One of the reasons McCain was the best of a bad lot of the Republicans is that he was the only one who could conceivably run pro-environment, and the public clearly wants a pro-environment candidate this year.
McCain in fact hasn't been good on the environment, but he had the image, had broken with his party on a few important environmental issues, and was one of the few who spoke visibly about climate change as a real, man-made threat. Substance was weak, but the campaign messaging was strong and it was working. And he was using that as the focus of his efforts to show that he's not like Bush and the other Republicans.
... so now, not only does he abandon one of those high profile breaks with his party by reversing his opposition to expanding offshore oil drilling... but he runs an ad attacking Obama on it!
It hands Obama the perfect opportunity to draw a contract: "I'm for renewables, McCain is for oil", severely undercutting McCain's message. Indeed, Obama is doing just that in this new ad:
What's the deal here? Did they think they could hand Obama an opportunity to undermine McCain's message and the Obama campaign wouldn't run with it? Or did they somehow fail to notice that they were doing it in the first place? Do they have any idea what their strategy or message is? I'm honestly puzzled.
Great post. However, I think you're mistaken. The statement from the Obama campaign "rejecting" Clark's comments didn't help move on: they actually highlighted the issue, gave the media more to talk about it, and at the same time served to make Obama look weaker.
You're right that this is the sort of issue best talked about by people who aren't part of the campaign, and you're right that Obama should (and does) try to keep the debate on matters where he's stronger.
... but the anger from the netroots is about that "reject" comment, which not only didn't serve those goals, but partly undermined them.
Edwards doesn't represent the 90s in the public mind; Clinton does.
Edwards realized his Iraq mistake in 2004 and has made a very clear break with it, including full apology, accepting responsibility, and campaigning vigorously to fix the problem; Clinton as recently as last year was telling voters if they wanted someone who opposed that vote they should look for someone else.
Whatever you want to argue about the various merits of these choices, arguing that Clinton and Edwards are effectively equivalent on "past" vs. "future" and on the Iraq war vote is silly.
I would like to see some of these town halls. I wanted to see some of them in the last cycle, even in the primaries: from when I first attended some of Howard Dean's town hall style appearances in 2003, I wanted to see those adopted for some of the major appearances in the Democratic primary, and the general election.
From a partisan point of view, in the short term they might benefit McCain, but only because he's under-resourced and needs some attention, and frankly I really don't want to win by starving the opponent of attention when we can win so much better without doing so. A real win ends up being much more effective. However, I'm not sure that they would actually benefit McCain more. Certainly there's some danger to Obama from appearing to spurn them, because it would go against his core message; therefore, doing some of these town halls could reinforce his message, which is more important than exposure. Obama's got a better message, so if it's a trade where you give McCain more attention that he needs, while shoring up and reinforcing Obama's public message, it's not clear who wins out.
From a more general, not strictly partisan point of view, I think real town hall meetings, where the audience is not stacked, would do us all a lot of good. Including the candidates themselves.
I don't like the way McCain's campaign is treating this as a my way or nothing, put up or shut up posturing opportunity. Agreeing to have some town halls is not the same thing as saying yes to McCain's proposal as-is. Or to saying yes to Obama's counterproposal as-is. I'm sure it's possible to arrange high quality town halls in a way acceptable to both campaigns, if both campaigns are interested in doing so.
I see an amusing, even ironic parallel to another issue in this campaign: McCain thinks posturing is a substitute for diplomacy, and having the "right" position is more important than talking to the other side.
I applied for the scholarship after pre-registering for Netroots Nation last year, due to unexpected circumstances which make paying for a room there a problem now. I've been blogging on MyDD, Daily Kos, and Blue Mass Group for years under the name "Cos".
In addition to applying or donating, there's one more thing you can do: Browse the applicants and register your support for some of them (us). The applicant with the largest number of supporters will automatically get one of the scholarships, and I think supporters will be considered by DfA in picking the rest.
You need an account on the DFA website (sign up here or log in), and when you're looking at someone's application, you can click "Add Your Support" in the "Grassroots Supporters" section of the application (on the right side).
I'm a MoveOn member. I remember the endorsement process. We were given plenty of time to vote, the threshold was high, and a supermajority of MoveOn members voted to endorse Obama. Clinton's campaign tried to get out the vote to prevent an Obama supermajority (I suspect they knew they didn't have the numbers to beat Obama, but felt correctly that they might be able to prevent MoveOn from endorsing), but it didn't work. I don't recall there being any problems with the process, turnout was high, and there was no deception.
In Florida, it was the Democrats who screwed the Democrats. A Democratic state legislator sponsored the bill to move the primary, and told the state legislature he didn't believe the DNC would actually sanction them for it. Democratic legislators voted for it.
After the fact, a lot of people spread the rumor that it wasn't the Democrats' fault, the Florida legislature has a Republican majority. That sounded plausible, but it conjures up a picture of Republicans doing this over the objections of Democrats. What actually happened was that Democrats did this and the Republicans didn't stop it. You can't blame the Republicans for that.
Whatever they do with pledged delegates, they really ought to strip all of the Florida and Michigan superdelegates from having any vote on the nomination. The superdelegates, collectively, are the ones who either made this mess or should've done something to prevent it.
There is no way the DNC can give Florida a free and fair election in this primary. They're reduced to debating what to do with the result of an election where candidates were barred from campaigning and voters were told they wouldn't count. It's sad and unfortunate, and the superdelegates should get the largest penalty.
Are there any superdelegates from either Florida or Michigan who are on record as strongly trying to prevent this rescheduling before the primaries began? If so, perhaps those individuals could be allowed to appeal and get their votes back.
Oh, I should also note the irony in her bringing up the Clinton 1992 example: That year, through April and May, it was down to a two person contest between Clinton and Jerry Brown, with Clinton having a commanding lead and everyone expecting him to get the nomination (except Brown)... and the Clintons did in fact do the very things she's trying to argue people shouldn't do now: They said the race was basically over, that Clinton had already won, made it seem like Jerry Brown should drop out, etc.
We'll never find out, but I had mentally written off WV well before this year's primaries. I think the trend was unmistakable. Bush beat Gore by 6 and a half points in WV in 2000, and then beat Kerry by 13 points there in 2004. No state that grew Bush's lead that dramatically from 2000 to 2004 was going to be a swing state this year, IMO - unless we have a landslide election where the Democrat gets 400+ and WV doesn't matter.
You're right that their Democratic party is very strong at the state level. The same is true in Kentucky. But when it comes to voting for president, WV is now a red state.
I think we can reverse the trend, and a strong win this year could be part of making that happen, but we were never going to win WV this year.
Once, Kentucky was a swing state. Like other parts of the south, it had a tradition of voting for Democrats that was a holdover from the pre-Nixon days. The national parties changed, and in some cases swapped, what they stand for, but many southern voters were slow to switch their voting habits accordingly. Slowly, each one of these states was converted to voting solidly for Republicans for federal office, though in many cases they maintained a strong state Democratic party.
In Appalachia, particularly WV and KY, the state Democratic parties were stronger than in the deep south, and the change in federal voting that had already happened in the deep south was slow to come. But it did.
In Kentucky, that shift is over a decade old, and well established. In 2004, Bush beat Kerry in Kentucky by 20 points. Kentucky is a red state. Nobody we might have nominated this year would've had a chance of winning it.
West Virginia has also been making that shift, but it's about ten years behind Kentucky. It's like the mirror image of New Hampshire, which has been late in following the rest of its region to becoming a blue state. But I think this year is the year both of those states make that transition clear: NH is blue, WV is red. Nobody we might have nominated would've won WV this year; all of our serious contenders for the nomination would've won NH.
"that theory", if it's the one I think you're referring to, actually predicted that West Virginia would likely be one of Obama's worst states, because it's the worst of both worlds for him.
1. As a geographically small state surrounded by larger states with much larger cities, it is effectively in their media markets, and those states (VA, PA, MD, OH, KY) are "race chasm states" - hence, the race chasm media narrative is a familiar part of politics.
2. However, WV itself has hardly any black voters to offset the effect. In "race chasm states", the black population is too small to actually give him a win, but it is large enough to offset the effect somewhat. That part is missing in WV.
Now, there's actually another dynamic that theory didn't cover, which is the particular problem the Appalachian-Ozark population belt has with Obama. However, even without that, WV reinforces that theory (and remember, Sirota made this prediction well before the WV primary).
Now, if you look at the graph he made to demonstrate the "race chasm", you'll see that Obama's narrow wins in Missouri and Connecticut are still part of the pattern. Sure, sometimes he can do a little better in these states, but overall, he does much much much better in the mostly-white and heavily-black states than in the ones with a small but significant black population.
The thing is, this comment is dumb either way. I agree the "non-inflammatory" interpretation is closer to the truth, but she's using it to buttress a misleading case: "June" is not a relevant mark for comparing.
In this cycle, by the middle of March, about 83% of delegates had been voted on. By the second week of June, 100% of delegates will have been voted on.
In contrast, in early June when RFK was assasinated, only 13 states had voted! To pretend that that is somehow at the same point in the campaign as June in this cycle is ludicrous, if you know what you're talking about. Clinton does, but she realizes that most people (even reporters) don't, so she's deliberately making this nonsensical case. It is dumb and they should call her on it.