Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Primary Prediction

Well, it's finally time to see if Hillary's Texas-Ohio firewall holds, and let me tell you, I honestly have no idea how this is going down. Even worse, I'm worried again. In fact, the one big bright spot in this is the last time I felt like this was on February 9, when I wrote "But if all goes according to plan, Barack will be winning several of the upcoming primaries and putting my worries to rest." Needless to say, Obama didn't just win several of the primaries, but ALL of them and won most of them BIGTIME.

But I don't know, I'm getting that worried feeling again all the same. In fact, I think a big part of this is that the Hillary supporters were really coming out in force, just as they're doing now. And they're sounding all cocky, with that "Woe is us, Obama's such a meanie" thing with all the Hillary people insisting that they were on the wall until some Obama meanie pushed them into the Hillary column. And that's the big thing I'm worried about. I don't know why Obama people have to be such dickheads, but I guess some of them can't help it.

In fact, one of my big surprises in all this is how all these Hillary people never noticed that there were meanies on our team. And dumb people and rude people. Where the hell have they been all this time? But I strongly suspect that they just never noticed it before because they liked it so much. And so when I was shaking my head at having to undo the damage done by rude people on my own team, these people were giggling with glee at the insults being directed against their common enemy.

And now they're starting to understand why that kind of thing isn't so great. One of the best ways to convince someone to firmly hold a position is to call them an assface for thinking that way. And that's one of the main reasons why the Rove "Divide & Conquer" exclusionist strategy isn't so great. Because it's premised on the idea that you've got to make some big, bad enemy to rally the troops behind. In battle that's easy, as you've just to point out how the enemy is about to rip your head off if you don't rip theirs off first. But in modern politics, it involves insulting and demonizing groups of people who are just as powerful as your own. And so the secret is knowing how to build your own team into a fury, but without insulting the other side into a fury. As we've seen over the past seven years, that strategy hasn't worked out that well for them.

But nobody ever listens to poor ol Biobrian (a vast overstatement, I know, but stay with me), and so the Obama people keep giving Hillary her best selling point: People hate her. I'm not sure what the great appeal to that is, but I suspect it's not entirely rational. And so here we are, on the verge of a big, big day that could really decide the fate of our entire planet, and I'm worried. And just like last time, I feel the worry is for nothing and things will turn out better than I fear.

But all the same, I'm worried. I seriously doubt Hillary can pull the big upset she needs, but the goalposts have moved significantly from back when Hillary announced these two states were her firewall. She had huge leads, and all Obama had to do was whittle them down. And here we are the night before the primary and he whittled those leads down to nothing. But as it goes, the media hates Hillary, but they let her set the stage all the same; and now it's not enough that she wins small. Barack is apparently supposed to win both Ohio and Texas, which she dominated just recently, or he'll be seriously undermined. I'm not sure how these rules work, but they're the ones we've got. And maybe it'll be to our advantage. Maybe he can pull out the big win in both states. I wouldn't call that impossible. I just don't know what to call it.

Anyway, well I'm voting tomorrow and hope to caucus. Wish me luck!


John of the Dead said...

I'm right there with you, Doc. For the past couple of weeks, I've been kinda low-level nervous, getting worse each day. Today I'm on pins and needles, hoping to have things settled tonight. I'm going to my caucus, and I'm really excited about it.

So, I've been following the polls every day, watching Obama creep up and eat into Clinton's huge lead. And these moving goalposts are really, REALLY frustrating. Two weeks ago, the Clinton campaign was promising huge victories in both Texas and Ohio. Now, they claim that unless Obama wins big in both, it's a victory for Clinton. HOW does that work?

But, the more I think about it, the more I think that a long primary might be good for Democrats. Consider how little press McCain has been getting lately. There's nothing to talk about on the Republican side. It's all over until the formal nomination at the convention. Plus, with no definite Democratic front-runner, the strategists can't start up with the full-fledged smear tactics yet. Of course, if the Democratic primary drags on too much longer, the opposing sides may start the smears on each other. The flip side to that is, whoever wins the nomination it liable to have been pretty well battle-hardened for the general.

My greatest fear is a brokered convention in which Clinton gets the nomination. That will immediately turn off a significant fraction of the Democratic voters, many of whom are new voters. I'd hate to lose all this new-found enthusiasm going into the autumn. A brokered Clinton nomination equals a McCain presidency, I fear.

Gads, enough rambling. I need to go take a nap until about 6:30 tonight. To bad I have to finish the work day instead.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Doc, I feel exactly the same way. Hope things turn out for the best today, but I'm less optimistic than I have been in the past. -- Richinoskie

A said...

I'm a bit miffed about it, but on the other hand I've come to think that the spin game is inevitable, in a sense. Obama has to be able to fight as an insurgent and as a frontrunner. He's not going to get any mercy from Clinton or McCain or anyone else if he does get elected.

I think he's the best candidate no matter what, but he has to be able to fight from a position of strength -- take the reins and be a leader. I think he's good enough to step up to the plate on this one.

It's also worth mentioning that this is a good position to be in fighting this fight -- he has a big delegate lead. I'm glad we weren't fighting this fight a month ago. Most importantly, getting a good pushback and winning anyway will go a long way towards shutting up the argument that he's been getting a free ride.

He's being tested when the math is in his favor. It could be worse.

A said...

CNN has Obama up 150,000 to 100,000 votes with 1% reporting. I'm assuming that's based on early votes. That's HUGE.