Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Reports from West Virginia

Hillary Clinton at a rally in Charleston, WV

Chicago Tribune (with emphasis added in bold throughout):

The front-running Obama made quick work of the state, flying in for a speech in Charleston before departing for Kentucky, which votes on May 20. And in those remarks he readily conceded what most expect: that Clinton will handily beat him Tuesday in the state's Democratic presidential primary....

...Meanwhile, Clinton moved eastward across the state, making an afternoon stop in the economically ravaged coal town of Logan. There, in a packed high school gymnasium, she seemingly pulled at the threads of all of her campaign themes to date, telling the crowd that she would fix the troubled economy, sever America's dependence on foreign oil and be a strong commander-in-chief.

Robby Shell, a resident of Logan, said his state would punish Obama for campaigning so little here. A Clinton blow-out, he said, "will send a message that working people, blue-collar people trust Hillary Clinton. They don't know Obama."

Boston Globe:

Clinton has tried to cast today's primary as one of the few remaining chances for party leaders to recognize that she would be a stronger nominee against McCain. "I keep telling people, no Democrat has won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia," she said at a morning stop yesterday at a Charleston biscuit shop.

"West Virginia used to be a leading Democratic indicator, but the last few years we've gone more Republican," said Susman, a consultant who is not supporting a candidate. "People in West Virginia like their guns, like their religion, love their country - and they like the Clintons. They relate to Bill, they relate to Hillary."

Reuters:

Clinton, a New York senator who has vowed to keep fighting despite her dwindling prospects and a mounting campaign debt, spent the day in West Virginia on Monday and showed no sign she was ready to step aside so Obama could focus on a November match-up with Republican John McCain.

"West Virginia is a real indicator of which way the political winds are going to go," she said at a rally in Logan, West Virginia. Clinton said her wins in crucial big states like Ohio and Pennsylvania made her a better choice against McCain.

"I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't believe that I could be the best president for West Virginia and America, and that I was the stronger candidate to take on John McCain in the fall," she said....

...Despite calls from some Democratic officials for Clinton to quit, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll found nearly two-thirds of national Democrats say there is no rush for Clinton to get out of the race.

Even 42 percent of Obama's supporters said Clinton should remain to the end of voting on June 3, rejecting the idea that a prolonged race would hurt the party....

Why do the media hate democracy? Why do they ignore a majority of Democrats? Why do they downplay West Virginia in the race for the WH? Let's review via The Reclusive Leftist:

• In 1988, Jesse Jackson took his hopeless campaign against winner Michael Dukakis all the way to the convention, often to great media praise.

• In 1980, Ted Kennedy carried his run against Jimmy Carter all the way to the convention, even though it was clear he had been routed.

• In 1976, Ronald Reagan contested the “inevitability” of Gerald Ford all the way to the convention. Few, then or since, have ever thought to criticize Reagan’s failure to step aside and let Ford assume the mantle.

• Also in 1976, three candidates — Mo Udall, Jerry Brown, and Frank Church — ran against Jimmy Carter all the way through the final primaries, even though Carter seemed more than likely to be the eventual nominee.

• Even in 1960, Lyndon Johnson and Adlai Stevenson fought the “certain” nomination of John F. Kennedy all the way to the convention floor.

In fact, until this year, it’s been an axiom of American politics that candidates are allowed to pursue their runs until they decide to drop out...

...Clearly the rules are different for penis-less lady candidates:

Yet in one of the tightest races in modern history — before the opponent has come close to clearly clinching the nomination, before a number of voters have been given the chance to have their voices heard, and when Clinton still has a chance, albeit a slim one, to win the prize, she is continually vilified for failing to see the light and bow out. What gives? ...

...…Clinton is being held to a different standard than virtually any other candidate in history. That’s being driven by Clinton fatigue, but it’s also being driven by a concerted campaign that examines every action the Clintons take and somehow finds the basest, most self-serving motivation for its existence. Thus, in this case, when Clinton is simply doing what everyone else has always done, she’s constantly attacked as an obsessed and crazed egomaniac, bent on self-aggrandizement at the expense of her party. Is there a fair amount of sexism in the way she’s being asked to get out of the way so a man can have the job? You be the judge. [Emphasis added.]

No, there’s not a fair amount of sexism. There’s a huge amount of sexism, both conscious and unconscious. All this talk of Clinton fatigue is bullshit — in 2004 the party was wishing they could re-nominate Big Dog after his speech at the convention. What’s going on now is that lay-deez aren’t supposed to reach for power, and those who do are evil unnatural witches who consort with demons, eat babies, and fuck ponies for fun.

Can anybody name me a single ├╝ber-powerful woman in the entire history of Western civilization who hasn’t been vilified as a freak of nature?

The sexist press corps have attempted to destroy Hillary's reputation for years. But West Virginia will send a clear signal to the media today: go to hell.

And they will send a message to Obama: we don't want you as our nominee.

Superdelegates can change their minds before casting their votes in August and Hillary Clinton has every right to take the fight all the way to the convention floor. She can win the general election in November and sweep in more Democrats on her coattails. Obama can't.

In South Dakota, whose primary will transpire on June 3, 41 former state legislators and constitutional officers have endorsed Hillary Clinton.

More importantly, swing state Democrats declared that Hillary is best for the top of the ticket:

The decision about who to support to be our Party’s nominee is not one that any of us should take lightly. We haven’t. But, after giving this important decision a great deal of thought, we are convinced that Hillary Clinton has the vision, skills and commitment to make the changes our country needs. As Democrats who have run and won in competitive Congressional districts and battleground states, we believe that Hillary is best positioned to successfully lead the Democratic ticket in districts and states like ours around the country.

As you know, Hillary has racked up victories in bellwether states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and now Indiana that are absolutely vital to winning the White House and maintaining our Congressional majority in the fall. Hillary has won the big battleground states by connecting with voters whose support we must have to win the general election. Her victories in Pennsylvania and Indiana were all the more impressive after being outspent by as much as two or three to one.

Pennsylvania was not just a victory for Hillary Clinton. It was also a wake- up call for superdelegates, forcing us to ask ourselves two essential questions: 1) Which candidate can carry the magic 270 electoral votes to win in the fall? 2) Which candidate is most likely to help our fellow Democrats in down-ballot races? We believe the answer to both of these questions is Hillary Clinton.

On the first question, Hillary has shown she can win the all-important battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida even while being outspent. This speaks to her ability to connect with voters we must deliver in the fall, including blue collar Democrats who can sway this election as they have in the past.

On the second question, Hillary has won rural and suburban districts which we as Democrats must carry to maintain our edge in Congress. Of the fifteen districts rated “toss up” by the Cook Political Report, Hillary has now won ten. Of the 20 districts we picked up in 2006 that had gone for President Bush just two years before, Hillary has now won 16. She is strong in the places we must win to hold and expand our majority.

Turning attention to today's primary, if Obama is allegedly as inspiring as JFK, why can't he win WV as JFK did?

It's as if today WV voters will deliver a famous snub to Obama, "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."