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McCain and the Closed Primary Challenge

The idea of Sen. John McCain as the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination has taken hold in the political world.

Polls across the country -- both in key Feb. 5 states and national surveys --show McCain has moved to the top of the heap and even the Democratic candidates seem to have decided that he will be the nominee. "It's becoming increasingly likely, I think, that John McCain is going to be the Republican candidate," said former senator John Edwards (N.C.) in Monday night's debate in South Carolina.

Even as the conventional wisdom is cementing, however, there remains one large hurdle McCain must clear: prove that he can win a one-on-one contest where only Republicans are allowed to vote.

McCain's two wins -- New Hampshire and South Carolina -- came in votes where independents and Democrats could participate.

In New Hampshire, a state McCain had won in 2000 and lavished time and attention on this time around, he lost self-identified Republicans narrowly -- 35 percent to 34 percent -- to former governor Mitt Romney. But, it was among independents where McCain's winning margin came as he won that bloc by 13 points over Romney.

In South Carolina, McCain lost Republicans by a statistically insignificant margin, but carried independents by a massive 42 percent to 25 percent margin -- ensuring his narrow three-point victory.

Even in Michigan, where McCain lost to Romney, his performance among Republicans tracked well behind his showing among independents. Romney won Michigan Republicans, 41 percent to 27 percent, while McCain carried independents in the state, 35 percent to 29 percent.

Much has been made of the fact that Florida -- set to vote next Tuesday -- is an closed primary and, as such, the first real test of McCain's ability to win a race in which only Republican can vote. That's true -- to a point.

The new St. Petersburg Times poll out last night showed McCain leading with 25 percent followed by Romney at 23 percent; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former governor Mike Huckabee (Ark.) took 15 percent each. While the poll suggests that the race for first is really between McCain and Romney, the fact that Huckabee and Giuliani continue to get significant shares of the vote suggests that even if McCain wins it may not signal that he has passed the test we outlined above.

McCain's real challenge then will be Feb. 5 when nearly 60 percent of the delegates will be allocated in states that hold closed primaries, and when the field is likely to narrow to a two-man contest between the Arizona senator and Romney.

Here's a look at the Feb. 5 states holding closed primaries (thanks to researcher extraordinaire Lucy Shackelford):

Alaska (29 delegates)
Arizona (53)
California (173)
Colorado (46)
Connecticut (30)
Delaware (18)
Illinois (70)
Montana (25)
North Dakota (26)
New York (101)
Oklahoma (41)
West Virginia (30)

Compare that to the list of states that hold either open (anyone can vote) or semi-open (independents and Democrats can participate with restrictions) primaries/caucuses on Feb. 5:

Alabama (48 delegates)
Arkansas (34)
Georgia (72)
Massachusetts (43)
Minnesota (41)
Missouri (58)
New Jersey (52)
Tennessee (55)
Utah (36)

Of the top four states in terms of delegates, three -- California, New York and Illinois -- are closed contests. The lone outlier is Georgia and its 72 delegates.

What all those numbers mean is that in order for McCain to claim victory (and the nomination) on Feb. 5, he is going to need to run a gauntlet of closed Republican primaries.

Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser for McCain and one of the individuals most responsible for McCain's miraculous political recovery, insisted yesterday that his candidate will have little trouble winning a race against Romney among Republicans.

"Senator McCain has a consistent record of conservatism that stands in contrast to Governor Romney's [record]," said Schmidt. He added that Romney's "rhetorical assertion that he is a conservative is not matched up with his governing record in Massachusetts."

Schmidt added that in a race between McCain and Romney "there is only one conservative candidate: John McCain."

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Romney, (unsurprisingly) disagreed with that characterization. He called his boss the "only full-spectrum conservative in the race" and then quickly pivoted to note McCain's "long and troubling history of the wrong positions, the wrong votes and a documented disdain for working with other Republicans on key issues." Among the laundry list of issues Madden offered as evidence was the consideration by Sen. John Kerry of McCain as a running mate in 2004, illegal immigration, tax cuts and campaign finance reform.

The two campaigns may well have the chance in less than two weeks time to put their rhetoric to the test.

For Romney, a battle on Feb. 5 is the best case scenario -- giving him a chance to use his expected financial advantage to make the case that he and not McCain is the best choice for conservatives.

For McCain, the best-case scenario is a win next Tuesday in Florida, a victory that could well make the number of closed primaries on Feb. 5 a moot point. But, if McCain does come up short against Romney in Florida, expect a seven-day, all-out war for the hearts and minds of conservative voters between the duo.

Whoever can best make their case to the Republican rank and file in places like California, Illinois and New York will have a major head start on winning their party's nod.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 24, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Revisiting Readers' Nev. and S.C. Predictions
Next: Measuring the Bill Effect


The God of Political Correctness says:

You are permitted to gracefully dislike Ann Coulter.
Example: "I dislike Ann Coulter."

You are permitted to gently question the bona fides of a female politician to serve as your President.
Example: "Sen. Clinton does not seem to have more experience in elective office than Sen. Obama, does she?"

You may excoriate Rush.
Example: "Rush is a fat pill popping troll."

You may cuss a male politician for even thinking he could be your President.
Example: "Kucinich is a blinking wart on a pig's nether part."

It is perfectly well understood in the PC world.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

bsimon - to your questions, of course! It is possible for you to not like Hillary Clinton and not be a "misogynist pig." But it is unfair to say that HRC wouldn't be a candidate for president - were it not for her being married to Bill. That would only be a fair statement if she were running for president without prior direct political experience. As it is, you're dismissing nearly nine years in the Senate. Remember, she's in her second term.

Of course you don't have to "like, admire and respect all women at all times," and a man not liking any of them doesn't necessarily translate to misogyny. How do you do this without one of us jumping at you? By judging them based solely on points that in no way is gender-related. And if one must resort to name calling - use one that isn't gender specific.

Posted by: femalenick | January 24, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"On another topic, how on earth do these rebates help with the mortgage crisis or the economy for that matter, esp. since they're not going before May? "

They don't. Its just another way of funding today's lifestyle on tomorrow's taxpayer.

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

adrickhenry writes
"that is what I was saying, that most Hillary Haters are just being sexist..."

Is there a way to say that one does not think Senator Clinton is the right person for the job of President of the United States without being sexist? Or is everyone that might think such a thing automatically some kind of misogynist pig?

Is it fair to point out that Sen Clinton probably wouldn't be a candidate for President - were it not for her being married to Bill? Or does such an observation automatically make the observer a misogynist pig?

Can I dislike Ann Coulter without being a misogynist pig, or must I like, admire and respect all women at all times, lest I risk becoming a misogynist pig?

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Ooops...I was too quick. There is a provision in the deal to help with the mortgage crisis. But I still have a bit of a problem with the tax rebates going to just about every household in America rather than to just those who need it. Geez, Louise.

Posted by: femalenick | January 24, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

AdrickHenry, I was simply saying that we should all work towards making misogyny culturally acceptable irrespective of our personal feelings for Hillary just as it has been culturally unacceptable to be overtly racist.

I'm assuming you're a male, Adrick. But as denoted by my screen name, I am a woman. I disagree that race is more of a political hurdle than gender - equal perhaps but not moreso. Is racism over? Of course not. But while the media and individuals will jump at anyone who makes any statement that even hints of any racism, the same is NOT true of sexist remarks. Why, for example, did John McCain not admonish the person that referred to Hillary as a "b***h?" I do not think that McCain is sexist, but I believe he would have reacted differently if the "N" word had been used.

I am an HRC supporter who disagrees with the idea that all Hillary Haters are sexist. There are indeed those who fear her policies or hate anything Clinton. Every candidate has his/her detractors - this is just a fact of life. My point in the original post was that I'd like to see more of us stand up against those who would make overt sexist remarks in the same way we now do towards those who are overtly racist.

On another topic, how on earth do these rebates help with the mortgage crisis or the economy for that matter, esp. since they're not going before May? How do they really help the unemployed or those on food stamps? I'm sure most of us here don't really need that rebate. SIGH.

Posted by: femalenick | January 24, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

JD, I think this Court would uphold much of McC-F. We have had this discussion before, but you have a First Amendment view untainted by the long history of cases on time, place, and manner restrictions on speech.

You often say in your fields of expertise that you know what you are talking about and I accept that. The only way I know that I could get you into this conversation at a more sophisticated level would be to string cite you cases and have you read them. Courts have been dealing with time, place, and manner restrictions for a very long time. Its not new stuff. What the Court did strike down was not a surprise. What is has upheld is no longer a surprise, either.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

maybe I should say "many" not "most". Some people just hate anything Clinton

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

yes, Mark, that is what I was saying, that most Hillary Haters are just being sexist...

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Colin, I agree with you and JD.

My point about UC is that it is the built-in time honored way to deal with short term increases in unemployment to keep the economy from spiraling down because the short term unemployed otherwise lose all their purchasing power.

Its already there. Its automatic and immediate. Extending the time doesn't even cost anything if the downturn is short enough. All of this rebate-in-May stuff is crap. So is basing tax cut policy on this.

There are good reasons to build infrastructure but that is a separate debate.

On this we seem to be in agreement. I just want to vent.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

mlal, I guess then that our agreement on McCain as a reasonable alternative, despite you and I being completely opposite on almost all important issues, means that he's doing a good job of walking the moderate line.

Still, he's about my 4th choice, if you put all candidates in a line on both sides.

Posted by: JD | January 24, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

or a sexist one.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Adrick, substitute for the formula "strong women"

"pushy Blacks"

"pushy Jews"

"pushy Asians"

"pushy Italians"

Prejudice is what it is.

When someone in Austin says now that we are 17% Asian its harder for my kid to get into the top ten per cent of the class s/he does not mean that s/he wants the kid to work harder. Its an excuse based on a racist perception.

That should illustrate why "strong women" is a phony target. Another way to look at it is that if a man only wants women "in their place" [or blacks or Jews or Asians]
that is a racist view.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"To accept overt misogyny and suggest that it's only because of Hillary Hatred or directed only at strong women is akin to condoning it."

Enlighten me. I'm open-minded and I'm listening...

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"Senator Jim Webb proposed renewed federal spending on national infrustructure. "

Definitely - I am surprised it hasn't been more of a campaign issue. It can also be tied to homeland security since not an awful lot has been done to protect critical infrastructure.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Misogyny is very real and that 527 group is repulsive. That being said, I would suggest that racism is still the bigger political hurdle. The number of black Senators and Governors since reconstruction relative to the number of women that have held each of those positions is rather telling in that regard.

Posted by: _Colin | January 24, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I missed you yesterday, drindl!

I'm in the Pacific time zone, but you guys have been busy! So many different topics. My two cents:

1. I don't think the closed primaries will hurt McCain, esp. since many award delegates proportionately. I do think the real issue for the GOP is the internal battle for a party platform and direction for the next decade. Their candidates are proof of the party's confusion: should we be more moderate? (McCain, Rudy) Should we stick to our guns and adhere to our conservative stance on all issues? (Romney) Should we maintain our social conservatism but be more "liberal" on other issues? (Huckabee)

The GOP primaries are not just about who will become the nominee. Following a couple of decades of evangelical, ultra-conservative party domination that eventually pushed people like me out of the party, this primary is as much about determining the party's platform as it is about selecting a nominee.

My GOP friends happen to believe that McCain is the party's only hope of keeping the White House. I thus predict that McCain will take Florida and most states on Super Tuesday.

2. On misogyny and Hillary -- every woman and every man with a wife or daughter, regardless of party affiliation and personal feelings towards Hillary, should be up in arms at any sign of misogyny.

The difference between racism and misogyny is that everyone at least now knows that the former is unacceptable, but it remains so culturally acceptable to demean women (call them names, etc.) that they'll openly be misogynistic and get away with it.

To accept overt misogyny and suggest that it's only because of Hillary Hatred or directed only at strong women is akin to condoning it.

And these points, my friends (to borrow McCain's favorite phrase), are my thoughts on the thread so far.

Posted by: femalenick | January 24, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

JD, (laughing), I'm sure I've used your exact words: "I'd consider McCain, depends on who's running on the D side." Reasons I'd consider him are, however, pretty much the direct opposite of yours.

He's about the only R with a serious adult point of view on immigration. He at least recognizes the logical endpoint of current campaign financing trends and has some ideas to address the issues. He recognizes that spending has to be paid for, and that borrow-and-spend is even worse than tax-and-spend.

So, when do we both put up our McCain yard signs?

Posted by: malis | January 24, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

JD -- bsimon is correct. Pelosi negotiated to extend the rebate to those who pay above a certain threshold in payroll tax. Again though, no "stimulus" package strikes me as the better idea. I just read that the rebate checks won't be distributed before June. By that time, I fail to see how they'll make much of a difference.

Better idea for the economy and the country? Senator Jim Webb proposed renewed federal spending on national infrustructure. That's actually a needed investment that would have long-term benefits for the economy.

Posted by: _Colin | January 24, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"But that's the reason SS should stay completely off-budget. It is its own entity, and I don't like playing these games with it."

I do agree. While they don't call it a payroll tax rebate, my understanding is that it goes to everyone who has a job, for the most part. But it won't come out of SS anyway, so its really just more deficit spending. Isn't that how Ron & George kept the economy pumping in the 80s?

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, I suppose. But that's the reason SS should stay completely off-budget. It is its own entity, and I don't like playing these games with it.

Posted by: JD | January 24, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"It's not a rebate if you never paid any in the first place."

Perhaps its a payroll tax rebate rather than an income tax rebate.

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Colin, you're right, I only offer my opinion; evidently it's been (wrongfully) upheld. My guess though, if you ran it through THIS court, that the result would be different.

So does that make it constitutional.. still? Or is it time-situation dependent?

or is the supreme court actually just another political body, for all their trappings and indignation otherwise.

I'm glad we agree on the wisdom of the recession (if that's indeed what this is: that gets determined after the fact, and by an academic body, not a bunch of network anchormen and politicians...) being a natural part of the busienss cycle. I also agree that no stimulus is the best plan; otherwise, we're just borrowing from China some more so we can all go the mall.

As for the foodstamps, welfare, unemployment stuff from Pelosi: please don't call it a tax "rebate". It's not a rebate if you never paid any in the first place.

Can I go over to Koons new cars and ask for a rebate on a car I've never purchased?

Posted by: JD | January 24, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

No, I'll grant that the Dems aren't at the same level as Atwater et al. Yet. But if the only way to fight dirty campaigning is with dirty campaigning, then the result is inevitably a race to the bottom. Democrats get nasty in order to fight Republican nastiness, and Republicans respond by getting nastier still. In order to compete, the Democrats have to increase their nastiness quotient again, and the process iterates endlessly. Sure, the GOP may always have the lead in the arms race of mudslinging, but if the Democrats are constantly racing to catch up with them (as your viewpoint would seem to require), then the difference between the two is insignificant as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: tjmaness | January 24, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Some Rs like (and many Rs fear) Obama b/c

1. He's not Hillary (i.e. Rs hate her)

2. He's not McCain/Romney/Huck/Rudy911 (i.e. Rs hate their own choices)

3. He's a "big tent" person who promises (realistic or not) to rise above partisan politics and bring both parties together.

Maybe Obama's dreaming to think he can bring us all together, but enough of us are sick of the Right/Left, Bush/Clinton Dead Match to vote for him.

Posted by: sw7104 | January 24, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

One last post before I go back to work. McC has been talking about having a technically
savvy VP.


Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

jane - I cannot find it. It was in the context of a Paulite complaining "...he had Roemer and Jindal and the party regulars..." So it may have been a faulty assumption on my part.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"So, Spectator2, if you want to get the current Republican leadership out of office, you have to become just like them?"

Just like them? You must not be paying too close attention to the GOP SOPs either.

Read up on people like Murray Chotiner, Roy Cohn, Lee Atwater, and Nixon's CREEP. Check out the guy who just got out of prison for his role in the New Hampshire phone-jamming scheme. If you think Bill Clinton's bloviating is anything like what Republicans pull, you're beyond silly.

The point is, it's not what the candidates or their public allies say or do. It's what the behind-the-scenes scum do. And there is no comparison between the two parties in that area.

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 24, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse


I think the race card will be played.

Certainly not at high levels. The nominee will publicly object. High level Repubs will declare an "outrage".

But it's gonna be all over the right-wing blogs -- big time. It'll be talked about in the bars and taverns and in people's living rooms.

But here's the kicker:

I think Obama is going to win anyway!!!

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse


Extension of unemployment & foodstamps woudl have been better, but Pelosi had to negotiate just to get the rebates extended to individuals making above a certain threshold but who didn't have to pay income taxes. In other words, the group most likely to spend the money immediately.

Personally, I would have avoided a stimulus package entirely -- as JD has said, sometimes a shallow recession can be a good thing for the economy -- but I give credit to Pelosi for at least making the package somewhat progressive.

JD -- as far as campaign finance goes, is it really fair to say McCain's ideas are unconstitutional when, at least for the moment, most of McCain-Feingold has been upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court? They do, after all, get the last word.

Posted by: _Colin | January 24, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

adrickhenry writes
"If you think it's dirty now -- just wait until one of them is running against the Republicans."

I think it depends on whom the Republicans nominate. Some will run more antagonistic campaigns than others - just like on the Dem side.

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"Too many Republicans seem to like him. He might actually "pass all that liberal crap that we would never let Hillary get by with....""

Why is that, do you think?

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

AdrickHenry, what are you expecting? The Clintons haven't done this, but other folks have put forward the idea has that Obama is from the, so-to-speak, terrorist wing of the D party. I'm having a hard time imagining the thing that the R's will do in a general that will top that.

Posted by: rpy1 | January 24, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

So, Spectator2, if you want to get the current Republican leadership out of office, you have to become just like them? If that really is the case, then what point is there in voting?

Posted by: tjmaness | January 24, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"he allowed the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a man with an IQ of 70."

I agree with you on this one for sure - Ricky Ray didn't finish the dessert from his last meal because he wanted to save it for later.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

M in A, I'd consider McCain, depends on who's running on the D side.

Problem with McCain is, he's *way* wrong on immigration, he's even more wrong on abridgement of constitutionally protected political speech, and he has been very inconsistent on taxes.

In fact, I'd respect him more if he stuck to his stance against the tax cuts - even though that's the wrong position (by far, and I'm happy to debate that with anyone here). I'd rather have someone who sticks to their guns about something that important, rather than flip flop Mitt-style because they're trying to win the nomination.

If he has truly changed his mind on it, I'd like to hear from him his process of how and why he did that, what changed?

Posted by: JD | January 24, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Get real! Republican's don't fear Hillary. She's the one person who can unite them. They fear Obama especially and Edwards.

I was speaking last week to colleague who is very conservative, a Limbaugh conservative. Buys the whole Bush Iraq War propaganda line; anti-immigration; anti-government; anti-taxes; "global-warming isn't real" etc.

So guess who he wants to win the D Nomination? Clinton. He fears Obama. Too many Republicans seem to like him. He might actually "pass all that liberal crap that we would never let Hillary get by with...."

Posted by: sw7104 | January 24, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

the truth hurts, especially when written by fellow Libs:

It's astonishing to me that liberals still venerate Clinton. I can only assume that they admire his political success: he was the first representative of his party since FDR to win a second Presidential term. But his record of achievement in those two terms is appallingly slender.

Apart from Welfare Reform, which most Dems opposed anyway, his Presidency was divided pretty much equally between legislative logjam caused by his narcissistic faith in his wife's pipe dreams and impeachment efforts caused by his vile personal pathologies.

Yes, he happened to preside over a period of economic expansion, but we know by now that politicians have exceptionally limited ability to affect the course of the economy: in terms of the economy he got lucky. Even most of the Dems I know now accept this, so why is he still adored? I have to conclude that it's because people like winners more than anything else. Clinton's status is a consequence of the 'son of a b*tch' philosophy: the guy may be a sexually predatory congenital liar, but he's OUR sexually predatory congenital liar.

And yes he definitely was a sexual predator: there is simply no disputing that that he abused his power for trivial sexual ends. When Clinton started seeing her, Monica Lewinsky was not just nearly thirty years his junior, but an intern for god's sake. You could easily make the argument that at the time of their affair Clinton was the single most powerful person in the history of humanity. He chose to disgorge this power on a dippy functionary. He didn't even do that with any style: his means were sordid beyond belief. The details are well known, but even now we're not yet inured to the power they have to turn the stomach. Some people claim Clinton as a tragic hero. No, Antony and Cleopatra is tragedy: Bill and Monica is pathos and farce, leavened with gonzo porn.

Then of couse there was Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick. No doubt there were others with similar allegations too. The accusation is that Clinton parlayed his power into bad sex with silly girls. Why does any man still admire him? Why don't all women despise him?

The sexual louse is just as certainly a congenital liar. We had a reminder of this when he claimed last week that he had heard a Barack Obama supporter try to subvert the Nevada caucuses. But we didn't need such low level evidence, because only two months ago he made the simply outrageous claim that he'd been opposed to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. And of course everyone knows that Bill has always stooped to mendacity. His testimony about the Lewinsky affair entwined his sexual inadequacy, addiction to untruth and hunger for power in one TV moment: we already kew that the man who was fellated by an intern and inserted some tobacco paraphernalia into said intern, now claimed that he'd had no sexual relations with that intern. But his elevation to the the pantheon of world historical liars came when he actually sought to redefine the word 'is' to purely in order to give himself a bit more time.

And of course the moral turpitude betrayed by his relations with women played out in other more pernicious fields. Purely in the service of his election as governor of Arkansas, he allowed the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a man with an IQ of 70. Are the Democrats not opposed 'on principle' to the death penalty? In all cases? Especially those cases involving people who don't have their wits about them? But he won the election, right, so everything's fine.

Lastly (for this piece anyway), Clinton is apparently a golf cheat. In the face of his other disgraces this should be trivial. But in fact it's crucial: it proves that in every sphere of his life, no matter whether it's the life of another human or his score on a par three, he is prepared to lie and to cheat, and he doesn't care what anyone else thinks - even if that person is Tiger Woods. In fact, his entering a false score on his card in front of the greatest sportsman who has ever lived is the essence of him: he gets away with it, so why should he change his ways?

And still, Democrats are ecstatic at the prospect of having this piece of human wreckage back in the White House - and consequently his wife is exploiting this phenomenon to the fullest. What the hell are the Dems doing? Is it just because they think that Hillary might win? So they're buying into the fundamental Clintonian philosophy: the ends justify the means? What if those means entail personal disgrace, sexual abuse, the consignment of cretins to death for the sake of 20,000 votes? And even then, the ends are what exactly? The soft bigotry of the Defense of Marriage Act? A pathetic, flailing too-little too-late attempt to get the Israelis and Palestinians to sort themselves out? Triangulation? Marc Rich?

Maybe it seems that I'm just warming over ancient history. Maybe - but that is exactly what Hillary is doing by deploying this hopeless oaf in her campaign. When she stops with the Bill bulls*it, so will I.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 24, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

sw7104: do you really not understand the lengths the Republicans will go to hold on to the White House?

You and those who agree with you just might not be tough enough for modern day politics.

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 24, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse


I prefer Obama. But I think what he is getting from Hillary is tame to what he will get from the Republicans.

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"Many Ds don't like Hillary b/c she's acting like Karl Rove"

This may be true -- but it is also why the Republicans fear her.

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Here is a report from an Australian paper:

"The report by four Australian Productivity Commission researchers, including assistant commissioner Alan Johnston, found there was general agreement about the challenges of climate change, and that the Stern review made important advances, including establishing that climate change should be treated as an economic issue.

But it found the report deserved criticism for being guided by assumptions that reflected "the authors' views about the need to avert the risk of worse-than-expected outcomes" -- climatic catastrophes that were possible but not the most likely result."

So the Australian Productivity Commission basically agreed with the central premise of the Stern report. Stern predicted a range of possible outcomes and advocated taking action to prevent even the less likely, but possible, catastrophes. They did not criticize Stern for exaggerations but for being overly cautious in recommendations for action. Here is the link:

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

the orwellian projection is perfect. LOL. as lyle always said, they will accuse you of doing exactly what they''re doing.

it's going to be an ugly, ugly fight, that will bring out the worst.

you mean like the clintons are doing to Obama? It is all they know.

Yet as usual drindl will try to make it look like everyone does it.

everyone doesn't do it drindl, just you and the clintons.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 24, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

'Two new polls out Thursday show Giuliani competing for third in Florida -- tied with barely-present Mike Huckabee and behind John McCain and Mitt Romney.

"Rudy has fallen like the Dow Jones industrial average," said Bill Adair, chief editor of the St. Petersburg Times.'

haha, funny editor. brilliant strategy!

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

'Bipartisan crap.'

have to agree wit you there, mark. extremely irresponsible and disappointing. yeah, addison, i probably will spend it all on gas...

and i still want my pony! [i am stamping my foot here]

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Many Ds don't like Hillary b/c she's acting like Karl Rove toward Obama.

That's not being "tough" or a "strong woman" -- its just nasty, sleazy politics-as-usual.

We're sick of it from the neo-cons (neo-convicts is what they should be) and we're sick of it from the Clintonistas.

Posted by: sw7104 | January 24, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

the clinton way:

Judicial Watch released new documents last week from the Clinton Presidential Library regarding Hillary's botched attempt to stage a government takeover of our nation's healthcare system in 1993. Our investigators found them during a trip to the Clinton Library in Little Rock last year.

A "Confidential" May 26, 1993, Memorandum from Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA) to Hillary Clinton entitled, "Health Care Reform Communications," which criticizes the Task Force as a "secret cabal of Washington policy 'wonks'" that has engaged in "choking off information" from the public regarding health care reform. The memorandum suggests that Hillary Clinton "use classic opposition research" to attack those who were excluded by the Clinton Administration from Task Force deliberations and to "expose lifestyles, tactics and motives of lobbyists" in order to deflect criticism. Senator Rockefeller also suggested news organizations "are anxious and willing to receive guidance [from the Clinton Administration] on how to time and shape their [news] coverage."

Unsurprisingly, rather than engaging the American people on the issue of health care reform honestly, the Clintons and their allies attempted to track citizens' private and political information, smear administration critics, shroud their plan in secrecy, and manipulate news coverage. Some of this was dirty politics; some of it may have run afoul of the law.

Will anyone ask Hillary about it?

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 24, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

'drindl spewing hate speech all day again and calling everyone else disgusting. why does she always remind me of the playground in kindergarten?'

'He is beginning to look like the ex-trailer trash president he always was'

the orwellian projection is perfect. LOL. as lyle always said, they will accuse you of doing exactly what they''re doing.

'Remember, she will be against the friendly males that put the term "swift-boat" into our vernacular.'

But so will Obama. And I've already seen some ugly stuff about him, although I'm sure they'll be saving the best till the primary. It doesn't matter if it's lies or not, a lot of people will still beleive it--and you know they will attack him just as viciously because the radical right hates black folk every bit as much as they hate women.

No matter how you slice it, no matter who are the nominees, it's going to be an ugly, ugly fight, that will bring out the worst. The R's know they cannot take back the House or Senate, so they will fight red tooth and fang for every presidential vote. Even if it's John McCain. he may not fight dirty but his surrogates will, whether he likes it or not.

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

This is also why I don't disapprove of the down and dirty infighting that is going between HRC and Obama right now. Let them do all the vetting that they possibly can.

Think of it. We are going to have either an African-American man or woman as the democratic nominee.

If you think it's dirty now -- just wait until one of them is running against the Republicans.

In other words, "you ain't seen nothin' yet".

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse


Where did you find the info that Jindal backed McCain in the LA Caucases? It wasn't in either Post Story or the McCain press release.

Posted by: jane.lockhart | January 24, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The Clintons play dirty when they feel threatened. But we knew that, didn't we?

The recent roughing-up of Barack Obama was in the trademark style of the Clinton years in the White House. High-minded and self-important on the surface, smarmily duplicitous underneath, meanwhile jabbing hard to the groin area. They are a slippery pair and come as a package. The nation is at fair risk of getting them back in the White House for four more years. The thought makes me queasy.

and this from fellow Dems.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 24, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Adrick, I was just kidding, too. I really want the crew cab.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Mark, actually I was just kidding -- I thought for sure KOZ would have a response!

Really, I'm just going to just blow my $1,200 on bills, gas and food.

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

THE landmark Stern review into climate change has been challenged by a Productivity Commission paper that argues it is "as much an exercise in advocacy as an economic analysis". It found that the 2006 report by the former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern -- which had a profound impact on climate change policy, warning it was a serious threat to human welfare unless immediately tackled -- exaggerated the likelihood of rising greenhouse gas emissions triggering catastrophic events.

more Lib exaggerations - as usual.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 24, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Adrick - Perhaps we could pool our windfalls on the MegaMillions lottery. We would be helping the schools, or whatever, and if we won we could do the food pantries, our diesel trucks, and KOZ's Porsche.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"$1200 should pay for a nice detailing of my Porsche. all this winter weather has left it filthy."

I'm going to distribute mine amongst the homeless shelters and food pantries here in the Chicago area...

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

We may have to wait for the sometimes promised Dodge Dakota diesel, bsimon.

I'll want the extended cab, of course.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"it has to become painfully obvious to her how many men in this country really, really hate women."

Claudia, I don't think it's that they hate women -- I think it is, more specifically, that they hate STRONG women.

Hillary is strong, tough and ambitious. This scares a lot of men. They are insecure and cover it with machismo (let's invade Iraq, let's bomb Iran, etc), but deep down, they are grossly intimidated by a strong women.

The traits Hillary exhibits would be praised in a man. When Hillary shows some backbone in a debate, she is labelled "shrill". Were a man to offer the same defense he would be called "tough".

This campaign reeks of sexism. And if Hillary gets the nomination it will get far, FAR WORSE. Remember, she will be against the friendly males that put the term "swift-boat" into our vernacular.

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Jim. I'll check out

But my criticism of trading the obvious amelioratives for a giveaway package stands.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

$1200 should pay for a nice detailing of my Porsche. all this winter weather has left it filthy.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 24, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I think I heard on POTUS '08 that WJC accused BHO of putting a "hit" on WJC.

Is it true WJC said this?
Spectator, he could have done better, but watch the video and tell me if you do not think he was trying to answer a supporter of his without joining in her disrespectful characterization.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"We'll put ours toward buying a clean burning turbo biodiesel American car that gets 55MPG."

Put me on that list! I'd also like to replace my small pickup with a diesel midsize. I can't justify the $40K+ for a fullsize. The rest of the world gets a Toyota HiLux that would suit my needs perfectly. Though I'd prefer to buy from a domestic automaker.

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse


The extensions of unemployment benefit and food stamps were negotiated out of the package in a late night session with the Treasury Secretary and congressional leaders. I heard it on NPR this morning and there is a report on on it.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

drindl spewing hate speech all day again and calling everyone else disgusting. why does she always remind me of the playground in kindergarten?

On another note, has anyone noticed how grumpy slick willie is these days? Perhaps he needs to be fed a plump and juicy intern, he is suffering withdrawal. even stubby hillary isn't hefty enough to satisfy him.

He is beginning to look like the ex-trailer trash president he always was. even the Libs are beginning to realize the truth now. the horn dog is now the attack dog, but still a dog.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 24, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

mark, if that's indeed what happened, then McCain not knowing who the questioner was referring to could be a sign of some degraded mental capacity.

Anyone who thinks this was the first time McCain heard Clinton referred to as a b***h should come check out this great bridge in Brooklyn that just went on the market.

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 24, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

We'll put ours toward buying a clean burning turbo biodiesel American car that gets 55MPG.

Oh. Right, we would have to buy a German car.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

This is certainly THE most historical presidential race!!!

1. The most candidates to throw their hat into the race from both parties.

2. The first viable female and African American candidates.

3. The oldest candidate ever to run for President.

4. If it comes down to a McCain-Clinton match-up, voters may not turn out to support either candidate. I know I won't vote for either candidate. Voters who want us out of Iraq will not support McCain who envisions us being there for many, many more years, and those who don't like Clinton and the idea of dynasty building won't vote for Hillary. If Clinton wins, her win will reflect the lowest voter turn out in history which will diminish the fact that she would be the first female president.

It is going to be interesting to see how historians will view this year's presidential race. I hope I'm around long enough to read what they have to say.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | January 24, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

spectator, McC said "Would somebody translate?"

Someone yelled out "she means Hillary".

McC said "I have great respect for Sen. Clinton and all the D candidates. That's a good question."

Perhaps McC should have been sterner in the moment, but his reply was not inapprpriate. And you should go watch the incident to see if I remember correctly.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Our $1200 windfall will most like go into our rainy-day fund.

Maybe I will splurge and buy a new book.

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 24, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"Sources on Capitol Hill and at the Treasury Department said negotiators agreed to cut checks for $600 per individual and $1,200 per couple."

Credit's so tight, the gov't decided to float everyone a loan against future tax revenue, whether we need it, or not.

For us, a $1200 windfall will likely be allocted to one or more of the following:
1) funding our Roth IRAs
2) paying down a HELOC for a recent remodeling project
3) boosting our daughter's 529 savings plan

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Note that the traditional methods for ameliorating a downturn include extending unemployment comp benefits and food stamps
[note Bernanke's testimony].
They do not include handouts to the employed and healthy. Pelosi traded the traditional and proven methods to join in the vote buying.

Bipartisan crap.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I think Hillary lost a lot of more conservative women and stay-at-home moms with the tone and tenor of her "I ain't no Tammy Wynette..." tirade. Frankly, the contempt in her voice was palpable. Also she just doesn't seem very personable, especially compared to Bill.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

claudialong, I realize that this doesn't help anything, but I'm sorry that folks have done this stuff. There is a common idea that is going around right now that there should be no limits to anything included in campaigns, and this is a perfect example of where that leads.

There's clearly a long way to go before we get gender equality in this country.

Posted by: rpy1 | January 24, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

claudia: What do you expect from a person closely associated with a party in which an allegedly respectable Republican can stand up at an event and ask McCain, "How do we beat the b***h?" and not have the candidate immediately denounce her? In fact, McCain said, "That's a good question!"

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 24, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to bsimon and "The Trail" for saving me from having to read Louisiana newspapers.

Consider Louisiana McC's WY: he will get about as much "bounce" from it as WMR got coming out of Casper.
I will not even look at the website you provided, drindl. I take your word for it. And the word of those who did look.

Considering that women are a significant majority of voters, and men who actually like women are surely a majority of men, this cannot be successful politics. My friend Chris already feels guilty about not liking HRC because he does not want his daughters to think he is a dinosaur. i am not quite that sensitive, myself.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

jim, there are a lot of women, particularly republican women, who don't seem to like other women much either.

but in the case of this, it is insulting to all women, whether it's meant for hillary or not. it's simply really, really offensive to women and this guy is a major figure in the GOP and that tells you a lot about who they are today.

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

'U.S. taxpayers would get checks of several hundred dollars from the government under a plan to stimulate the economy, sources said today. Sources on Capitol Hill and at the Treasury Department said negotiators agreed to cut checks for $600 per individual and $1,200 per couple. '

this is incredibly stupid, stupid, stupid. this check will go even to the wealthiest, according to the story, even as the deficit is rising so fast auditors can't keep up with it.

gee, i hope they send me a pony, too.

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse


I know that there is quite a bit of mysogony but I also think a lot of it is just about Hillary and not women in general (although that 527 is disgusting). I know scores of women who utterly despise her.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

MN public radio reports on a survey USA poll that shows McCain leading both Obama and Clinton here in MN.

The Ds beat the Rs in other matchups. HOWEVER, I believe MN GOP voters support other candidates in the caucuses next week...

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

blarg--i knew there would be some misogny the first time a woman ran for president, but i honestly did not expect it to be this bad. even TV pundits [whom i don't like and don't watch, but who do have significant numbers of female viewers] have been revolting. i've read stuff chris matthews has said and it's just shocking. coupled with his drooling mancrushes it's a sad commentary on the state of political 'journalism'.

sad too that when my teenaged daughter finally gets to see a woman running for president it has to become painfully obvious to her how many men in this country really, really hate women.

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

The most recent polls I have seen (through 1/22) have McCain up 2-5% here in Florida.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Another Republican retirement, James Walsh of upstate New York, will announce today he is leaving Congress. Dems could grab this seat too.

Posted by: gckarcher | January 24, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Drindl: That's truly awful. I followed the link to the group's site (I'd put the acronym here but my post would be blocked) to see the shirt. Their logo is an abstract icon vaguely resembling a woman's crotch. Truly a class act all the way.

Posted by: Blarg | January 24, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

From the AP: "Sales of existing homes fell in December, closing out a horrible year for housing in which sales of single-family homes plunged by the largest amount in 25 years. The median home price dropped for the entire year, the first time that has occurred in four decades."

Dubious milestones like that aren't just blips. The economy is officially in the dumper. The bad real estate market is dragging down builders, furniture stores, etc. And that takes out more and more good jobs. And so on. And so on.

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 24, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

That's always been a McCain problem, he thinks for himself way too often and thus the only voters he gets are people who think for themselves. That's not a majority in a closed GOP primary. If he makes it out, he is probably the only GOP candidate that would be a formidable opponent in the general.

If Obama gets the ticket for Dems, even McCain will lose. They both attract people who think for themselves, but Obama is younger, more charismatic, and not tainted by seven years of Dubya.

But in the case of Clinton-McCain, it would be an interesting campaign to watch. In the end we need a fix to our health care system and an END to the war, but just as far as who would be more qualified to honorably and transparently lead our country, I'd have to call myself undecided for awhile. Wierd to say it as a long-time Democrat but McCain has a lot of integrity, Rush hates him (ideal endorsement if I ever heard one), and I DO NOT like this back-and-forth of power-hungry dynasties it looks like we're turning into.

Posted by: grimmix | January 24, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

To those interested, the trail has more info on the LA caucus/primary/delegate selection process:

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

The Louisiana GOP Chair stated in his release that Romney was the only candidate to spend money in Louisiana, to visit Louisiana, and to campaign there. Did not help WMR.

Ron Paul finished second. Huckabee got no votes. But I recall that LA sometimes sends "uncommitteds" and I am trying to find out how many uncommitteds were picked in caucus.

Jindal backed McC.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Illinois is an open primary, I am an election judge and you can pick the primary to vote in, but with a native daughter and a sitting Senator running, I don't think anyone but a die hard Republican will vote in the Republican primary.

Posted by: RichHowell | January 24, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I find this to be the low point of the campaign so far. Gross, low, misogynist, disgusting. Look at the acrononym:

"A couple of days ago, a group called Citizens United Not Timid filed papers with the IRS as a "527" organization. Then we saw that Roger Stone had signed on as the group's "assistant treasurer."

Stone, regular TPM readers know, is a Republican operative who prides himself as something of an elder statesman of GOP dirty tricks. He went to work for Richard Nixon at age nineteen, making him the "youngest Watergate dirty trickster." He continues to idolize the man, even sporting a tattoo of Nixon's face between his shoulder blades. On his website, the StoneZone, he proudly touts Nixon's endorsement of him as "one of the very few excellent political professionals."

His career with the GOP took off from there, leading to spots with Ronald Reagan's campaigns, Bob Dole's presidential campaign, two of Sen. Arlen Specter's (R-PA) campaigns (Specter reportedly counts him as a friend), among others. James Baker tapped him to lead street protests in Florida to shut down the recount in 2000. Most recently, he was hired by New York Republicans for their battle with Gov. Elliot Spitzer (D), a gig that exploded when he was accused of making a threatening phone call to Spitzer's 83 year-old father.

So what's Stone up to? Fortunately, he laid the whole scheme out to The Weekly Standard.

It's this simple: it's all about the group's acronym, which, used in conjunction with Hillary Clinton, is supposed to be irresistibly humorous. That is the beginning and the end of it. The group will not be running ads and will not be making robocalls. They'll be making T-shirts. That's it. You can buy them for $25 on their website: [Go here to see the Tshirt, although you can guess:

Presumably Stone learned this gimmick from working on Nixon's 1972 Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP).

Yes, that's it. That's the stroke of genius from the man whom Tucker Carlson insists on calling "legendary Republican strategist Roger Stone" every time he appears on his show (twice this month). The Standard explains that Stone is "trying to tap into deep-seated sentiments about Clinton that pundits and rival candidates can't articulate."

and go here to see a pic of the guy with nixon. even at 19 he was the scariest looking human I've ever seen--he looks like he is embalmed. terrifying. and this is the woman-hating, sleazy lowlife face of the radical right today. what a revolting travesty.

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Judge & Mark

sorry, am trying to work and follow the thread

I should add that you don't hear much about the Democratic delegate situation. However, I watch very little TV and tend to read the national papers on the net instead of the local rag.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Tea time in Austin.

Chris, you should refer to

the website JimD provided the other day, that I cited earlier for bsimon. It does not agree completely with your researcher's results, but I have spot checked it for accuracy and so far, it is close, but sometimes misleading.

For example, it refers to LA having a R primary that is closed on Feb. 9, but notes that the delegates represented by congressional districts are chosen in caucus in "late January."

Last night the LA precinct caucuses went for McC.

Jim - that was JudgeCrater who asked you about the recriminations but I would have, so the information is welcome.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

McCain's ad is absolutely correct - he is the only electable Republican in the race. With the Republican base dispirited, with independents disgusted with the party, the only candidate who can bring in disaffected Democrats and independents is McCain.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The state McCain really has to worry about is Florida. It's a closed primary and Romney is showing a surprisingly strong resurgence. A FL win means lots of mo' going into Super Tuesday.

Posted by: parkerfl | January 24, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse


They are still defiant and predicting that when the dust clears, their delegates will count.

I think the parties are right to try and stop this stampede to the front of the line. It only exacerbates the need for candidates to raise millions up front.

I was listening to part of an NPR interview with Larry Sabato, a pol-sci professor at UVA (I think). He is proposing regional primaries with the regions taking turns. He also proposes allowing a few small states - chosen more or less by lot each cycle, not the same ones year in and year out - go first to allow underfunded, less famous candidates to establish themselves before the mega-primaries. Professor Sabato is pushing a constitutional amendment to enact this plan - of course, it will never happen.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

When the A.P. reporter jumped Romney's rear end about having a lobbyist as a major campaign advisor, the A.P. reporter could have gone on to say "...and that's the reason McCain has yet to get the Republican big wigs behind him...."
John McCain is not for sale, and that really P.O.s the Republican inner circle. The Republican "old boy" network of hacks know they would not be able to push him around like a bought and paid for punk. Stand tough Senator McCain. The American people will be with you!

Posted by: jfregus | January 24, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey jimd, any recriminations against the Fla D party for initiating the loss of D primary voting rights? Or are they still defiant?

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 24, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

You won't be surprised to know the "Open Primary / Closed Primary" is a particular bug of mine. If you're interested, here's a letter-to-the-editor on the topic I had in a Denver paper a couple weeks ago

The gist was that the largest listed affiliation among Colorado registered voters is "Unaffiliated" (Independent). Registered Republicans are 2nd, Democrats 3rd (but not by a lot, and in elections that's offset because more Independents tend to vote for the centrists Ds tend to nominate, versus the harder right R nominees).

Despite this fact, Independents--the largest group--have no say in who will appear on the ballot because of Colorado's closed Caucuses. Personally, I think the Parties are missing a huge recruiting an open caucus, they'd have access to folks who, by attending, show an interest in and predilection toward the views of that Party. What a chance to convince them to join!

Oh well, they have their private club and, so far, want to keep it that way.

Posted by: malis | January 24, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

From his TV ads here in Florida, Romney seems to have adopted an entirely new strategy. Instead of emphasizing his recently acquired hard core social conservative views, he is running as a change agent who can bring 'conservative change'. He touts his business experience and his Washington outsider status. He is talking about his Massachussetts record after only referring to the state to trash it in front of conservative audiences.

I have to say, as a McCain supporter, the ads are awfully good. I think if he had adopted that approach from the beginning he would have wrapped up the nomination by now.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I know you really don't like McCain but this statement "Mitt will beat Hillary in a landslide." is ridiculous.

The only reason Mitt the Drift has won anything (Iowa Straw Poll, Michigan, Nevada, etc) or come close (Iowa caucus) is because he out spent his opponents five to one. Even with his significant financial wealth he will be no match for the Democratic fundraising machine this time around. And without the money advantage he will lose every state in the Union to Hillary or Obama except Utah and Idaho.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 24, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

'Funding for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other activities in the war on terrorism expanded significantly in 2007," the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released on Wednesday.

War funding, which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120 billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007 and President George W. Bush has asked for $193 billion in 2008, the nonpartisan office wrote.

All of the Iraq and Afghanistan war money -- about $11 billion a month -- is effectively being put on a government credit card at a time when U.S. government debt has skyrocketed to more than $9 trillion.

Bush has opposed paying the cost of waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan with tax increases or other specific offsets.

That means that nearly every penny spent gets added to the U.S. debt. The CBO estimated that just the interest payments on the debt would total $234 billion this year, and the budget deficit for this year alone would likely be $250 billion.

Interest payments on the debt will total an estimated $2.7 trillion over the next decade, the CBO said.'

I find these figures simply astonishing... and we're still talking about spending another 100 or so billion to bail out insurers and lending instutitions for their own greed and bad judgement.

And none of the candidates --except McCain -- are really addressing it. As far as I can see, Rudy and Mitt are the leaders in running around the country promising federal bailouts of each state's particular problem.

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

If Romney emerges as the front-runner, the Democrats will kill him. Picture video of his social issue stands in Massachussetts followed by his latest campaign positions. Picture video of him describing himself as a "lifelong hunter" or talking about his father marching with MLK. His baseless claims go far beyond anything Gore ever said.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Mark, thanks for the CQ link. Its clearly more complicated than 'winner takes all' or 'not'. For those who haven't looked, some state award them all proportionally, some award delegates by county, with some number of at-large going to the majority winner, among other variations.

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse


The Democrats proportionately allocate delegates to all candidates with 15% of the vote or more in all states. The Republicans do not have a single standard. Many states are winner-take-all for delegates (e.g. Florida) and some others allocate delegates by congressional district to the candidate who carries that district with some at large delegates going to the state-wide winner.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse


"Michael Weiner-Savage Losing Advertisers Over Hate Speech
By: Logan Murphy @ 5:31 PM - PST Via The Huffington Post:

At least four major firms have pulled advertising from Michael Savage's nationally syndicated radio show following a campaign highlighting his inflammatory rhetoric. One other company, Geico insurance, is expected to follow suit.

The campaign, launched recently by Brave New Films, generated thousands of calls urging advertisers on the Savage Nation show to sever financial ties to the widely popular (and frequently offensive) talk host.

"We are thrilled at the amazing response of the true patriots all over the blogsphere who responded to our NOSAVAGE campaign," Robert Greenwald, head of the film company, said in a statement. "People have called and emailed and the responsible sponsors have responded by pulling their ads and asking that their ads not be on this racist and hateful show." Read on...

The Weiner Man is just one in a huge gaggle of right wing nut jobs on the radio, but his brand of hate stands alone. The poor guy was canned last year by his management agency for attacking Melissa Etheridge and lesbians and now the schmuck is finally being dumped by some of his biggest sponsors. Kudos to Brave New Films and everyone who has spoken out against this cretin.


I say give them free speech. do what the right does to rap music. Let the rush's and savages of teh world put out parental advisory labeled cds. That ought to shut them down. Before you cry about free speech. does the music industry have free speech? No. Movie's somewhat, but no. Neither should savage or rush or fox. Let them speak. But do not let them make money off their propoganda while they lie to old people daily. Thats my wish. Put out cd's sabage and rush. IT won't effect your bottom dollar ;)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 24, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"Romney -- what does this guy stand for? Will he say anything to get elected?"

Romney seems to be relying on an image makeover rather than any kind of record of accomplishment. Yes, he made a ton of dough in business. Yes, the SLC olympics were held as scheduled. But when it comes to Mass, his policies there differ from his campaign promises now. More importantly, he left Mass in a state of disarray and debt. 'No new taxes' is not sound fiscal policy, unless you can keep a lid on spending. Romney hasn't proven himself able to accomplish this & has offered nothing of substance on what spending he would cut at the Fed level in order to restore fiscal balance. So... to answer, yes he will say anything to get elected, as he demonstrated in Michigan with his promises to funnel dollars to auto companies to bail out that failing industry.

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Let me, a liberal Democrat, lay out the landscape for you Republicans.

If we nominate Obama or Edwards, you will lose, barring an economic or Iraq miracle.

If we nominate Hillary, you have a strong chance with one candidate. Here's how the R field looks to us, in order of preference, against Hillary:

McCain -- we don't agree on his Right-to-Life and Iraq policies, but trust that he is competent and ethical and will do the right thing for all Americans. He'll get a lot Anybody-But-H Democrats (including me) who deplore her current Rovian tactics and are sick of the endless fighting.

Romney -- what does this guy stand for? Will he say anything to get elected? He might be much better for the economy, but since we really can't figure out what he stands for...a toss up at best. We might as well vote for Hillary.

Huck -- 9,000 year old earth and the "Pakistani Immigration Problem". Need I say more?

Guiliani -- one interview with his ex-wives or children or anyone in NYC who ever crossed him .... No chance.

So, getting on the McCain bandwagon is your only decent shot. Romney, outside chance at best.

Posted by: sw7104 | January 24, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

McCain = 2 Angry + Romney Flirts 2 much.....

It's one thing to be tough and strong, but John McCain
gets in a blue-faced rage whenever he talks about
foreign policy. So does Rudy Giuliani.

Mitt Romney is friendly and glib, but he also
continues to simply make stuff up in an effort to
please some people. Today, while he offers up a new
financial bail-out plan for Florida (which he never
said a word about until now) we continue to celebrate
Martin Luther King, the man he told people, that his
father marched with. But he didn't. Mitt just made
that up to please some people. To make the sale.

We don't need any of that in our next president.

We need someone who is tough and smart and calm and

There's only one man in this race who has all that.

Posted by: ChipShirley | January 24, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Missouri operates like an open primary state though technically it is not since voters do not register by party identification. Thus when going to vote they may ask for any party ballot.

Posted by: fulrich | January 24, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Good post, Chris. I get the feeling that the Dems squabbling will look like child's play in comparison to what might happen on the GOP side. I might take February 6th off from work. It's going to be fun to analyze what's going on

Posted by: blumarble | January 24, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Will the "real" conservative please stand up?

John McCain has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 82%. Fred Thompson, supposedly the only "real" conservative according to Rush and all the other "conservative" talking heads, has a lifetime rating of 86% -- not significantly different. The ACU doesn't rate governors or mayors, yet somehow David Keene (chairman of ACU) has endorsed ....Gov Flip-Flop?

John McCain has ALWAYS voted pro-life (unlike Romney and Thompson) and since Reagan has never voted to INCREASE taxes (unlike Huckabee and Romney).

This battle over who's the real "conservative" is such crap.....there's no logic to it. The label is meaningless.

GOPers: vote your conscience, ignore the labels, Go Mack Go!

Posted by: tgorman223 | January 24, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

This Anybody-But-Hillary Democrat hopes you Republicans nominate McCain over Romney so that we aren't forced to choose between the lesser of two power-mad robots (at least Hillary can fake being a human being....).

Posted by: sw7104 | January 24, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

One factor to add to the interesting analysis- as most of the states use proportional allocation of the delegates (I believe), does that change things? For example, McCain could lose every closed primary state but still rack up say, 40% of the delegates from them. But, if he won heavily in those states with open primaries, the difference could put him over the top.

I believe states vary widely in how they allocate delegates, but it would be intereting to see soem analysis of this sort of strategy for McCain, which at first blush might be a winner.

Posted by: jhherring | January 24, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The primary list may have some mistakes.
IL, MT, ND all appear open, not closed. See:
FEC 2001a from Table 3-3 in John Bibby and Thomas Holbrook, "Parties and Elections" in Virginia Gray and Russell Hanson ed. Politics in the American States Washington DC Congressional Quarterly 2004

Also NJ appears to be closed, not open. See:

Posted by: mj64 | January 24, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

bsimon - my last post before work is just for you.


{with thanks to JimD]

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

JD writes
"Unless they can get their house in order and re-discover who they really are, they will continue to suffer at the polls."

I totally agree. What I don't understand is why a minority of people seem to share this view.

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Chris, great angle on the McCain challenge. What would be really interesting is to make a table, showing state, closed/open status, delegate count & winner-take-all or proportions.

Posted by: bsimon | January 24, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I wish I could get somebody to introduce my tax plan. My cousin is a DC tax lawyer and lobbyist, but she costs too much, even with a family courtesy discount.

JD - can we get you to support McC now?

Seriously, I agree with the thrust of Novak's column, and would love to see a list of Ds who oppose earmarks, too.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

'The Post reported last week that as an appropriator late last year, Wicker inserted a $6 million earmark for a defense firm that contributed to his campaign and was lobbied for by Wicker's former chief of staff. '

You may be surprised, JD, but I totally agree with you about earmarks. But the rot is also a function of campaign financing as well, as you can see from Novak quote above.

'nother one...

'Republican Rep. Jim Walsh of New York is expected to announce his retirement, according to a GOP aide familiar with the decision, giving Democrats another pick-up opportunity following a wave of Republican retirements this cycle.
The veteran appropriator had a tough reelection fight in 2006 and was expected to face another challenge in the fall.

This is huge, huge news, and an incredible break for Democratic challenger Dan Maffei. With an open seat on the table, he's in prime position to pick up this D+3.4 district.'

'Rep. David Dreier and Sen. Kit Bond, along with a group of other lawmakers, will introduce the tax plan Giuliani has been advocating today in Congress.'

Isn't there something like, unethical or whatever about this? Like in-kind contribution of something?

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Harlemboy and everyone else harping the Democrats defeat next year. You forget that come election time we will still have 150,000 troops in Iraq, we'll be in the middle of a recession, there will still be 47 million americans without healthcare, Afganistan will still be a problem, our deficit will be something on the lines of 400 billion a year, and the democrats will have something on the order of a 3 to one money advantage in the presidential race alone.
The ONLY way the democrats lose next fall is if a third party wins.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 24, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Andy,McCain probably couldn't win a national election because his own party will not vote for him. (which is why McCain will not win the nomination)Florida is a big state with two time zones and Mitt will blow him away with advertisement. Plus Rush Limbaugh's rants against McCain should be worth at least 5% for Mitt. Mitt will beat Hillary in a landslide. She's hated by republicans, independents and half of the dem party.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 24, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

One more thing, Mark--I really agree with you about the closed primaries. They are one of the reasons the radical 'movement conservatives' have been able to hijack the republican party.

According to the LAT,
'In terms of the general election, it seems McCain is the only Republican who stands a chance of beating the Democratic candidate.' -- yet he may not get past the closed primaries. Open primaries would allow the more moderate candidate to win, as the far right is a fairly small percentage and the far left barely exists anymore.

About Rudy, "It really is one of the most amazing collapses," a political science professor tells the LAT. The NYT notes inside that Romney has become the candidate that the rest of the Republican contenders dislike the most. The paper points to several reasons for this, including resentment for the way he uses his personal fortune in the campaign and the feeling that he'll say anything to get elected:


Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the threadjack.

If you want to know why I think of myself as a conservative indy and not a GOPer, read Novak's piece this morning

Unless they can get their house in order and re-discover who they really are, they will continue to suffer at the polls.

Posted by: JD | January 24, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately for Democrats, I think the Republicans will predictably "circle the wagons" around McCain. They almost always nominate the guy who ran before and has patiently waited his turn. It would be wonderful, however, if Huckabee or Giuliani (or even Romney) were able to delay McCain's march to the nomination.

It looks like the Republicans will settle on a nominee long before the Democrats. I'm afraid Obama and the Clintons will damage each other (and themselves) so badly that the nominee will enter the general elections campaign irreversibly crippled from the bitter primaries. This is turning into the Republicans' dream scenario: once again the Democrats might very well snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. How depressing.

Posted by: harlemboy | January 24, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

ah, my bad, Mark, it was someone posting right after you.

Latest nationwide poll:

'On the Republican side, the race remains up in the air as Sen. John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney are battling for the lead spot. Although McCain did get slightly more support at 22 percent, the paper makes clear the differences between the three candidates aren't statistically meaningful. Support for Rudy Giuliani has plummeted to 12 percent.'

No surprise that once people got to know rudy a little, his support sank. I know I harp on this, but to think of him as president was just terrifying. Yesterday NPR began airing a report on the deaths and respiratory illnesses of 9/11 rescuers, who were told the air was safe and did not receive proper safety equipment.

I remember being incredulous at the time at the idea that the air was safe -- it stayed thick with suspended particulates for days. I could see the site 20 miles south down the Hudson, and where the towers used to stand was enveloped in a thick grey cloud. My friend, who lived in Battery Park City at the time and was in her apartment with her husband and two small boys, saw the towers fall and said it was a total white out, like nuclear winter. They thought an atomic bomb had fallen.

Rudy knew, from city testing that was suppressed at the time, that it wasn't safe, but wanted to get the clean up out of the way so Wall Street could start up again. It's all about the money.

There is a lawsuit against the city now by rescuers' survivors.

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Bhoomes, If you want a Republican to have a snowball's chance of getting back in the White House then you should hope and pray that McCain wins FL. Because Romney, Huckabee, or Guiliani don't have a chance of beating Obama or Clinton.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 24, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

drindl, I did not post anything that early!

I wrote an example of why the Fresno Bee editorial would be likely repeated throughout the rural southwest, right behind your posting, I think. I used Brewster County, TX as an example, because about 1500 people live and ranch in a land area bigger than CT [true, not hyperbole].

Thus there simply is an enormous shortage in the ranch labor pool - even if the 5 yr. olds and grannies are put to work.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

On the other hand, in the three largest "closed" states -- NY/CA/IL (and ralbrech says Illinois is effectively open), the GOP's center of gravity is more moderate than the national GOP. So this could mitigate the effect Chris is talking about.

Posted by: inonit | January 24, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

If McCain loses the closed primary states it will not be a surprise. But it will again underscore a problem for two party politics.

Caveat: I am a proponent of a two party system - the one that existed in 1960 in this country. The one that assured that the exchange of power went smoothly, and that we did not move from pillar to post. I never thought the transfers of ppower in Britain between a capitalist party and a socialist party helped stability in the UK
one wit, so it was for them a good thing when their parties became, in the late 80s, closer to the middle, with bigger tents.

One step toward less doctrinally motivated parties would be for more states to adopt "open" primaries. That would require the persons who run state parties to have more confidence in the logic of their core positions than fear of being subsumed by the impure.

Because the impure, in terms of dogma, are most of us, and it is our country.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I sure do hope McCain pulls FLA over Mitt. The man not only has no sense of humor, he seems soulless and robotic, not to mention a total panderer. If he wins, we might as well just hand over the keys to the Oval Office to the Chinese government. He is no different than Bush, except he has a long record of helping foreign governments buy our most strategic assets.

Hey Mark-- I saw a post by you on yesterday's thread at 5:45 this morning, my time. Don't you sleep, guy? Isn't that about 3:45 am your time? Btw, I couldn't find your reply to me about the Fresno Bee.

I read the rest of the policy discussion from last night [this morning] I really did like nick's idea about credit union type insurance. The first house I owned in the Catskills [next to the river] almost becmae worthless at one point because the only insurer in the area for second homes [think it was State Farm] pulled out of the area because of too many vandalisms. Without insurnace of course, your home becomes unsellable.

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Great analysis, but Illinois is an open state. As an independant voter, I always choose which party ballot I am going to use at the last minute.

Posted by: ralbrech | January 24, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Mitt will win Florida by 8-10% and we will for all purposes have our nominee. We will have a united party by March 6 and Clinton/Obama will still be throwing mud at each other. Dems, do you still think the Clintons are great? they are going to cost you an election you should had won hands down. Happy Days are here Again.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 24, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

"In South Carolina, McCain lost independents by a statistically insignificant margin, but carried independents by a massive 42 percent to 25 percent"

Chris - I think you mean he lost Republicans by a statistically insignificant margin.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 24, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Great analysis. Interesting that the very qualities that make McCain a formidable general election candidate -- his relative independence from party-line slugfest politics, his ability to appeal to moderates and independents -- are what make him vulnerable in closed primaries.

Posted by: novamatt | January 24, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

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