The Democratic National Committee and it's rules and bylaws committee took center stage today as they held a public meeting on the disposition of the 366 total delegates from Michigan and Florida. The most poignant question asked today was "How do you fairly allocate delegates from a flawed primary?".
As someone rightfully said, the meeting and deliberations resembled the making of sausage. Although hardly pretty, the DNC is hopeful the decisions today aid in uniting democrats. Remember, these states were stripped of their delegates due to the moving of their primaries to an earlier unsanctioned date in the primary schedule. All of the democratic candidates agreed not to campaign in these two states and Obama was not even on the ballot in Michigan.
As of 6:00 PM ET the current total delegate count is Obama 1983 and Clinton 1782 with 2026 needed for the nomination. Without Florida and Michigan, there remains 86 available pledged delegates in the remaining primaries and 137 uncommitted superdelgates with Obama only needing 43 delegates to win the nomination and holding a 201 delegate lead over Clinton. With the decisions indicated below, the new number needed to win the nomination is 2118 and Obama is within approximately 65 delegates of that number.
In Florida, the January 15, 2008 primary vote was Clinton 50% and Obama 33%. The ruling on Florida (185 pledged, 25 super) delegates is as follows: To seat all the delegates with one-half vote. Clinton - 52.5, Obama - 33.5, and Edwards - 6.5 delegates, a 19 delegate gain by Clinton. However, Edwards endorsed Obama so if Edwards delegates go to Obama, that could cut it down to a 12.5 gain by Clinton.
In Michigan, the January 29, 2008 primary vote was Clinton 55% and Uncommitted 40%. The ruling on Michigan (128 pledged, 28 super) delegates is as follows: To restore all delegates with one-half vote, Clinton 69 to receive 34.5 and Obama 59 to receive 29.5, a gain of 5 delegates by Clinton.
When the totals from these two states are reviewed as a result of the action taken today, it is unlikely Clinton will gain more than 20 delegates on Obama.
The all day meeting began around 9:30 AM ET and continued until 3:00 PM ET as arguments were presented by all sides. They then took a long break and reconvened around 6:15 PM after the successful launch of the space shuttle Discovery. In addition to the scientific equipment on board, the shuttle also had an important replacement part for the only toilet which is malfunctioning on board the space station. The long break by committee members was certainly not all spent on consuming a late lunch - wheeling and dealing and private discussions are sure to have transpired as the members worked to reach a consensus.
When they reconvened, they entertained motions, discussion and then moved to a vote in front of at times, a very loud and unruly crowd. Alice Huffman, a Clinton supporter made a motion to fully seat the Florida delegation with delegates having a full vote. 12 voted in favor and 15 opposed - motion failed. Ralph Dawson then made a motion to restore all the delegates with 1/2 vote with the vote total recognized as Clinton 52.5, Edwards 6.5, and Obama 33.5. This motion passed unanimously.
A motion was offered to seat all Michigan delegates with one-half vote. Clinton at 69 pledged delegates - 34.5 votes and Obama 59 pledged delegates - 29.5 votes, all unpledged delegates to receive .5 vote. Ickes, a Clinton supporter gave a emotional speech against this and said it did not show party unity-He then said Clinton has instructed him to reserve her right to take it to the credentials committee. Of course Ickes's position was that Obama receive no delegates since he was not on the ballot which is hardly fair. The threat of the appeal to the credentials committee did not go over well. The motion carried 19-8.
Florida consensus seemed to build early and Michigan questions continued throughout the day with Senator Carl Levin (Mich.) and some Clinton supporters mentioning the "credentials committee". An appeal to the DNC credentials committee would extend the final decision to the first day of the democratic national convention in Denver. The ruling of the credentials committee requires a ratifying vote from the convention delegates so an appeal would prolong the primary process to August.
It is obvious the Democrats will need to revise the current primary process as it was evident from Senator Levin's comments that they were still concerned with the first in the nation status given to Iowa and New Hampshire. While they are at it, a full review of the entire democratic primary process should begin following the general election. Caucuses versus primaries, pledged and superdelegates, proportional allocation of delegates based on total vote and by congressional district, the primary calendar, along with allowable penalties the DNC can impose, all need to be reviewed and revised prior to the 2012 election.
Another obvious maneuvering by the Clinton campaign was to include the full popular vote in their attempt to show Clinton won the overall popular vote. However, as is the case in the general election, it is not the popular vote that wins the election. So Clinton has to be using this argument to fortify her position as the best running mate for Obama and the democrats.
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Saturday, May 31, 2008
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:16 PM
The DNC Rules & Bylaws committee met in a closed session last evening for over five hours prior to their public meeting scheduled for today. It has been reported differences of opinions were shared but a civil discourse took place without an agreed solution. You can read more here. The public meeting will be where they make their decision on the seating of the Michigan and Florida delegates. This will receive some live TV coverage so check around your dial - MSNBC has it on now - 9:52 AM ET. We will post the decision by the committee when we know it.
Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo.com has a good read entitled "Who's Disenfranchised?". He accurately points out that many voters in Florida and Michigan knew the states had been sanctioned and therefore did not participate - How does the DNC adjust for this?
The Catholic League issued a statement of criticism toward Senator Barack Obama for not severing his ties to Reverend Pfleger who recently gave a controversial speech mocking Senator Hillary Clinton. Read more here.
Politco.com is reporting Obama is likely to hold an election kick-off Tuesday night at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Interestingly, this is the site of the Republican convention.
Senator Ted Kennedy asks fellow democratic Senators Barbara Mikuski (Md.) and Chris Dodd (Conn.) to help with bills on mental health and higher education until he returns to the Senate. Read more here.
Today, Eleanor Clift of Newsweek has a column entitled "Hillary, You Didn't Win. Now Don't Whine".
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:35 AM
This is the last Sunday before the end of the Democratic Party primary schedule so expect the race between Obama and Clinton for the party nomination to dominate the discussion. Today the Puerto Rico primary takes place but the time will be too early for any results to be discussed. Also expect discussion on any action the DNC Rules & Bylaws committee takes on Saturday in regard to seating the Florida and Michigan delegates. Scott McClellan, former White House Press Secretary with the Bush administration will also appear on several shows discussing his recent book on how the WH sold the public on the war in Iraq.
NBC "Meet the Press" - Scott McClellan appears as well as Obama supporter, former Senator Tom Daschle (S.D.) and Harold Ickes, a Clinton campaign strategist. Ickes suggested that in resolving the Michigan vote, Obama be given 0 delegates since he was not on the ballot - don't look for that suggestion to get much traction with the DNC Rules & Bylaws committee.
ABC "This Week" - Scott McClellan appears again so if you should be able to catch him on at least one show. Also appearing is chairman of the Clinton campaign Terry McAuliffe. As a former chair of the DNC, what will he have to say about the action the DNC rules & bylaws committee may end up taking on Saturday.
CBS "Face the Nation" Senator Claire McCaskill (Missouri) a co-chair of the Obama campaign and Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, a strong Clinton supporter. Rendell was recently quoted as saying Clinton can't win the nomination. Let's see what he says today.
CNN "Late Edition" will have Senator Bill Nelson (Fla.), a Clinton supporter - what will he say about the rules & bylaws committee decision about Florida and Hillary's chances? Also appearing is Senator Chris Dodd (Conn.) who has endorsed Obama.
"Fox News Sunday" - will have Howard Wolfson, the communications director of the Clinton campaign. He is very good at what he does, but how does he spin the math that shows it is next to impossible for Clinton to win the nomination even if all the delegates from Michigan and Florida were counted? The only way the nomination continues to the convention is if the Clinton campaign appeals the decision by the rules & bylaws committee. The appeal would be heard by the DNC credentials committee and their ruling requires a affirmative vote of the delegates on the first day of the democratic party convention in Denver. Doubtful, this will be discussed, but who knows?
We will be doing some live blogging as the results come in from Puerto Rico on Sunday. For a complete rundown of the Sunday talk shows check out Politico.com "Sunday talk show tip sheet"
Friday, May 30, 2008
Geraldine Ferraro, the vice-presidential candidate with Walter Mondale, continues to stoke the political fires with claims of media and party bias based on sex. Read more Here. She fails to understand that many Democratic voters are drawn to support Senator Obama because of his message and are not sexist because they do not support Senator Clinton. Some would argue Ferraro is as bad for Clinton as the Reverend Wright has been for Obama.
Speaking of Reverend Wright, a guest minister at Chicago's Trinity United Church, Michael Pfleger had unflattering words to say about Clinton - watch video here. Obama issued a statement saying he was disappointed in the comments and Pfleger issued an apology - read here.
McClellan, a miserable creature - or so Bob Dole thinks. The former Republican Senate Majority leader and a candidate for President apparently did not like the recent tell-all book released by former George W. Bush WH Press Secretary Scott McClellan. Read more here.
As one might have suspected, the Clinton campaign has sent a letter to the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee from their legal counsel, Lyn Utrecht. This letter claims the committee has the right to seat all the delegates contrary to the previous advise the committee members received from the DNC legal counsel. Here is the Letter. Remember, if all the delegates were restored Clinton would still need to win 72.5% of the new remaining delegate total which is highly unlikely.
Meanwhile, the Obama/McCain camps are battling over a comment made by Senator McCain that the troop levels in Iraq were back to the pre-surge levels. Senator Obama has accurately pointed out this is not correct. McCain also catches flack from Sen. John Kerry for using a picture of General Petraus in a fund raising letter. Read more here.
An interesting article here indicates the election in Puerto Rico will only attract 25% of the voters. Their primary was changed from caucuses to be held on June 7 to an open primary in which anyone can vote, regardless of political party to occur this Sunday, June 1. Puerto Rico has 55 delegates and 8 superdelegates.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 4:44 PM
The failure of the Democratic National Committee to resolve their primary schedule prior to the kick-off of the 2008 presidential campaign, will forever haunt the Democratic Party. While Senator Barack Obama is the presumptive nominee of the party, supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton will want to place an asterisk next to his win.
Short of a re-vote after the candidates actually campaigned in the states, some democratic voters will be left wondering what if..... Even a re-vote at this point would not be reflective of how the outcome of the vote would have been months ago. You have open primaries in one state which allows voters of another party to vote democrat and much has changed since then so a new vote would not reflect accurately the views of the voters.
By crunching the delegate numbers and doing some simple math, it also becomes obvious that even with adding delegates from Michigan and Florida, Obama will win. Today Obama leads Clinton in total delegates 1982 to 1782. Without Michigan and Florida, there are 86 pledged delegates in the remaining three primaries and 138 un-pledged superdelegates for a total of 224 delegates.
The number needed to secure the nomination is 2026 so one can readily see that Clinton will be unable to reach this figure. Even if she won all the remaining 224 delegates, her total (1782 + 224) would be at 2006, 20 delegates short. Obama, on the other hand needs only 44 (1982 + 44) of the remaining 224 delegates or 20%. If he picks up an average of 2 superdelegates a day, he will have reached 2026 after the primaries conclude in S. Dakota and Montana on Tuesday.
Michigan (128 pledged, 28 super) and Florida (185 pledged, 25 super) have a combined total of 366 delegates. If all of these delegates are seated (a very doubtful outcome), the new number of delegates needed to secure the nomination would be 2210. The remaining total delegates would then be 224 + 366 = 590. Clinton would need to win 428 of 590 or 72.5%, a highly unlikely feat. Conversely, Obama would need only 228 of 590 or 38.6%
So at this point, it is extremely doubtful Michigan and Florida delegates, even if added in full, could alter the outcome of this Democratic primary election. Even Harold Ickes, a strategist with the Clinton campaign says members on the Rules & Bylaws committee who are supportive of Clinton will most likely not support the full seating of delegates. Read more here.
All of the above number crunching makes the meeting tomorrow somewhat anticlimactic. However the Clinton campaign has scheduled a rally tomorrow outside the hotel where the meeting is held to promote the seating of the delegates. The Obama campaign sent out emails to their supporters to not protest. MSNBC FirstRead.com has more about the meeting tomorrow here.
Committee members will hopefully be made aware of the above numbers and reach a reasonable solution tomorrow. In the future, the DNC punitive actions should never involve the disenfranchisement of Democratic voters who had nothing to do with actions taken by their state democratic party. This should be the next topic for discussion of the Rules & Bylaws Committee.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:39 AM
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says "it is very unlikely Hillary will win". One of Senator Clinton's biggest supporters who feels she would win the major swing states now says it is unlikely she will win the nomination and hopes for a Obama-Clinton ticket for November.
The total delegate count today is Obama 1979, Clinton 1781. Obama is only 47 delegates away from the current 2026 needed to secure the nomination. It is very likely he will reach this number after the last primaries in S.Dakota and Montana on Tuesday, June 3.
While many Democrats have been excited over a protracted primary, others are concerned a broker-ed convention could result in damage to the party. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she believes the candidate of the party will be determined in the first week in June. The New York Times Blog, Caucus.com writes Pelosi will step in if the nomination has not been decided by the end of June. If the Clinton drags on a losing battle to the end of June, expect Pelosi to have plenty of company from the democratic party hierarchy.
Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) says he will announce who he is supporting at 11 AM on Tuesday, well after the last two primaries are underway. He is also a superdelgate.
Obama gets clean bill of health from Doctor - read letter.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 1:43 PM
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The DNC "Rules & Bylaws Committee meets this Saturday in D.C. to determine what to do in regard to Florida and Michigan. These two states had their 366 delegates stripped due to their moving up their primaries to a date not sanctioned by the DNC. It is now being reported that lawyers for the DNC have advised the committee members as to their options.
No more than 50% of the delegates can be restored per the rules. However, they can make a recommendation to the "Credentials Committee" to fully restore the delegates. If the latter is the recommendation, the credentials committee decision would need to be ratified by the full convention on the first day they meet. Read more Here. Even with all the Michigan and Florida delegates restored, Hillary would need to win over 66% of the remaining delegates to reach the new number of 2210 delegates. The math simply does not work for the Clinton campaign.
Mark Halperin of ThePage.com has his thoughts on "How the Democratic Nomination Fight could go beyond next Wednesday". Click here to read.
Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has a new "tell all" book appropriately titled "What Happened Inside the Bush White House - Washington Culture of Deception". In a not too surprising statement, McClellen says Bush relied on propaganda to sell the war in Iraq. Politico.com has a good read here.
Today's total delegate count stands at Obama 1977, Clinton 1780. If the yardsticks are not moved after the DNC committee meets Saturday, Obama now only needs 49 delegates to reach 2026 and secure the nomination.
Obama, Clinton and McCain issue a joint statement calling for an end to the violence in Darfur. Reuters.com has a good read here. I wonder why President George W. Bush did not weigh in.
The New York Observer weighs in on the Democratic Veepstakes, suggesting Virginia freshman Senator Jim Webb would be a good choice for Obama. Read more here. In spite of Webb's experience as former Secretary of Navy and Viet Nam veteran, don't look for a freshman Senator to be chosen as a running mate in this election.
In a much to do about nothing statement, the Republican National Committee issued a statement saying that Obama was not truthful when he spoke to veterans over the weekend discussing his uncle's participation in the liberation of Auschwitz. This German concentration camp was in fact liberated by the Soviets in WW II. The Obama campaign immediately admitted he had misspoke - it was his great-uncle who was among troops who liberated one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald. Read more Here.
A desperate Clinton sends letter to superdelegates, pleading for their support. Read letter here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 12:15 PM
Some die hard Democratic supporters of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton might beg to differ, but this primary campaign has been exciting to voters all across the country. In fact, even voters in U.S. territories are weighing in as to who they believe is the best Democratic candidate for President.
In less than one week, all the states, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and "Democrats Abroad" will have voted. It is also likely the vote from Michigan and Florida will be included in some sort of compromise when the Democratic National Committee "rules and bylaws committee" meets on May 31.
In 2000 and 2004 the Democratic Party presidential nominee was known early in the primary process. The results were unfortunate, a questionable loss in 2000 followed by a narrow loss in 2004 resulting in eight years of the Republican George W. Bush administration. After eight years of failed policies under the Bush administration, it is critical for the the country as a whole, for significant change to occur in domestic and foreign policy.
Republicans can no longer talk of fiscal responsibility when the national debt is at an all time high with the majority of this debt secured by foreign investment. The quiet "recession" we are in could easily tip in favor of a depression if more consumers find it difficult or impossible to pay the monthly charges on the record credit card debt that exits today. It is becoming painfully clear that a strategy of lowering interest rates is not helping consumers as gasoline prices exceed $4.00 a gallon.
The current policy of allowing U.S. companies to move overseas without concern for labor or environmental issues has exacerbated the U.S. economic problems and led foreigners to view our country in a less then flattering manner. As many companies have sought out cheap labor and less regulatory constraints overseas U.S. job development and manufacturing has decreased. All of this aimed at allowing firms to make more money by providing goods to Americans at lower prices.
As if the economic policies were not offensive enough, the Bush administration, has also created a adversarial feeling of many around the world toward the U.S. with a foreign policy based on a view that I am right and the rest of you are wrong. A descriptive foreign policy saying attributed to former President Theodore Roosevelt, "speak softly, but carry a big stick", has been replaced with it's opposite, "yell loudly and use the stick". This "cowboy bravado" preemptive style of diplomacy of act first and explain later has been a disaster.
The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has done little to aid in stabilizing the volatile Middle East region. Instead, the U.S. action has worsened an already tenuous situation. The terms "Axis of Evil", Al Qaeda, and Terrorist Organizations, used to label some countries or opponents have now replaced the former ominous label of "Communist" used on foes during the cold war period.
While evil and corrupt governments do exist around the world, not everyone who disagrees with the U.S. is a Terrorist or Al Qaeda. We painfully learned this lesson from the cold war years ago when a popular slogan was "better dead than red". Years after a failed U.S. policy ( remember the Domino theory?) in the Viet Nam conflict, the U.S. today has trade relations there and with surrounding communist countries.
A U.S. foreign policy should include promoting human rights along with respect of the sovereignty of another country. The military might of the U.S. is unparalleled and this is well known around the world. As this military strength must be maintained so should diplomatic efforts aimed at peaceful negotiations to conflicts around the world.
A major component of a domestic policy must include a comprehensive energy program that alters dramatically the current way Americans consume energy. As the aging infrastructure in the country is replaced, emphasis should be put on rebuilding what was once a premier train system used to transport people and goods across the country.
Expansion of mass transit should continue but more important is the development of competitive jobs closer to home and increasing telecommuting opportunities offered by employers. Federal government efforts need to be undertaken with the private sector and local government to encourage the implementation of these changes.
Instead of trying to legislate "no child left behind" in our educational system, a comprehensive study needs to be undertaken to review the public educational system that exists in the U.S. today. The review should include the cost of including the first two years of college. A high school diploma is an outdated yardstick and is no longer sufficient in providing opportunities for our youth.
There is no question the current public education system is broken and like the aging infrastructure in the country, in bad need of repair. Older schools in disrepair that offer no hope to students need to be replaced with new schools with solutions.
Rather than play on the fears of Americans and spending astronomical funds in a questionable war in Iraq, let's promote public education and energy conservation as number one priorities of the federal government for all Americans.
With the same level of concentration of expertise and funds that has been focused on the Iraq war, advances in public education and energy conservation could grow in leaps and bounds in this country.
It is also time for the sad old refrain that "we" do not need socialized medicine in the U.S. to be put to rest. What is needed is affordable health care for all. It is outrageous and sad that the U.S. remains the only developed country in the world without some form of national health care.
Democrats recognize a Republican John McCain administration would be four more years of the same failed policies of President George W. Bush. Although, this has been a hard fought Democratic primary with many qualified candidates, Democratic voters across the country will unite to support the nominee. They recognize how important a change in direction and new leadership is to the future of their families.
It is critical, not only for Democrats, but for all Americans, this Presidential election results in a new direction for our country. This massive overhaul in the domestic and foreign policy direction of the U.S. is long overdo and will not be easy.
However, as the presumptive Democratic candidate for President, Barack Obama says, "Yes We Can"!
Posted by George Wenschhof at 6:22 AM
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Whitney M. Duck
It appears that in this presidential race that many people are trying revive the ghosts of former presidents. There seems to be this need to compare and remind the party faithful, either Democrat or Republican, of the past glories each political party had at one time during the last century. For example, many conservatives want a Ronald Reagan like candidate, just as many liberals want a new Kennedy. As fanciful as this might be, the reality is that the world has changed dramatically since both of these men held the office of the Presidency.
I am not so sure that the "good old days" may be worth reliving. The idea of another Ronald Reagan or John F. Kennedy can be appealing to many people. The current discord and uncertainty facing the nation can bring out the longing for a better and perhaps, a simpler time. Both Reagan and Kennedy brought forth a sense of nuance and hope to a large section of the country. Each brought energy and a new way of seeing the possibilities of a new way and voters went to the polls.
Even though Reagan and Kennedy came from two different sides of the political spectrum, each was able to create a sense of togetherness, and encourage voters to charge into new and uncharted territory. Now the world is a different place. It has been 20 years since Reagan held the White House and 45 years since Kennedy sat in the oval office. Today, the world is a much more complicated and different place.
A quick glance at a newspaper or television would bare this fact out. It is not only the news is different but it is the manner in which we get our information that is different. The Internet has become a major form of communication and that is not the only factor that has changed! Our enemies overseas are not as clearly labeled. What use to be the "Cold War" is now a "War Against Terror". Conventional warfare has taken a dramatic turn and the threats now are not so easily defined.
The economy is not humming the same tune it once had. The idea of just making new cars and U.S. made steel beams are long gone and the manufacturing sector of our economy is hurting. Our economy has become more fluid and consumer based. We now buy with little or no concern. The United States is in debt to too many other nations and now our own economic well being is at stake. Our nation faces many, many different challenges and working and looking backward to go forward does not make much sense.
Now it is time to move forward. Somehow, we will all have to work together to fix our national economy. As distasteful it might be to some, our military is broken and in desperate need of repair. We must not forget the past but instead build a better future. Will either of the two Presidential candidates, Democrat Senator Barack Obama or Republican Senator John McCain, do so? I do not know. This history has yet to be written.
Moving forward, without the ghosts of past presidency's hovering over head, is the only way of rebuilding what is broken. Somehow, we will have reworked our national economy. NASA is still trying to go back to the moon and we lack mass transportation. Our schools are hurting and our infrastructure is breaking around us. Some of these issues have been around for a very long time and now the time has come that we must face these issues head on.
Americans can and will pull together to move forward. Change is never easy and it often comes with many pitfalls. Either way we vote this November, the public will be asking for a new start. We must not forget the past but learn from the successes and failures. Instead, all of us must pull together to build a better future. Will either Obama or McCain lead the country in the right direction? Right now I do not know, but this history is yet to be written.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:53 AM
Monday, May 26, 2008
Today, take a moment to think of and appreciate the efforts of our many members of the armed services. Whether you agree or disagree with the current U.S. foreign policy which includes the war in Iraq and the conflict in Afghanistan, the men and women in the armed services carry out in a professional manner the missions they are asked to perform. The NY Times has an article today written by Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reminding troops to keep politics out of what they do. Let's hope the future will bring a change in U.S. foreign policy that will lead to peace.
Yesterday, Senator Barack Obama stood in for Senator Ted Kennedy and gave the commencement address at Wesleyan University. His speech (watch video here) centered around giving back to the community and although a good speech, it was not as inspiring as when the late President John F. Kennedy said "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country". JFK inspired many to get involved in the Peace Corp and community based organizations.
Interestingly, FEC computers could not handle the latest finance reports submitted by the Obama campaign. The huge number of individual contributors exceeded the amount of data the FEC computers were programed to process. Read more here.
Former President Bill Clinton while campaigning for his wife in S. Dakota complains about how his wife has been treated by the press and how many are unfairly trying to push her out of the race. Read more here.
Another former President, Jimmy Carter said yesterday that after the last primaries on June 3, it will be time for Senator Hillary Clinton to withdraw from the race.
Meanwhile, Obama continues to add to his delegate lead, picking up three more superdelegates to move within 52 delegates of the 2025 presently needed to secure the nomination. He now leads Clinton 1973 to 1780.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:56 AM
Sunday, May 25, 2008
NY Daily News has on their front page a letter from Senator Clinton entitled "Hillary: why I continue to run". She explains the unfortunate statement she made pertaining to the Robert Kennedy assassination, speaks of representing women, the importance of allowing everyone to vote, how she has won the important swing states needed to win the 270 electoral votes in November, and then concludes with how the Democrats will unite to support the nominee.
McClatchey reports that the co-chair of senator Clinton's National Hispanic Leadership Council has switched his support and now endorses Senator Obama.
The NY Times Op-ed by Debby Applegate entitled "Two can Make History" is a good read.
Obama and Clinton campaign in Puerto Rico. who holds their primary on June 1.
Current Delegate Count is Obama 1969, Clinton 1780. If Obama continues to pick up 2-3 superdelegates per day prior to the primaries on June 3 in Montana and S. Dakota, he will have won the required 2025 delegates for the nomination. With these superdelegates, he would only need to win 45% of the pledged delegates in the remaining three contests to reach the 2025 figure.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 11:01 AM
Saturday, May 24, 2008
This Sunday will mark only one week until the primary in Puerto Rico (55 delegates) and only nine days until the final two primaries on June 3 in Montana (16 delegates) and S. Dakota (15 delegates). Prior to these primaries, the Democratic National Committee, credentials committee will meet on May 31 to determine a resolution to the 366 total delegates from Michigan (156) and Florida (210). Both Obama and Clinton are campaigning in Puerto Rico this weekend.
Although the numbers clearly show Senator Obama will most likely be the Democratic Party nominee, it is exciting that the final determination will not be made until the voters of all the states will have weighed in. Today, RealClearPolitics.com reports the following delegate totals: Obama 1968, Clinton 1779. If the goal posts are not moved by the Michigan and Florida pending resolution, Obama is now within 57 delegates of the 2025 needed for the nomination.
Face the Nation will have Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson. It was Wolfson who earlier this week made the ridiculous argument that since Obama was not on the Ballot in Michigan, the credentials committee should not award him any delegates from Michigan. The solid arguments as to how Clinton can win enough delegates to secure the nomination are dwindling so Wolfson's job becomes increasingly more difficult. Also appearing will be Sen. Durbin (ill.) - Obama and Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) - McCain
Meet the Press has a political round table discussion with reporters from various media. Look to see a discussion on what has become a controversial comment (Video) made by Senator Clinton to a editorial board of a newspaper in S. Dakota. She was explaining why she was staying in the race so long and mentioned the assassination of Robert Kennedy in June in the 1968 race and her husband Bill securing the nomination in June. Although Clinton immediately apologized for the remark and even Robert Kennedy Jr. said she did not mean any harm in the statement, some are saying this may have made it very difficult for Obama to add her to the ticket.
This Week has the Obama campaign political guru David Axelrod and also Carl Rove who directed the successful 2000 and 2004 George W. Bush campaigns. Let's see what Rove says about the recent subpoena he was served with compelling him to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee. This committee is investigating whether the White House acted illegally in the firing of U.S. attorneys in the Justice department back in 2006. This eventually led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Fox News Sunday has Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Clinton campaign who almost certainly will also be asked to explain why Senator Clinton is still in the race and to explain her recent comments. As a former DNC chair, let's see what his spin will be on how the credentials committee will decide on the seating of delegates from Michigan and Florida. Also appearing will be the chairs of the Republican and Democratic congressional campaign committees: Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Tom Cole (R-Ok). Sure to be discussed will be the number of seats the Democrats expect to pick up in the House in this election.
For a complete rundown check out Politico.com "Sunday talk show tip sheet".
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:40 AM
Friday, May 23, 2008
Although Senator Barack Obama has not yet reached the required number number of delegates needed to secure the Democratic Party nomination, it is a foregone conclusion he will be the Party's candidate for President. Now the immediate attention of the Obama campaign is on who is the best person to be his running mate?
The Obama campaign is publicly focused and rightfully so, on the remaining primaries. However, it is widely reported that James Johnson who conducted the vice president search for Walter Mondale and John Kerry four years ago, will head up the search for the Obama campaign. There is lots of speculation as to who would be the best Vice President candidate to team up with Senator Obama. Here is a quick rundown on the usual suspects:
On the side of experience and moderation is Senator Joe Biden (Del.) who was a candidate for President who dropped out early and is the only previous candidate who has not made an endorsement. He may have come close when he recently defended Obama's foreign policy positions in an article in the Wall Street Journal. As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it is thought Biden would add credibility in foreign relations. Another vice-president candidate along these same lines who is being promoted by moderate democrats is former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, but the "former" works against him - he is just not well known today except for inside the beltway.
If one would take the position that a running mate is needed who will help win the important swing states then Ohio Governor Strickland will be seriously considered along with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, and Virginia Governor Kaine. Although Strickland, Rendell, and Bayh supported Clinton, all are popular within their states and could make a difference in the general election.
A woman running mate will be seriously considered, especially if Senator Hillary Clinton is not offered the position or she declines it. Women voters make up 53-57% of the Democratic vote and it will be hard to not seriously consider Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.
As to wild cards, there is Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Ind.). Hagel has opposed the war in Iraq, and Bloomberg earlier this year flirted with running for President as an Independent. Both would add support to the ticket but it is very doubtful either will be named as the running mate.
A surprise candidate for the slot would be former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Although he served under the Republican George W. Bush administration, it was clear he had differences with Bush in foreign policy. Powell is extremely well respected on both sides of the aisle and his addition to the ticket would make it nearly impossible for the Republicans to attack Obama on foreign policy. William Cohen, former Secretary of State under the Clinton administration is another well qualified candidate for the position.
Mr. Johnson will have his work cut out for him if he is the one who heads up the vice-president search committee for Senator Obama. The candidates listed above and many not mentioned, all bring qualities and it will be difficult to arrive a selection.
All of which brings us back to the selection of Senator Hillary Clinton as the vice-president candidate, thereby creating the "dream ticket" many Democratic voters would like to see. Many pundits have felt that after all the acrimony involved in the closely contested Democratic primary, it would be impossible for Obama and Clinton to run as a team. There is even speculation that many Obama supporters would be angry and disappointed if Clinton was chosen as the running mate.
As one views the qualifications of the potential running mates, it clearly stands out that Senator Clinton would be the best vice-president to run on the ticket with Senator Obama. She has already clearly demonstrated her ability to win large states and swing states during this primary campaign. Also, her support among women voters is unparrelled. There would be no question surrounding her willingness and ability to fight hard to support the policies of Senator Obama and the Democratic Party.
Mr Johnson's work as chair of the search committee could well end up being short-lived if the offer is made to Clinton and the acceptance given. It just makes good sense.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 11:48 AM
It has been amazing to watch the speed with which the peak oil theory has gone from an obscure, left-wing whisper to a front page article once the price of oil started to spike beyond most of our comfort levels.
The theory of "peak oil" is that there will be a point when the maximum rate of global oil production is reached, after which the rate of oil production will decline. The peak oil theory was first used by M. King Hubbert in 1956 to predict that the United States' oil production would peak in the late 1960s. It did (and soon thereafter came the 1970s oil crisis).
According to Hubbert's peak oil model, which has been used successfully to predict peak oil in many other countries, the production rate of a limited resource like oil will follow a symmetrical bell-shaped curve based on the limits of exploitability and market pressures. If you think about it on its most basic level, the peak oil "theory" isn't really a "theory" -- it's common sense. We all know that oil is finite – there isn't an ever-running flow of oil under he ground.
It thus follows that there will come a time when the global oil supply will be depleted. As fewer new oil fields are discovered (which is happening now) and fewer barrels of oil are produced out of the oil fields that already exist (which is also happening now), and as global demand increases (as is occurring in large part due to China and India's exponential development), the rate at which we will reach peak oil will increase. Some are now saying that we have already reached peak oil.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported on the front page that the International Energy Agency, the world's premier energy monitor, is preparing a "sharp, downward revision" of its oil-supply forecast, which is based on its first comprehensive assessment of the condition of the world's top 400 oil fields. According to the Wall Street Journal, "[a] growing number of people in the industry are endorsing a version of the 'peak-oil' theory: that oil production will plateau in coming years, as suppliers fail to replace depleted fields with enough fresh ones to boost overall output."
This mainstream coverage and acknowledgement of the peak oil theory is fairly recent. Up until a few years ago, most of the discussion on the web about peak oil consisted of doomsday scenarios about how to prepare for the end of the world as we know it. Many websites included instructions about how to make an "off the grid" home, how to sanitize your own water, how to grow your own food. But as industry insiders began to take a hard look at the oil reserve data and readjust their figures based on unexpected demand growth, the concept of peak oil no longer was deemed to be so far-fetched.
One well-known peak oil theory believer is close to home: Maryland 6th district conservative Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has been a vocal believer in the peak oil theory. In 2005, he founded the Peak Oil Caucus, a group of House members who believe the world is near the peak of oil production and that only a reduction in demand can prevent a global economic catastrophe. You can watch Representative Bartlett's peak oil presentation to Congress here. Congressman Bartlett also appears in a thought-provoking documentary released last year about peak oil, Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash. I highly recommend it.
Now that oil prices are really spiking and independent agencies are finally beginning to assess the hard data regarding current reserve levels, hopefully we will get a clearer picture of what the real threat is, when oil might actually peak, and how our government plans on dealing with it. In my opinion, all of this talk about finding new oil fields misses the point: all oil will dry up at some point, so why don't our government and the major oil companies start a real, concerted effort to develop zero oil technologies? If energy that is infinite is ideal, why is solar power still so out of reach for the average consumer? What are the oil companies waiting for? Where is American ingenuity? Why isn't peak oil being discussed by the presidential candidates? Pondering peak oil always leaves me full of questions.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I wrote in mid January the move by the Democratic National Committee to strip the delegates from Michigan and Florida could have dire consequences. This was done as a punitive action for moving their primaries earlier in the schedule to an unsanctioned date. Unfortunately, I was right. Punitive action that resulted in the disenfranchisement of Democratic voters who had nothing to do with the scheduling of the date of their primary election, simply made no sense.
As chair of the DNC, Howard Dean had years to work out the primary schedule and failed to do so. Many states, and rightfully so, objected to the first in the nation status given the Iowa caucuses and the first primary status given to New Hampshire. They are the only two states traditionally allowed to hold Democratic primaries in January.
Over the years, as campaign strategy changed, it became important, if not clear, that wins in these two early states could propel a candidate to the democratic party nomination. It was Jimmy Carter, who emerged as the winner in the 1976 Democratic primary and went on to become President, that set this modern day trend. Carter rose from somewhat obscurity as Governor of Georgia and won Iowa. He used the national recognition he achieved from winning this contest to distance himself from the other Democratic candidates.
Since 1976, the democratic nomination process has resulted in a nominee way before the end of scheduled state primaries, leaving many states effectively out of the nomination process. This has obviously led to many states becoming frustrated with the primary schedule and questioning why Iowa should have so much influence on who the Democratic Party candidate for President will be.
After considerable haggling and negotiation with various state officials and the DNC, two additional states, Nevada and S.Carolina were allowed to hold their primaries in the sacred month of January for this election year. The reported reasoning was to add a state from the West, (Nevada) and one from the South, (S. Carolina). Of course, other state officials immediately noticed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is the representative of Nevada. Others, would rationalize that Democrats needed to do better in the South and among African-American voters so adding S. Carolina to January made sense.
So after several years of negotiation, the best Howard Dean and the DNC could achieve is status quo with Iowa and New Hampshire and adding just two states to the schedule in January. The earliest date following the month of January sanctioned by the DNC became February 5th and not so surprisingly, close to 25 states scheduled primaries on that day. This led some pundits to say why not just hold a single national Democratic primary election day? Others say why not just hold five primaries every two weeks from January to May which would spread out and stagger more fairly the primaries across the country. Obviously many ideas exist but this nonetheless shows clearly the failure of the DNC to effectively schedule a primary calendar.
Now the credentials committee of the DNC will meet on May 31 to conduct hearings on the seating of the 366 delegates from Michigan (156) and Florida (210). The Clinton campaign realizes that a extremely favorable ruling is the only hope they have at securing the nomination and at this point, it is a long shot. The Obama campaign has signaled they are willing to compromise for they realize the delegate math is in their favor. Seating some of the delegates from these states will be accommodated and Clinton will be able to point to her advocacy on behalf of these states, while Obama will win the party nomination. While the outcome of this meeting should finalize this issue, the Florida and Michigan fiasco will forever be a footnote in this Democratic party Presidential candidate primary election.
The only other possible solution to the awarding of delegates from these two states is to conduct a re-vote. Although this option was considered dead after earlier negotiations failed, both states have state elections coming up in August. Michigan (Aug.5) and Florida (Aug.26) could still add the names of Obama and Clinton to their Ballots and the cost of these elections would be minimal for they are already scheduled. CNN had a article about this earlier this month where they pointed out the Democratic National Convention is August 25-28 in Denver so this could work but the Florida results would not be known until the second day of the convention.
Don't look to see a re-vote happen. All the democratic candidates knew the rules when they filed and agreed to the sanctions given to Florida and Michigan by the DNC. The candidates did not campaign in these states and Obama was not even on the Ballot in Michigan.
It is clear the DNC and Democratic party representatives from all the states need to meet following this election to develop a primary schedule that makes sense in the twenty-first century. While they are at it, they also need to revise the convoluted and confusing method of awarding delegates (including superdelegates) to the candidates.
In spite of these shortcomings, this Democratic party primary election has been one of the most exciting and engaging ever in history. It is certain that either a Woman or an African-American will be the Democratic candidate for President of the United States.
Regardless of what some may say, Democrats will unite and rally around their nominee to ensure there is not a continuation of the failed policies of the President George W. Bush administration.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 11:14 AM
Neither native son, John Edwards, nor the great American salvation candidate, Barack Obama, have much effect on the mountains of Appalachia - even as they espouse common man values and identification with the downtrodden – the New South is a wary bird, its plumage more effect, and its reality too honest in its evangelical beliefs, to take distraction and become swayed by the sort of blather laid down by the suited millionaires seeking the keys to an earthly kingdom.
"You should never be hungry," Obama told a cheering crowd …, "you should never be homeless, you should never face the threat of poverty, ever!" - and "For too long Washington has ignored their struggles. For too long, they've been told, 'there's nothing we can do to help you.' – Edwards added in announcing his support. Link
It sounds like a message that might reach Appalachia – but it falls on empty ears – places where the three crosses placed on hills along the interstate by a lottery winner have more credence – the social justice of Appalachia has never been handouts or government support – in fact, within my family and friends, those eligible virtually always rejected such offers – except when there was no breadwinner at home, and the commodities of cheese and canned beef were handed out.
I've tasted those commodities meals, and the cornbread and pinto bean lunches, along with squirrel and rabbit and even bear from the hill hunts. One difference between that kind of poverty, and what is more normative in our more economically developed areas – is that you could grow enough to get by on, on your own plat of land.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
In a play of words from the popular information website Wikipedia, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has started McCainpedia, a website which will follow Republican Senator John McCain in his race for the White House.
On the website, they say: "McCainpedia.org is a wiki run by the DNC's Research, Communications, and Internet teams. The goal is to centralize research material, allowing the general public to use it as they see fit. Unlike some wikis, McCainpedia is read-only and can't be edited by the public. This allows us to fully validate all of the information that appears, ensuring accuracy and reliability.
McCainpedia follows FlipperTV, which puts video taken by Democratic "trackers" of John McCain as he campaigns across the country, and allows users to watch, download, and use the footage as they wish. FlipperTV has now been incorporated into McCainpedia alongside all of the research information".
We have added a permanent link to McCainpedia under the heading "Democratic Party" in the right hand margin of our Home Page. Make sure you click on it often for updates on the campaign.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 12:28 PM
The Democrats are finally near the end of a long and exciting primary schedule with only three remaining primaries with a total of 86 pledged delegates. In less than two weeks, Montana (16 pledged delegates) and S. Dakota (15 pledged delegates) will hold the last primaries on June 3rd. Two days before, Puerto Rico (55 pledged delegates) will hold their primary.
So what does the delegate math look like? Well, after yesterday's primaries in Kentucky and Oregon so far Clinton won 53 and Obama won 42. There are still 7 outstanding delegates to be assigned from Oregon and 1 from Kentucky. The best Clinton can hope for is a 5-3 split in her favor and most likely it will be a 4-4 split. The 12 delegate pick up by Clinton I predicted yesterday is just about correct.
RealClearPolitics.com has the new total delegates with the above numbers as Obama 1957 and Clinton 1775
We all know by now that 2025 delegates are needed to secure the nomination - or is it? The 2025 figure was arrived at by not including the total 366 delegates from Michigan ( 128 pledged and 28 superdelegates) and Florida (185 pledged and 25 superdelegates). These two states had their delegates stripped by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) because they held their primaries at an earlier unsanctioned date in the Democratic primary schedule.
So currently, the number of available delegates are 86 pledged and 158 superdelegates for a total of 244 delegates. Out of the 86 pledged delegates, even if Clinton won all three contests by 60%, she would not win more than 52 delegates to 34 for Obama. However, this would leave Obama 34 delegates short of the 2025 needed. But then the remaining superdelegates will weigh in and Obama would only need approximately 34 of the 158 remaining superdelegates which is only 22%. Looks like a slam dunk for Obama.
However, the Clinton campaign's "Hail Mary" is that when the DNC credentials committee meets on May 31st, they somehow resolve the Florida and Michigan situation in a manner that is overwhelmingly in Clinton's favor. They will also continue to press their case that Clinton won the majority of the popular vote which is a good argument but is not currently used to determine the democratic party nominee.
By adding these two states, the majority of the delegates needed becomes 2209 and sometimes you will hear 2210. In order for Clinton to reach this figure she would need to win 410 of the new 610 remaining total delegates or 67%. Obama would need to win 250 of the 610 or 41%. The Clinton's campaign other hope would be that she won at least 60% and then neither of the candidates would have the 2209 or 2210 needed delegates. This would then lead to a broker-ed Democratic Party convention in August - don't look for this to happen.
The Clinton campaign should not count on the above scenario. Her own campaign adviser, Terry McAuliffe who is a former chair of the DNC stated when on "Meet the Press" recently, the most the DNC can sanction is half of the delegates. Obama was not even on the ballot in Michigan and no candidate campaigned in these two states per agreement with the DNC.
So look to see a compromise solution to the seating of delegates from these two states on the 31st. It is also becoming clear that Clinton will formally withdraw within a week of the last primaries on June 3rd or even better yet, for the benefit of the Democratic Party, withdraw in a speech the night of June 3rd. She will be able to say she worked hard to include Michigan, Florida, and voters from every state in the process. It's been an historic primary with a African-American and Woman candidate and now it is time to unite to ensure the end of a continuation of the failed policies of the President George W. Bush administration.
Although this Democratic Presidential primary has exposed many shortcomings in the nomination process, it has been one of the most exciting primaries ever. Democratic voters have turned out in record numbers from across the country making it be known that it is time for a change.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:14 AM