2008 US Presidential election update

For anyone with poor eye-sight, this was written by Raj – Richard is on blog-writing leave.

The Washington Post leads with the following article on the Democrat race.

Obama Criticizes Clinton’s Drive to Win

Sen. Barack Obama leveled a fresh round of criticism at Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday, accusing his rival for the Democratic nomination of following a campaign plan that prizes calculation over candor and that is aimed more at winning the election than uniting the country.

Obama used a speech in Spartanburg, S.C., to sharpen his differences with the Democratic front-runner and to frame the choices before voters a year ahead of the 2008 election. Calling the senator from New York “a colleague and a friend,” Obama nonetheless cast Clinton as representative of a style of politics that has been better for the politicians than the country.

I’ve read the “drive to win” criticism before. Is this a media invention, or what Clinton’s opponents have effectively accused her of? Because I’m not sure that’s a good slogan. Politicians want to win and will do whatever they can that thinks will gain them more votes than lose them. Of course you need to be consistent in your policies and believe in them, but accusing someone of wanting to win is daft. I’m not sure Obama used that term, but if the Post considers itself his supporter (not sure whether it does or doesn’t but the article is rather one-sided) it should not repeat it.

Anyway, whatever Clinton’s critics throw at her it doesn’t seem to work in turning the voters against her. The Times reports with this piece.

Clinton puts her war room on attack

One poll taken after last week’s debate showed Clinton extending her lead over Obama, which already averaged 45% to 22%. Her rivals are in a bind: every punch by Clinton proves her toughness, while every jab by them can be portrayed as a sign of their desperation to win.

Certainly reminding people of the (Bill) Clinton years isn’t terribly bright (which is what Obama did according to the Post article), given from what I understand a lot of Democrats see it as a good era economically, socially, foreign-policy wise, etc. This rather demonstrates Obama’s inexperience to me. Even if there is something negative from a previous administration, if it was generally thought of as good don’t bring it up – that’s a free tip for the senator from me.

Now we switch to the Republicans, with some interesting news from angus-reed.com.

Republicans 2008: Giuliani 31%, McCain 18%

Rudy Giuliani remains the top presidential contender for Republican Party supporters in the United States, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. 31 per cent of respondents would support the former New York City mayor in a 2008 primary.

Arizona senator John McCain is second with 18 per cent, followed by actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson with 17 per cent, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with nine per cent, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee with eight per cent.

Although it is not surprising to see Giuliani at the front, it is interesting that McCain has just squeezed back into second (according to A-R at least). Does he have too much left to do, or could he still get the nomination? Certainly Thompson has not shown himself to be real presidential material – having a film-star profile does not equate to being seen as a great politician. As much as I love Patrick Stewart for his Shakespearian acting (plus as Captain Picard), I’m not sure I’d be happy to vote for him in an election. Giuliani is vulnerable in that he can’t use the 9/11 thing to win against someone like Clinton. Indeed that seems to be a part of McCain’s platform.

McCain charts Rudy’s inelectability on a map

Following on his analysis of next year’s general election, John McCain’s campaign has released this poll showing how he stacks up with Rudy Giuliani in a hypothetical general election race against Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Unlike his fake election article predicting victory over Clinton, his campaign’s own map shows him trailing her in enough key states to lose the election. But McCain’s argument is that he can compete with her better than Giuliani, winning in Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky and running closer in Minnesota, Michigan and Missouri.

Most Republicans, I’m sure, will be realistic in thinking they’ll have to face her rather than Obama or Edwards. Stephen Dinan points to a state like New Jersey where Giuliani could challenge Clinton, but I’m not sure he’d be able to win it.

Out of all the Republican candidates it appears McCain would do best against Clinton. He is the oldest candidate and some ultra-right Christians et al are unsure of his “conservative” values. But what do they want more – their views unequivacably supported, or seeing someone at least generally right-wing beat Clinton into the White House?

From what I’ve seen McCain could appeal to the undecided/wavering group of voters that may tip the balance in enough states. His candicacy bid may depend on what Republicans want more – a candidate they like and try to force on the rest of the country (Giuliani), or a candidate they’re unsure about but has more appeal to different types of voters (McCain). Sometimes, if you really want to win, you have to hold your nose whilst voting. The question is, are there enough nose-pegs to go around?


The Washington Post has published a poll that also shows McCain moving into second place behind Giuliani and ahead of Thompson.

The Discussion: 19 Comments

I don’t know about you, Raj, but I ALWAYS hold my nose while voting, and probably always will, at least until we get some kind of multi-party system something like Holland.

Drive to win sounds like a car-race slogan, but I think it’s one of those sly semantic creations with a meta-meaning they intend to make use of when the campaign gets a little more vicious (“she’ll crawl over the broken bodies of dead babies if that’s what it takes”….I mean they’ve already got “war machine” going). Just a guess.

November 5, 2007 @ 12:54 am | Comment

Sam, I am curious whether this is what her opponents say or a “slogan” the media use to describe the attacks on her. Certainly I wouldn’t use it if I were a candidate.

“A politician wanting to win an election? Get out of here!”

November 5, 2007 @ 2:56 am | Comment

I disagree with your assumption that you have to bend your beliefs- vote for the candidate in your party with the best electibility.

Read this argument
by Norman J. Ornstein at Internet Evolution.

November 5, 2007 @ 6:26 am | Comment

Just read some articles about the Ron Paul phenomenon. Though it seems he has not realy a chance in the race it is quite interesting how much money a grassrootscampaign can generate through the internet nowadays.

November 5, 2007 @ 10:05 am | Comment

Don’t forget Romney- he leads in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and should he be able to hold on, he’ll have quite a lot of momentum heading into the other primaries

November 5, 2007 @ 11:49 am | Comment

“I disagree with your assumption that you have to bend your beliefs- vote for the candidate in your party with the best electibility.”

That’s the problem for me: It’s not about electability, and I don’t really have a party. It’s only marginally about ideology, since most politicians will say whatever sells. It’s about leadership ability, and I’m always holding my nose because those who spend their lives focusing on getting elected to powerful positions are rarely if ever the kind of people I would choose to sit at the helm of the country. Ron Paul comes closest to my ideology, but I seriously doubt he’d make a good President, IF he were even electable.

November 5, 2007 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

I disagree with your assumption that you have to bend your beliefs

Whose assumption? I didn’t say that – did Sam?

November 5, 2007 @ 4:54 pm | Comment

This is pitiful. Can’t even get an argument going with Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul in the same post! Maybe you need more name-calling and doom-and-gloom, Raj.

Where are Nanhey and Ivan when you really need them most?

November 6, 2007 @ 11:21 am | Comment

I don’t know exactly what Obama said, but I think casting it as criticism of Hillary’s desire to win is skewing his point. I would vote for her in the general election, but even so, she seems to lack integrity, that core of cherished beliefs that ideally had driven her into politics in the first place. Instead, I get the distinct impression she says whatever the polls suggest she should — that is, operating on sheer political calculation. She has waffled on numerous issues and been accused of “parsing” or “lawyering.” Her slip-up in the debate the other night about drivers licenses for illegal immigrants highlighted that.

In contrast, Obama seems to relish the opportunity to be candid, even somewhat contrarian. For example, in front of an audience of mainly black students, Obama spoke of the groups that we cannot scapegoat in the election, concluding with “homosexuals.” The crowd was silent, and I bet Obama predicted that, yet said what he felt was necessary to say anyway. His recently announced Iran policy — including a proposal to meeti with the Iranian leader face to face without preconditions — is another example. I’ve read other anecdotes… A woman asks if he thinks stay-at-home moms should be eligible for Social Security benefits. He does the whole bit praising child-rearing, then goes on to tell her no and explains why. Or a black minister approaches him expressing frustration with how faith-based funds have been distributed, ie. black churches and initiatives have been shafted, and Obama says that actually, he would review the funding of faith-based initiatives completely – ie, to what extent they should even exist, which naturally is not what the minister wants to hear. Etc. Hillary, meanwhile, couldn’t even tell you if she cheers for the White Sox or the Yankees.

So I think the reporter reading it as him criticizing Clinton’s drive to win is a superficial understanding of what Obama actually meant. It’s definitely a stupid conclusion to draw – and for Raj to repeat – and reads almost like an US Weekly or tabloid-y headline, when it’s been obvious that Obama’s stance on anything is pretty nuanced, almost to a detrimental degree in terms of campaigning and getting his message out in a clear way.

November 6, 2007 @ 12:03 pm | Comment

Is this the same “kat” as in sinocidal? Ok, fightin’ time.

“I would vote for her in the general election, but even so, she seems to lack integrity, that core of cherished beliefs that ideally had driven her into politics in the first place.”

Why, just because she is a woman? She is power hungry, ice cold and flip-flops like John Lovtiz’s SNL liar “yeah, that’s the ticket!”.

Vote for someone to lead the US based on their gender and not what they stand for? Obama having the guts to tell people what they need but don’t want to hear shows real leadership.

1. Obama
2. Bill Richardson
3. John Edwards
4. Ron Paul
5. Fred Thompson

November 6, 2007 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

I love how everyone ‘loves’ Ron Paul because he’s the only Republican that thinks the war was a bad idea. Here are a list of things you probably didn’t know that he would eliminate:
1. The CIA
2. The FBI
3. The Department of Education
4. Social Security
5. Medicare
6. Medicaid

Also, how can you be an ardent libertarian and be against a woman’s right to choose. It’s completely inconsistent.

November 6, 2007 @ 4:28 pm | Comment

Way to go, Josh! Yep, Dr. Paul is hardly yer modern librul. Did you leave out the IRS? I’m fairly sure he’s against income taxes, too.

November 6, 2007 @ 4:34 pm | Comment

Nanhe, whooah!!! How can you have Obama, Edwards and Fred Thompson on the same freakin’ list?

One of these things is not like the others, man.

November 6, 2007 @ 5:23 pm | Comment


Interesting, you think Edwards has integrity. You should read what he was saying back in 2002/3. It’s not like he went along with the neo-cons, he was basically Joe “three way tie for third” Lieberman. The guy stands for nothing but himself.

November 6, 2007 @ 9:25 pm | Comment


If Hillary doesn’t win, the other dems might and that is probably where my vote would go, if Billary wins, I’m voting Republican, she is bad news.

I’m wavering on Edwards and Ron Paul knows he can’t get rid of those things, but if elected he would probably make alot of entrenched bureaucrats unemployed. The feds do need to know fear and insecurity due to their actions.

November 6, 2007 @ 11:41 pm | Comment

@ nanheyangrouchuan:

Err.. no, I’m not “the kat from sinocidal.” (Crap, does this mean now I have to go by “Katie” or something?) Seems like you’re lookin to pick a fight just based on that assumption. Did you even read my whole post, or did you stop after the 2nd sentence?

I said I’d vote for Hillary in the general election, because in all likelihood, she’s going to win the nomination. And if it’s a Hillary-Giuliani match-up, it’s a clear choice to me — and not because she’s a woman, you idiot. “Power hungry, ice cold and flip-flops” — will seem like nothing in comparison to Giuliani. He’s a tyrant to the core.

But in the primary, I’d vote for Obama. To be honest, he’s run a pretty uninspiring campaign. It’s frustrating that Hillary has extended her lead over him. Time’s running out.

November 7, 2007 @ 5:10 am | Comment

You guys are all wrong, except of course, for Matt Schiavenza, who obviously is the one with the sole clarity of vision. As it has been recently, is, and will be increasingly, it will be an election that is all style and not subtance: Mitt Romney will run against Hillary Clinton. Both are pure plastic and complete marketing effects.
No one can beat that.

November 7, 2007 @ 6:28 am | Comment

If the final race does not involve any of the people I listed, I’ll be looking at the Libertarian and Green party candidates, Katie.

Especially if the race is Hillary vs Giuliani

November 7, 2007 @ 11:30 am | Comment

If you’re looking Green and Libertarian, don’t forget Stephen Colbert and Michael Bloomberg

(the first article is a shameless plug, and the second is a great piece on Bloomberg)

November 7, 2007 @ 11:49 am | Comment

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