Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

A couple weeks ago, I found an interesting post on right-wing blog race42008 wherein a Virginia Republican blogger pledged to vote for Hillary Clinton in Virginia's Feb. 12th open primary. As he explained then:

It looks like by the time the first post-Super Tuesday primaries are held here in Virginia, the Republican nomination battle will be more or less wrapped up. Between the Arnold and Rudy endorsements and Huckabee and Romney splitting the conservative vote, I'm just not sure anyone other than McCain will be viable by then.

So what's a Republican to do? Take a page from Kos, of course. You will recall that in the Michigan primary, Kos urged Democrats to vote for Romney, on the theory that he would be the weakest general election candidate.

Since then, Romney has dropped out and Huckabee has made a real play for Virginia, so I was skeptical that Hillary Clinton would see a cross-over Republican bounce. But then diarist jmr1948 finds an interesting piece over at NRO's The Corner:

My wife and I have never voted for anything left of Republican, frequently voting on the Conservative party line when available.  Yet today, we both voted for Hillary in the VA primary.  Why?  Because it seems McCain has it wrapped up, so why waste our vote on the Republican side; she is a lot less scary than Obama in many ways (better the Devil you know), and I think she is more easily beaten with her high negatives and lack of charisma.  So we were part of the high Dem turn out today which I am sure you will hear about.  And there is no way we will ever vote Dem in November.

We live in a highly conservative precinct (Eric Cantor is our Congressman).  I saw many folks today picking up the Democratic ballot also.  I think my wife and I were far from alone in our thinking.

But anyone who thinks the cross-over voting would automatically benefit Hillary Clinton, think again, Ambinder brings us this e-mail from a Republican reader:

I have heard no less than five [CONSERVATIVE THINK TANK] staffers say they voted for Obama today. Personally I think their calculus is all wrong and I plan to vote for Hillary later today.

The cross-over vote is something to look for as the post-mortem on the Virginia race is written. For what it's worth, Survey USA's final Virginia poll, which has Obama up 60-38, has Republicans making up just 6% of the Democratic primary electorate and breaking for Obama  63-27. Something tells me GOP voters will make up a slightly higher portion than this, but whether it will break for Obama as they suggest is a big question.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Democratic nomination, Virginia Primary, Washington (all tags)

Comments

35 Comments

Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

Given the power of the Republican February 7th moneybomb, if they try to strategically vote in our primary, I'd expect 20 or maybe even gasp 30 Republican voters in Maryland today.

by frankies 2008-02-12 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

in the Dem primary in Maryland, that is ;-)

by frankies 2008-02-12 12:10PM | 0 recs
Good post

My personal experience working the polls today was that Republicans who voted for Obama did so because either (a) they thought he was an "honorable fellow" as one person put it, (b) they want to "stick it to the clintons"

by mcdave 2008-02-12 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

Good luck getting more than a tiny handful of Republican voters outside the Beltway to strategically vote for Clinton or Obama.  And from passing over the entries at redstate, it seems that they can't even agree who our weaker candidate is.  Clinton with her high negatives and poor reception among independents, or Obama, who they think they can define as soft and inexperienced.  

by Nissl 2008-02-12 12:13PM | 0 recs
In MI, Dems voted for the most appealing candidate

McCain beat Romney by quite a bit among Dems.  Given that the GOP netroots are insignificant compared to the Dem counterparts and that the VA GOP contest is slightly more meaningful than the MI Dem contest, it's nonsense to suggest that VA Republicans who vote in the Dem primary will do anything besides vote for the candidate that most appeals to them.

by Ramo 2008-02-12 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

I've seen no evidence that many Republicans even know what an "Internet" is, so I don't think many of them will participate in a coordinated effort to vote in the Democratic primary.

by rfahey22 2008-02-12 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

Don't forget it was the GOP who developed the art of mass marketing candidates in TV spots, targeting specific demographics in mass mailings, and using ballot initiatives to drive wedges. Be damn sure these guys know what an "internet" is.

by wolff109 2008-02-12 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

Its interesting that people think this works, but its soo rare.  Even DailyKos's "vote for Mitt" scheme didn't work.  Most Democrats that voted in the Republican primary voted for McCain.  Regular folks just don't think this way.

by cmrizcha 2008-02-12 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

Probably (hopefully), it won't be that widespread or have that much of an effect.  HOWEVER, this should really clue some people in about what the real GE dynamics would be like.  I know it's hard when you live in a true-blue area to realize the vitriol that republicans almost without exception have for the clintons.  (i know, i know...there are pockets of rural republican leaning areas where clinton has done well too, but can we just be honest for a second and realize that a lot of that comes down to backwards racist thinking)

let me tell you why most republicans are terrified of an obama candidacy.  This guy is like BUTTER.  Nothing sticks to him  A lot of the hillary supporters around here suggest that obama's not tough enough to withstand what the repubs did to the clintons.  maybe that's true, but it's a useless argument, b/c repubs would never be able to do it!

you know, it's sort of like high school-- some kids are popular and some kids ain't.  some kids can get away with it and others can't.  the fact is, the clintons have been very easy for the repubs to demonize to their liking over the years.  that doesn't mean that the clintons didn't put up an excellent fight-- for the most part they did.  BUT> what's more important is not who is the toughest fighter, but rather who can control the terms of the match.  no matter how good you are at cards, the casino is always going to come out ahead at the end of the day.

by bluedavid 2008-02-12 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

Running for prez is like high school.

My high school was like...high school.

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-02-12 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

way to completely ignore my point...

by bluedavid 2008-02-12 12:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February

Do you guys think that the GOP is going to bow down before his "awesomeness"? LOL. They are already starting their attacks on him an being unpatriotic. Then it'll be he's a liar. Then he's lazy etc. They didn't hate John Kerry either until the GOP started on him. Get your head out of the sand please.

by Ga6thDem 2008-02-12 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February

Please take your head out of the sand.  I didn't say that they won't try it.  I just said that it isn't going to work.

Look, why weren't democrats able to succesfully point out that GWB is 1) a moron 2) not a fucking cowboy and 3) from CONNECTICUT!!  It's because people liked the guy.  Our (obviously correct) attacks just didn't go anywhere.  

People don't like hillary.  i know that doesn't sound nice and makes you mad, but that's why they're willing to think the worst about her.  Like it or not, people across the spectrum simply like Obama.  That means that republicans (or anyone else for that matter...yourself included...ahem!) will have a much harder time getting people to think bad things about him.  

by bluedavid 2008-02-12 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February

If you look at actual favorable numbers from polls instead of assuming that everyone thinks like you and your friends, you'll find there's really not that significant a difference between how people feel about Clinton and Obama.

The media likes Obama much better, yes, which is why nothing sticks to him IN THE MEDIA.  But you seem to have bought the media's narratives about the two candidates hook, line and sinker.

by Steve M 2008-02-12 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February

Thanks for assuming that i'm stupid and just do what my friends tell me.

And, uh, no, i'm not really basing this on poll numbers (although i could since hillary's unfavorables among the general electorate are much higher than obama's), i'm basing this on history, which to my mind is a lot more reliable and less subject to hanky-panky than your sainted poll numbers.

I'm basing this on the fact that the entire clinton presidency, not one but BOTH of the clinton's were constantly in a tooth and nail bloodfight with the republicans- frequently about things that had nothing to do with legislation.  this isn't the clintons' fault.  HOWEVER, the fact that (for instance) the republicans were able to make a HUGE deal out of whitewater when really it was totally insignificant and the clintons were never shown to have done anything wrong means that the clintons cannot control the debate.  they were constantly on defense (and hillary still is) trying to banish the various strawmen scandals and character attacks.  this detracted from what bill was able to accomplish during his two terms and had a negative effects on congressional dems chances as well.

Now, let's contrast that with what obama's had thrown at him thus far (in a freaking primary for crhissakes!).  The viral charge that he is a terrorist-loving muslim (this really scares the crap out of some people...i spoke with an older latina woman who swore up and down that she saw him on TV say that he was a muslim terrorist.) That he was a drug dealer (remember the fallout from "i didn't inhale").  The Rezko charges that hillary tried to get the media to bite onto.  

And still, he has managed to keep his campaign moving forward.  Why?  Because he has been able to set the terms of the debate.  He has been able to parry attacks and keep his momentum going.  Clinton started this campaign with every advantage and yet has managed to piss most of it away.  What doest that say about the kind of campaign she runs?  Or that she has what it takes to go up against the big bad republican smear machine if she can't get the best of an upstart no-name from chicago???

by bluedavid 2008-02-12 01:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February

In fact, I get asked practically every day if Obama is a Muslim.  Your barometer for whether something "sticks" is solely whether it sticks in the media.  Well, yes, the media likes Obama much more than Clinton.  But here's the thing, the media spent years breathlessly reporting Whitewater, yet actual people didn't care about it a bit.  If you're not getting the idea that "people like Obama and dislike Hillary" from your friends, or from the media, or from the polls, where exactly are you getting it from?

by Steve M 2008-02-12 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February

Hillary is less well-liked than Obama, particularly among Independents and Republicans. We can see this in her much higher negatives than his and in the way the average Republican speaks about her (as opposed to him.)

That being said, the real danger isn't in Obama being disliked it is in him being misunderstood. I also get asked often about Obama's religion. Although the people who have asked me usually say something like "are you sure he isn't a muslim?"

I have only rarely heard "I won't vote for him because he is a muslim." I tell those people to look into it but assure them the email/phone call/close friend who told them are very wrong. It disgusts me that this is necessary not just from a political perspective but from a personal perspective as well; I find it to be incredibly sad that the level of hatred for muslims is so high in this country. That being said, it makes sense considering recent history and rehetoric (which is why we can expect McCain to continue to score points about Muslim extremism in his stump speeches.)

by JDF 2008-02-12 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February

The point about Bush is right on and you could make it about Reagan as well. How did a clown like Bush get a pass? He controlled the media narrative. TV news isn't in the news business they are in the entertainment business. They latch on to any simple easy to sell attractive story. The Republicans have been adept at controlling the media cycle, Kerry and Gore were horrible at it.

Obama didn't start out with 'the press on his side' but he is now controlling the media narrative. The proof is that all the Clinton supporters think the press is in the bag for Obama. If Clinton is better prepared to take on the Republicans how come she can't beat the rookie at the media game?

by hankg 2008-02-12 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February

yes!

by bluedavid 2008-02-12 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February

Show of hands -- how many people think anyone other than the hardcore republican base believes anything they say anymore?

by GFORD 2008-02-12 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

maybe some rank and file repubs are scared of obama but bill kirstol basically endorsed obama this week. kristol's the republican brain trust and he sees an easy victory in november against obama. a year from now obama may have just as high a negative quotient as hillary does now. possibly even higher. hard to imagine now, i know. but when it comes to smearing, the repubs know what they are doing. and obama is tabula rasa. for a little while longer.

by thetis 2008-02-12 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

it's really hard for me to buy the tabula rasa thing when you've got people running around calling him barack HUSSEIN obama, swearing that he's a muslim terrorist, trying to paint him as jesse jackson II, and hillary trying to deep-six him with rezko.

by bluedavid 2008-02-12 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

Yes, let's cower in fear about what the Republicans might do.  

by rfahey22 2008-02-12 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

True that a lot of Republicans (and Democrats) hate the Clintons, but name a Democrat who has beaten a Republican presidential nominee OTHER than a Clinton in the past 20 or so years.

Lots of people love the Clintons - hence why Hillary is still in this very close race. Don't discount those people.

by Dari 2008-02-12 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

If people deeply into crossing-over vote strategy actually amounted to any piece of the electorate, you'd see a lot more blog candidates winning.  Heck, Kos would the the Democratic Party kingmaker.

Sorry, but it isn't going to happen.

The Republicans like Obama and if they vote in the D primary at all, they'll be voting for Obama.  And that's okay, because it means they're that much more likely to cross over in the general.  Once you cross that barrier, it's easier the second time.

by Brian Watkins 2008-02-12 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

 I think this will probably be insignificant due to the fact that even if there was significant malicious crossover (as opposed to crossover with the actual intention of voting dem in the general) noone can seem to agree on who to back. The possibly hilarious effect of this would be lowered turnout allowing Huck to win, god that would be funny.  

by Socraticsilence 2008-02-12 12:42PM | 0 recs
So much for Obamacans

Regardless of who the Republican cross-over voters choose in the primaries, it dampens the notion that GOP voters actually intend to vote D this November.

So much for Obamacans.

by wolff109 2008-02-12 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: So much for Obamacans

The fact that some think tanks dudes voted for Obama doesn't really give us much of a read on anything.

by jlk7e 2008-02-12 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: So much for Obamacans

Republicans in conservative areas of VA are not necessarily the same as republicans everywhere else.  Matter fact, i did some GOTV work for obama here in ny with a registered republican who couldn't vote in the primary (she had missed the deadline to switch her party) but fully intends to vote for him in the GE.

by bluedavid 2008-02-12 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

This is silly.  Strategic crossover voters are always going to be swamped by genuine crossover voters who are voting because they really prefer one candidate or the other.

McCain won Democrats in Michigan 41-33.

by jlk7e 2008-02-12 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

Any exit poll rumors yet?

by snaktime 2008-02-12 12:51PM | 0 recs
GOP co workers of my Dad voted for Obama

But in General they will vote for the Republicans.  They said they like Obama but they are Republicans.

by jasmine 2008-02-12 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP co workers of my Dad voted for Obama

My mom wouldn't go that far, but she is a republican and she genuinely likes obama.  i'm 90% sure she won't vote for him in the GE, but i have to think that it bodes well for a more civil campaign if republicans won't be able to pump up their base by just savaging the opponent.  

if the opponent isn't someone that you can make people hate, i think it's harder for the republicans to run their smear machine.

by bluedavid 2008-02-12 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP co workers of my Dad voted for Obama

as opposed to hillary, who a lot of them hate already...

by bluedavid 2008-02-12 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Some February 12th Funny Business? (part deux)

Just the latest excuse from Camp Clinton.

by Liberal Avenger 2008-02-12 01:23PM | 0 recs

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