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Jan 09

Campaign in crisis

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?

Here at home, even as Nat’l ID plan slammed, splits Senate, the Inquirer editorial enumerates why the revived proposal inspires skepticism.

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.

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133 comments

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  1. Bencard

    correction, hillary didn’t “choke up”, despite the spinner’s spin. she was misty-eyed, but no tears. why is it that she is heavily criticized when she displays “manly” toughness but derided when she evinces feminine humanism? damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t.

  2. UP n student

    If Edwards wins, the JDAMS will have the names of New York city and Chicago Tort Lawyers that interested parties can contact.

    If Huckabee wins, the JDAMS will have JesuKristo prays for your soul leaflets.

    If Obama wins, the JDAMS will have three leaflets — one from his current Christian Church in Chicago, one from his father-lineage Islam, another written in the language of his Atheist (but only for a few years) days.

    If Ron Paul wins, the JDAMS will have “…but I can’t get Congress to retreat into “Fortress America”‘ leaflets.

  3. supremo

    If Hillary wins, the JDAMS leaflet might have ‘Sorry for your loss. There’s another one coming in 2 seconds’

  4. Hillbloger

    Agree with Bencard. The question struck of compassion and I’m sure physically tired and drained Hillary was touched, hence her reaction — nothing staged there.

    Matter of fact, the woman who asked the queston became critical of Clinton; she said she was disappointed that after Clinton caught herself, she went on and became political again. She expected Clinton to continue being “girlie.” Unbelievable… oh well! Whatever!

    Link: She made Hillary cry… But who do you think this woman voted for?

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article3160314.ece

  5. supremo

    If Fred Thompson wins, it will be ‘Law & Order weeknights 8/9 Central on TBS’

  6. Bencard

    the pollster’s and pundits’ debacle on new hampshire primary is the current talk of the nation, as well as the whole world. the pundits, each with their own agenda -or working for somebody’s agenda, are gagging on their throat trying to come up with a palusot, i.e., the “race factor”, hillary’s “crying”, obama’s failure to talk himself out of the charge of “inexperience”, the polls’ “mistake” of stopping the survey too soon, etc. – everything except the inherent unreliability of pundits’ “opinion” and poll surveys.

    that is a lesson that our homegrown prognosticators, “opinion-makers”, self-anointed seers, and their gullible believers can take note of. feedback from the public, in the aftermath of n.h., shows a growing distrust, and awareness, of media’s seeming arrogance and cockiness.

  7. UP n student

    So which is more important, Obama getting the endorsement of John Kerry or Obama getting the endorsement of the the Culinary Workers Union?

    I understand that the now-converted-to-Roman-Catholic Tony Blair endorses Giuliani.

  8. Bencard

    i don’t know how accurate it is but i heard from a client how many more fil-ams (obviously democrats rather than republicans, of which, for some reason, there seems to be more) support obama than clinton because he is “minority”.

    personally, if i would put my trust on any one candidate because of considerations of race, color or national origin, it probably would be on a white majority group member who has no chip on his/her shoulder. to me, no one could be more arrogant and inconsiderate to a minority than another minority who has “made it”, yet still feels insecure and feels a need to keep proving him/herself to others of same status. i could be wrong, but it’s just me.

  9. nash

    Polls are provide snapshots of the current situation. That is why election campaigns pay attention to polls, the 12 point difference in an early survey allowed Hillary to mobilise and do her crying routine.

    Polls have shelf lives and so if someone took a poll after Hillary’s paiyak-iyak, who knows.

    Incidentally, I think Hillary did her “crying” appeal too early. She can’t do it again. What left in her bags of tricks?

    Maybe he can borrow from Philippine politicians to gain votes such as “Libre Tuli”, “Ninang sa Kasal”, or try to sing next time.

    Anyways, we creationists are on the move! Huckabee all the way! Only he can save us! Better hide all ye Moslems, Hindus, atheists, and gays.

  10. Bencard

    nash, sabi nga ni loi estrada sa senado: “bakla ka ba”?

  11. supremo

    ‘She made Hillary cry…….’

    Ok teary-eyed or misty-eyed. I think she’s not acting. It just happens that the audiences are mostly women. You know what happens when women are together watching a drama. Tears enough to fill the Hoover dam start to come out. Same thing happened in that cafe. No tricks. Just genuine emotion.

  12. UP n student

    I don’t see black in Obama. Colored, yes, but American black, no. Obama is African, not American black. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton… all carry the victimhood/ entitlement/blame message of “…they owe us because our forebears were kidnapped from Africa and then they enslaved them, their children, and their children’s children.”
    Obama’s father came willingly into the US from Kenya.

  13. UP n student

    Nash: In South Carolina, has the Falwell/Robertson crowd started re-airing their dirty-tricks ad accusing McCain of fathering an illegitimate child?

  14. hawaiianguy

    Black (or colored) vs white hasn’t come out as an issue, publicly at least. Americans shy away from talking about race or minority as a factor, being a sensitive issue. Let’s watch how actual behavior goes.

    UPnS, I agree with you. Obama is more like an African American than an American black (or black American). But the distinction becomes hairline and recedes almost completely once polarization begins. I think this may be expressed in the final votes, with the other minorities possibly going with the black/African votes. But that doesn’t necessarily mean victory for Obama in the primary.

  15. UP n student

    Ellen Tordesillas makes a blogpost (though I don’t think that she has made a phone-call):
    January 11, 2008 at 12:15 am
    Estrada should take precautions
    …..
    We got from several sources that a group is planning to do a “Benazir Bhutto” on him.

    ———————

  16. fisball

    ah, nash, so creationist ka pala. christian fundamentalists are a bunch of sorry looking pips, i am sorry to say with this anti-evolution stance. yeah, right, the earth is only 6,000 years old. see, we may have descended from monkeys but that doesn’t mean that God is absent there (yeah, fact is we descended from monkeys, and bacteria, or viruses million of years back). and oh, if you could only study darwin and evolution, it explains why we are a diversified lot, coming in all shapes and sizes which your creationism-addled brain couldn’t take in. go study evolution and you may be more accepting and tolerant of other people. with your fire-and-brimstone talk, you’re in hell right now, buddy. think about that.

  17. Jeg

    UPn: But I guess what you are saying is that you don’t see much difference in how your lifestyle/pocketbook gets affected by the party in the White House or the majority-party in the US congress.

    Something like that, yeah. Plus in terms of foreign policy, you would need a microscope to tell them apart. Conservatives like Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan are vehemently anti-Iraq war, while progressives like Hillary Clinton and Obama voted to support it (even after declaring to be against it). The Iraq war I suppose isnt a conservative vs. progressive issue. It’s a moral issue. Moral issues transcend party lines.

  18. UP n student

    Jeg: Gay/lesbian issues; women’s right to their bodies; keeping the federal-government-out-of-the-bedroom; government allocating more budget-dollars (and increasing taxes as appropriate) for health-care and education; keeping taxes and regulations down so that businesses can grow faster/hire more employees… these are bread-and-butter issues that separates a Democrat from a Republican.

  19. Jeg

    I understand that, UPn. Those are domestic policies. Im talking from the perspective of someone from our islands, looking across the Pacific ocean. Their domestic issues are too far away from my perspective to be of interest.

  20. UP n student

    Jeg: My perception is that be it Hillary or Huckabee, Edwards or McCain, Obama or Romney, there are at least 40 countries (China, Iran, NoKorea, Japan, France, Russia, Georgia… Cuba, Egypt, Kenya, Colombia, Venezuela, Palestine… many others) that the next US President will be concerned with before he/she turns to the Philippines. It becomes the next President’s trips to China or to ASEAN summits that determines the visit to Malacanang.

  21. cvj

    UPn Student, i hope you’re right. The less the US interferes, the better.

  22. nash

    fisball:

    Unlike other monkeys, Huckabee is created from the image and likeness of God.

    And besides Chuck Norris endorses Huckabee, and you know what Chuck Norris can do to enemies!

    Only a fundamentalist evangelical Christian leader (of the country which holds the most weapons of mass destruction) can fight other fundamentalist leaders.

    Huckabee all the way! And once he wins, we hope he repeals the women’s right to vote. They belong in the kitchen.

  23. nash

    On a serious note fishball,

    The theory of evolution does not say we “descended from monkeys”. That’s a mistake, it’s “we share a common ancestor”…..

    cheers,
    nash (not in sarcasm mode)

  24. UP n student

    nash: is huckabee asking for buddhists and muslims (and atheists and agnostics and Iglesia-ni-Kristo Americans) to vote for him?

  25. nash

    UP n,

    He wants their vote, then in a Huckabee presidency, USA will be for Christians only. Unless they accept Djesas as the lord and savior, they will be deported.

  26. UP n student

    cvj: My perception is that be it Hillary or Huckabee, Edwards or McCain, Obama or Romney…. the (first 300 days, at least, of the) administration of the next US President will see very little change in how the US-of-A interferes with/relates to Philippine politics and Philippine business.

  27. fisball

    The theory of evolution does not say we “descended from monkeys”. That’s a mistake, it’s “we share a common ancestor”…..

    now, that’s real progress in there. keep on doing it buddy, even if it’s only wikipedia you’ve consulted for a start.

  28. nash

    fishball,

    please don’t make big assumptions about my ignorance the same way I don’t make big assumptions about your intellect.

    I actually work in the same building as Dawkins.

  29. DinaPinoy

    nash,
    if humans were created in the image and likeness of God, ano ang masasabi mo sa mga taong dalawa ang pag-aari, kambal na magkadikit ang ulo, ipinanganak na walang butas ang pwet, bulag, pipi, bingi at marami pang iba?

  30. nash

    DinaPinoy,

    Tama ka.

    Basta nung nasa iskul ako laging sabi yan ng aking religion teacher. “We are made in the image and likeness of God”.

    Pero di kami makapaniwala, as in. Ang super-panget chaka doodle-doo kasi ng aming religion teacher. We were surprise talaga. “Ma’am kayo?” Mula noon duda na ako sa omniscience ni God.

    Parang si Fafa Benedict diba? Paano ko matatangap na alter-Xristos si Pope Benedict eh he’s so ugly?

    cheers.

    PS: fishball, I apologise for my outburst. It was uncalled for. You can insult my mother and call her a whore and I can take it, but being accused of using Wilipedia is very hurtful. I’m not that lazy.

  31. anthony scalia

    For years, India was criticized for pursuing a ’socialist’ economic policy but it was under this very policy that firms like Tata, Mital, Reliance and even Infosys were forged. – cvj

    as for Infosys (and any other IT company formed pre-1991) – it was forged despite the ‘socialist’ economic policy

    (And the fact that she actually got slightly more votes than FPJ remains a possibility; Garci and the AFP merely deployed to pad her votes to a respectable margin.)

    naku ayaw ni cvj nyan!

  32. Nino Gonzales

    “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.”

    Nick Joaquin vs. Teodoro Agoncillo?

  33. Luis Corcino

    La preocupación de ustedes es la misma para nosotros los Latinos Americanos. Tenemos problemas y vínculos culturales comunes con ustedes los filipinos.

    ¿Habra cambios para las minorías en USA?.

    Tienes un buen blog, muy dinámico, parece un foro de opinión.
    Felicidades!
    I do not spekes englis, but understand a litle.

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