Monday, November 10, 2008

If This Isn't Worthy of a Post-Election Post, I Don't Know What Is

Time to meet your new White House, everyone. Today, you get Rahm Emanuel, newly anointed Chief-of-Staff, and professional bad-ass. provides you with all the information about him you will ever need.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why We Need to Win

"We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe" -- here the audience interrupted Palin with applause and cheers -- "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom."

- Governor Sarah Palin, 2 days ago

Do we need leadership in this country that distinguishes between "real" Americans and "fake" Americans? Between parts of the country that are "anti-American?" I cannot begin to describe how offensive I find these comments. How do you define what pro-American is? These talking heads seem to identify "Republican" with "American," and frankly there are two sides of the political debate here in the United States.

Although, after listening to what the other side has to offer over the past few months, I'm starting to feel like there's two sides to this debate in the same way that there were two sides of the McCarthy hearings.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What We're Up Against

All right, so maybe Homer Simpson wasn't the best strategic ploy to convince everyone to vote Democrat. But I think this video illustrates exactly what sort of campaign John McCain ran this year, and exactly why he does not deserve to be President of the United States.

It also illustrates why I'm a little scared of my own country.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Last Day to Register!!!

PLEASE make sure you and the people you know are registered to vote. This is Haverford - we're a small enough institution to ensure that if enough people actually care, we can't miss anyone.

Also, if this isn't enough to convince you to vote, I don't know what will:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hmm...Let's See...

God bless you, Sarah Palin. You must be Jon Stewart's favorite politician ever. He might actually vote Republican this year, just to have you around to make fun of (what good would you be back in Alaska?). However, I hope that everyone else (you know, those who aren't late-night comedians) doesn't vote based on that rationale.

While we're at it, enjoy John McCain being angry, and John McCain pretending to understand space travel:

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Will Make Them Famous, And You Will Know Their Names!

Borrowing the above line from John McCain, I would like to point out exactly who is responsible for voting against the bailout bill in the United States House of Representatives today. No, it's not a perfect bill, but it is a solution that had been negotiated for over a week, and did in fact contain some necessary home-owner protections and other important provisions that are key to getting the economy back on its feet.

You will know their names. These are the congressmen who voted against the Bailout Plan, most of them because they're running in close re-election races, not because they actually didn't think it was important.

I am proud to say, as a Haverford student, that Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA) buried partisan concerns and stood with the Democratic Party leadership to try and bring some relief to this economic crisis.

Upon this news, the Dow dropped 778 points today, an all-time record, putting the stock market below where it was on President Bush's first day in office.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Republican Senators Under Seige

After the 2004 elections, the Democratic Party was faced with a major deficit in the United States Senate. Minority Leader Tom Daschle even last his seat. Holding only 44 seats, and having just taken a beating at the hands of the GOP, things looked grim.

But oh, how the times have changed. Democrats now hold a 50-seat majority + 1 Independent (thanks for that one, Joe), and look to be in prime position to win several more seats this time around. Of course, the magic number is 60 seats - the amount needed to prevent Republican obstructionism and get votes to the Senate floor. On paper, a +10 victory would seem almost impossible, but the realities of this year's races give us a chance.

Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Colorado seem to be all but locked in for the Democratic challengers in those states. So congratulations Mark Warner, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, and Mark Udall on your impending elections as United States Senators. Beyond those races, there are a number of extremely tight contests across the country:

--> Alaska's embattled, crotchety Senator Ted Stevens (R) is currently on trial for corruption. The outcome will decide whether or not he has any chance to beat challenger Mark Begich (D). Let's see how long Sarah Palin's coattails really are.

--> In Oregon, Democratic State Speaker of the House Jeff Merkley is locked in a dead-heat with incumbent Gordon Smith (R), who has attempted to save his seat by running ads touting his close relationship with the next President of the United States - Barack Obama. Just goes to show how out-of-fashion the Republican brand is this year.

--> In Minnesota, comedian-turned-politician Al Franken is also roughly tied with incumbent Norm Coleman, who won his seat in 2002 after his opponent passed away in a plane crash two weeks before the election. Some may question Franken's qualifications to be a Senator, but remember that this is the state that elected Jesse Ventura. Also, as Franken likes to point out, he's "the only New York Jew in this race who actually grew up in Minnesota."

--> In Mississippi, former Governor Ronnie Musgrove (D) is locked in a surprisingly close battle with incumbent appointee Roger Wicker (R).

--> North Carolina also features one of the most exciting races of this cycle. Elizabeth Dole was expected to win reelection handily, but thanks to her desire to never actually be in the state of North Carolina, she currently trails State Senator Kay Hagan. This is a race that DSCC head Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will pour money into, because of how excited he is about Hagan's strong showing.

--> Finally, a new poll in Kentucky shows Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford tied with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R). This would be an enormous upset for the Democrats, even larger than the defeat of their minority leader 4 years ago.

A win in all 10 of these races would give Democrats the 60 seats, regardless of Senator Lieberman's mood. A win in 9 means we have to play nice with Joe for another 2 years. So just remember, the presidential election is far from the only interesting race to watch on November 4th. Keep an eye on these seats, so that we can see how effectively President Obama will be able to work with the Senate to get his agenda passed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

CNN Attacks Sexism - By the McCain Campaign

Thanks for this one...

I also believe in setting Sarah Palin free, so that she may return to Alaska and roam the land as she was meant to, instead of being stuck in Washington. In Alaska, she can still live in a white house because her office will be covered in snow.

I hope that you will all join me in freeing Sarah Palin, by voting for her return to Alaska on November 4th.

Monday, September 22, 2008

McCain Wages War on Facts, Facts Respond with "Tanks"

Steve Schmidt held a conference call today to press the media to scrutinize Senator Obama's campaign more closely. Steve Schmidt, for those unfamiliar, is Senator McCain's chief strategist on issues of mayhem, destruction, and overall naughtiness. Top campaign officials also report that he was not hugged enough as a child. He's welcome to stop by my apartment any time before Election Day for the biggest hug of his life - I'll hold him close and won't let go for 43 days.

Schmidt came out swinging today against the scourge of the GOP, The New York Times. He accused the liberal rag of failing to properly attack Obama to the same extent that McCain has felt the paper's wrath. Specifically, he whined about how, among other things, no one has pointed out that Senator Biden's son was a lobbyist for the banking industry. Of course, Hunter Biden was a lobbyist, although never for any credit card company or bank, but that didn't stop the McCain campaign. In fact, Jonathan Martin of Politico reports, shortly after Schmidt's rant was finished, RNC communications director Danny Diaz sent out a piece "to illuminate the connection." Anyone familiar with John McCain's line of attacks this fall can probably guess where the story originated: THE NEW YORK TIMES.

When pressed about the series of factual errors Schmidt made on the call, spokesman Brian Rogers, replied, "You are in the tank." Ladies and gentlemen, I give you John McCain's perception of our nation's journalists:

Meanwhile, it would be interesting how the media would react if your VP candidate would ever actually decide to take questions from the press. It's been 24 days - enough already. If she's qualified to be Vice-President, and potentially (shudder) President, then she's qualified enough to handle the U.S. media.

Obama's camp responded by pointing to a dark mark on McCain's past: the Keating Five scandal. They sent out a memo comparing the "more than 40" articles that the New York Times has written about Obama's "life, his religion, his childhood, his politics, his time in the state senate, his time in the U.S. Senate, his family, his religion, his friends, his fundraising and all other manner of associations" to the 0 articles they've written about McCain's incredibly questionable relationship with Charles Keating Jr., former chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. The Senate Ethics Committee accused McCain and 4 Democratic senators (this is how McCain views bi-partisanship) of interfering with an investigation into Keating's company.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Obama Argument

Well, for the first time in what seems like quite awhile, the Obama campaign exceeded expectations in its primary performance. With a 14 point trouncing in North Carolina and a mere 2 point defeat in Indiana, Obama made significant gains in both the delegate count and the popular vote. At this point it's fair to say that Clinton's chances of victory have dropped from "extremely unlikely" to "essentially impossible."

The Obama campaign has begun a fresh appeal to superdelegates after last night's results. From the Caucus Blog of the NYT, here's the letter Obama campaign manager David Plouffe is sending to superdels:

TO: Superdelegates

FROM: David Plouffe, Campaign Manager

RE: An Update on the Race for Delegates

DA: May 7, 2008

There are only six contests remaining in the Democratic primary calendar and only 217 pledged delegates left to be awarded. Only 7 percent of the pledged delegates remain on the table. There are 260 remaining undeclared superdelegates, for a total of 477 delegates left to be awarded.

With North Carolina and Indiana complete, Barack Obama only needs 172 total delegates to capture the Democratic nomination. This is only 36 percent of the total remaining delegates.

Conversely, Senator Clinton needs 326 delegates to reach the Democratic nomination, which represents a startling 68 percent of the remaining delegates.

With the Clinton path to the nomination getting even narrower, we expect new and wildly creative scenarios to emerge in the coming days. While those scenarios may be entertaining, they are not legitimate and will not be considered legitimate by this campaign or its millions of supporters, volunteers, and donors.

We believe it is exceedingly unlikely Senator Clinton will overtake our lead in the popular vote and in fact lost ground on that measure last night. However, the popular vote is a deeply flawed and illegitimate metric for deciding the nominee – since each campaign based their strategy on the acquisition of delegates. More importantly, the rules of the nomination are predicated on delegates, not popular vote.

Just as the Presidential election in November will be decided by the electoral college, not popular vote, the Democratic nomination is decided by delegates.

If we believed the popular vote was somehow the key measurement, we would have campaigned much more intensively in our home state of Illinois and in all the other populous states, in the pursuit of larger raw vote totals. But it is not the key measurement.

We played by the rules, set by you, the D.N.C. members, and campaigned as hard as we could, in as many places as we could, to acquire delegates. Essentially, the popular vote is not much better as a metric than basing the nominee on which candidate raised more money, has more volunteers, contacted more voters, or is taller.

The Clinton campaign was very clear about their own strategy until the numbers become too ominous for them. They were like a broken record , repeating ad nauseum that this nomination race is about delegates. Now, the word delegate has disappeared from their vocabulary, in an attempt to change the rules and create an alternative reality.

We want to be clear – we believe that the winner of a majority of pledged delegates will and should be the nominee of our party. And we estimate that after the Oregon and Kentucky primaries on May 20, we will have won a majority of the overall pledged delegates According to a recent news report, by even their most optimistic estimates the Clinton Campaign expects to trail by more than 100 pledged delegates and will then ask the superdelegates to overturn the will of the voters.

But of course superdelegates are free to and have been utilizing their own criteria for deciding who our nominee should be. Many are deciding on the basis of electability, a favorite Clinton refrain. And if you look at the numbers, during a period where the Clinton campaign has been making an increasingly strident pitch on electability, it is clear their argument is failing miserably with superdelegates.

Since February 5, the Obama campaign has netted 107 superdelegates, and the Clinton campaign only 21. Since the Pennsylvania primary, much of it during the challenging Rev. Wright period, we have netted 24 and the Clinton campaign 17.

At some point – we would argue that time is now – this ceases to be a theoretical exercise about how superdelegates view electability. The reality of the preferences in the last several weeks offer a clear guide of how strongly superdelegates feel Senator Obama will perform in November, both in building a winning campaign for the presidency as well as providing the best electoral climate across the country for all Democratic candidates.

It is important to note that Senator Obama leads Senator Clinton in superdelegate endorsements among Governors, United States Senators and members of the House of Representatives. These elected officials all have a keen sense for who our strongest nominee will be in November.

It is only among D.N.C. members where Senator Clinton holds a lead, which has been rapidly dwindling.

As we head into the final days of the campaign, we just wanted to be clear with you as a party leader, who will be instrumental in making the final decision of who our nominee will be, how we view the race at this point.

Senator Obama, our campaign and our supporters believe pledged delegates is the most legitimate metric for determining how this race has unfolded. It is simply the ratification of the D.N.C. rules – your rules – which we built this campaign and our strategy around.

Seems like a pretty strong case to me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Congressman Joe Sestak on the Colbert Report

This is pretty funny stuff... lasers mounted on dolphins...what type of naval ship would each candidate be?...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Well, that was an exciting 6 weeks or so. . .

And after a hard-fought battle, Hillary has pulled out the win. As everyone has been saying, it will come down to spin. Obama is focusing on the fact that he closed the gap--and in the long-term, that's definitely true:

But Hillary's got the stronger argument, I think. Considering how much money Obama has spent in PA in recent weeks (with an acceleration in the last few days), it's remarkable that Hillary was able to maintain basically the same lead. She'll be able to play the underdog card that she used so effectively post-New Hampshire.

As for the bigger picture? No way in hell she drops out now. Even though her chances of grabbing the primary are negligible--her victory tonight won't get her more than a handful of delegates--I'd be shocked to see her out of the race until after Indiana and North Carolina, which are on May 6th. For the good of the party, hopefully a strong performance from Obama will convince her that the Democrats are going to need unity against McCain.

Monday, April 21, 2008

VOTE on April 22nd!!

Please vote on April 22nd. The Haverford College Student Political Network will provide transportation to the polls. There is no excuse not to vote if you are registered in Pennsylvania.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Videos of Clinton's Visit

The local Philadelphia ABC News station has a video on Clinton's visit to Haverford. Check it out.

Also, check out this youtube video of the event. The camera is a bit shaky, but the video gives a good perspective of the event inside of Founders Hall.

The Haverblog also has some great pictures of the event with Hillary.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hillary Clinton Visits Haverford!

Hillary Clinton Speaks in Founders Hall, Photographed by Scott Schnur

Senator Hillary Clinton held a town hall style question and answer session in Founders Hall at Haverford today. The event was only open to students, faculty and community members who had received an invitation. However, the event was broadcast on a large screen outside on Founders Green. Hillary fielded questions with topics including immigration, education, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She wants Americans to see the election as an extensive job interview and asks voters to decide which candidate can do better against Senator John McCain in the general election.

Haverford students on Founders Green, watching Hillary on the big screen

There were some complaints by Haverford students about the limited amount of people allowed into the event. However, when the event was over, Hillary came outside and spoke to students on the green. She then greeted Haverford students at the rope line, signing autographs and taking pictures with Haverford students. Overall, the event seemed very successful. Many students and community members came to Founders Green to watch Hillary on the big screen.

Hillary Clinton talking to Haverford students after the event

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Michelle Obama Speaks at Haverford

Michelle Obama at Haverford College, photographed by Scott Schnur

During a campaign rally for Barack Obama at Haverford College, Michelle Obama spoke to an audience of over two thousand students, faculty, and community members about Barack's candidacy and the status of what she calls "normal folk." She stressed that at the beginning of Obama's campaign, the media portrayed Obama as an underdog, someone who could not raise money, create a strong support base of volunteers, or win primaries. As Barack exceeded everyone's expectations, the bar was set higher and expectations were raised. No matter what he did, it was never good enough.

Michelle Obama then related Barack's story to the story of everyday Americans, struggling to reach a bar that keeps moving away from them. She discussed Barack's upbringing as the son of a single mother. At the conclusion of her speech, Michelle Obama told the audience that change will be difficult, but Barack Obama is the president that we need to bring about this vital change.

Compared to Michelle Obama's speech at Villanova last month, her Haverford speech focused more on defending Barack against claims that he is elitist and "out of touch." She claimed that Barack “didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth.” She also discussed how she currently sees the world through her working-class upbringing, rather than through the eyes of a former Princeton and Harvard student.

There is a good description of her statements on elitism at the New York Times Politics Blog.

Edit: There is another article about Michelle Obama's visit from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Monday, April 14, 2008

No One Knows What's Going On In PA

Differences in polls aren't exactly unprecedented. But the flurry of seemingly contradictory polls of Democratic primary opinions in PA in recent days has been a bit ridiculous. If you haven't been following this, you have to see for yourself. I mean, Clinton's up by 4! Actually, 18! Now it's tied! And the most recent poll has her up by 20. Sheesh.

It's probably safe to say, however, that Clinton is in the lead; the question is by how much. It's still definitely a long shot for Obama to win the state, but a single-digit loss, considering where the polls were a few weeks ago, can be framed as a win.

The 20 point disparity is probably a gut reaction to Obama's comments on the working class last weekend that was trumpeted as elitist by the Clinton campaign. We'll have to see when the next set of polls comes out whether Clinton really got that considerable bump.

One thing is for sure about the primary in PA: Michelle Obama is going to be speaking at the Alumni Fieldhouse at Haverford tomorrow! Hopefully you grabbed a ticket.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Michelle Obama Rally at Haverford!

Michelle Obama is coming to Haverford College on Tuesday April 13th for a rally in the Alumni Fieldhouse. The event will be free and open to the public. Doors open at 2:30pm and the event will start at 3:30pm.

A ticket is required to attend this event. To find out how to obtain a ticket, follow this link:

Congressman Sestak at Haverford

Today, Congressman Joe Sestak came to Haverford to answer questions from Haverford students. Topics included gay marriage, why the congressman supports Hillary Clinton for president, and the congressman's experiences as Vice Admiral of the United States Navy.

Congressman Sestak at Haverford College, Photographed by Scott Schnur

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Congressman Joe Sestak is Coming to Haverford!

The Haverford College Democrats are hosting Congressman Joe Sestak for a speech, followed by a question and answer session, on Sunday April 13th at 5:00pm in Sharpless Auditorium.

Before he was elected to represent Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district, Congressman Sestak served in the United States Navy, where he reached the rank of Vice Admiral. In congress, he serves as the vice-chairman of the Small Business Committee and is also a member of the Education and Labor and Armed Services committees. Congressman Sestak will be answering questions from Haverford students, discussing current issues, and sharing his point of view on the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary and the 2008 election.

This event is free and open to all members of the Tri-College community. Please contact cbischak(at)haverford(dot)edu with any questions regarding the event.

Congressman Sestak Speaks in Congress about the Iraq War

Monday, April 07, 2008

Maybe Senior Campaign Officials Should Think Before They Act . . .

As has been a common theme this primary season, another campaign managed to shoot itself in the foot. Mark Penn, longtime Clintonite and Chief Strategist for Hillary's campaign, has stepped down after continuing to negotiate and lobby for a U.S. trade treaty with Colombia --a treaty Hillary opposes. WHOOPS. Quote from the NYT:

Mr. Penn, long a divisive figure within the Clinton camp, lost his pre-eminent position after revelations that he met with Colombia’s ambassador to the United States last Monday in his role as head of Burson-Marsteller. The Colombian government hired the lobbying firm last year under a $300,000 one-year contract to help secure passage of a bilateral trade treaty with the United States.

Mrs. Clinton strongly opposes the treaty, as do many Democrats in Congress and many American trade unions, who believe the treaty is unfair to American workers. Mrs. Clinton has also cited the Colombian government’s history of suppressing the labor union movement in that country.

It's worth noting, however, that Penn is not completely gone from the campaign: His firm will continue to do some polling and strategizing. Still, I guess it shows that, fundamentally, politics is not far removed from business.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

2003 Torture Memo Released

The NYT and WaPo report today on the public release of a 2003 Department of Justice memo giving military interrogators authority to torture (erm . . . " engage in harsh interrogation". . . ). Written by Office of Legal Counsel official John C. Yoo, the document was finally released after a Freedom of Information Act request from the ACLU. Of course, it provides an extremely narrow definition of what constitutes legal torture. Money quote from the NYT:

“The victim must experience intense pain or suffering of the kind that is equivalent to the pain that would be associated with serious physical injury so severe that death, organ failure or permanent damage resulting in a loss of significant body functions will likely result,” Mr. Yoo wrote.

Georgetown Prof Marty Lederman provides some additional solid analysis over at his blog. Key point: This is in many ways a new frontier for the imperial, unchecked executive power under President Bush.

Friday, March 28, 2008

CASEY TO ENDORSE OBAMA reports this morning that freshman Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is going to endorse Obama for the nomination, even joining him on a bus tour.

This is definitely significant. Casey is one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate--he is adamantly pro-life and a strong supporter of gun rights--and his main constituency is white, working-class men. Obama has gotten destroyed in that demographic in recent primaries, and this can help him make inroads in what is generally a strong Hillary group.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Well, I Guess It's One Way to Solve the Problem . . .

Akhil Reed Amar, a Yale Law Professor (and the author of several great books on Constitutional theory and history; America's Constitution: A Biography and The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction are particularly excellent if you're interested in the subject), has a piece up on Slate proposing a bizarre but legal solution to the tight Democratic primary. Money quote:

But which should it be: Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton? In fact, voters in November could actually endorse both versions of the ticket—truly, two presidents for the price of one. How? The Constitution's 25th Amendment allows for a new paradigm of political teamwork: The two Democratic candidates could publicly agree to take turns in the top slot.

Adopted in 1967 in the shadow of John F. Kennedy's assassination, the 25th Amendment allows presidents unilaterally to transfer presidential power to their vice presidents and enables presidents, with congressional consent, to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency should one arise. By creatively using the constitutional rules created by this amendment, the Democrats can, if they are so inclined, present the voters in November with a new kind of balanced ticket.

Seeing those two running together (as Co-Presidents, no less) would produce some hilarious and awkward moments on the campaign trail, hmm? Sounds like fun.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Wright Stuff

Obama's race speech--definitely worth watching.

Hillary Up Big in PA

Looks like Hillary's win in Ohio and "win" in Texas (she got fewer delegates than Obama in the latter) have had the desired effect in the final frontier of Pennsylvania. Though Obama was pulling close at the end of February, polls are showing Hillary with a high double-digit lead, most recently 16 points in a Franklin and Marshall poll. (It is worth pointing out that the poll was taking at the height of the Wright mess, and before Obama's widely-acclaimed race speech.)

But will it matter?

Short answer: Probably not. Giving Hillary solid wins in all of the remaining states (including a 16 point win in PA) and a split in the remaining superdelegates on the CNN delegate counter, she still loses by nearly 100 delegates:

The Wright debacle was probably Hillary's last chance to really slam Obama, and it didn't work very well. She needs a miracle to pull this one out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Haverford Democrats See Michelle Obama at Villanova

A few members of the Haverford College Democrats traveled to Villanova University last Friday to see Michelle Obama, the wife of Barack Obama, speak. Amy Thomas '10, a strong Obama supporter, describes the event:
After speaking at two other spots on the Main Line, Michelle came to speak at Villanova University. Her one-hour speech centered around the idea of a “moving bar”—a bar of success that seems to always be out of reach, both in her husband’s campaign and in the lives of what she calls America’s “regular folks”. She detailed Barack’s struggle with the always-shifting bar—he couldn’t win because he couldn’t raise enough money… but then he did. He couldn’t win because he couldn’t create a strong and widespread organization…but then he did. He couldn’t win because he would never win Iowa…but then he did. The story continues, as we know, and no matter what Barack did it was never good enough. Just like the American people, Michelle asserts. American citizens are working so hard but never quite reaching that level of success that assures them comfort and security in their own lives and for their children. As the cost of living sky-rockets, salaries remain stable and the quality of life that most Americans experience drastically decreases. However, as Michelle reminded us, we are a wealthy nation. There is not a deficit of wealth in the United States. She says that there is a deficit of empathy. And I completely agree. Due to the unfair and ever-changing circumstances, everyone is so focused on getting the money they need for themselves, that we forget to share it. And everyone is so focused on getting the food they need for themselves, that we forget to share it. As a result of outrageously impossible societal standards of living, we are all, understandably, a little more selfish than we used to be. And that must change. And that change will start with Barack Obama. Through his aggressive reforms of No Child Left Behind, tax cuts for the middle class, and comprehensive healthcare plan, I truly believe that Barack Obama is the man to change the national attitude and return us to the beautiful belief system of the Kennedy years—“ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

In the end, Michelle asked us: “Can we do it?” And the crowd answered, overwhelmingly, “YES WE CAN!”

Amy Thomas '10 with Michelle Obama

Monday, March 17, 2008

Register to Vote!

The deadline for voter registration for the super-important Pennsylvania primary is a week from today (March 24th). Remember, you can register to vote in the PA primary even if you are registered in your home state (provided you didn't vote in its primary).

People will be tabling at the Haverford DC this week with forms and information. If you're feeling independent/aren't from Haverford, here's the state link.

Hooray for participating in democracy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Internship Opportunity With Bob Roggio

Bob Roggio is now the nominee for Congress in the PA-06. This is the last Republican district in Suburban Philadelphia!

The Roggio campaign is looking for interns, both immediately and for the summer.

Please contact Betti at 610-415-0714 or

Check out his website

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Symbolic Victory For Dems

In a shocking upset, Democrat Bill Foster has defeated Jim Oberweis 53%-47%in the special election for Illinois' 14th District, formerly held by none other than Speaker Dennis Hastert. (Score another one for Democratic physicists in the House--my representative and former Swarthmore prof Rush Holt is one as well.) Considering that the district went 56% for Bush in 2004, this is a major pickup if the Dems can hold on to the seat this fall.

And, since I have an obligation to tie everything to the primary, it is worth pointing out that a certain Illinois Senator's endorsement and GOTV machine helped push Foster to victory. You can probably chalk up another superdelegate for Mr. Obama.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Florida and Michigan

Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, the Clinton campaign is restarting the highly controversial battle to seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan at the national convention.

The states were stripped of their delegates for moving their primaries earlier than allowed by DNC rules, presumably to guarantee that their primaries would have an effect. (Deeply ironic turn of events of course--if they hadn't moved the primaries, they would certainly have had an effect on the race. Hindsight is 20/20, all that stuff.) Thus the primaries existed as mere formalities, stunts-- Obama and Edwards weren't even on the ballot in Michigan, leading to this amusing suggestion from DailyKos.

At first glance, Hillary seems to have a point. The voters in Florida and Michigan do deserve a voice in the primary. It's democracy, right? Is it fair that state legislatures had the effect of disenfranchising large groups of citizens?

But it's not that simple: Hillary's proposal for a simple allocation of the delegates from the primary results is hardly democratic. While no one is denying that everyone deserves a vote, they also deserve the assurance of fair elections--ones where all viewpoints and candidates are given an opportunity. Howard Dean gets it right in his quote in John M. Broder's piece today in the NYT:

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic Party, said on Thursday that it was up to the states, not the national party, to come up with a solution. But Mr. Dean ruled out seating the delegations based on the voting in January.

“You can’t change the rule in the middle of the game,” he said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” program.

Voters in Florida and Michigan are right to be upset; they should seriously consider voting out some state legislators in the next election cycle. But Hillary's faux-democratic, last-ditch grab for delegates is not the right solution.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

So What Has Changed?

Well, once again Hillary was able to pull off crucial wins and revitalize her campaign. Looking back on the last couple of weeks, I think expectations of Obama's success in Texas and Ohio were considerably inflated--in terms of demographics, they certainly look like Hillary states. Obama's amazing momentum may have changed voters' minds in early polls, but Hillary's formidable campaign structure and effective attack ads brought them back to earth. And the bad weather in Ohio almost certainly lowered the turnout of Republican Obama supporters.

But how will this affect the race overall? Looking at current delegate counts (Obama actually won more Texas primacaucus delegates), the short answer is "not much." According to CNN, Obama is up 1520-1424 in pledged delegates, a lead which is likely to increase after the Wyoming primary this Saturday. Playing with the delegate counter game, it's going to be extremely tough for Hillary to catch up with the pledged delegates; as has been said for a long time, her only hope is with the supers.

And, despite the connections of her husband, that is not going to be easy. Though she can make a case that she is a stronger candidate because of her big-state wins, she is polling worse than Obama in a matchup with McCain. Considering that she is most likely going to have to convince supers to overrule the pledged delegate count, Obama's head-to-head advantage is going to put a major dent in her case. Hillary's performance will give her an excuse to drag on, sure--but change the final result? I doubt it.

March 4th Speeches

Part II

Part II

Here is the current delegate count according to the New York Times:

Any thoughts on the delegate count, speeches, etc.? Does Hillary still have a chance?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

As of 11 PM. . .

Hillary has grabbed Rhode Island (no surprise) and Ohio by what appears to be a large margin--up by 16 according to with 52% reporting. Looks like another "D'oh" for the Obamacentric Mr. Zogby, who had them tied as of yesterday and Hil up by 3 today. . .

As expected, Obama dominated in Vermont.

And, as expected, Texas is down to the wire. Obama was up early, but as of now (33% reporting) Hillary is clinging to a 2 point lead.

In terms of the delegate count, Obama can't be upset with this result. Considering that 35% of the Texas delegates are decided by caucus--Obama's specialty in this campaign--a virtual tie in the primary gives him a great shot to win the statewide delegate battle. Hillary will almost certainly stay in the race, but pressure will undoubtedly continue to mount.

Of course, tonight is also one of national sadness, after the concession of everyone's favorite successful dieter and Republican candidate (and, I suppose, his number one policy advisor):

Happy trails, Huck.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bored? Procrastinating? Or Just Can't Wait Until Tomorrow?

If you're into hypotheticals, this is for you:

Delegate counter game (CNN)

Up In The Air

Polls are tightening up across the board. David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo has a quality post summarizing recent movements. Using data (a poll of polls), Obama has a .2% lead in Texas, and Clinton is up by 6% in Ohio. An Obama sweep, despite his massive gains in recent weeks, seems extremely unlikely.

And that is significant. If he is able to pull it off, Hillary is going to have trouble justifying staying in the race--but a split gives her an angle to keep on battling. Considering Obama's amazing string of victories--and largely landslide victories, at that--stopping his momentum is no easy task. But her strong comebacks and possible victories against great odds can be spun as a return to viability.

Now, I'm not saying that she'll ride tomorrow to a primary victory; even with a sweep there is virtually no chance that she'll make up enough pledged delegates to put much of a dent in Obama's lead, and superdelegates will almost certainly continue to shift towards Obama. But it does give her an excuse to stay in. Despite the calls from a number of party leaders, I don't see the race ending for another few weeks at least.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Neck-and-neck in TX

Well, perhaps it's not all over. A couple of new polls show a statistical dead heat in Texas, a major change from a few days ago.

American Research Group, Inc: Clinton 47% Obama 46%
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/McClatchy/MSNBC: Clinton 46% Obama 47%

Zogby still has Obama up by 4 (47%-43%).

Should be an interesting next couple of days. If Hillary can stop the Obamatrain (or maybe rein in the Obamahorse, to continue the metaphor in the subject. . .)by grabbing TX and OH, who knows what will happen.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Is the media playing favorites in the Democratic primary? Hard to believe, I know. But an article in today's NYT provides evidence that a certain Senator from Illinois is getting better treatment:
In a New York Times/CBS News telephone poll conducted Feb. 20-24 and released Tuesday, nearly half of those respondents who described themselves as voters in Democratic primaries or caucuses said the news media had been “harder” on Mrs. Clinton than other candidates. (Only about 1 in 10 suggested the news media had been harder on Mr. Obama.)

Pretty damning statistics. While I'm not arguing that polls provide absolute truth, I can't say I'm surprised at the survey's findings. As I see it, the basic media coverage of the primary has gone like this:

  • Pre-Iowa: Obama is the inspirational underdog against the old guard.
  • Post-Iowa: With a big lead in New Hampshire, Obama is the shoe-in.
  • Post-NH: Obama back to underdog.
  • Post-February: Primary over.
Now, whether that has to do with Hillary's connection to Bill, or her own record, or anything else I'm not sure. Please disagree with me. Thoughts?

First Post

Hello, my name is Jacob, and I'm going to be bothering you with some blogging for the HC Dems. I'm a sophomore from New Jersey, and have been interested in politics ever since I made a fool of myself when I was seven years old at a campaign rally for Senator Robert Torricelli . Not too proud of that one now, but at least I got to meet this guy. (Cooler picture.) I've been a nerd ever since.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment here or send an email to jwaters (at) haverford (dot) edu.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Exciting Internship Opportunities with Congressman Joe Sestak!

I just received this from Molly Parzen, the President of the Bryn Mawr College Democrats:

"Congressman Sestak (D-PA 7) was elected last year in a landslide victory against 10 term incumbent Curt Weldon. As his 2008 re-election campaign kicks into high gear in the coming months and over the summer, we are looking for dedicated, hard working and motivated interns. A Sestak for Congress Internship is unlike many other political internships out there. Unlike most campaign internships where you might be delegated to phone calls, canvassing and data entry, on Sestak’s Campaign you will be given important responsibilities and be trusted with crucial work covering many different aspects of the campaign. Many of the people who are paid staffers now started out just two years ago as interns. I really cannot stress how rewarding these internships are and I sincerely hope that some of you take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity.

If you have any questions, concerns or would like more information, please contact Molly C. Parzen, College Coordinator for Sestak for Congress and President of Bryn Mawr College Democrats at or 1-845-661-1093.

If you would like to apply for an internship please send a resume with a cover letter to"