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Campaign in crisis
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on January 9, 2008 133 Comments 10 min read
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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 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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  1. There would one day be global men with a bit of blood from every race, genetically tweaked, brain powered by microchips, and bones toughened by flexible metal. He shall be called Globus sapiens…

  2. Any myth-making of national identity (or any superset or subset thereof) will have to take into account the emerging field of genetic genealogy.

  3. What about cultural genealogy? We have a lot in common with the Latin Americans, but we dont speak their language, which makes us outsiders in an emerging Latin clique. And with our distinct Pinoy middle class mentality, Filipinos I think reject identity with Latin America, preferring instead identity with either America or Spain.

  4. Jeg, cultural affinities of the middle and upper classes is also a fair object of study. Particularly interesting to me are those who proudly announce that they are ‘proud to be tsinoy’, ‘little brown americans’ or display their proficiency in the Spanish-language inside the boxing-ring.

  5. Air Car. Look at how the Indians are doing with their faith on Indian innovation. Look at us, like dumb asses waiting for more OFW remittances or worse (for even the dumber asses) waiting for sugar prices to rise. The stupidity of our leadership is excruciatingly obvious. I wonder why Filipinos still behave like dependents to these useless, good for nothing thieves.

  6. MLQ,

    South American countries had pre Columbian civilizations. There are archeological ruins everywhere to prove that they once flourished. We don’t have that. Do you think that’s a factor in our search for some kind of pre Magellanic grounding?

  7. Air cars will still need electric power to compress air, power produced from coal and crude oil with lot of CO2 emission. They are the one dumb not us. Do not be fooled.

    Electric buggy cars charged from power generated from geothermal, hydropower plants and solar panels will be more attractive than air cars.

  8. Obama will not be good for the Asians as he has not enough hands to handle Africa–Kenya, Darfur, Nigeria, Angola, Rwanda, Sudan etc.

  9. Air cars can be powered by wind farms. Petrol can only be petrol. There is a future in air cars, especially in tourist spots or small countries like New Zealand.

  10. Tata is also expanding into the world market. It acquired Korea’s Daweoo in 2004 and is now the top bidder to purchase the originally British Jaguar and Land Rover lines from the United States’ troubled Ford Motor Company.

    Holy mother of pearl! I never knew Tata had gotten that big. It wasnt 15 years ago that everyone ridiculed their cars. Probably much like they did Toyota in the 50s as cvj posted in the other thread. That couldve been Sarao or Francisco. What the hell happened?

  11. mlwnag: Obama will not be good for the Asians as he has not enough hands to handle Africa–Kenya, Darfur, Nigeria, Angola, Rwanda, Sudan etc.

    That could be a good thing. But dont forget Indonesia. His step-dad’s Indonesian so maybe he has a close affinity to the place as well.

  12. JEQ, people learn but they have to start first. Koreans used to be farmers, not a single shred of technological aptitude when they began. I’m telling you it’s our capitalists and the so-called reverse racism that to me is just straightforward racism.

  13. “Do you think that’s a factor in our search for some kind of pre Magellanic grounding?”

    Why can’t we all behave like immigrants like Singaporeans and Hong Kongers.

  14. That couldve been Sarao or Francisco. What the hell happened? – Jeg

    That’s industrial policy for you. 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. I don’t have the book with me, but i remember that there is a passage in Amsden’s book where the Indian government had to bail-out Tata in the early part of the 20th century.

    Every country faces a ‘make or buy’ decision. Those like Korea, Japan, Taiwan and India chose to ‘make’ national champions. Other countries choose to buy their technology but encouraging foreign investments. Of course, there’s various mixes of both. In the 1950’s, we embarked on an Import-Substitution strategy (admittedly flawed) to build our own national champions but the approach was abruptly discontinued by Diosdado Macapagal with his ‘decontrol’ in 1962. The rest is history.

  15. There would one day be global men with a bit of blood from every race, genetically tweaked, brain powered by microchips, and bones toughened by flexible metal. He shall be called Globus sapiens…

    I hope the women will not be so global.

  16. Hi folks! Just saw it in the news. Hooray for Clinton’s win in N.H!

    Team Hillary all the way here. I believe Bill Clinton nailed it when he said that Obama’s “change” rhetoric is one big fairy tale.

  17. Democrat, Republican, really what’s the difference? From these islands, they all look the same.

  18. But cvj, the Dems control the Senate, and the people put them there because of their promise to end the war. Guess what?

  19. Ok I think I see the difference now:
    Democrats = good cop
    Republicans = bad cop

    Both after the same thing.

  20. Jeg, i was referring to the difference between having a Democrat instead of a Republican in the White House when 9/11 happened. A President Gore wouldn’t have used it as a pretext to invade Iraq.

  21. It’s basically down to the WEATHER. Hence the arthritic oldies came out in droves.

    The exit polls show older voters (Hillary’s constituency) outnumbered Barack’s young army.

    39 v 36 is still within the sampling error and besides, The bitch and The black dude each got the same number of delegates making it a tie regardless of who won the popular vote.

    nash (obviously, the stress has made me a pundit…)

  22. imagine if Obama’s rhetoric is just that. what if it turns out Obama is just a neo-con in Dem’s clothing? a lot of young, idealistic people voting for him would turn old, really ugly, really fast.

    jeg, Dems are typically characterized as flip-flopping, no backbone politicians, so its no surprise that having wrested control of congress, all they did was dilly-dally abt Iraq. in contrast, Republicans are rabid, aggressive pricks, who’ll stick to what they said even when it’s obvious it’s already a losing plan.

    put yourself in Dem’s shoes. everyone knows the war in Iraq is lost, but if you proposed total, immediate withdrawal, you’d appear weak, or scared of the extremists. many Dems support staggered withdrawal, with the military continuing to be allocated its budget. after all, you wouldn’t wanna appear traitorous and unpatriotic to a lot of americans whose idea of patriotism is blindly supporting to send their soldiers to death even if the cause is already lost.

    its Vietnam all over again. everyone wants the war to end, but no one wants to admit their country had lost this war. its typical american pride. their boon, and their doom.

  23. “A President Gore wouldn’t have used it as a pretext to invade Iraq.”

    Really? Remember Roosevelt of Pearl Harbor fame?

  24. At this stage, while I’m not betting my ‘bottom dollar’ yet on a final win for her, I have every reason to believe that Mrs Clinton will give it all she’s got to land the party nomination.

    Must hand it to her, she deserves every bit of applause for not yielding to anti-Clintons (plural) ‘hysteria’ which I have observed, rightly or wrongly, seems to be backed by a lot of ‘spins’ in media…

    But really, I would like it to be a Hillary-Obama tandem in that order (Pres-VP) against the Republican contenders in November.

  25. I will vote for an Edwards-Clinton or Edwards-Obama tandem. If the Dems can’t do that then I’ll stick with whoever is the Republican candidate like I always do.

  26. “Very interesting is the role independent voters played in the primaries for both parties.”

    McCain got 38 percent of the independent vote, compared to Romney’s 16 percent.

  27. Really? Remember Roosevelt of Pearl Harbor fame? – supremo

    As former counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke said:

    “Having been attacked by al Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor.” – Richard Clarke, Against all Enemies

    True enough, after Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt did not attack Mexico.

  28. What about Kennedy in Cuba, Johnson in Vietnam, Wilson during WW 1? Richard Clarke has something to say about those events too?

  29. I liked Hillary until she voted for the war on Iraq. That’s before she said she was against it but continued to vote funds for it. Then she voted for the Kyle Lieberman amendment which lays the foundation for the war on Iran but I’m sure when the war against Iran starts she will be against it but she will continue to fund it.

    Other than that Hillary will probably have a good domestic policy except she might not have any money because it will all be wasted on foreign wars.

  30. Hilary Clinton during the administration of the her Husband had been trying to introduce the Universal Health care scheme to the Americans, but was not successful for so many reasons, one of them against the strong lobbying of Health Insurance Businesses..That was her pet project, but she is not trying to make that a major issue in her campaign because it will be a very expensive program for a country which allocate a major chunk of her budget in Military. But I believe this system will be closer with the Democrats in the white house than the Republicans, although I am a conservative in politics, I’d rather see a Government that will have the initiative to introduce Universal Health care program in the U.S. as soon as the opportunity or budget warrants…

  31. The Kyl-Lieberman Act had a lot more information in it. For example, the Kyl-Lieberman act formally put to paper that “…most of the sophisticated weapons being used to defeat (USA’s) armor protection comes from across the border from Iran…”. One of the key action-items in the Kyl-Lieberman Act is in designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard corps as a terrorist organization.
    The American population wants to do anything and everything to protect its soldiers, including dollars. The issue is not “…funding the American forces”, the issue is when and how to bring the American troops out of Iraq.
    As for Barack Obama, he chickened out. He did not vote.

  32. And Guiliani is a goner, too. And before one gets tempted that Guiliani has not begun to campaign yet, Guiliani spent over $2.1-mil and made more trips to New Hampsire than Romney.

  33. cvj,
    what do you have to say about it without relying on Clarke or any one in the INTERNET that Gore will not go to war if presented with the same situation? Did you talked to Gore about it? what did he say? Hold on cvj! I think Clarke is calling my secure line.

  34. If you watched the debate among the Democrats before the NH primary, it is evident that Hillary is a foreign policy hawk. She is not a softie on terrorists. Watch though how Obama answered the questions on nukes and terrorism — all fluff, not a good grasp of the particular issues there.

    If Obama becomes the President of the U.S., I cannot imagine how he’ll engage Vladimir Putin of Russia (now that’s a politician and patriot par excellence).

    On another note, I think a Hillary presidency will be good for the Philippines, as much as I think our country is generally in a better position when a Democrat is in the White House.

  35. UP n student,

    Guiliani is a goner. No need to wait for Super Tuesday to find out. Biden is also out since Iowa. Edwards still has a chance. Let’s wait for Super Tuesday.

  36. what do you have to say about it without relying on Clarke or any one in the INTERNET that Gore will not go to war if presented with the same situation? Did you talked to Gore about it? what did he say? – Supremo

    As i do not have personal access to Gore, i have to rely on the internet and here is what he had to say (in a speech back in Sept 23, 2002):

    By shifting from his early focus after September 11th on war against terrorism to war against Iraq, the President has manifestly disposed of the sympathy, good will and solidarity compiled by America and transformed it into a sense of deep misgiving and even hostility. In just one year, the President has somehow squandered the international outpouring of sympathy, goodwill and solidarity that followed the attacks of September 11th and converted it into anger and apprehension aimed much more at the United States than at the terrorist network – much as we manage to squander in one year’s time the largest budget surpluses in history and convert them into massive fiscal deficits. He has compounded this by asserting a new doctrine – of preemption. – Al Gore, Sept 23, 2002

    Unlike Dubya, he explicitly was not predisposed to invading Iraq. You can read the entire speech here:

  37. cvj,

    You forgot to include this in your response.

    Monday morning quarterback
    n. Informal.
    One who criticizes or passes judgment from a position of hindsight.

  38. Supremo, the invasion of Iraq began on March 18, 2003. Al Gore’s speech was made on September 23, 2002, six months before the invasion. It was not Monday morning when Gore stated his position.

  39. cvj,

    Let’s go back to what you originally said ‘A President Gore wouldn’t have used it as a pretext to invade Iraq.’

    You’re saying that Gore, President or NOT, has the same position on Iraq? Really? That’s a BIG unsupported conclusion.

  40. mb,

    ‘I liked Hillary until she voted for the war on Iraq. That’s before she said she was against it but continued to vote funds for it.’

    Americans are generally ONE when it comes to supporting the troops. The troops are already in the battlefield. They maybe there for the wrong reason but they’re still out there.

  41. supremeo, maybe cvj has insider’s information from the gore camp, as he seems to have on everything else local, while he is in singapore.

  42. i’ll stake my untested punditry on this one. i think hillary is the only winnable candidate among all the aspirants, democrat or republican. the rabid republicans in the media, e.g., hannity, kristol, o’reilly, even matthews, usually train their guns on her (and not too subtly rooting for obama), knowing she is the most potent threat to republicans continuing to occupy the white house.`mccain is a nice guy but has no solid support even from his own party. huckabee is a smarter and politically a more sophisticated version of our bro. villanueva, but his religious base could prove to be his weakness. obama? what happened in n.h. would happen in the entire country. hillary would galvanize the white and women votes, and she already has a good share of the black vote. the bill clinton charisma is alive and well.

  43. You’re saying that Gore, President or NOT, has the same position on Iraq? – supremo

    In that speech i referred to above, Al Gore made his stand against a unilateral invasion explicitly known even before the invasion. If you have reasons to doubt his sincerity, then you have to present something more substantive than rhetorical questions.

  44. cvj,

    I don’t have to present anything because you’re the one who made the conclusion that ‘A President Gore wouldn’t have used it as a pretext to invade Iraq.’