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What to Watch For: Indiana and North Carolina

The Fix is a HUGE sports fan and, as a result, spends way too much time watching and re-watching "SportsCenter".

One of our favorite features from the big show is "What 2 Watch 4" where the anchors give sports junkies a few highlights for the day ahead. That got us to thinking about doing the same thing for today's primaries -- a sort of user's guide for tonight's results.

The Fix chatted with a number of Democratic party strategists -- some of them supporters of one of the current candidates, some unaffiliated -- to get their cheat sheets about how to navigate through tonight's votes.

The results are below. Enjoy. And, if you have any tips of your own, feel free to add them in the comment section below.

* Don't Trust the Early Exits: Exit polling is supposed to stay secret until the polls close but, let's be honest, that ain't happening. Remember that when you start seeing exit numbers shortly after 5 p.m. These are incomplete numbers based on interviews done early in the day. The last several sets of early exits in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio have drastically underweighted Sen. Clinton's ultimate showings. Although the television networks use exit polling as part of their calculation in calling races, the true value of it is in understanding the shape and look of the electorate after the fact.

* The Two Most Important Questions: Keep an eye on two questions asked in the exit polling: (1) Is insert_candidate_name honest? (2) Does insert_candidate_name share your values? The answers to those two questions will provide insight into the races in Indiana and North Carolina as well as what the contest will look like going forward. Obama's campaign is convinced that Clinton's attacks on their candidate won't work because voters simply do not trust her anymore. Clinton's campaign thinks middle class voters identify far more closely with her than with Obama, a connection that will pay dividends at the ballot box.

* Watch Lake County: Lake County, in the far northwestern reaches of Indiana, will be crucial territory in understanding where the race is headed in the Hoosier State. Lake, which includes the city of Gary, should be strong for Obama as there is a considerable black population, and the area is covered by a portion of the Chicago media market -- meaning voters there have long been accustomed to the Illinois Senator. If Clinton can keep it somewhat close in Lake County -- and its 1st Congressional District more broadly -- it bodes very well for her chances statewide.

* Turnout Today in N.C.: North Carolina has allowed early voting since 2004 and in this election nearly 400,000 people have cast early ballots -- roughly 40 percent of them black voters. For Clinton to overcome Obama's early vote lead, she needs a massive turnout today from the white and rural voters who she -- and her husband -- have courted hard over the past two weeks. If roughly a third of the total vote has already been cast early, it's nearly impossible for Clinton to win. But, if total turnout is somewhere between 1.5 million and 2 million she may well have a fighting chance. The conventional wisdom is that the higher the turnout, the better for Clinton in the Tarheel State.

* The Bloody 9th: Indiana's southeastern district has been the sight of some of the nastiest and most competitive congressional races in recent memory, having switched party control in 2004 and 2006. Rep. Baron Hill (D) currently holds the district and has endorsed Obama, but this conservative-minded district should go for Clinton. If it doesn't, it means that Obama has maximized his edge on the Indiana University campus (located in Bloomington) and will be well positioned to surprise statewide. (One other interesting sidenote about the 9th: it includes the town of Milan, which in the 1950s produced the basketball team on which the greatest movie of all time is based. Thank you Almanac of American Politics!)

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 6, 2008; 2:01 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Primary Prediction Contest: The Hoosier-Heel Primaries
Next: Obama Wins N.C., Indiana Too Early To Call


Looks like Lake county is breaking for Obama like Marion county did. So Obama will probably end up with maybe 20,000 more votes than Hillary? Something like that.

Doesn't really mean that much - Obama's lead in (elected) delegates is continuing to grow, and I don't see how onesee's and twosee's are all that meaningful at this point.

Posted by: NoOneImportant | May 7, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

I agree...This woman is a psychopath. Fake, fake, fake

Posted by: Rhonda | May 6, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse


It is clear, with even Hillary's campaign is coming to the rational conclusion that she cannot win, that uniting the Democratic Party around Barack Obama is imperative.

Here is a solution that allows everyone to take something from the table, which is what it is going to take for the Party to begin the healing process.

A deal should be struck whereby Hillary agrees to withdraw from the race, and Obama agrees to let most of the Florida and Michigan delegations be seated at the convention.

Hillary could then claim a victory of sorts, as making this the "price" of a dignified exit would allow her to say she is putting the Party's prospects in November above her own personal ambitions.

It would also help the Democrats win those two states in the general election.

It requires noblesse oblige from both sides.

Obama clearly has it.

And if Hillary takes the deal, it would do a lot for her to begin restoring a family legacy that this ugly campaign, and especially Bill Clinton's role in it, has so tarnished.

Posted by: MARTIN EDWIN ANDERSEN | May 6, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse


It's hard to parse the numbers. In the Republican primaries, yes, Republicans still turn out to vote, especially if there are important state and local races. A national race, however, always draws more voters, especially one as high-profile as the Democratic nomination campaign. Democrats are more likely to turn out for this race than Republicans will for their already-decided nominee, and independents will largely flock to the more interesting race. Even some Republicans are crossing over to vote in the Democratic race.

What this means for November, of course, is hard to say. In many states, voters had to register as Democrats, which means that Democrats now have some very useful voter lists of people to press on for support. In all states, people who voted in the primary for the eventual nominee will probably be more likely to vote for the same candidate in the fall.

Still, a lot of independents and crossover Republicans may shift back toward McCain. The race against McCain is entirely different from the one between Clinton and Obama, and measuring Obama's strengths against Clinton or Clinton's strengths against Obama really says very little about how either would do against McCain. We haven't seen how the summer and fall months of the general election campaign play out, and that will be much more telling than anything people can speculate from the skewed numbers of recent primary contests. The large turnouts for Democrats certainly look positive for the eventual nominee, but the race will be no cakewalk.

Posted by: blert | May 6, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

OK, this is way to far down in the posts, so it won't get noticed by anyone who can use it, but here goes:

The real question to ponder in both Indiana and North Carolina is what do the total numbers mean? Both states did have Republican contests that should have drawn representative turnouts. In Indiana both Democrats polled 25% more votes than all Republicans combined. Did the Republicans decide that their state and Congressional primaries just didn't matter?

IOn North Carolina Hillary blew the Republican Party away all by herself and she is a distant second to Obama. Again, there were Republican Primary contests that should have drawn Republican interest.

Every commentator in the business seems to want to cover H V B, and maybe can J beat B or H? the real meaning of the last five months just doesn't seem to get analyzed.

So somebody who thinks he is a true cognoscenti look at the turn outs, look et the exit polls, and look at the notional polls and guess: Where are all those Democrats coming from, and will they be there in November.

When they are there in November, There will be some changes made.

Posted by: | May 6, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

the tiebreaker comment that Lanny Davis is yelling about on CNN and Hillary as well, was taken out of context, and Obama corrected on Meet The Press. Its nothing, but the Clinton team will just say something, hoping that people will say its true. i agree w Gergin; the Clinton race is over tonight...

Posted by: redsox07 | May 6, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse


I was apparently a mile off in my predictions of a narrow win by Barack in NC and a 7-9 point win by Hillary in Indiana. Who knew. Maybe the voters are finally catching on to the MSM and the real issues in this campaign. Obama will likely win NC by double digits and Clinton may squeak by in Indiana unless the returns from Gary blow her 4% lead away. A good night for the good guys. My favorite cat and I can't stay awake any longer. Later. - Max

Posted by: maxfli | May 6, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

"I don't understand how we're supposed to watch returns in particular areas. (Lake County and the 9th District.)"

Posted by: NoOneImportant | May 6, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

The apparent big win in NC bodes well for Obama, and the big uncertainty with Indiana at the moment is Lake County, which currently still has 0% of precincts reporting. If Gary, IN comes in strong for Obama, it could close the margin by enough that Clinton's probable victory would be minimal.

The real game now is in margins of victory, both for the purpose the media spin over the coming week and the actual delegate count. If Obama can widen the margin a bit in NC and close the margin to a virtual dead heat in Indiana, he will gain delegates, and Clinton, to borrow her boxing metaphors, will be on the ropes.

Posted by: blert | May 6, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

It is looking like this thing is over. Obama big in NC and a very close race in Indiana (look at the county map) that is sure to finish even closer. Bottom line: Obama picks up more delegates, locks up the popular vote. Oregon is a vote by mail state where many ballots are already in and Obama has a big lead in polling there. I predict Hilliary withdraws in a few days. IT IS OVER!!!!!

Posted by: renu1 | May 6, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Hoosiers greatest movie? No. The Godfathers I and II were both better, not to mention Citizen Kane. But as a sports movie? Quite, quite possibly. Friday Night Lights has its good points, but Hoosiers IS based on a true story (the team they really beat had Oscar Robertson on it, so there you go). Rocky is a sports movie that won three Oscars, including Best Picture, so there's that.

As for tonight's festivities: I don't know how you can call IN for Clinton when (a) Obama is easily carrying the cities (over 70% in Bloomington) and Gary and Hammond aren't in yet. (Polls in NW IN are staying open late due to a judge's order; voting machine irregularities are the cause.) In any event, when all is said and done, Obama will win more delegates tonight (he's winning NC, a state with more delegates, by a bigger margin that Clinton will do in Indiana). matter of fact, I think Obama will end up having gotten more total votes between IN, NC and PA than Clinton.

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 6, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Obama himself said that Indiana is the tiebreaker - Hillary won Indiana - so that is the tiebreaker.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | May 6, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Piktor and all of you

I keep on saying that on May 31 there will be a DNC Rules Committee meeting which will vote on the resolution to give Florida and Michigan half the pledge delegates and seat all the superdelegates from those states.

That will jump Hillary's delegate totals 50 - 70 delegates of the gap which you are referring to.

You all are pretending that Florida and Michigan are not part of the this country.

You are all pretending that there are no Add-on Superdelegates - about 50 have yet to be chosen.

These are pools of delegates available to Hillary which you appear to claim do not exist. Your calculations are based on the bad math that the remaining states are the only delegates available.

That simply is not true.

In fact, if you do understand this, you are being deceptive by advancing these numbers. I am sure the Obama campaign understands that there are other delegates out there.

I really do not like deceptive tactics.

So my conclusion is that either you are being deceptive or someone has deceived you.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 6, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

As a Republican in NC, I'm much more excited about the prospect of a Pat McCrory governorship here than I am interested in a Clinton vs. Obama primary.

Posted by: reason | May 6, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Restore Honor and Integrity to the White House and to the Democratic Party ... Barack Obama, '08!!!

Posted by: martin edwin andersen | May 6, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

As a citizen of Indiana-9, I could have told you a year ago that it would never go for Obama. We're Reagan Democrats, and he's way too far left.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

These are the uphill numbers facing the Billary machine:

"Not only would Clinton have to run the table in every remaining contest, she would have to do so by margins that a unachievable under any foreseeable circumstances:

In Indiana, she'd have to cashier Obama, 70 percent to 30 percent.

In North Carolina, she'd have to slam him 60-35.

In West Virginia, she's expected to do well -- but not 75-20.

Kentucky should be a strong state for her, but 79-20?

In Oregon, she'd need a 71-21 tsunami.

Ditto Puerto Rico, 80-20.

Montana would take a sky-high 68-31.

And South Dakota would require a Rushmore-like 76-24.

This parlor game is unfair, because the Clinton win scenario - such as it is - doesn't depend on her taking the lead in pledged delegates.

Her strategists say their most optimistic calculations show her finishing about 100 behind Obama.

The strategists say that she then would be in a position to argue to superdelegates - the party insiders who get a vote on the nomination, and are likely to have the last word - that she would be a stronger match for the Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

But Obama also has superdelegate momentum at the moment, making that improbable, as well."-Politico

My comment: Superdelegates have seen Obama's money machine along with his ability to motivate enthusiasm and bring young new voters plus his lock on the African American vote. After the final primary the superdelegate movement towards Obama will erase any hopes the Billary Machine might have for success.

Posted by: piktor | May 6, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama called winner in N.C. by NBC

Posted by: piktor | May 6, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that John Marshall misses the cut for anyone who's "proudtobegop" because he is the _original_ activist judge.

Posted by: Lonely Pedant | May 6, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Response to Beren

Thank you for your posting - at the very least I must say it was civil and respectful.

I have to disagree.

I support my case on Obama's Philadelphia speech in which he outlined the justifications for Black Liberation Theology and went as far as calling it "understandable" - winking the entire way.

I find the fact that Obama brought his children there time and time again - exposing his own children to the things that Rev. Wright was saying over and over again - extremely astonishing.

I believe these actions go directly to Obama's belief system - and they go directly what kind of decision maker Obama will be.

I sincerely hope that the American people all understand what has transpired here - and understand what these people who support Black Liberation Theology are saying.

I do not believe that media has reported this story properly so that the American public can make a judgement.

I support this statement by the fact that it took an uncensored and complete airing of several actual speeches by Rev. Wright for the American public to get an accurate picture of Black Liberation Theology. From Mid-March until last weekend the media completely failed to report that accurate picture to the American public.

That may have been a disservice to Obama because I believe many people were shocked when the media acted to allow the controversy to diminish and then Rev. Wright himself gave the American public an accurate airing of his views.

Obama's denouncing statements last week have to be taken as his "second answer" - with the Philadelphia speech being his first and with the Philadelphia speech probably closer to his actual beliefs.

I challenge everyone, Obama supporters included, to re-read Obama's Philadelphia speech to see exactly what Obama was attempting to tell the country about his belief system.

What does Obama actually believe ???

That question has not been adequately answered.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 6, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Response to Huh:

Thank you for your comments - however you failed math.

You bitterly cling to a calculation which is wrong.

As I have stated clearly and precisely

Hillary will win West Virginia by a wide margin.

Hillary will have a convincing win in Kentucky.

On May 31, the DNC Rules Committee will pass the resolution seating a compromise on the delegates from Florida and Michigan half the pledged delegates and all the superdelegates.

This last item will allow Hillary to cut Obama's lead in half by about 50 - 70 delegates.

So Hillary will be able to come within 50 delegates of Obama fairly quickly.

OH then there is Puerto Rico.

The Obama lead was always an illusion - created by the SCHEDULE - Obama's good states went in February.

The other illusion comes from the small states, the red states and the DNC delegate formula.

OK I have repeated myself - please scroll up in the future and read my posts before you state that they are not correct without any support whatsoever.

PS Obama really has to poll 63% tonight in order to meet the expectations for North Carolina's demographic.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 6, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse


My bad on the initials. Thanks for the feedback. I plead chaos. I'm in the middle of making dinner for my wife who is working late. BTW, I'm an Independent, Barack supporter, and one of his 1.5 million donors. I haven't been this inspired by a candidate since JFK. After two weeks of coordinated corporate MSM attacks, if he wins NC he is officially alive and well and will probably win the nomination (IMHO).

Posted by: maxfli | May 6, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Very Convincing WOW - I didn't think of it that way - comparing the numbers to Virginia, Maryland and Georgia.

Yea, it does not make much sense to compare South Carolina because Edwards was still in the race.

Obama really needs to poll at least 63% in North Carolina - less than 60% should be considered a loss.

If Obama polls under 55% it really has to be interpreted as major blow to the campaign - practically a disaster.

The Obama campaign is at that point.

Obama was talking a few weeks ago about Indiana as the "tiebreaker" - so if Hillary wins, does that mean she has the "tiebreaker" tomorrow morning ???

I am a little puzzled by this.

Again, Obama appears unable to close the deal. Unable to perform in North Carolina up to the level he has in Virginia and Georgia. Unable to win in Indiana after leading.

The Obama campaign is facing a very difficult month.

Tonight is not going to be pretty.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | May 6, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Obama will be stealing the nomination if the votes of Florida and Michigan aren't counted.

Everyone will know it and it will be yet one more reason for McCain to defeat him by a landslide.

The primaries aren't what Democrats should focus on, November is.

Hillary is the far stronger candidate to go against McCain.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

maxfli, well analyzed, I think.

btw - I know we're west of the Appalachians and everything, but just in case you ever need to mail anything to Indiana or something, we're IN. ID is Idaho. :)


Posted by: Beren | May 6, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

The early polling in this campaign has favored Barack. My sense is he wins NC but uncomfortably close (4-6 points) and loses ID by 7-9 points. A status quo ending relative to delegate count. This will attrack some supers for Barack and both sides spin like crazy tomorrow.

Scenarios in which some third person becomes the nominee without campaigning at all (Gore) are unrealistic. The Democratic base is totally committed to one of these two candidates. More Hillary supporters will defect to McCain because they would have voted for him anyway (i.e., outright racists, Reagan Dems, or crossover Repubs), IMHO.

Edwards is beginning to look more and more like an opportunist and will probably not be a major factor.

My sense is the Clintons will make a final and dramatic behind the scenes effort to steal the nomination, it will fail and further damage the party and Barack's chances in the general. The supers will back Barack because in the end they fear retribution from the Clintons more then a loss in the general. They know they will increase their margins in both Houses anyway in 2008.

The Clintons have been a disaster for the party in this process and probably in the election against McCain. They will pull another Kerry - one token speech and then nothing. They are probably in the wrong party, IMHO.

Posted by: maxfli | May 6, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

"You even challenged me when I asked you to back off and stop your slash and burn practices. I was compelled to call the WP to report your abusive behavior"

I apologize. I forgot that you have the right to swiftboat candidates, and no one is allowed to call you on the absolute garbage you have been throwing out there. The gas tax, FL & MI, the bogus bullying claims in TX, the caucuses in NV -- every single one I have pointed out how wrong you were, and your only response is to squeal that people are picking on you.

Again, you have a lot of nerve to question Obama's manhood, when you slink on the fringes, ranting like a jilted lover. You can attempt to cajole all you want, but the fact remains that this is not a forum for you to post unfettered, something I have made clear to the powers that be as well.

Posted by: bondjedi | May 6, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Let's Play the Expectations Game - North Caroline is right in between Virginia and South Carolina so Obama should be able to easily hit those numbers or we can say his campaign is losing steam.

Virginia 63.7 %

South Carolina 55.4 %

(Edwards was still in the race in South Carolina)

Let's continue in the states close by:

Maryland 60.7 %

Georgia 66.4 %

If Obama performs off the range of these numbers, one can safely say that Hillary is cutting into Obama's base and that is serious.

With a black population which will make up at least 40% of the democratic primary electorate in North Carolina, Obama has to make it into at least the range of these numbers.

Otherwise, what else can you say Obama's campaign has been deflated.

That is the expectations game - based on real numbers, not estimates. Real Votes, not inflated numbers.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 6, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

This is all quite fascinating from an outsider's point of view - from the news reports I hear here (UK), Clinton seems to be the one that's fighting a bit dirtier than Obama but some of the comments here suggest otherwise. I start work quite early so listen to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 which is fairly impartial....I'm looking forward to tomorrow and what transpires.

Posted by: derek | May 6, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I saw the original on TV in 1954. Better than the movie. "Breaking Away" was a better Indiana movie.

Posted by: Gary | May 6, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

This woman is a psychopath. Look at the disconnect between her blank stare and her fake smile in the angled photo on the wapo main page. America deserves better!

Posted by: Jon Scott | May 6, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, for goodness' sake WoW. Support whomever you want to support, great. But not based on what a candidate's pastor says. My priests have said some _insane_ things, especially when they get to talking about things they're not experts in, like politics and science and lit and history. It doesn't mean the congregation agreed with them. Sometimes about half of the congregation was probably groaning inwardly.

You don't pick a pastor for his politics any more than you pick a senator (or a plumber or a pilot) for his theology. ANd there are lots more reasons to go to a church than because of the pastor. For years I went to a church whose priest gave sermons that I disagreed with almost every single Sunday, when they weren't so completely inane that you couldn't really disagree with them. (One Easter she decided to preach about the color yellow.) But the wider church, of which she was a part, had teachings that I agreed with, and the local church had a community that I could belong to. And it was a place where I could pray and worship, even if I sometimes just had to tune out when the priest started talking.

As crazy as Wright's remarks were, Clinton's own pastor spoke up in defense of him. So I suppose we could also ask why someone would 'go to a church whose pastor was willing to defend Jeremiah Wright'. And that's not to mention McCain's association with Hagee, which isn't pastoral but political, and therefore more relevant to a question of political views.


Posted by: Beren | May 6, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I really do not know whether to laugh or cry with your assumtions and that of Words of W's.
I will try and suggest a parallel story to you and your colleague.
Your tack is to tell Tiger Woods to stop playing at the 18th tee when he is 150 strokes clear of the field and he will win the game ???? A sort of hand in your score card for the good of anothers view of the golf game. Then Words of W prays that the PGA will allow his player to pick his ball out of the middle of the pond, place it on the green without penalty and putt out for victory.
I think you are both forgetting that Tiger Woods has been and is, playing the better game. Under the rules despite many trying to place more than the normal set of clubs in his bag, he has begun as a player with integrity and maintained that manner through the play. Your candidate already has 25 clubs in the bag from the last controle 10+ years ago and has since added many more clubs since. And you expect the marshalls and comittee in the clubhouse to accept that fact.
Take heart in the fact that "Tiger" will anhialate the field and Big Jack in the next tournament.
Big Jack was great in his day 30 years ago but he will not have the wind to walk the 7500 yards round the fairways , let alone hit winning shots.
Go Tiger, with apologies to the real one.

Posted by: all or nothing | May 6, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse


Here's the deal: If the only way to prevent Hillary from taking the nomination is for Barack to do a deal, he will do the deal.

This would require that Hillary win big tonight in Indiana and cut Obama's lead in North Carolina.

The early exit polls give Hillary only a 5 point lead in IND and they give Obama a 12-pt. lead in NC. That, I agree, is not enough to get Obama to go the third way.

BUT... if tonight's vote shows that Obama still is not drawing a respectable number of white suburban and rural voters, Obama have have no choice but to do a deal... because the supers will come to him with a Solomon-like proposition: Either he accepts the veepee slot on a Gore or Edwards or Dodd ticket, or they throw their support to Hillary.

Faced with such a choice, what would you do, Beren? You get the veepee slot and a shot at the top job in 2016 -- or you lose it all. You also earn the reputation of party healer, peacemaker, and power broker. You DEFEAT the Clinton machine and assume the unofficial title of chief party pooh-bah.

Not a bad choice for a guy with barely three years on the national scene.

It's not illegitimate because Obama benefits greatly from such a deal and gives it his blessing.

Doesn't that sound a lot better for Obama than accepting the veepee slot under Hillary Clinton -- a dead-end job for sure????

All of this can't and won't happen unless Hillary does really well in the remaining primaries, including tonight, and clearly demonstrates that Obama can't draw the votes of suburban and rural whites.

If tonight's results show that Obama is not drawing suburban and rural white voters, his candidacy remains problematic... thus opening the door to his acceptance of a deal that would make him the veepee candidate under a Gore or Edwards or Dodd...

It all depends on the demographix. So watch tonight and see how Obama does in white areas... that will tell the tale...

Posted by: scrivener | May 6, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

'Words of Widsom' should call himself Words of Racism. He sure has got a lot time free to post them.

Posted by: Nat | May 6, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

mnteng, Thanks for the research.

McC and HRC, I apologize for having doubted that you cared enough to file a bill.

Prof. Krugman,

I cannot actually say "I feel your pain" with a straight face.
Leichtman, it would be an activist judge indeed who set aside a state statute that was not facially invalid without evidence that it was invalid in an application. I think the dissent in the IN case took the position that absent a showing of a prior voter fraud the burden on the voter was lessened and that the statistical inference could stand in for the moaners and groaners that any experienced trial lawyer would have produced. And I am not at all sure the dissent was wrong here.

My point was that "restrainist" does not mean conservative and "activist" does not mean liberal. The words only describe judges who give more or less deference to legislation - and that translates to burden placement and the relative risk of non-production of evidence. A Judge who does not give much deference to a "liberal" statute is a "conservative" activist, and vice versa.
BTW, McC has a point about John Roberts - as an appellate lawyer he was superb and the favorite of every sitting Justice. BHO knew this and has suggested he was uncomfortable voting against Roberts. Given that his vote was meaningless, he threw it away to satisfy the base.
And that reminds me of how hard JB worked to get the upgraded armored vehicles to Iraq last year only to see HRC and BHO vote against the appropriation to satisfy the base, once they knew the legislation had passed. So "Scrivener", if you want to get JB nominated on the third ballot of the deadlocked Denver Convention, you have my blessing.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 6, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I am actually detecting a major deflation on the part of the Obama people since last week.

Even Obama looks tired and haggard.

What happened> did the Obama people ACTUALLY watch the Rev. Wright on television over last weekend ?? Did you actually hear what he had to say ???

Rev. Wright had about 10 separate items which were so far off the wall - no one could make this stuff up - call Lawrence Sumners if anyone would like to chat.

The truth is Obama brought his children to listen to this stuff time and time again, year after year - how do you get around that? How in the world can anyone do that to their children ????


The truth is we do not have an adequate statement from Obama. The Philadelphia speech made things worse, not better.

Obama is actually lucky that more people do not understand exactly what Rev. Wright was talking about - that is the amazing thing about this whole episode.

Once one explains it to someone, they are astonished, people simple would not believe unless they had the speech in front of them that a PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE would be associated with this sort of crazy liberation theology for so long.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 6, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse


Well, I think it might be hard for a movement based on a call for transparency in government and citizen involvement to field a candidate chosen in backroom negotiations. And one dynamic this year, part of why I think endorsements haven't made much of a difference, is that voters on both sides are really excited about this decision being in their hands. After years of feeling like they had no way of influencing what went on in DC, now they feel like they finally do - they're not going to want that taken away from them.

What would Obama's hypothetical speech, in which he follows your plan, even be like? What would his rationale be for throwing his supporters to Al Gore? Would he say that he just wasn't a very good candidate? No politician says that, and, more importantly, Obama himself doesn't believe that. Like most people who are willing to endure the sleep deprivation, lack of privacy and humiliation of campaigning, he believes he is the best candidate.

Or would he cite the division in the party between his supporter's and HRC's? But the way to deal with that would be to reach out to HRC, not to Al Gore.

Even if Obama (or Clinton) could be convinced to step aside in favor of Gore, their supporters would never believe that they hadn't been coerced into doing it. Conspiracy theories would be all over the place. To many African Americans it would just be the white establishment behind the scenes, making sure a black man couldn't become president even though he won and leaning on him or threatening him into giving way. To many young people it would be the tired old guard of the Democratic party demonstrating everything that they don't like about the party establishment. To many female voters, it would be the old boys' club sticking together and hanging the woman out to dry.

Please (please) tell me that you aren't actually Al Gore, testing the waters here! :)


Posted by: Beren | May 6, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Wisdom --

You make some excellent points, but I'd suggest one change --

Racism is racism, no matter what color the racist is.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Response to Huh

I called North Carolina a major state - Oregon is a beautiful state - absolutely a wonderful place.

Did you know the DNC had a 30% delegate bonus for voting after May 1 ????

So North Carolina's size gives it 88 delegates - that is how to compare it to other states - then North Carolina gets an additional 27 delegates as a bonus for voting after May 1.

Did you know that????

The DNC has some wacky wacky delegate selection rules as we have outlined before.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | May 6, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Today means little folks - you can fight it out as much as you want.

West Virginia and Kentucky are the real deal.

On May 31 the DNC Rules Committee votes and Hillary looks like her supporters have the inside track. That will change this race. Millions of voters in Florida and Michigan will have their voices at the Convention.

That will restore some idea of democracy to this race.

At this point, we have delegates from Guam and Puerto Rico who count and Boca and Lansing do not. Who's crazy idea was that? Why did I ask that question? I think he might be from Vermont. Not sure.


The truth is Hillary is moving up - today is the last big state for Obama - right in the middle of Virginia and South Carolina with 20% black population there is not much Hillary can do.

The entire section of the country from Maryland to Geogia to Mississippi - not much Hillary could do - the best she can do is limit her loses without too many false charges of racism flying around.

Seriously folks, what is motivating these voters???

If white voters voted in this manner, what would you be saying.

If there was a white church, with a website talking about a "white value system" and how white children are different from black children, what would you say???

We have reverse racism here - it is OK for one community to vote in a block - while the white community is being challenged to be "post-racial" AND if they still do not like the results, they reserve the right to choose anything said and call it "racist."

This is the pathetic campaign being waged right now.

This is what Obama calls post-racial.

Forgive me for saying that this country needs to be spared this nonsense.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 6, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

At a press conference in Arizona today, McCain tried to recalibrate his oil remarks again, this time saying he will make sure that "dependence" on oil "will never be the source or any reason for us to be in a conflict in the Middle East."

As ThinkProgress noted on Friday, McCain's comments echo the words of former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan, who wrote in his memoir that he is "saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe you characters are actually arguing about the outcome of the Dem primary. It's a forgone conclusion at this point, the only question being how much lasting damage Hillary will be able to inflict on Obama. For those of you too dense to understand the Clinton machine's Machiavellian approach to politics as a game:
Step 1) Ruin Obama's chances in November;(those playing at home can watch this on TV right now and through the convention!!)
Step 2) Watch in glee from the sidelines as President McCain further trashes a country sliding into social chaos and financial depression;
Step 3) Run in 2012 against McCain's failed presidency, humbly pointing out that if everyone had only had the wisdom to nominate her in '08....she told everyone that Obama wasn't up to it but no one would listen. But that's ok, all is forgiven.

Except Obama will win in November.

Posted by: David | May 6, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

'More important, casualties cannot be looked at in a vacuum. A spike in casualties could be a sign that the enemy is gaining strength. Or it could be a sign that tough combat is under way that will lead to the enemy's defeat and the creation of a more peaceful environment in the future. The latter was certainly the case with the casualty spike during the summer of 2007. ... Unfortunate as the latest deaths are, they are in all likelihood a sign of things getting worse before they get better.'

The right wing won't let anything -- even dozens of troop deaths -- stop them from cheerleading for the Iraq war. The New York Daily News' Michael Yon picks up Boot's talking points, answering the question whether the increase in deaths shows that the surge's progress has been lost:

[H]ere's my short answer: no. We are taking more casualties now, just as we did in the first part of 2007, because we have taken up the next crucial challenge of this war: confronting the Shia militias. ... That means, for the next few months, expect more blood, casualties and grim images of war. This may lead to a shift in the political debate inside the United States and more calls for rapid withdrawal. But on the ground in Iraq, it's a sign of progress.

In other words: Heads I win, tails you lose.

Posted by: the definition of insanity | May 6, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Max Boot is one of the most vocal supporters of a neocon foreign policy. He says those who favor withdrawal from Iraq engage in "wishful thinking" and claims "there is copious evidence" that Iran is training al Qaeda. He said former CENTCOM commander Adm. William Fallon's hesitation to bomb Iran "embolden[ed] the mullahs," and claimed that the recently-revealed Pentagon propaganda program is simply "part and parcel of the daily grind of Washington journalism."

He has also been a vociferous defender of the Iraq troop surge. Today, in an online debate on the surge, Boot points to the overall decrease in troop deaths as evidence of its success:

I could cite statistics to show how the "surge"--not only an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq but also a change in their strategy to emphasis classic counterinsurgency--has been paying off: Civilian deaths were down more than 80 percent and U.S. deaths down more than 60 percent between December 2006 and March 2008.

Just two days ago, however, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Boot argued that the recent increase in U.S. troop casualties showed the surge was working. Acknowledging that April was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Iraq since August (Boot says 52 soldiers died; in fact 54 did), Boot says the U.S. is approaching "the enemy's defeat":

Posted by: McCain's advisor | May 6, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse


A delegate toss to a third candidate will not be seen as illegitimate because it will be Obama's selfless idea. Obama will stay on the ticket and continue his campaign as the presumptive veepee nominee. Obama is smart enough to know it's better to checkmate Hillary and withdraw than risk losing it all (epsecially if he loses Indiana big and does not win big in N.C.)

Why would it be illegitmate for Obama to become the kingmaker and the power broker? He'd take over from Bill Clinton as #1 Dem in terms of power and influence. Not a bad "consolation prize" -- real political cajones and the vice presidency.

Wake up, Obamaniacs. Your man can WIN by "losing"...

Posted by: scrivener | May 6, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

"Why didn't Krugman do it in his EDITORIAL, NOT HIS BLOG!!!"

Perhaps he's bitter having been thrown under the bus by someone he's been vociferously supporting for months.

Posted by: bsimon | May 6, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Krugman hits the nail on the head.

So what? He's an elitist economist. Those people aren't worth listening to.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

37th and O Street wrote:

Hillary winning Indians would be a huge boost to her campaign - NC is the last major state for Obama - Hillary should have a string of victories ahead of her.

My Comment:
Oregon still remains, its Obama territory (the voters tend to be educated) . Its the largest remaining State. (Puerto Rico's not a State...). So if Oregon's not a major state.... what does that make West Virginia with about half the delegates of Oregon.

Oh, that's right, its only a "major" or "large" state if Clinton wins it. If Obama wins, its unimportant. Its that kind of attitude which explains why the Republican's have been able to pretty much consistently loot the United States since Reagan. The only Democratic President during that time was too busy coming on to interns to bother to try to hold the House and Senate and pretty much threw away most of his second term.

Posted by: Huh | May 6, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

mnteng --

Why didn't Krugman do it in his EDITORIAL, NOT HIS BLOG!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse



He did.

Posted by: mnteng | May 6, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama will put it away today. 12 plus points in NC and within 6 of Hillary in Indiana. Hillary can't make the case anymore. It's over Hillary has left the building.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"Voter fraud could affect the outcome of a close election."

So can poorly designed ballots. Or poorly designed voting machines. Or insufficient ballot inventory. Or disorganized polling places. All of those things are known to have impacted the outcomes of elections, but the GOP doesn't seem to be too concerned about them. But the 'voter fraud' bogeyman - despite the lack of evidence of any elections that have been decided wrongly as a result of such fraud - is what keeps the GOP up at night. I wonder why that is?

Posted by: bsimon | May 6, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Face it, you just really really want Obama to win and Clinton to lose.

Krugman hits the nail on the head.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Words of Wisdom wrote:
This race is headed to a territory in which the candidates are 50 delegates apart.

My Comment:
That is virtually impossible. After tonight only 215 delegates remain. To reduce Obama's lead of 150 to 50 or less, Clinton would need about 158 of the 215 remaining. (That's 57 for Obama) With Oregon, with 52 delegates likely to at least split 50/50, that leaves Clinton 122 of the remaining 163. That isn't going to happen.

Words of Wisdom wrote:
With 50 Add-on superdelegates yet to be chosen and the superdelegates from Florida and Michigan lining up, that 50 delegate margin is not going to look so firm.

My Comment:
That's a poor assumption that they aren't going to be somewhere in the range, at most, of a 60/40 split. And, of course, this is all predicated on an impossible scenario - that of a 50 delegate lead.

Words of Wisdom wrote:
Obama has done OK however his lead will dwindle

My Comment:
Why? It hasn't really been "dwindling" at all recently. Its been pretty consistent even with all of Clinton's "big" wins she has barely made a dent.

Words of Wisdom wroteL

and there will still be about 200 Superdelegates which do not want to make a decision - which will put both candidates in a bind.

My Comment:
Once they realize that they will not be subject to retaliation from Clinton, they will shift quickly to Obama. Not because Obama is any more electable than Clinton, but because of the down ticket impact and the new voters Obama brings to the process.

Words of Wisdom wrote:
Neither candidate is going to be able to put together a majority which will probably be around 2135 delegates.

My Comment:
Ah, the "Al Gore" Wet Dream. With only two candidates and such a very small number of delegates in the hands of Edwards et al, that doesn't happen. Edwards needed at least a hundred or so votes to create any chance of this happening.

Posted by: Huh | May 6, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Time to move on to West Virginia and Kentucky. Today is a wash.

North Caroline is right between Virginia and South Carolina - Georgia not too far away.

So expect the North Carolina results to be like them.

Indiana is where Obama was ahead - now he is behind.

Hillary winning Indians would be a huge boost to her campaign - NC is the last major state for Obama - Hillary should have a string of victories ahead of her.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | May 6, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Leicthman, I agree with the majority opinion that states have a "valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process."

Voter fraud could affect the outcome of a close election. The standard of "no burden" that you have placed on the process is not reasonable.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 6, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse


Yeah, well it was more interesting than packing up my office (renovations).

"anonymous" @ 5:00P looks like the return of svreader. That should spice things up, especially if gbooksdc and LABC check in.

Posted by: mnteng | May 6, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse


I think they're undeclared either because they're waiting to see which way the wind is blowing, or because they've seen those polls in which something like 60% of voters don't want the supers to halt the process until everyone has gotten to vote in a meaningful(-feeling) primary, or because they know which way they want to vote, but are waiting for a good time to do it (after a large victory by their favored candidate).

Actually, no I don't think Obama is a weak candidate. He's cool under fire and doesn't flip out whenever there's a crisis. I guess to people who think strength is about waving your fist and shouting he seems weak. But IMHO it takes a pretty good campaigner to surge past the inevitable Hillary, and it's something that veteran politicians like Biden, Richardson, Dodd and Edwards were all unable to do.

But even if both he and HRC were really weak candidates, I still don't see the nomination being handed to anyone else. That person, no matter how strong a candidate (s)he would normally be, would be crushingly weakened by being seen as illegitimate by the millions of voters who have been so involved in this process because they thought they were choosing the nominee. You could _maybe_ make an argument for Edwards as a compromise (though I don't think he'd be any stronger), since he did actually receive some primary votes. But someone else entirely? After we've spent how much time and money and energy on behalf of our favored candidates? I'm not really in favor of a 'unity ticket' but even that would be a much stronger set of nominees than a completely unelected ticket.


Posted by: Beren | May 6, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"From Paul Krugman's Blog --"

Who cares? He's just one of those elitist economists. I want a President who doesn't listen to those kinds of people.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse



May 6, 2008, 9:19 am

Gas tax hysterics

OK, this has gone overboard.
Hillary Clinton's proposed gas tax holiday is not, in my view, a good idea. But the furor over what is, when all is said and done, a small and temporary policy proposal is entirely disproportionate. What's going on?
Part of it, clearly, is the fact that many people in the media really, really want Obama to win and Clinton to lose -- read Kurt Andersen -- and have seized on the gas tax as their latest proof that she is ee-ee-vil.
But there's also something going on with economists, a phenomenon I recognize wearing my other hat: the tendency to place excessive weight on issues where professional judgment differs from lay opinion.
The classic example is free trade versus protectionism. Economists are justly proud of the close reasoning that produced the classical case for free trade, and love to skewer dumb protectionist arguments. I've done it myself.
But all too often, economists then become like the little boy with a hammer, to whom everything looks like a nail. Because protectionism is an issue on which they believe they have some special insight, they inflate its importance, and make free trade versus protectionism THE crucial issue in economic policy -- which it isn't. Trade barriers are a minor issue for the United States today; even small wrinkles in health care policy, like overpayment to Medicare Advantage plans, probably matter more to public welfare than all the trade restrictions now in place.
Yet economists talk much more about trade than they do about health care policy, because they think they know something about it in a way the laity don't.
The gas tax holiday is in this category. Economists really do know something about tax incidence that the laity don't. So when a presidential candidate says something that conflicts with economistic wisdom, it becomes THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE EVER. Except, you know, it isn't.
There's a lot of troubling stuff in both Democrats' proposals. Mandates aside, Obama is seriously low-balling the cost of health care reform, and promising way too much in middle-class tax cuts. Clinton's numbers don't quite add up either, though she's probably closer to the mark -- and both Dems are towering figures of responsibility compared with McCain. Amid all this, the gas tax holiday is a real issue, but a small one; don't let economist's tendency to overemphasize their areas of expertise distort your view.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse



From Paul Krugman's Blog --

I was very clear when I wrote about the Clinton proposal that while I didn't think it was good policy, it was not the same as McCain's, and relatively harmless. If the Obama people are suggesting otherwise, they're being deliberately dishonest.
Hillary Clinton's proposed gas tax holiday is not, in my view, a good idea. But the furor over what is, when all is said and done, a small and temporary policy proposal is entirely disproportionate.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

proudtobeGoP writes
""I always saw it analogous to a poll tax but the justices did not seem to care much even if a poll tax requirement is reimposed"

Of course it's not a poll tax, leicthman. That's like saying that unlimited campaign donations are equivalent to free speech."

My understanding of the Indiana case is that, in Indiana, the required ID is free. Therefore the only burden is in showing up at the appropriate office to acquire the ID before one tries to vote. The important distinction being: there is no cost, therefore it is not akin to a poll tax.

Posted by: bsimon | May 6, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse


Had you added the important modifier (sports) to the greatest movie claim, I'd have agreed with you. ;)

Posted by: leuchtman | May 6, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

anonymous writes
"It seems to be an organized effort by Obama supporters to force Clinton supporters off the site."

No, silly. Its the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, not Obama supporters.

Posted by: bsimon | May 6, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

mnteng writes
"I spent some time on Thomas today and found both McC's and HRC's gas tax holiday bills. Well, the text of HRC's isn't posted yet. But they are both amendments to the IRC."

mnteng- thanks for doing the research! You're possibly the only person outside capitol hill that's bothered.

Posted by: bsimon | May 6, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

then you obviously agree that it is a burden, Proud.

The case I was referring to was the Ga voter id requirement which has already been struck down by 2 Appellate Courts,on precisely those legal grounds, that it constituted a poll tax.

Where are the examples of Voter Fraud? National indepnedent studies show that has not happened and that it is a fiction to place more road blocks against voters they know are not voting for them, exactly the same as placing police car sirens around African American polling locations in Cleveland polling locations.

Posted by: Leichtman | May 6, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Beren et al:

On the John Kerry reference... if you go with Obama, how do you think he'll hold up against the GOP attack machine? He can't even come up with a strong response on pastor-gate... or bitter-gate... or Rezko-gate.

As Dan Balz wrote today, if you're on Meet the Press and the first 20 minutes is about your pastor (this, weeks after the thing broke), you've got a problem.

All I'm saying is that almost anyone else, including Hillary, would be a stronger candidate than Obama, at least at the top of the ticket. With Obama as VP, I think any of the potentials (Gore, Kerry, Edwards, hell, throw in Dodd while you're at it) would have a better chance than either Obama or Hillary at the top.

All of you who think the supers AREN'T thinking about a third way are the ones who are deluding yourselves. It will be Obama's decision; that's the way they'll play it. But mark my words: they're thinking of something other than either Hillary or Obama as the standard-bearer.

Why do you think such a large number of supers are still undeclared?

Posted by: scrivener | May 6, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

MarkInAustin and bsimon:

At the risk of a threadjack ...

I spent some time on Thomas today and found both McC's and HRC's gas tax holiday bills. Well, the text of HRC's isn't posted yet. But they are both amendments to the IRC.

S.2890 (sponsored by McC on 4/17/08, 9 co-sponsors)
S.2971 (sponsored by HRC on 5/2/08, 1 co-sponsor)

Both have been referred to committee (Finance) as of today.

Posted by: mnteng | May 6, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman --

I agree with you completely.
It seems to be an organized effort by Obama supporters to force Clinton supporters off the site.
They've done it on several other sites. I wouldn't be surprised if it was part of the Obama "dirty tricks" campaign plan.

Have you seen ?

If not, take a look.

Obama's run the dirtiest campaign in years!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

bonjedi you have been totally abusive to me and every other HC that has posted here over the last month. Some how you have convinced yourself that your bullying tactics speak well for your candidate.

You even challenged me when I asked you to back off and stop your slash and burn practices. I was compelled to call the WP to report your abusive behavior and because of that they will be changing this site over the next 2 weeks. Cut it out already we are sick to death of your intimidating tactics!

Posted by: Leichtman | May 6, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"Complaining about 'activist judges' is a dog whistle to social conservatives that normal human beings don't hear." (bsimon)

BUT...those 'dogs' delivered the White House twice for Bush, and if normal humans don't hear it, then they won't actually be turned off by McCain's mentioning it, as Leichtman suggests.

As I see it, this is the issue that McCain can use to energize the conservatives. They love Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, & Alito (and will never forgive GHWB for appointing Souter). With Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, and perhaps even Souter ready or readying to step down, a President McCain would certainly get one appointment in a first term and possibly three over two terms. That's serious responsibility, and the possibility that Obama or Clinton gets to appoint those justices may be enough for conservatives to hold their collective noses and get out and vote for McCain.

Posted by: billyc123 | May 6, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"I always saw it analogous to a poll tax but the justices did not seem to care much even if a poll tax requirement is reimposed"

Of course it's not a poll tax, leicthman. That's like saying that unlimited campaign donations are equivalent to free speech.

The law was correctly upheld because its overall burden was minimal and justified.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 6, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Or how did a reporter from the Guardian put it (while urging everyone to vote for Kerry)? That he looked and sounded "like a haunted tree", I think? :)

Posted by: Beren | May 6, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Through a spokesperson with the colorful name Tucker Bounds, McCain has denied telling me he didn't vote for Bush in 2000. "It's not true," Bounds told the Washington Post, "and I ask you to consider the source."

My sentiments exactly -- because John McCain has a long history of issuing heartfelt denials of things that were actually true.

He denied ever talking with John Kerry about his leaving the GOP to be Kerry's '04 running mate -- then later admitted he had, insisting: "Everybody knows that I had a conversation."

He denied admitting that he didn't know much about economics, even though he'd said exactly that to the Wall Street Journal. And the Boston Globe. And the Baltimore Sun.

He denied ever having asked for a budget earmark for Arizona, even though he had. On the record.

He denied that he'd ever had a meeting with comely lobbyist Vicki Iseman and her client Lowell Paxon, even though he had. And had admitted it in a legal deposition.

And those are just the outright denials. He's also repeatedly tried to spin away statements he regretted making (see: 100-year war, Iraq was a war for oil, etc.).

Posted by: Arianna | May 6, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

So faced with those options, Al Gore (or even John Edwards) doesn't look so bad. Hell, neither does John Kerry; just keep him off the windsurf board. Kerry was not that bad of a candidate; with a bit more muscle and a strong running mate, he could make emerge as a viable alternate candidate.

Bottom line for the supers: if you don't think out of the box, you're boxed in.

Posted by: scrivener | May 6, 2008 4:09 PM
Man I don't know what you are smoking but it is clear you are high. Kerry and Gore have as much chance of winning as Carter does running in today's climate.

Gore and Kerry lacked the back bone to stand up to the GOP slime machine. Hillary will wipe the floor with McCain in the fall. Obama did himself in with the bitter talk way before Wright opened his big mouth.

If Hillary pulls of a double win tonight say goodbye to the White House Barak.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | May 6, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse


Whoa... Okay, I thought you and I were living in the same universe until I read the following:

"So faced with those options, Al Gore (or even John Edwards) doesn't look so bad. Hell, neither does John Kerry; just keep him off the windsurf board. Kerry was not that bad of a candidate; with a bit more muscle and a strong running mate, he could make emerge as a viable alternate candidate."

Gosh, I mean I voted for Kerry to get rid of the Shrub-and-Dark-Lord show, but a strong candidate? That guy? He had one of the worst of political disadvantages: he looked and sounded like he was lying when he was telling the truth.


Posted by: Beren | May 6, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

With defections left right and centre anything is possible. So, could Obama choose:-
1. Samantha Power as Veep.- The ladies have then got a smart honest woman who will eventually take over in 8 years time.
2. Huma Abedin.- Hillarys body person defects to him { Obama] This appears the best choice because the ladies get a woman as Veep,[ with the possibility of her taking over in 8 years time] the slime balls that have been labelling Obama finally get their muslim [ nothing wrong with that- she is american after all]., and with family in Saudie Arabia , America gets extra leverage for more oil.
Come to think of it, some Muslim countries I believe refuse to shake hands with a woman president ,veep or any other political representative.
Forget the scenario- everybody back to square one!

Posted by: all or nothing | May 6, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"and doesn't have the testicular fortitude to accept a Lincoln/Douglas debate."

You are some piece of work, calling Obama out on his stones when you cry "I'm telling! I'm telling!" whenever you get placed in check.

Posted by: bondjedi | May 6, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Seeking to round out its collection of White House obfuscaters, CNN has announced that it will add Frances Townsend to its roster of contributers. Unlike her former White House colleague and now-fellow CNN commenter Tony Snow -- the utility player of White House spin -- Fran is bringing her expertise to bear on issues of homeland security.

And what better source of objective, insightful analysis than a former Homeland Security Adviser to the President? Witness this gem of intelligence insight, where Townsend explains that she doesn't know whether al-Qaida was in Iraq prior to the Iraq war, because she wasn't at the briefing (it seems like a lot of officials missed that meeting). Or how about this nugget of nuanced punditry, where Townsend claims Al-Qaida may try to disrupt the 2008 elections, even while admitting there is "no specific intelligence" that supports the idea. Of course, since "may" just means "possible," then Townsend's anaylsis is correct, just like the idea that Snow and Townsend may provide unbiased commentary to the American discourse.

Posted by: the rightwing media | May 6, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"Complaining about 'activist judges' is a dog whistle to social conservatives that normal human beings don't hear.
Posted by: bsimon | May 6, 2008 4:11 PM "

but a total turn off to disaffected Ds and independents.

Posted by: Leichtman | May 6, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse


Hmm, I really can't see it, and I'm tempted to offer to buy you a drink if Al Gore gets the nom. Plus, I think Blarg's probably right that Al Gore doesn't want the nomination. And it's a bit late for him to get an organization in place to try to win in November.

The Dem base (along with interested Republicans and Independents) have spent months now watching polls, debating back and forth the fairest way of dealing delegates, superdelegates, MI, FL, and so on. To throw out all of that entirely and hand the nomination to someone who didn't receive any votes (other than maybe a few write-ins or something) would really seem illegitimate in the eyes of the voters.

Since sports comparisons seem to be in vogue here, and the campaign has, in a way, become a bit like a sporting event, I'd put it this way. What if, at the end of a bitterly contested football games between, say Notre Dame and Michigan, the refs decided that both teams had played so hard that the best thing was to declare that USC had won the game? Instead of one set of fans being disappointed, both would be. That's hardly a good outcome.

Actually, I've gotta differ with you over McCain's skill as a campaigner as well. I don't really dislike him, or anything, but I don't think he's a very good campaigner. He's undisciplined and uneven, he admits he's not that interested in economics in a year when jobs are one of the biggest election issues, he still has to deal with financial issues surrounding his possible violation of McCain-Feingold, and even though he considers his national security credentials his main selling point, he doesn't seem to be all that clear on the difference between Sunni and Shi'a with he doesn't have Lieberman around to correct him. Perhaps it's just those rose-colored glasses that I'm wearing, but while I agree with you that HRC and BHO have flaws, I think McCain certainly does too, and once he has to fight a 1-on-1 campaign, I think he'll find it difficult.

Just my 2 c.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, didn't Bill say that Hillary had to win Ohio AND Texas? As is clear now, she lost the delegate count in Texas.

Let's focus on the real issue: how will the superdelegates break?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

That CC professes to be addicted to SportsCenter is reflected in The Fix's reporting style. You have lots of "sports fans" who lack the discipline or attention span to actually watch a whole game; they just catch the highlights on ESPN or Fox Sports. Instead of highlights, here we get sound bites and the "CW."

The Fix obsession with garbage like Rev. Wright sounds like the yob who gobbles down a steady diet of alley-oop highlights and snappy (not) Stuart Scott banter, and thinks that's all there is to basketball. Of late, there is little nuance and perspective, just the parroting of the "conventional wisdom" from the usual suspects passed off as expert analysis. What The Fix is legitimately good at is eliciting that "you are there" feeling when "reporting" the latest Clinton conference call, doing so by passing the latest spin on to the massses - raw, unfiltered, and uncritical.

I can see why the editors have been trying to restrain the people who post here. They are in danger of overshadowing the main event.

Posted by: bondjedi | May 6, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

scrivener, I do love your enthusiasm, though :-) I particularly love your enthusiasm for Al Gore, a great man, yet a great man who, had he only won his home state, would have been our president instead of Shrub.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

This is exactly what Senator Obama said after losing Pa. Shouldn't we take him at his own word?

"Obama looking for 2 out of 3 in weeks ahead, hopes Indiana breaks his way.

The Associated PressPublished: April 12, 2008

"MUNCIE, Ind.: Barack Obama sees himself with a disadvantage in Pennsylvania and with an advantage in North Carolina.

"So Indiana may end up being the TIEBREAKER," he said this week.

"As he completes a four-day tour of the Hoosier state, that's the Illinois senator's assessment of the Democratic presidential contests in the coming three weeks."

He once again outspends his opponent 2:1, calls Indiana the Tiebreaker and doesn't have the testicular fortitude to accept a Lincoln/Douglas debate. Will that change in Portland if he loses Indiana tonight?

Posted by: Leichtman | May 6, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Seriously. bsimon, you get the day shift to debunk scrivener's crazy theory, I get the night shift.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse


I didn't say the third way will happen. I simply say it's the only way to avoid likely defeat in the fall.

In fact it probably won't happen. Because the Dems are experts when it comes to losing.

Time for my constitutional...

Posted by: scrivener | May 6, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

scrivener writes
"Neither of your descriptions apply. Maybe it won't be Gore, but the supers won't go with Obama if he can't deliver the 'burbs and rural areas... and they'd rather not reward a mutinous Hillary with the nomination.

There is a third way. I think they'll find it. If they stick with Obama they will lose. If they nominate Hillary, they will lose."

Scrivener, you've clearly spent far too much time convincing yourself that your pet theory is correct. Get outside. Some fresh air will do you some good.

Posted by: bsimon | May 6, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"McCain identified the battle over the proper role of the judiciary as "one of the defining issues of this presidential election." "

McCain is apparenlty still more concerned about rallying the base than about attracting swing voters. The makeup of the judiciary doesn't register on the collective radar of swing voters, being lost in the shadow projected by 1) the economy and 2) the war.

Complaining about 'activist judges' is a dog whistle to social conservatives that normal human beings don't hear.

Posted by: bsimon | May 6, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

mark the b.o.p. was on the appellant's challenging the voter id to show that the voter id requirement would prevent anyone from voting while the justices totally ignored proof that Indiana could not show any proof of actual voter fraud that necessitated this mandate. I believe that Ga's requirements are more onorous and require purchases of id cards even if they can't afford to; seems like cost to vote is meaningless by this court and they would be comfortable requiring that burden burden on the poor today. I always saw it analogous to a poll tax but the justices did not seem to care much even if a poll tax requirement is reimposed. I doubt they could count on one hand examples nationally of voter fraud the GOP disingeuously claims is so prevalent, but the b.o.p. was placed on the appellants to prove that any Indiana voter given a voter id requirements was disenfranchised. A hypothetical that is real but difficult to establish empirical proof.

Posted by: Leichtman | May 6, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Im a bit tire of the same ole hair club for men that thinks they know it all. Its obvious that the male ego is over inflated which make them run for president even if they are inept. Small hung guys have been creating problems for the last 3000 years.

Time for a real change. Vote for Hillary.

Posted by: hhkeller | May 6, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse


Neither of your descriptions apply. Maybe it won't be Gore, but the supers won't go with Obama if he can't deliver the 'burbs and rural areas... and they'd rather not reward a mutinous Hillary with the nomination.

There is a third way. I think they'll find it. If they stick with Obama they will lose. If they nominate Hillary, they will lose.

So faced with those options, Al Gore (or even John Edwards) doesn't look so bad. Hell, neither does John Kerry; just keep him off the windsurf board. Kerry was not that bad of a candidate; with a bit more muscle and a strong running mate, he could make emerge as a viable alternate candidate.

Bottom line for the supers: if you don't think out of the box, you're boxed in.

Posted by: scrivener | May 6, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Today senator Clinton said I'm going to take it right to OPEC, and I thought to myself you say you've been in the White House for eight years and you've had two terms as a United States Senator, and haven't said a word about OPEC. And now suddenly your going to take it right to OPEC, when you have opposed fuel efficiency standards that would actually reduce demand for oil and put OPEC in a bind, that's not being straight with the American people.

Posted by: SMS | May 6, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Could Hillary who has got little chance throw her delegates at Gore to stump Obamas'chances. Then she would be a "Kingmaker " in your eyes or not?
You seem to love your sole idea of Obama being Kingmaker. What about the trailing candidate getting a chance. Don,t understand why you just love Obama?

Posted by: all or nothing | May 6, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse


If the Dems win under the "third way" scenario, they get a black vice president. So that's history-making -- and being VP has its perks. Just ask Cheney.

Secondly, I've never bought this line that the Dems have "two terrific candidates." Each has fatal flaws. Arguably, Hillary's the more distasteful to the Dem base, which she's gone out of her way to alienate with her polarizing and pandering.

As for Gore's military service... don't discount the fact that the military-industrial complex (aka the power elite) will not accept a beginner with personal baggage as their president. Maybe in four years Obama would have earned his stripes, having served as VP. But he cannot command sufficient respect to lead the nation in this cycle. Bill Clinton may have been right when he called it a "fairy tale."

If the Dems would take off the rose-colored glasses, they could see that they are facing almost certain defeat in the fall with their current candidates. Call John McCain "McBush" if you must, but he's a decent man capable of attracting many disaffected Dems and independents, maybe even a large number of blacks and disaffected youth if Hillary gets the nomination.

An Al Gore type can keep 'em in the fold. Neither Hillary nor Barack can.

Wait until McCain names Colin Powell as his VP. If McCain faces Hillary, he'd win the black vote with Powell as his running mate.

The supers understand all of this. Don't listen to the media pundits and their delegate tallies. Delegate counts will not decide this race. Electability will.

The Dems only salvation is the fact that their nominating system does NOT give "all power to the people," as they used to chant back in the day...

Posted by: scivener | May 6, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Always enjoy coming back here now and then to read what the wingnuts actually think.

And to see how deeply they have descended into desperation.

You'd have thought after 2006 they might show a little humility and a simple grasp on the realities they are surrounded by, but apparently they are still foisting their laughable improbabilities on everyone as certitudes.

It is as if they are all having a McCain moment.

Heard a young fella recently, after watching his dad stumble on a memory, describe it as "A McCain moment."

Not a senior moment, but "a McCain moment"

"McCain moment" as a coined-phrase is very versatile, could be used in response to an embarassing memory lapse, a temper tantrum, a flip-flop, or an awkward lie.

Or a dumb statement like "100 years."

The vernacular of street politics and it's ongoing evolution never ceases to amuse me.

Posted by: JEP | May 6, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

You're arguing the wrong point, Beren. It doesn't matter whether Gore would be a good candidate. The important thing is that he isn't running for president. If he wanted to be president, he'd have joined the race last year. Obviously, Al Gore has no interest in elective office anymore, and we just need to accept that.

If Gore were handed the nomination at the convention (which will NEVER HAPPEN), he's going to get destroyed in the election. The fact that he got the nomination without actually competing will make him an incredibly weak candidate. And legions of Democratic voters would stay home to protest the fact that all of their votes, time, and money were wasted during the primary. scrivener's plan is awful; I assume he's either a Republican trying to screw up the Democrats' chances or he's clinically insane. Or, possibly, both.

Posted by: Blarg | May 6, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

William Abu Zayd Ayers
Barack Hussain Obama
Louis Farrahkhan

Only one of them is telling the truth. Only one of them letting people know their true identify. Obama is lying about his heredity and intentions

Posted by: Seed of Change | May 6, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse addition to some posts of last night. I had posted that Augustine and several other early chruch fathers of Christianity were black and African. Later that night, the ever intellectually smug and lazy, Nor'Easter, flat out stated that this was an invention. So, I spent a few minutes over lunch referencing this.

Augustine is identified in his diary as being a Berber, and a member of the Numidians. The Wikipedia article, for those too lazy to read, bears this out, too.

In "NORTH AFRICAN CHURCH FATHERS: THE CLASH BETWEEN CHRIST AND CULTURE AND THE FREEDOM OF MAN", several other African church fathers are identified and discussed. These include Tertullian. This is recognized and, again, verified in, an excellent article on the early chruch father, where many more are discussed.

A simple search, using YAHOO and "african church fathers" as the search filter, will bring to light hundreds of citations.

I know this is a wasteed effort on bumkins that take so much pride in their ignorance as does Nor'Easter, but it is not meant for him/her/IT, it is meant to correct the bad odor left behind by their attacks on people merelty attempting to discuss issues and their butting in with their dishonest and evil asides.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | May 6, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Hoosiers is certainly the best sports movie ever. While Major League, Slap Shot, and Caddyshack are great flicks, they're comedies that don't penetrate to the the importance of sports to those of us who played high school and college sports (basketball in my case) and those who enjoy watching and rooting for their teams. In so many unnameable ways, Hoosiers shows what it's like to love a game - the competition, the fans, and above all the comraderie. I've spent 10 minutes typing out sentences and deleting them, trying to express this but I've deleted all of them. If you've experienced it then you know what I'm talking about, if not than Hoosiers is the best approximation you'll get.

Posted by: G | May 6, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

crt12, that was well said.

I would add that all of the current Justices save one are eminently qualified by professional standards, and all but perhaps two maintain a judicial temperament at all relevant times.

The "activist - restrainist" distinction is not generally understood by non-lawyers.
Politicians use the words as code for attacking opinions they do not like.

It is, in legal terms, "restrainist" to place the burden on one attacking the validity of a statute, either on its face or in its enforcement. Deference to Congress or even to a state legislature is "restrainist". Even the most "restrained" Court will set aside a law unconstitutional on its face or in a proven application. But it would place a greater burden on the individual than on the state.

The Indiana voter registration case used a restrainist analysis. Because IN had no evidence of voter fraud ever, if the individuals had produced solid evidence of exclusion, they might have won even in an environment of restraint. In other words, John Roberts as the voters' lawyer might have cleaned Indiana's clock.

I seek commentary from other lawyers about this as well.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 6, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Norman Dale: "I love you guys."

Posted by: scott032 | May 6, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse


I appreciate your comments. I would offer a few counterpoints, though. First, I don't think that being a veteran makes much of a difference for Dems (see Kerry, John). And I do think that if the 2000 election becomes an issue then it will tend to have the effect of putting everyone on the side they were on back then. There are a lot of independents who voted for Bush back then but are leaning Dem right now (I know some of them). Going back to that fight might make some of them reconsider that.

It would be one thing if the main dynamic in the Dem primary were that A's supporters really hated B and B's supporters really hated A. Then it might make sense to offer C as an alternative acceptable to both parties. But for all the animosity that's been created, I think the underlying dynamic is really still that A's supporters are really excited about A and B's supporters are really excited about B. In such a situation it makes no sense to pick C, when neither A's supporters nor B's are really excited about C. Plus, as much as I dislike identity politics, can't you see the story: The historic opportunity to have either the first female president or the first African American president will (once again) produce a white male president. I think Al Gore as the nominee would really disappoint both sides.


Posted by: Beren | May 6, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Jimmy Chitwood: "I'll make it."

Posted by: billyc123 | May 6, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I think the good Rev. Wright hit Obama below the water line. He's taking on water faster than he can bail, and at this point Hillary is going to be able to go into the convention with a very compelling "big states, the states we gotta win, and momentum" argument. I'm not saying that's fair, but that's politics.

However, there are two silver linings to a Hillary nomination. First, if she loses, I think that wakes Democratic leadership to the inescapable conclusion that nationally, the leadership might be more incompetent than W, and that's saying something. No more, "Well, we had a bad candidate, or they just played more dirty tricks, or we just beat ourselves." I'll be 40 this August, and if Hillary loses, there will have been only 2 Democratic presidents in my lifetime. Hello, get a clue.

But if she WINS, then all these Hillary-phobes trying to prop her up against the more "electable" Obama will have to go to bed every night for the rest of their lives knowing they helped put the person they hate most in the White House. Frankly, that would be nice. Poetic justice.

So it's a win-win, if you want to find a way to put a positive spin on this most depressing turn of events.

Posted by: dave | May 6, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse


Gore's a Middle-of-the-Road liberal in the classic sense. He's also a military veteran who is known to the military and intelligence communities. I don't see him as polarizing, except maybe to global warming skeptics. As for the scars of 2000, I'm not sure that reminding the electorate that Gore won the popular vote is such a bad thing...

Hillary's the polarizer. How can the Dem leaders she treasonously called "elitists" reward her with the nomination? When she and her husband have lost the black vote?

The point is, why should Hillary be considered the only alternative? That's why they have conventions -- to pick candidates who can win, and win in real time -- not base their decisions on primaries held many months ago, before the battlefield was fully shaped...

Posted by: scrivener | May 6, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

crt12, Thank you for your obviously learned opinion. I will continue to research the matter more fully, but hold out ultimate hope that Alito, in his Originalist glory, will someday be granted his due. Say what you will about Chief Justice Rehnquist; but I have a soft spot for his court ever since 2000.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 6, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

In his speech today at Wake Forest University, McCain identified the battle over the proper role of the judiciary as "one of the defining issues of this presidential election."

Proud, I would argue that this demonstrates just how out of touch McCain is. I don't know a lot, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that the role of the judiciary will *NOT* be a defining issue of this election.

And are you serious about Alito? He got on the bench in 2006.

Posted by: rpy1 | May 6, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse


What you say is interesting. Certainly Gore would bring some Dems that Obama seems less likely to. But I think that Gore would be much less likely to win independents than Obama is. He's also a more polarizing figure, because just having him in the race means we have to refight all the battles over the 2000 election. IMHO, of course.


Posted by: Beren | May 6, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Why are Republicans so worried about a candidate (Obama) that they say they aren't worried about?

If I read my right-wing pronouncements right, Obama is every weak character and personality trait possible.

Hardly worth the time of the party of 100 years. :)

Posted by: cskendrick | May 6, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Just voted in South Bend. While I was filling in the ballot an elderly man came in wanting to vote in both primaries. When he was told that he had to pick one, he announced that he wanted a Dem ballot, even though he was a Republican, just because he didn't want that [something inaudible referring to Obama] to have a chance to become president in Nov. Just FWIW. So I guess I know who canceled out _my_ vote. :)


Posted by: Beren | May 6, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm becoming a WOW fan.

Your scenario holds -- UNLESS Barack pulls the power play, becomes the kingmaker, and makes his gambit for 16 YEARS in the White House... by throwing his delegates to, say, Al Gore and running with him as his VP (thus checkmating Hillary).

It's the ONLY WAY he can "win". He cannot win the presidential nomination. Not this year. Not this time. Where's his "audacity" of taking the long view? Hey, it worked for Nixon... or is that not a good argument to make among this crowd...

Posted by: scrivener | May 6, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

If Obama has a bunch of superdelegates lined up, I'm honestly not sure why Obama hasn't simply trotted them out. Taking the lead among superdelegates would more or less put the race out of reach for Clinton. A few superdelegates seem to drift toward Obama each week, but the fact that we haven't seen more indicates that a lot are probably still hesitant to commit. They need to see something decisive in the votes before committing, like a double-win on Obama's part today.

On the other hand, a shock double-win by Clinton could put superdelegates back into considering her.

Posted by: blert | May 6, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"Lake County . . . the area is covered by a portion of the Chicago media market -- meaning voters there have long been accustomed to the Illinois Senator"

The above has been parroted as conventional wisdom about 9 million times in the last two weeks. Does anyone really think some voter in NW Indiana is going to say, "Oh, Obama. Yeah, that's the guy I saw on my local news 3 years ago. I think I'll vote for him."

Posted by: Steve | May 6, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse


I normally don't respond to you, because I think it's not going to be productive. Besides, on most topics with which you're concerned, I feel woefully inadequate: you talk about rising gas prices, and I'm a latte-sipping elite who takes public transportation; you talk about praying with GWB, and I'm just a lowly, idol-worshipping roman catholic who goes to that bitter, working class church.

But taking on the topic of "favorite supreme court justices" puts you squarely in my court, because (predictably) I'm one of those money-grubbing, fast-talking swindlers with a JD. And claiming that those two are the best of all time is an affront to my entire immoral, indecent profession.

I'm just going to dismiss Alito out on a procedural defect. Regardless of his views or temperment, he simply hasn't been on the court for long enough to render a judgment as to his impact or relevance. When you consider that Stevens' tenure equals that of Alito's entire legal career, you realize its a bit premature to be talking about Sammy's legacy.

On Rehnquist, I can't deny his impact. In his early years on the court, he penned countless solo dissents that are now the law of the land. Amazing body of work from an influence point of view. But his jurisprudence was often lazy and uninspired. Just read Illinois v. Gates, his seminal 4th Amendment case, and probably the most lazy factual analysis ever performed by a sitting judge. He just slides right over the fact that the entire case is based on defendants' getting on I-95 northbound in Miami, which is somehow supposed to provide probable cause that they were (a) driving to Chicago (b) with drugs. That gloss would have gotten a C in my legal writing class.

Moreover, even excusing Rehnquist's failings, you denigrate the work of countless other Supreme Court justices, who have been no less "Founding Fathers" for what America really means than Jefferson and Madison. Take John Marshall, for example. Marbury v. Madison not only snatched back power from the executive before it was too late, but the opinion did it in such a way as to prevent an all-out constitutional crisis. Or Oliver Wendell Holmes, who, apart from being one of the most colorful men ever to pick up a pen, wrote the dissent to one of the most discredited cases in the reporters, Lochner v. New York. (Buck v. Bell was, however, a mark on his resume, as I'm sure you know, Proud.) Or Brandeis, who articulated the exclusionary rule decades before it became the law of the land in Katz.

And I can't let this go without referencing Earl Warren's opinion in Loving v. Virginia. Say what you will about the Warren Court. There may have been excesses as they waded through the racism and hate that pervaded the Jim Crow era. But I defy you to say that the Loving opinion is anything but the most perfect expression of American outrage at injustice that has ever been written. Even beyond what Earl Warren did for the least of us, with his tireless work to update the civil rights and criminal justice system to something modern and human, and even setting aside that the topic of Loving is somewhat idiosyncratic, it is simply a beacon for what judges should be what our society aspires to offer.

Again, sorry for ending my silence toward you in such a longwinded manner. I know I likely don't count because I'm a librul. But believe me when I say you're flat wrong about the supremes.

Posted by: crt12 | May 6, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

What happens today means little - if each candidate can count on at least an average of 45% in each state, then only 18 delegates are up for grab today.

Not going to do much to change the race.

Obama as a candidate looks so tired and worn - he knows what will come this month ahead and he will take a pounding. West Virginia, Kentucky, then the DNC Rules Committee and then the Puerto Rico primary.


This race is headed to a territory in which the candidates are 50 delegates apart. With 50 Add-on superdelegates yet to be chosen and the superdelegates from Florida and Michigan lining up, that 50 delegate margin is not going to look so firm.


Obama has done OK however his lead will dwindle and there will still be about 200 Superdelegates which do not want to make a decision - which will put both candidates in a bind.

Neither candidate is going to be able to put together a majority which will probably be around 2135 delegates.

Enjoy !!!!

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 6, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse


In Indiana, Republicans can request a Dem ballot and vote in the Dem primary, because there is no voter registration by party.

While it might sound like an excuse, it's possible that a big Hillary victory in IND could be partially explained by Republicans voting for her in the Dem primary -- Rush's Operation Chaos.

In North Carolina, only independents can vote in either primary. That should help Obama maintain his lead.

In sum, tonight is shaping up as another split decision, as voters tire of both candidates and the entire political process.

BUT... If Barack again fails to carry metropolitan suburbs, and does poorly in rural areas, supers will grow even more anxious.

Likely outcome: a split decision that further weakens Obama's case and strenghtens Hillary's resolve to go all the way.


Obama better parlay the delegates he's got and not wait too much longer, because a further weakening portends superdelegate defections from the Obama camp.

Did you get a chance to watch the movie "The Best Man," Barack? Or at least read the plot summary on the net? Hillary cannot be stopped unless you take a bold move, become the party kingmaker, and throw your delegates to a third candidate like Al Gore -- a candidate who can capture Hillary's base of support, a candidate who has a better chance to win than either Barack or Hillary.

Obama must do this before another scandal breaks forth from his camp, and before Hillary convinces more supers that she's the only alternative.

By taking a bold move, Barack would show once and for that he's got the political cajones to beat Hillary at her game (and yes, Barack, you have to play the game...)

We'll soon find out whether Obama is a real player, or merely a dreamer with a martyr complex.

Posted by: scrivener | May 6, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The only reason Obama's gotten the superdelegates he has is that he's brought them with promises of sharing his data base of all the losers that donated to him.

Obama's supporters are the biggest rubes in history.

Obama's using you guys like he's used everyone else in his life.

Good luck when he throws you under the bus with the rest of the people who made the mistake of getting involved with him.

He's playing for suckers and you can't line up fast enough to do it.

Remember "the walrus and the carpenter"

You're Barry's Oysters.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand how we're supposed to watch returns in particular areas. (Lake County and the 9th District.) Returns for the entire state come in at the same time. By the time there are reliable returns for those areas, there's also data for the rest of the state. So you don't need to read the tea leaves and guess what's going to happen; you can look at the actual results.

Posted by: Blarg | May 6, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, out on the campaign trail....

In his speech today at Wake Forest University, McCain identified the battle over the proper role of the judiciary as "one of the defining issues of this presidential election."

Defending the Constitution's separation of powers, he forcefully decried how the decades-long "common and systematic abuse of our federal courts" by judicial activists has usurped the power of the American people to address policy questions through the democratic process.

McCain drew a line between his own commitment to judges who will practice judicial restraint and Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's overt embrace of liberal judicial activism.

Obama and Clinton, he observed in understated fashion, "don't seem to mind when fundamental questions of social policy are preemptively decided by judges instead of by the people and their elected representatives."

He criticized both Obama and Clinton for their votes against the nominations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito and for the philosophy of judicial activism that underlay their votes.

In terms of their "judicial ability, experience, philosophy, and temperament," McCain cited both Roberts and Alito as "the model for my own nominees if that responsibility falls to me."

And, in what might be called a no-more-Souters, no-more-Miers pledge, he promised to nominate judicial candidates "with a proven record of excellence in the law, and a proven commitment to judicial restraint" -- and not to rely on "a hunch, a hope, and a good first impression."

Best SC Justices of all time: Rhenquist and Alito, imho.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 6, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Not that Hoosiers isn't a good movie, but Major League, Caddy Shack, Slap Shot, Rounders and Seabiscuit beat out Hoosiers any day.

Posted by: muD | May 6, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

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