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.