News from the Votemaster
Hillary Clinton is scheduled to give a major speech tomorrow in D.C. Everyone is going to be parsing every word she says. Is she "suspending" her campaign? Is she "ending" her campaign? Does she "support" Obama? Does she "endorse" Obama? The press will go wild over every nuance. Chances are she will merely "suspend" her campaign rather than ending it because she has a debt of $20 million and if she suspends it, she can continue fundraising to pay off her debts (more than half of which are to herself). Obama will no doubt be prepared to help her pay off her debt, but in return he will ask for a bit more than one statement of support and then have her disappear for five months. She sent an announcement to her supporters today.
A question on everyone's mind is the "dream ticket" of Obama/Clinton. Earlier this week, her campaign let it be known that she was available for Veep. This violates the protocol used to run for Veep. You are supposed to praise the candidate to the moon and say "I am a humble servant of the party and will do whatever the great and wise party leader asks me to do." The key word is "grovel." The deeper the better. Clinton got some negative feedback on the Veep issue rather quickly and has now come back to the more traditional position according to a story in the NY Times. Political Wire says Obama and Clinton met secretly yesterday. Unfortunately, neither one posted the minutes of the meeting on the Web.
What about Clinton as Veep? Does it make sense? She has powerful strengths and powerful weaknesses. Here is an attempt to make a little list of them.
Hillary Clinton's Strengths as Veep Candidate
Hillary Clinton's Weaknesses as Veep Candidate
Clinton clearly angered Obama by having her team members pitch her so hard for Veep earlier in the week. That is Not Done. He responded instantly by appointing his Veep search committee, something he could have delayed for a month. Very conspicuously on this commitee is Caroline Kennedy, who is not even active in politics. (English translation: Hillary, you're not the only dynasty in town). In a sense, Caroline may be filling in for Ted Kennedy, who just had a brain tumor removed and is not available, but the message is clear. While nobody knows who Obama will choose (probably including Obama himself right now), the message to the Clintons was abundantly clear: stop lobbying.
A nontrivial issue is Obama's pledge to openness and transparency. A precondition to choosing Clinton as Veep would surely be an agreement for the Clintons to disclose all of their financial contacts and dealings in the past 15 years, including all their business partners, donors to the Clinton library, and more. Some of the partners and donors may object strenuously to this exposure and there may be gold there for the Republicans to mine. Suppose Bill has earned a few million dollars by giving speeches to groups in the Middle East with vague ties to terrorist organizations?
Rasmussen has a new general election poll for Missouri. It's tied. Missouri is the ultimate bellwether state. Since 1904, it has voted for the loser only once (for Adlai Stevenson in 1956). Polls like this foreshadow a close election.
With Obama as nominee, the red state/blue state pattern of the past two election cycles could be completely broken. For example, McCain could carry New Hampshire, a state that swung wildly to the Democrats in 2006, when Gov. Lynch (D) won in a landslide, both sitting Republican comgressmen were defeated, and the Democrats took both houses of the state legislature for the first time since 1874. Now they may have to fight hard for it. McCain usually says what he thinks and people in New Hampshire like that.
But Obama might put strange states in play, like Mississippi. About 37% of the state's population is black. If they go for Obama for 95%, all he needs is 25% of the white vote. Where might he get that? Young voters and college-educated voters. If the Obama money machine gets up to speed, he could raise $200 million, maybe $300 million, which would make it possible to burn $5 million in Mississippi. He might also go there to campaign for former governor Ronnie Musgrove (D) who is trying to replace Sen. Roger Wicker (R) in the Senate. And many western states such as Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada will certainly be in play, and likely Virginia as well. Maybe Pennsylvania and Michigan, too.
A beta version of the new blogger icon is available for testing here.
Here are the published delegate totals, but the news agencies are not really updating this much despite there being a couple of hundred supers who haven't been accounted for yet.
Needed to win: 2118
-- The Votemaster