Saturday, May 03, 2008


As you’ve probably noted, it’s been a little while since I last posted. I spent some time away from home, and while I was gone, I also tried to take some time away from the Presidential campaign. Now having been back for a few days, it’s clear what I missed. You can summarize it in two words – Jeremiah Wright.

This is what our campaign season has come down to – a referendum on what it says about a candidate when he has a loopy pastor.

Obama’s relationship with his wild and crazy preacher is getting all the publicity because his opponents are content to let him implode in peace, and in part because few are especially excited about those candidates. John McCain is especially underwhelming. He doesn’t seem to have a particularly good command of foreign policy issues, he appears to be a hopeless warmonger, and his economic guru is Marie “Let ‘em eat cake” Antoinette. As for Hillary, she is knowledgeable and feisty, but she has also proven herself to lie gratuitously about her experience (how’s that sniper fire going?), and to be willing to gut her party’s chances of winning by 33% if it would help increase her own chances of winning by 3%. Is there another way to explain why she said that her Republican opponent passes the Commander and Chief test but not her Democratic primary opponent?

Under the circumstances, Barack Obama should be way ahead in the polls, just like he was a couple of months ago. So … what happened? He sat his fanny in the wrong church, that’s what.

Bill Maher said all you need to say about Jeremiah Wright. The man is a “dick.” Obama went out of his way in his speech last month to avoid throwing Wright under the bus, and how does Jeremeiah repay him? By acting like Richard Pryor during his crack days. The problem, of course, is that Pryor was a comedian, whereas Wright is participating in what many believe to be a Greek tragedy. Clintonistas are spreading the word that “Obama is done” because his loopy pastor simply won’t be fenced in. Every week, we’re told to fear, Wright will give us a new quote. I’m expecting to hear something like “Now don’t take this out of context, but America can go fuck itself.” And then the conservatives would start questioning whether it’s such a leap from Michelle Obama’s statement about only now being “proud to be an American,” to “America can go fuck itself.” Cell by cell, Barack’s skin is being torn apart in full public view. And day by day, John McCain, he of the 100 years war and the permanent tax relief for the rich, is actually beginning to think he can win this thing.

The conventional wisdom is indeed that Obama is in trouble. But I don’t buy it. Barack will be our next President. He may not get elected with a huge margin of victory, but he’ll be the first one to cross the finish line. I feel more strongly about that than ever.

Barack can thank his lucky stars that Wright was just wrong enough this week to allow Barack to jettison the guy once and for all. To be sure, Barack still has some ‘splainin’ to do about his relationship with the pastor, but that’s why Barack is going on Meet the Press tomorrow. Russert will ask him some tough questions (“Why did you choose that church? How often did you go? What offensive things to you hear from your pastor?” etc.) and Barack will seize yet another opportunity to come clean. He is too smart to believe that he can continue to dodge these issues. Just as Bill Clinton came clean about “that woman, Miss Lewinsky” and survived the scandal politically, Barack will survive as well, once he answers the difficult questions. Maybe some of the answers will be postponed until after the primaries are over, but they’ll all be out by the end of June. And when we hear more of the truth, I’ve got to believe that we’ll forgive him with open arms. After all, who among us hasn’t known some jackasses in our life? And who among us hasn’t befriended some of them?

Ah, you say, but no matter what Barack does at this point, I must admit that Wright will continue to be a big distraction for him, whereas Hillary is allowed to get on TV and be given a free pass by virtually everyone now. Barack answers questions about his pastor and his other shady friend, the former Weatherman, whereas Hillary gets questioned about her foreign policy ideas, her health plan, and her gas tax relief proposal. Sure, she might be accused of “pandering” but at least she’s accused of pandering about public policy ideas, and not continually treated like a scandal magnet. You sometimes wonder whether it was Obama who was caught patronizing hookers and Spitzer who was “caught” listening to the wrong preacher.

To those who think the sky is falling for Barack, just play out the string a bit further, OK? He will surely do little worse than a dead heat on Tuesday, after which he will have won many, many more primaries and caucuses than Hillary, 150-160 more pledged delegates than Hillary, and 500,000-600,000 more votes than Hillary in states where both were permitted to campaign. More to the point, in each of those categories, Hillary no longer has the ability to catch Barack. Her only chance will be to convince two thirds of the undeclared superdelegates – a 33% landslide, more than she has won in any state in a long, long time – that she is somehow “more electable” than Barack. Electability is an amorphous word, and surely impossible to verify many months before an election. Polls in June are, after all, little better predictors of what would happen in November than polls in February. In short, for Hillary to win, she will have to hope that the superdelegates overwhelmingly ignore Barack’s lead in all the traditional, objective measures of performance. Does anyone seriously think the Democratic superdelegates have the yarblockies to do such a thing?

Let me suggest a little exercise. Posit Barack winning 14 more contests than Hillary, 140 more pledged delegates, and 200,000 more popular votes. Those numbers assume that Hillary will DRUB Barack from this point out. Then picture the Democratic superdelegates giving Hillary the nod.

Just what do you think would happen in Watts? And Houston? And Atlanta? And South East D.C.? And Detroit? And the Southside of Chicago?

I can only imagine that if the shoes were on the other feet, Hillary would be running advertisements every night showing pictures of fires and explosions in one city after another should her opponent win the nomination. At least Barack has the class to spare us that sort of sensationalism. But the superdelegates don’t need to watch sensationalist videos to know the consequences of stealing the election from the first serious black candidate in our nation’s history. They know the way this nation has treated black America for so many centuries. If, in light of that history, a black man can soundly defeat his opponent in pledged delegates, numbers of states, and legitimate popular vote and still lose the nomination, the Democrats might as well adopt “Darkies, Go Back to Africa!” as its official motto.

Relax. Won’t happen. But the fact that so many of you fear it might says volumes about how little confidence any of us has in today’s Democratic Party.


YoungMan said...


I tried to hold off responding to this. Actually most of what you say, with the obvious exception of the fact that Senator Obama is now a greatly maimed and crippled candidate who has a slim to none chance of winning 270 electoral votes, is fine, with one other exception. I fear Hillary more in the general.

I agree that it is solely for the motley agglomeration called the so-called Democratic party (so-called because Senator Obama's pledged delegate lead results from wins in caucus states where the process of choosing delegates is arguably Democratic at best) to decide.

But as your friend, I have a big problem with your logic with respect to the superdelegates and why they should vote for Senator Obama. My understanding is that the superdelegates (most of whom are directly elected Democratic legislative officeholders) were added in the 1970s to prevent or at least impair the hijacking of the party by a dedicated cadre of activists who seek to nominate a candidate who can't win in the general a la McGovern. That, regardless of pledged or popular vote counts is supposed to be their primary criterion. Perhaps not ideally democratic...but the caucus are hardly ideally democratic either.

But what disturbs me most is your shameless playing of the race card. In essence, I infer your argument to be that either vote for Obama or the ghettoes will burn. My friend, that argument puts you on the level of Jerry Wright, Lou Farrakhan, and Al Sharpton.

You're better than that.


Daniel Spiro said...

Well, youngman, I actually appreciate your response. But I can't take back what I said.

The Democratic Party would be loathe under any circumstances to take the nomination away from a candidate who has NOT been legitimately destroyed by scandal (the Wright scandal goes to Wright, but not so much to Obama), and who has defeated his opponent in (a) pledged delegates, (b) the number of votes in authorized primaries/caucuses, and (c) the number of states and/or territories won.

But ... when you add to this that this candidate is black, it becomes especially untenable. This is a historic opportunity for the black community that cannot be taken away arbitrarily, and it would appear to be the height of arbitrariness for the superdelegates to ignore the will of the voters.

If the shoe were on the other foot, I assure you, I'd be "playing the gender card." I'd point out that you can't rip off a woman like this.

And if there were a white male who had the most states, votes, and delegates, we wouldn't even be having this conversation because the Party would have circled the wagons on his behalf long ago.

Daniel Spiro said...

Actually, let me take back the last paragraph of my response to youngman. Perhaps there could be a white male candidate who the media would treat in the same way that they're treating Obama. But I find it hard that if we weren't dealing with a black minister and a black candidate, they'd be making such a fuss about the fact that a candidate's preacher has a big mouth. Who cares.

YoungMan said...


I have a response to the 2nd paragraph of your 1st response, that interestingly, I havent seen on another blog or political column. But I think it will be more interting to discuss Wednesday morning.

Actually, the reason I am posting now is to commend Senator Obama's stand on the gas tax. He is right, and Senator Clinton and McCain are badly wrong and pandering on this issue. Alas, such is not the principal issue that will decide my vote. Nevertheless, just wanted to reassure you and your readers that neither of us are quite as reflexively knee jerk as we seem to be.

Until next time Dan, you ignorant s...t :)

Daniel Spiro said...

Well, youngman, I don't expect you to decide your vote on the gas tax issue. But I might expect the media to cover it more than they're doing.

It's obvious that Clinton and McCain are pandering. But the media doesn't seem to care. It's not part of the scandal-based approach they have to covering politics. Who or what is being well served by this? Cable TV ratings? Perhaps. The American public? Clearly not.