Will Edwards Be Promised the AG Position?

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This weekend, famed outer of CIA agents Robert Novak dropped a juicy rumor:

Illinois Democrats close to Sen. Barack Obama are quietly passing the word that John Edwards would be named attorney general in an Obama administration.

Any truth to it?  As an Edwards fan, I'd love it.  But of all the people you'd want in the loop on this sort of thing, you'd think Robert Novak would be about the last choice.  So I certainly didn't take his word for it.

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Bob Kerrey Compliments Obama Again

I noticed this letter to the editor in the NYT:

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Barack Obama and the White Vote

There's been a lot of talk about some sort of "white backlash" now that Barack Obama has demonstrated his ability to win an overwhelming percentage of the African-American vote.  Some people postulate a backlash because Obama has either defined himself, or been defined by others, as the so-called "black candidate" at this juncture.

I'm not at all interested in getting into the topic of who did what to whom, and I'll tell you right up front that there is nothing negative in this diary.  I'm even hoping, somewhat audaciously, to keep the comments that way.

Obama's claim to 25% of white voters in South Carolina is not shabby at all in a three-way race.  I'd say he definitely exceeded expectations considering some polls had him as low as 10% among this demographic.  On the other hand, it's not all that encouraging to finish third among white voters even in the midst of a smashing victory.

This has led some to speculate that 25% is now roughly Obama's cap among white voters, and that simple math leads one to conclude he'll have a hard time staying competitive outside of a few heavily black states in the South.  My own feeling, and what I want to talk about in this diary, is that you simply can't generalize the white vote like this on a nationwide basis.  I can't explain it any other way than to get personal...

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Is Obama Better Than The Rest Of Us?

I've always been annoyed by the standard narrative about Hillary Clinton, because it seems to me that she basically gets grief for doing the exact same thing every other politician does.  We've all heard a million times how she's calculating, she's poll driven, and so forth - as if all the other politicians are just out there winging it, I suppose.  And I've never liked watching progressives reinforce that fundamentally unfair narrative.

I was reminded of this double standard today by an interesting quote from a senior Obama adviser:

"The Clintons have always put people in a box -- they look at everything through racial lines, gender lines, geographic lines; they tend to segment people," said Steve Hildebrand, a senior Obama adviser who spearheaded his Iowa effort. "She goes to Nevada and sits with Latinos in their living room to court their vote -- that's not the way Barack approaches people. If the Clintons paint him as the black candidate, no one's going to stop them from doing that. They are playing the same old-style games."

Now at first, I sensed a bit of jealousy behind this comment.  After all, since Latinos in Nevada supported Clinton over Obama by a margin of 3 to 1, perhaps he should think about sitting in a few living rooms.

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Josh Marshall Defends Hillary on MLK/LBJ

Hillary Clinton took a lot of heat today for comments which were interpreted to suggest that Lyndon Johnson, and not MLK, was the real hero of the civil rights movement.  The perennially fair-minded Josh Marshall of TPM points out that this story has more to do with a misquote than anything:

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Is Barack Obama a Progressive?

I ask whether Obama is a progressive not as a lead-in to some sort of hit piece (susanhu, I could never be you), but as a way of finding out whether we actually share a common understanding of what the word "progressive" means.

I always thought "progressive" described a substantive agenda that I could basically summarize, without going on and on, as liberalism with a more modern gloss.

We can all argue about which candidate is the most progressive based upon their voting records, life experiences, and so forth, but I would have thought it obvious that John Edwards has run the most progressive campaign of the leading Democrats this year and it's not even close.

But today alone, I've seen at least two Obama supporters argue that Obama is actually running the most progressive campaign, by what I would describe as redefining the word progressive altogether:

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Mike Huckabee: Objectively Pro-Saddam

Eric Kleefeld of TPM Election Central has this juicy nugget:

Here's another gem of a quote from Mike Huckabee's 1992 run for the Senate, in addition to his call for quarantining AIDS patients. As the world was settling into the post-Gulf War sanctions regime, he opposed taking any further military action against Saddam Hussein -- and he phrased it in the most isolationist of terms.

In a candidate questionnaire from the Associated Press, one of the questions was whether the U.S. should kill Hussein. Huck's response: "The U.S. should not kill Saddam Hussein or anyone else."

Just imagine the outrage from the hard right if Ron Paul, for example, were to have said the same thing.

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Mitt Romney's Message of Religious Tolerance

Your chuckle for the day, courtesy of the wingnuts at The Weekly Standard.

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Continuing the debate over health care mandates

In the ongoing debate over what a universal health care plan should look like, one of the sharpest dividing lines between the candidates has been the question of whether there should be a "mandate" for individuals to purchase health care or not.

By the most amazing of coincidences, Obama supporters seem to unanimously agree that mandates are a bad idea, which just happens to match their candidate's position on this issue.  And supporters of Edwards and Clinton all seem to believe that mandates are super-important, going so far as to say that without a mandate you don't have UHC at all.

This kind of phenomenon, where everyone's policy preferences just happen to coincide with where their favorite candidate comes down on the issue, is the sort of thing that makes me wonder if a serious policy discussion can occur at all during primary season.  But Ezra Klein, who is super-smart on health care issues, had a couple of posts today that were interesting enough I wanted to bring them to people's attention.

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I'm going to Iowa

By the purest of coincidences, I'm going to be in chilly Des Moines the evening of December 14.

I'm curious if there are any events with the candidates that evening because I'd get a kick out of attending - just for fun.

It doesn't really matter to me who the candidate is.  I'm easy that way.

Anyone know?

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