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May 15, 2008

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Steve read the best comment about this in WaPo coverage (I think):

"The ambulance chaser speaks!"

'Nuff said. :)

I'm an Edwards guy, but I find the endorsement puzzling too. For all the rhetorical bouquets that JRE threw at Obama yesterday, I really can't discern any deep commitment on the latter's part to fighting poverty. Perhaps Edwards believes as he said yesterday that Obama is a a talented, game-changing pol who can expand the possibilities by winning decisively and then attacking our neglected priorities. I'm afraid that I don't believe that and that Obama's commitment to anything is a mile wide rhetorically but about an inch deep when it comes to risking anything or putting his ass on the line. Hopefully I'm wrong about that. It kinda didn't sit well with me either that Edwards played along with a scenario where Obama tried (again) to steal Clinton's thunder and put her away (again). For whatever reason, and I'm thinking about Kennedy's outburst the other day too, it seems the Dem establishment hates Clinton and wants her gone, and I was sorry to see Edwards (whether he meant it or not) helping that along.

It really really bugs me when clinton supporters claim a popular vote lead predicated on discounting 4 states with sanctioned contests while counting 2 states with unsanctioned contests. So much for the principle of every voice counting. And it always seemed so genuine and not-at-all opportunistic!

I know that's not what you've explicitly argued here, but why is this blatant and pernicous inconsistency never called out by ostensibly fair-minded Clinton supporters?

I suppose it's possible Clinton will have more popular votes if all states are counted (including the caucus ones and the problematic votes in FL and MI) if she does really well with the rest, but she's likely to win Kentucky and Puerto Rico while Obama is likely to win Oregon, Idaho, Montana and New Mexico, no? So how is that going to work?

Greg:

Re your question, I agree that you can't claim a popular-vote lead using FL and MI without using the 110K lead estimate that Obama enjoys from the caucus states. I also agree that counting 328K for HRC in MI to 0 for Obama is problematic and that allocating the 238K in MI for Uncommitted to him is fairer if you choose to count the popular vote there.

On the endgame, I also agree that it's not LIKELY that HRC will wind up with the popular-vote lead at the end, but unpredictable variables like the size of turnout and the actual margins when people vote can drastically affect the outcome. Frankly no one has a crystal ball when it comes to turnout or margin, which is why I'm happy to let things play out.

On the vote count... I would prefer to include the things that have official totals, and all the candidates... in other words, the total which includes Florida, but leaves out the 4 caucuses that are, really "best guesses" of results we will probably never know (an argument, really, for a fairer process in which we express a preference for primaries over caucuses, as it increases turnout and provides more accurate results). That "Florida inclusive" tally, excluding Michigan, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/democratic_vote_count.html> has Obama up by less than 300,000. I tend to think, right now, that once Puerto Rico votes, Clinton will lead that total, and Obama will not catch up with victories, if they happen, in Montana and South Dakota.

I'm glad Weboy responded to greg. Personally, I think all math & most #s being thrown around by both sides are suspect. As the folks over at MyDD seem to be doing the best job of observing, the goal posts keep moving in this campaign.

No one is every going to agree on what matters most, and pp have different ways of calculating all of these #s - as evidenced by Weboy's valid argument above.

To me, if Clinton can win the perception contest about popular vote with whatever #s she has, than that's more than enough for me. It's all in the automatic delegates hands anyway.

I absolutely agree that the popular vote concept is problematic in this campaign and reasonable people can differ on how to count it. That is precisely why I didn't like weboy's deliberate insinuation that Obama is on the verge of an illegitimate 2000-esque victory by technicality, while the will of the people goes ignored. Please.

And this is a quibble, by why is Oregon relegated to small state status whereas Kentucky or PR are supposed to be a major contest? My recollection is hazy but I'm pretty sure they all have similar pop, around 4 m each...and OR probably will have a higher turnout because it's a blue state.

You really don't think Obama has won this in part by running out the clock?

Honestly, I don't know what you mean.

I think he would have loved to have this finished sooner but got tripped up by plagirism-gate, then Wright-gate, then bitter-gate, etc.. I don't think I'm answering you though.

Look, I don't think Obama's winning the nomination is "victory by technicality"; I do think it's problematic to have the person who hasn't won a majority of popular votes, but put together a delegate majority, as the nominee. And yes, honestly, that's been a concern of mine in scenarios where Clinton would have gotten the delegates, but not be winning the popular vote vs. Obama.

Beyond all of this math maneuvering, after all is the real problem: a very even split within the party, which requires some delicacy, finesse, and mutual support to resolve. I've said before, and I'll say again: I think it falls pretty heavily on Obama, if he plans to be the nominee, to do the work of bringing people together. And that hasn't happened yet. And really, time is running out on doing it in a way that, in June, settles this issue in anything but the most narrowly mathematical way. That won't make Obama's claim to winning illegitimate or "winning by technicality"... but it's not going to exactly eliminate that perception either, I don't think.

PS, my Mom also pointed out to me that this whole post, in some ways, is inartfully worded; my apologies for on the fly composing late at night, and not doing a full reread in the morning prior to posting. It's entirely possible that my original words would leave the impression greg draws. It was, however, not my intention to suggest it as strongly as he concludes it to be.

Fair enough, thank you for clarifying. FWIW I agree that the pop vote winner should always be *the* winner, and I think we should all agree the system is in dire need of an overhaul. I won't hold my breath on that though, considering we still have the antiquated electoral college, 8 years after the 2000 debacle.

This pic says something not so nice about the relationship between Obama and Edwards, more specifically about Edwards.

While Obama is invested in the embrace, Edwards is clearly seeking approval elsewhere.

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