little doubt that the margin in MD will, once again, exceed expectations.
  • DC: In what I believe are final results, Obama won 75%-24% (a link to a PDF with the results is at this page — click on “Pre-Certified Presidential Preference Primary Election Results”) with about 103,000 total Dem primary voters. McCain beat Huckabee by 67%-17%. A total of 5,188 Republican ballots (I’m not kidding) were cast.

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UPDATE: Mrs. Clinton’s strategy requires absorbing near-certain defeat next week in Wisconsin (where Obama is up in the one recent poll shown at RCP), and possibly Hawaii, where Obama’s roots would probably help him.

It also seems to involve having people like Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell say really dangerous things like the following (HT Instapundit) to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board, as relayed by the paper’s Tony Norman:

“You’ve got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate,” he said bluntly. Our eyes only met briefly, perhaps because the governor wanted to spare the only black guy in the room from feeling self-conscious for backing an obvious loser. “I believe, looking at the returns in my election, that had Lynn Swann [2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate] been the identical candidate that he was –well-spoken [note: Mr. Rendell did not call the brother "articulate"], charismatic, good-looking — but white instead of black, instead of winning by 22 points, I would have won by 17 or so.”

I know I have a habit of sometimes zoning out in these meetings, but it sounded to me like Mr. Rendell had unilaterally declared Pennsylvania to be Alabama circa 1963.

Leave it to the Clintons to put their party in danger of losing their most reliable voters for the past 40 years.

UPDATE 2: I agree with Nix that, as flawed as he is as a candidate, Huck should not drop out. The unconvincing performances tonight by McCain should be a wake-up call, but McCain is a stubborn guy. He’ll probably have to be shaken up every time he hits the snooze button until he (hopefully) gets the message that a lot of conservatives are very dissatisfied. While he retains the slightest bit of viability, I believe that voting Huck may be the best mechanism available — even better than voting for one of the dropouts. Having said that, every single vote that goes to another Republican from this point forward should be seen as a vote against McCain.

UPDATE 3: Back to Hillary — I can think of isolated examples where a leading candidate lost one state by a big margin, and it didn’t really matter (Reagan losing by I believe over 10% to Bush 41 in Michigan’s 1980 primary is one such instance). But you just don’t lose by the kinds of crushing margins we’ve seen in the last seven events (primaries: LA [-21], VA [-29], MD [-23], and DC [-49]; caucuses: WA [-36], NE [-35], and ME [-19]) without simultaneously losing your viability.

UPDATE 4: Yeah, I know about the SUSA poll (HT Hot Air’s headlines) showing Mrs. Clinton up 56-39 in OH. This is fool’s gold. The real news in the poll is that:

  • Obama’s support has doubled from 19% to 39% in 2-1/2 weeks. That’s a freight train heading towards a majority in 2 weeks that Mrs. Clinton has to work on stopping. Also, Obama has typically been beating expectations by 8-10 points, and there’s no reason to think that SUSA is picking up on the motivated African-American vote.
  • At the SUSA detail, you’ll see that those who have voted only favored her 51%-47%. And I’m supposed to believe that subsequent voters will lean further towards Hillary? Give me a break.

Right now, on the ground, Hillary’s lead is at best in low single digits, and disappearing fast.

UPDATE 5: Showing no class doesn’t help.

UPDATE 6:She can’t catch us.”

Academic Cleanup at William & Mary

Filed under: Education — Tom @ 4:50 pm

As covered by Michelle Malkin, W&M President Gene Nichol totally doesn’t get it.

Good riddance.

So Far, No One Has Done What Is Needed to Make a Case for Replacing Jean Schmidt

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 10:40 am

Start here:

CongRatings0507

See this previous post for an explanation of how the chart was compiled, and for references to earlier scorecard posts.

The accumulated evidence from these outside watchdog groups shows that in 2006, Jean Schmidt was the second-most conservative congressperson in Ohio.

Any GOP challenger to Jean Schmidt has to decide to campaign on one of two things:
- They will be a more conservative voter as a congressperson than Schmidt has been, because that’s what Ohio’s Second District voters want.
- They will be a less conservative voter than Schmidt, because that’s what District voters want.

To make a compelling case for either, I believe that the challenger has to actually slog through the votes analyzed in detail by the rating groups referred to in the table (National Journal, National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Club for Growth, American Conservative Union, and the US Chamber of Commerce), and come up with how he or she would have scored. I am certain, based on experience, that those organizations would be glad to provide any detailed information necessary to complete this kind of work.

As a challenger, if you believe you’re more conservative, and can show that you would have scored better than Schmidt, you would obviously tell the voters that, and post the results to prove it. You would then highlight the key votes on which you would have gone in the more conservative direction, and explain why those votes are so important that true conservatives should vote for you, and not for her.

Obviously, if you come out less conservative and believe that’s a more appropriate direction, you would do similar things, and argue in that other direction.

To my knowledge, neither of Jean Schmidt’s current challengers (listed here at this Enquirer link) have done that, including the now ex-challenger. They should have done so by now.

There are probably other ways to get to the same place, and I don’t want to pretend that completely new ideas don’t count, because they can count for a lot. But I don’t understand why Second District GOP Primary voters should consider pulling the lever for any challenger who isn’t going to make a comprehensive case for replacing Mrs. Schmidt that goes beyond soundbites and generalities. And, as I see it, no one has.

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UPDATE, Feb. 13: Remember how Club for Growth gave Schmidt so much grief (third item at link) in the 2005 GOP Special Primary? The CFG’s August 2007 RePORK Card shows that their harsh 2005 judgment of Schmidt was mostly premature.

Here’s how they evaluated Ohio’s GOP congressional delegation and selected others on 50 earmark-related votes in the first half of 2007:
- Pence (IN) – 100%
- Jordan – 98%
- Chabot – 96%
- Schmidt – 74%
- Boehner – 60%
- Tiberi – 38%
- Davis (KY) – 12%
- Gillmor – 8%
- Hobson – 6%
- LaTourette – 6%
- Pryce – 4%
- Turner – 2%
- Regala – 0%

Couldn’t Help But Notice (021208)

Filed under: Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 7:45 am

A prediction made here Sunday starts materializing:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advisers increasingly believe that, after a series of losses, she has been boxed into a must-win position in the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4, and she has begun reassuring anxious donors and superdelegates that the nomination is not slipping away from her, aides said on Monday.

When you have to do this, it really is slipping away — and it could be a foregone conclusion by March 4.

Update: In its last pre-primary polls, ARG has Obama up up by 18 in both MD and VA primaries. RCP’s rolling averages have Obama up by 23 in MD and 18 in VA. A Poli Sci prof quoted here believes DC will go overwhelmingly to Obama, and there’s little doubt that he’s correct.

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I was in a medical lobby last week and saw something that, if I had known about it earlier, would have been tempted me to bet the ranch on the Patriots losing the Super Bowl.

It was the question on the cover of the September 17, 2007 issue of Sports Illustrated, “Is Tom Brady God?” asked by back page columnist Rick Reilly (link would require SI subscription).

Anytime you elevate a person in a team sport to best ever (or in Brady’s case, higher), you’re courting the fates. Ask the 1969 “Greatest College Football Team of All Time” Ohio State Buckeyes Buckeyes.

As to Brady’s supposed godlike status, Jessica Biel was not amused

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FactCheck.org notes some whoppers from the Democratic National Committee about John McCain:

The DNC plans “unlimited” spending against McCain; some of its claims are misleading.

The DNC paints McCain as favoring “endless war” in Iraq. What McCain actually said is that he wouldn’t mind a hundred-year troop presence “as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.”

It says McCain “looked the other way” rather than investigate Jack Abramoff and a Republican “Culture of Corruption.” In fact, McCain’s investigation led to a prison term for Abramoff and the downfall of several powerful Republicans. His investigators didn’t probe members of Congress directly, but that wasn’t the job of his Indian Affairs Committee. And in any case, federal prosecutors opposed a competing congressional investigation which might have interfered with their own efforts.

The DNC message makes criticisms of McCain that could be directed at its own leading candidates as well. It notes that he lacks training in economics, which is equally true of Clinton and Obama. And it accuses him of “staggering” reliance on lobbyists for campaign help, when Clinton also has substantial aid from lobbyists and Obama has some from former lobbyists.

It will be interesting to see, but I believe that the DNC and others attempting to shoot McCain down are going to find that he has a coat or two of Teflon that will deflect many lines of attack, especially ones as weak as those just noted. Ironically, the potential coats of Teflon are his war record and the public’s perception of him as a “maverick.” The latter is the very thing that has driven many talk radio hosts and conservatives to distraction, but that will, I believe, help him on balance.

Positivity: Head-on Crash Victim Told She Would Never Walk Again; Days Later, She Walks

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:59 am

From the “Lowcountry” in South Carolina:

Medical Miracle

Thursday, Feb 07, 2008 – 04:31 PM Updated: 03:24 PM

A woman in the Lowcountry is making great strides and taking steps few people thought she ever would again. It is a medical miracle.

If there were Olympic medals for a person’s drive, gold would weigh down Terri Christiansen.

“I could sleep last night I was so ready to get back up here,” she explained during rehabilitation.

This marks the second day Christiansen has walked since 13 days ago.

“I didn’t think I was going to live,” she said about the car accident when a car hit hers head on.

“It was like I was hanging there with a stake in my back. It’s the only feeling I had,” Christiansen explained.

Neurosurgeon Sunil Patel says the accident pushed Christiansen’s spine out of line.

“We told her she would not be able to walk,” he explained.

But the day after Dr Patel performed surgery, Christiansen wiggled her toes.

“He got teary-eyed,” Christiansen explained. “He said, ‘you’re my miracle girl. You are going to make me famous.’”

Patel credits quick work in the field, the ER, the OR and in rehab, which Christiansen does three times a day instead of two and seven days a week instead of five.

She plans to walk down the aisle at her son’s April wedding and play with her first grandchild expected this year.

“I have an awful lot to live for,” she said.
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