David Kirkpatrick

May 13, 2008

West Virginia votes

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:22 pm

Only one update for this story. Already called for Clinton, and she might win this state by 50 points or more. This result has been expected for some time.

In the meantime, Obama is picking supers, and even some of Clinton’s pledged delegates. Depending on your source, he needs somewhere in the range of 150 or so to clinch.

I don’t have a link handy, but there’s some chatter that Clinton will ride out tonight and win handily in the upcoming Kentucky vote then drop out of the race. It’s expected Obama will pass the magic number based on superdelegates by that time. She goes out on a strong note, he doesn’t have to campaign too hard in states he was always going to lose — good for all involved.

April 30, 2008

Here’s one blog that places the blame …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:05 pm

… for this vicious Democratic primary squarely on the shoulders of the superdelegates.

I have to admit I’ve pretty much stopped blogging the election for the time being. I’m among many who has become sick and tired of the debacle the Democratic party is throwing at the electorate. I’m just glad I’m not a partisan Democrat, otherwise I’d probably just lay in bed with a towel over my head until the supers come to their senses and hand the deserved victory to Obama.

The destructiveness of Team Clinton combined with her previous nemeses on the hard right is amazing to me.

From the link:

For most of this campaign, the Democratic Party has been unified by optimism that our eventual nominee would trounce the Republican candidate in November, 2008. That began to change towards the end of February, when the contest between Senators Clinton and Obama began to turn sharply negative.

The media and the Clinton campaign deserve their share of blame for this. And Obama is not perfect, either. But the people who deserve the most blame are the superdelegates, for it is their indecision that has made this mess possible in the first place.

Since late February, it has been clear that the Clinton campaign’s only hope for victory rested in their hands. Over the past two months, the soleuncertainty about the campaign has been whether or not superdelegates will stage a coup against the voters.

At any point during the last two months, superdelegates could have made it clear that they would support the will of voters. Instead, by declaring their indecision, they provided Clinton with a new rationale for her campaign. Effectively, they encouraged her coup attempt. It was if they said to her: if you can prove to us that Barack Obama is unelectable, we will overturn the judgment of voters.


It is now clear just how foolish and unwise the superdelegates were for offering Clinton such a destructive path to the nomination, for she has tried to meet it with unrestrained vigor. Two months later, a party that was once unified is now divided. The septuagenarian Republican presidential candidate who devised the Iraq war strategy and wants to stay there for one hundred years is leading or tied in most polls.
(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

April 18, 2008

Dean pushes Dem superdelegates

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:33 am

DNC chairman Howard Dean turns up the heat for undeclared, or undecided, superdelegates.

From the link:

An increasingly firm Howard Dean told CNN again Thursday that he needs superdelegates to say who they’re for – and “I need them to say who they’re for starting now.”

“We cannot give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time,” the Democratic National Committee Chairman told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We’ve got to know who our nominee is.”

April 4, 2008

The supers make a break for Obama

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:53 pm

The superdelegagte attrition has been ongoing in terms of supers openly endorsing Obama over Clinton, and in some cases switching to Obama’s camp. With the Pennsylvania vote looming, and Obama gaining in those polls, it looks like the supers are ready to join his team in larger numbers.

From the second link:

WASHINGTON — Nearly three weeks remain before the next Democratic primary, but the results are rolling in from another part of the presidential contest — and they signify trouble for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Democratic Party officials and insiders known as superdelegates are jumping to Barack Obama’s camp or signaling that’s where they are headed, including such prominent figures as former President Jimmy Carter. Some superdelegates who back Clinton have begun laying out scenarios under which they would abandon her for Obama.

“My children and their spouses are pro-Obama. My grandchildren are also pro-Obama,” Carter told a Nigerian newspaper during a visit to Africa. “As a superdelegate, I would not disclose who I am rooting for, but I leave you to make that guess.”

Clinton trails Obama in fundraising and in the total number of delegates awarded in state primaries and caucuses. One bright spot for her campaign had been the quest for superdelegates — the nearly 800 elected officials and Democratic activists who are not bound by election results and are free to vote at the party’s nominating convention for the candidate of their choice.

Because neither Clinton nor Obama may emerge from the primary season with enough elected delegates to lock down the nomination, the endorsements by superdelegates could be the key to victory.

And recently, more superdelegate support has been going Obama’s way.

April 2, 2008

Bill’s all jacked up

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:32 pm

Intense anger is never a sign of confidence.

From the Daily Dish:

The San Francisco Chronicle on Bill’s tirade at a super delegate meeting:

…as the group moved together for the perfunctory photo, Rachel Binah, a former Richardson delegate who now supports Hillary Clinton, told Bill how “sorry” she was to have heard former Clinton campaign manager James Carville call Richardson a “Judas” for backing Obama.

It was as if someone pulled the pin from a grenade.

“Five times to my face (Richardson) said that he would never do that,” a red-faced, finger-pointing Clinton erupted.

The former president then went on a tirade that ran from the media’s unfair treatment of Hillary to questions about the fairness of the votes in state caucuses that voted for Obama. It ended with him asking delegates to imagine what the reaction would be if Obama was trailing by just 1 percent and people were telling him to drop out.

“It was very, very intense,” said one attendee. “Not at all like the Bill of earlier campaigns.”

March 28, 2008

Clinton supporters threaten Pelosi

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:53 am

I agree with Matt Yglesias here:

I have to say that I doubt threatening Nancy Pelosi to take their toys and go home if she doesn’t urge superdelegates to do what they want is really the smartest way for Hillary Clinton supporters to try to win this election. It sort of re-enforces the case that the Clintons and their close allies are selfish people willing and ready to destroy the party in order to maintain control over it.

Update: Another take on the same topic, this time from Noam Scheiber at the New Republic blog, “The Plank.”

From the link:

Via Avi Zenilman, the crew over at First Read makes a great point about that heavy-handed letter from Hillary’s rich donors to Nancy Pelosi:

Shakedown: Why didn’t the Clinton campaign get superdelegates to sign on to that letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi rather than donors? Doesn’t this letter coming only from major donors make it look like a threat or a shakedown? Wouldn’t this letter coming from fellow superdelegates have had more impact? One Dem operative who doesn’t have a horse in this fight reminds us: “Members of Congress — who are superdelegates — make up the DCCC. Threatening the DCCC is essentially threatening the very superdelegates HRC’s trying to court. The HRC donor letter will just push undeclared superdelegates in Congress leaning toward Obama to endorse him sooner. It also reinforces the notion that the Clintons will destroy the party to win the WH. I just don’t get it.”

I don’t get it either. The obvious answer is that Hillary couldn’t find any superdelegates to sign on to such a letter. But maybe the campaign had something in mind that we’re just not seeing.

March 25, 2008

Clinton and time travel

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:13 pm

(I’ve been reading some classic science fiction from the 40s and 50s, so I’m blaming my time travel trope on that. Now, here’s a bit of sci fi political satire.)

September 2008 — International courts are looking into the pall that’s befallen the entire planet. Many blamed Hillary Clinton for the bleakness after winning the Democratic Party nomination. Little did they know just correct that idea has turned out to be. Clinton has been using a time machine during this entire primary season.

The problem began manifesting itself very subtly, but once certain authorities learned the source things became more clear. As is turns out, no one ever really used the machine with any amount of regularity — certainly no where near as often as Clinton did to squeeze extra campaign time into her schedule.

The problem is heavy use of the machine creates multiples time paradoxes in our current time thread. These paradoxes have the effect of producing great amounts of uncertainty which lead in a straight line to extreme doubt, and then progresses to crippling fear. Inadvertently, Clinton destroyed Obama’s message of change and hope with the time machine paradox artifacts of doubt and fear. Once the pall became heavy enough, Obama himself barely had the energy to keep fighting and the superdelegates lost the will to save the Democratic Party from what is now seen as a colossal mistake.

The major problem for both the party, and the candidate, is Hillary was told of the device by her husband when he was president. She never attained the security clearance necessary for this knowledge, but presidential wives have always been given some leeway. Bill’s mistake was providing Hillary with location and access codes of the time machine. This knowledge proved to be irresistible as her campaign cratered before a stronger candidate in Obama.

Now Clinton is the Democratic Party nominee, Obama is probably out of politics forever after the experience and international courts are considering drastic actions against Clinton.

It seems her actions have opened multiple threads in our time stream and alien intelligence that originally provided the device has been in contact. They are going to clean up the paradox issue for us, but possibly will destroy the original thread to remove the Clinton threat from the stream of time. Sadly, all of us are part of that time stream and will most likely blinker out of existence as we know once the paradox problem is fixed.

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March 14, 2008

Superdelegates to the Democratic Party rescue?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:25 am

This Bloomberg story may provide the clear blueprint to save the Democratic Party from itself since no individuals seem up to the task.

From the first link:

March 14 (Bloomberg) — Barack Obama has pulled almost even with Hillary Clinton in endorsements from top elected officials and has cut into her lead among the other superdelegates she’s relying on to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Among the 313 of 796 superdelegates who are members of Congress or governors, Clinton has commitments from 103 and Obama is backed by 96, according to lists supplied by the campaigns. Fifty-three of Obama’s endorsements have come since he won the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, compared with 12 who have aligned with Clinton since then.

“That’s not glacial, that is a remarkable momentum,” Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a superdelegate and Obama supporter, said in an interview. “I don’t think there is anything that will slow that down.”

Someone in party leadership ought to do some serious numbers-crunching (more serious than the various “delegate math” exercises done by the media, and occasionally posted on by me and other bloggers) on what is left in the nomination process and what it will take for Obama to secure the Democratic bid for president. Once that superdelegate magic number is clarified, the party leader should get hard pledges from enough supers to reach the magic number, go to Clinton behind the scenes and ask her to step down or the supers will all go public en masse and publicly, and humiliatingly, end her failing and divisive bid.

It may be a plan along these lines is in place already and will be set into motion after Pennsylvania votes, Clinton wins big as expected and her campaign goes back into the ridiculous “she’s inevitable” mode because of the win.

Here’s more interesting bits from the Bloomberg link:

Both sides agree her chance to win the nomination rests on winning a significant majority of superdelegates because Obama is likely to maintain a lead of at least 150 pledged delegates – – those won in primaries and caucuses — after the last contest is finished. If he does, Clinton, 60, would have to snag more than 70 percent of the remaining 334 or so superdelegates.


Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska said Obama, unlike Clinton, stands a chance of winning at least part of his state, which has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1964 and is one of two states that award some presidential electoral votes by congressional district rather than winner-take-all.

“Obama has coattails in Nebraska,” said Nelson, who endorsed his Senate colleague two months ago. “Our internal polls show he can win one, possibly two, congressional districts.”


The same holds true in Ohio, which Clinton won, and Pennsylvania, where voter surveys say she is leading in the April 22 primary. Polls show Obama does as well or better than Clinton against McCain in those crucial swing states.

In Iowa, a February Des Moines Register poll showed Obama beating McCain 53 percent to 36 percent, while McCain beat Clinton 49 percent to 40 percent.

That is one of the reasons he’s won support from governors in Republican-leaning states, including Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Iowa’s Chet Culver.

March 13, 2008

Where is the Democratic leadership?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:58 pm

Check out this direct quote from Clinton’s campaign strategist, Mark Penn:

Mark Penn said, “We believe that [the Pennsylvania primary result] will show that Hillary is ready to win, and that Sen. Obama really can’t win the general election.”

It’s become clear that her campaign’s only goal at this point is to try and render Obama unelectable in the eyes of voters. She cannot win the nomination without a ridiculous number of superdelegates joining her sinking ship even looking at the very best case scenario over the next few months of primary voting.

She’s gone on record saying that John McCain is better presidential material than Obama. I’ve read it a few places, but it looks like she’s expecting to lose to Obama, and hopes for a McCain victory so she can plausibly run again in 2012. For all her supporters who say this handling of the nomination process is just her “fighting,” I say she’s not fighting for the Democratic Party. If I were a strong Democratic supporter I’d be screaming at the top of my lungs right now. As a staunch independent it saddens me to see (well, read via web forums and comment sections) young politicos become disillusioned and burnt out by Clinton’s divisive and corrosive tactics.

Those tactics are folly and are stupid.

I’ve already posted on a great Bob Novak column wondering who’ll be willing to tell Clinton it’s time to quit. He compares the task to one performed in 1974 when Barry Goldwater, both having the gravitas and drawing the short straw, telling Richard Nixon it was time to resign the presidency.

My question is, and a it’s a question that should be coming in a loud chorus from Democratic Party supporters, where is that leadership? Where is Al Gore? Where is Howard Dean? Where is John Kerry? Where is any Democratic leader with enough clout and gravitas to tell Team Clinton it’s time to quit and fall in line supporting Obama’s nascent candidacy? That other part of the equation — the fact it is “team” Clinton, and telling her to quit is also telling Bill to quit — may be the problem.

At any rate she’s doing more to destroy the party from within than any “vast right wing” conspiracy could ever hope for. I’m not such a huge GOP supporter that I’m pleased at what Clinton’s campaign is doing, but it does make me wonder why anyone would want to actively support the Democratic Party.

March 5, 2008

Texas and Ohio voting fallout

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:23 pm

Larger than expected win in Ohio for Clinton, although smaller than was expected a few weeks ago. Women came out for Clinton in both states.

Texas was as tight as the polls suggested, and Clinton pulled out the popular vote. Full caucus results won’t be in for another several days, but it looks like Obama predictably won that round fairly handily. The result is Obama won Texas pledged delegate-wise.

Here’s a take from Sullivan:

From Kos’s counting, the night barely changes anything in the delegate math. Clinton wins Ohio 73 – 68 and Rhode Island 12 to 8. Obama wins Vermont 9 to 6 and wins Texas by 99 to 94 (because his narrow loss in the primaries is offset by a lop-sided win in the caucuses). These numbers may change a little as full caucus results come in, but not by much. Once all the dust has cleared, Obama’s delegate lead remains. RCPhas it at 1542 for Obama and 1447 for Clinton.

I see no reason why this race shouldn’t continue, and that it shouldn’t continue all the way. As a journalist, this is good news. It’s certainly great copy, as they say on Fleet Street. But I see no way that the Clintons can actually win it without re-opening Michigan and Florida, and shifting the super-delegates by super-human amounts. The result will probably be a slow, Limbaugh-friendly trashing of Obama – because Clinton has only gained traction by attacking him, or raising fears about him, rather than by a positive campaign for herself.

There’s also some polling evidence that Rush Limbaugh’s exhortion for GOPers to cross over and vote for Clinton worked in Texas.

From the linked Hit & Run post:

In the days running up to these last primaries, Rush Limbaugh told his national audience of conservatives to vote in the Democratic race.

I want Hillary to stay in this, Laura. This is too good a soap opera. We need Barack Obama bloodied up politically, and it’s obvious that the Republicans are not going to do it and don’t have the stomach for it, as you probably know. We’re getting all kinds of memos from the RNC, saying we’re not going to be critical there. Mark McKinnon of McCain’s campaign says he’ll quit if they get critical over Obama. This is the presidency of the United States we’re talking about. I want our party to win. I want the Democrats to lose. They’re in the midst of tearing themselves apart right now. It is fascinating to watch, and it’s all going to stop if Hillary loses. So, yeah, I’m asking people to cross over and, if they can stomach it — I know it’s a difficult thing to do, to vote for a Clinton, but it will sustain this soap opera, and it’s something I think we need. It would be fun, too.

It turned into a pretty hot meme in Texas, and on Monday, while Rush was out, guest host Mark Davis scored an interview with Bill Clinton. Did it work?


It’s a similar story in Texas, where Limbaugh has the most listeners of any of these states. Obama won the Republican vote 52-47, but conservatives (22 percent of all voters, up from 15 percent in the Kerry-Edwards primary) went against Obama. For the first time since Super Tuesday, they were Clinton’s best ideological group: She won them 53-43. And Clinton won 13 percent of the people who said Obama was the most electable candidate.

Ohio didn’t wind up being very close, but Clinton won the Texas primary by about 98,000 votes out of 2.8 million cast. If the exits are right, about 252,000 of those voters were Republicans, and about 618,000 were conservatives. Clinton truly might have won the Texas primary on the backs of Rush Limbaugh listeners.

Even with all the furious spin going on right now, and after Clinton’s best night in a month, her chances of winning the nomination are small. I’ve read this week Obama will announce February fundraising north of $50 million (as compared to Clinton’s already announced $35 million) and possibly a bloc of 50 superdelegate endorsements.

Marc Ambinder goes over the nomination math, and Clinton’s long, long odds, at theAtlantic.com’s new feature, The Current:

Barack Obama’s still-likely nomination owes a debt to John Rawls: the inequalities built into the Democratic delegate selection system benefit the little states and history’s most aggrieved figure — the liberal activist. Let’s say Hillary Clinton romps to victory in Ohio and Texas and Rhode Island. Tens of thousands of extra voters. At most, a few extra delegates. But a win is a win, right? Twenty-four … okay, forty-eight hours later, when the afterglow has faded and the Hill raisers are on vacation, Clinton delegate guru Harold Ickes will sit down at his desk, scratch his chest through the open folds of his shirt, and have the same problem he has right now: Barack Obama’s earned delegate lead is virtually insurmountable.

There are a variety of delegate calculation spreadsheets floating around, and I’ve plugged numbers in all of them, using the red-rosiest scenarios I could contemplate for Clinton. Under a fairly neutral scenario, she needs about 55 percent of the remaining pledged delegates to catch Obama, assuming she takes half the remaining superdelegates. (A generous assumption, given that his rate of superdelegate acquisition is about four to one right now.) To get 55 percent of the remaining pledged delegates, she needs to win about 72 percent of the popular vote in most of the rest of the 18 or so states that haven’t voted. Clinton has won, in truth, nearly as many actual votes as Obama, and most of the biggest states. If merit governed the delegate selection process, Clinton would have an equal claim to the nomination. But merit, in this process, is a lower order principle.

February 19, 2008

Clinton campaign has foot-in-mouth disease

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:30 pm

You can’t blame the Clinton campaign for everything a supporter — or campaign co-chair for that matter — might say, but man …

Here’s a Ben Smith Politico post from yesterday:

February 18, 2008
Read More: Delegates

‘Second-class delegates’

A co-chairman of Hillary’s Michigan campaign and  has a line that’s sure to drive a whole bunch of red state governors up the wall:

“Superdelegates are not second-class delegates,” says Joel Ferguson, who will be a superdelegate if Michigan is seated. “The real second-class delegates are the delegates that are picked in red-state caucuses that are never going to vote Democratic.”

February 16, 2008

Smoke filled rooms and superdelegates

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:27 pm

It’s becoming pretty clear by the math that Clinton will require support of the superdelegates to win the nomination over Obama. Lanny Davis, a Clinton supporter, recently offered an odd defense of the superdelegate process.

Here’s a great Corner post ripping that idea a new one:

That’s Just Super   [James S. Robbins]

I was interested in Lanny Davis’s defense of superdelegates in which he noted that “The ‘smoke-filled rooms’ of Democratic Party leaders had led to the nomination and election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy. Not bad.” Looking beyond the fact that Stevenson lost in both his bids to become President, this is a very short list. What about the rocket-ride candidacy of John W. Davis, selected at the 1924 convention on the 103rd ballot? Lots of smoke in those rooms. He grabbed 29 percent of the popular vote in November, against Calvin Coolidge. The Republicans even won New York City. Then there was James M. Cox in 1920, who had scored a more impressive 34 percent in his race. And who can forget the three defeats of smoke-filled-room veteran William Jennings Bryan? By all means, stoke up those stogies.

February 12, 2008

Dem’s road is clear

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:34 pm

This is an interesting breakdown of the road to the Democratic nomination. Essentially the magic number is 1627 pledged delegates. Once either candidate reaches that threshold only the superdelegates can swing the nomination the other way.

I’d say if that happens for either candidate, the Democratic party will have hell to pay for multiple election cycles.

From the breakdown:

The Real Magic Number is 1,627

Last updated: 2/12, 12:18 PM.

In 2008, 3,253 delegates will be chosen through caucuses and primaries to represent Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention. Once one of the candidates has won a majority of those democratically selected delegates (also known as pledged delegates), the only way his or her opponent could win the nomination is with the support of the 796 unelected, unaccountable superdelegates — in the process overturning the judgment of the voters.50% +1 of 3,253 is 1,627. Therefore, with 1,627 pledged delegates, a candidate will win the nomination — unless the superdelegates step in and reverse the decision of the voters. Here’s where the numbers are today.