As of this writing, the New Hampshire primary’s too close to call, for the Democrats (but History Unfolding says, it Obama, by one point, but apparently, not) has Hillary Clinton as the Comeback Kid. Click for detailed results on Politico.com. Pollsters were the biggest losers, says Roger Simon. In Slate, a tough question: Did Obama “Supporters” Lie?:
But now Clinton leads. This sort of jarring of our expectations conjures up past examples of black candidates who have polled significantly higher than their white opponents, only to confront a very different reality when the votes are counted. Pollsters know this as the “Bradley Effect,” christened for former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, a black man who narrowly lost the 1982 California gubernatorial election to a white opponent even though Bradley led in the polls. (It’s sometimes also referred to as the “Wilder Effect,” after Douglas Wilder, who had been polling at 10 points ahead of Marshall Coleman in the 1989 governor’s race, beat Coleman by less than a point.) Harold Ford Jr., who lost his bid for a Senate seat in Tennessee in 2006, also polled better than he performed.
Very interesting is the role independent voters played in the primaries for both parties.
Encouraging news, at least so far, for the Clinton camp, which, in the wake of the Iowa caucus, was confronted with its political mortality quite starkly. See Hillary advisers fear N.H. loss. The situation in Iowa was chronicled by Roger Simon in Can you win on dull?, with this (for the Clintonites, at least) haunting scene:
Obama delivered a compelling, almost mesmerizing, speech, did not talk about any issue in detail and took no questions. His event lasted just over half an hour.
Clinton talked about issue after issue in almost mind-numbing detail and answered question after question in an event that lasted more than an hour and a half.
Both drew large crowds. But Clinton’s crowd was much smaller at the end of her speech than at the beginning.
Hundreds of people trickled and then streamed out while Clinton was still talking. But she went on and on as if she did not mind. And maybe she didn’t.
“You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose,” Clinton said, quoting Mario Cuomo.
Another view, from an Obama operative, is quoted in The Washington Note blog. See Belated Thoughts on Iowa from Michael Schiffer:
Interestingly, and based on some of my in-hall discussions caucus night, one of the other factors that Iowa caucus-goers seem to be responding to in supporting Obama is a subtle but significant difference in the rhetorical strategies employed by Clinton and Obama.
And no, this has nothing to do with change versus experience. Rather, it is a “me-you” distinction, and appears to have to do with a sense that the Clinton operation frames the campaign as one where “your role is to help and support her in her efforts”, as it was put to me, whereas the Obama campaign seems to try to frame things up as” him helping you.”
The various comment threads on the rather arcane caucus procedures and the logistics of the primary system sometimes make reference to Intrade Prediction Markets, where people make money trading, well, on the political futures of candidates. Almost hour-by-hour, you can track how candidates are faring, in terms of perception.
From The Guardian:
The Clinton camp accepts that her tactic of stressing her experience over Obama had lost out to his message of change.
She has since opted to stress that while he is promising change, he cannot deliver it. The campaign team also hopes the US media will subject Obama’s life and policies to greater scrutiny, having given him a soft run.
The strategy now is based on the calculation that Clinton will claim victory in next week’s primary in Michigan, albeit a potentially hollow one given that she is the only name on the ballot, and hopefully Nevada on January 19, Florida on January 29 and New York, California, Ohio and Texas on February 5. Obama is expected to take his home state, Illinois.
She is banking on winning support from the huge Hispanic population in Florida and California, who, the Clinton campaign claims, do not like Obama because of his stance on illegal immigration. But that strategy could come unstuck because of the nationwide publicity Obama has received since his Iowa win.
Behind the scenes, some Clinton campaign members are looking even further down the road at the prospect of trying to turn the summer nomination convention in Denver into a last-minute battle for votes.
Michigan has been stripped of its convention delegates by the Democrats because it broke party rules by holding its primary early, but Clinton, as winner in that state, could seek to have these delegates reinstated to boost her vote.
Also overseas, see Thaksin Was Rejected by the Thai Majority. How long before someone considers Joseph Estrada’s future prospects, in light of the unraveling of Thaksin’s supposedly solid base of support?
The Business Mirror editorial points out the Sport of Kings is consumed by a fishwive’s quarrel.
The authorities were supposed to release their findings on the Glorietta blast on January 4. But didn’t do so. Even now, the Philippine National Police can only say they have “almost final” results they will be presenting in a report tomorrow. Here’s an indication of what’s caused the report’s delay: Razon to Ayala: Where’s proof bomb caused blast? and Police dare Ayala Land to show proof of ‘bomb’.
As devotees, thundering “Viva El Senor!” including the Vice-President, flock to Quiapo to show their faith in the Black Nazarene, it’s well to ponder Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Paradoxes of Latin America (found via Arts & Letters Daily). This extended passage is of relevance to Filipinos, not least because our own debates seem to echo Latin American debates, indeed, often touching on the question of whether we’re a portion of Latin America transplanted to Asia, or not. The trends he sees seem to be taking place here, too, the expansion of the mestizaje because of inter-marriage no longer with Spaniards or Americans but people from literally everywhere in the globe, but a new kind, and the introduction of a greater mix of cultural influences than ever before:
National boundaries, however, do not mark the true differences that exist in Latin America. These differences thrive in the bosom of each country and, in a transverse way, encompass regions and groups of countries. There is a Westernized Latin America that speaks Spanish, Portuguese and English (in the Caribbean and in Central America) and is Catholic, Protestant, atheist or agnostic; and there is an indigenous Latin America, which in countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia comprises millions of people. That Latin America retains pre-Hispanic institutions, practices and beliefs. But even indigenous culture is not homogeneous, and it constitutes yet another archipelago that experiences different levels of modernization. While some languages and traditions–Quechua and Aymara–are the patrimony of vast social conglomerations, others, like the Amazonian cultures, survive in small communities, sometimes just a handful of families.
Fortunately, mestizaje–racial mixing–extends in all directions, bringing these two worlds together. In some countries, Mexico for example, mestizaje has integrated the bulk of society both culturally and racially. It represents the greatest achievement of the Mexican Revolution–transforming the two ethnic extremes, Native Americans and Europeans, into minorities. This integration is less dynamic in the other countries, but it is still going on and it will ultimately give Latin America the distinctive identity of a mestizo continent. But let’s hope it does so without making it totally uniform and erasing its subtle differences, though that is certainly possible in this century of globalization and interdependence among nations.
What is imperative is that, sooner rather than later, liberty and legality will be conjoined, thanks to democracy. Then all Latin Americans, regardless of race, language, religion and culture, will be equal before the law, will enjoy the same rights and opportunities, and will coexist in diversity without being discriminated against or excluded. Latin America cannot renounce its cultural diversity, which is what makes it a model for the rest of the world.
Mestizaje must not be understood exclusively as the fusion of Indians and Spaniards or Portuguese, though, naturally, those are the most important ethnic and cultural components in Latin American reality. The African contribution–and in the countries of the Caribbean basin and in certain regions of Brazil, it is an essential one–is of the highest importance. Africans reached the New World at the same time as did the conquistadors, and we see their influence in all artistic and cultural manifestations, especially in music. Asia, too, has been a presence in the life of the continent since the colonial era, and there are magnificent examples of how the techniques and achievements of Far Eastern plastic and decorative arts came to our lands and were assimilated by native artists and artisans. When you dig into the Latin American past without prejudice, without assuming a party pris, you soon discover that our cultural roots are spread all over the world.
Despite Latin America’s universality, one of its recurring obsessions has been defining its identity. In my opinion, this is a useless enterprise, dangerous and impossible, because identity is something possessed by individuals and not collectivities, at least once they’ve transcended tribal conditions. Only in the most primitive communities, where the individual exists only as part of the tribe, does the idea of a collective identity have any raison d’être. But, as in other parts of the world, this mania for determining historico-social or metaphysical specificity for an agglomeration has caused oceans of Latin American ink to flow, generating ferocious diatribes as well as interminable polemics.
The most celebrated and prolonged of all is the confrontation between Hispanists, for whom Latin American history begins with the arrival of Spaniards and Portuguese and the resultant linking of the continent with the Western world, and Indigenists, for whom the genuine reality of the New World resides in the pre-Hispanic civilizations and their descendants, and not in the contemporary heirs of the conquistadors, who still today marginalize and exploit Native Americans. Though eclipsed for long periods, this schizophrenic and racist vision of Latin America will never disappear. From time to time, it resurfaces in politics because, like all Manichean simplifications, it allows demagogues to stir up collective passions and provide superficial, schematic answers to complex problems. Every attempt to fix a unique identity for Latin America requires discriminatory surgery that excludes and abolishes millions of Latin Americans, along with many forms and manifestations of its rich cultural variety.
Speaking of the veep, Manuel Buencamino wonders, of the Vice-President,
Remember the answer of the masa in 1998 whenever the ilustrados would raise the issue of Erap not being educated or intelligent enough? They said, “We’re tired of being outsmarted.”
Maybe this time around the masa would rather lead than be led. Maybe, after living under Ate Glo’s thumb for so long, the masa want to become Kuya.
Who would’ve thunk? Revolutionary air car runs on compressed air.