Holding The Line — For A Little While

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We were a bit surprised the Crown Prince failed to win Texas as you know. His focus today on actual pledged delegates is not illegitimate. But as GHWB learned from Iowa, ‘Big Mo’ often can turn into nemesis in an eye blink.

So let’s sort out what really happened. MSNBCNNFOX drum into our eyeballs relentlessly that HRC won a disproportionate share of late deciders. The collected wisdom? These voters — we are told — were ‘exposed’ to the HRC telephone ads as if the ads themselves were a toxic bacilus. Are we all not weary of the same consensus 25 pundits basking in their moment in the sunshine (even if feigned as mere duty). Of course, calculated contrarian posing pops up for personal self-promotion or in marionette response to desperate producers. All essentially effluvium.

Let’s put aside their talk. You know, that the HRC campaign went ‘negative’ in a ‘classic Clinton machine’ sort of way. And the corollary that the Crown Prince must don (sadly) the boxing gloves he heretofore avoided as a creature more noble than mortal politicians. Additionally, despite his enthusiasm, Rush’s impact on events likely is less than a rounding error in a precinct or two. On the last we agree. Where does that leave us?

The Stiftung is pleased (and somewhat surprised) that the Crown Prince suffered reverses precisely because for the briefest of moments: (a) the press, waking from its narcotic state, actually asked some typical questions about the Crown Prince’s actual positions; (b)he, by responding, descended from the clouds and appeared as mere typical biped seeking office; (c) meanwhile, HRC managed by savvy use of free media (to offset the Crown Prince’s larger war chest) to use up oxygen; and thus (d) we sense the barest glimmer of legitimate sobriety about a campaign surging on diaphanous bloviation. But only a glimmer.

As mentioned, we expected the Crown Prince to take Texas and thereby make HRC’s rationale particularly untenable. Yet his perceived blow halts a surging offensive that rollled as inevitable like the tide. A riposte and a reverse. Much of the ‘consensus’ wisdom now is Pennsylvania. To us it is just the latest line in a situation marked by fluidity. The Corporal responded to Junker Field Marshals’ cries for permission to retreat outside Moscow in December 1941, ‘Retreat to where? Will it be any warmer 75 kilometers back?”. Oddly, this now applies to both campaigns now. Absent capitulation — or union — the last stand lies in reconsidering Michigan and Florida notwithstanding Dean’s insignificant current stature.

The bigger question will be by what means and tactics do the parties get there? The $85 million reservoir in cash on hand today ensures a temptation to both for a slug fest. Can the Crown Prince recover after a season, return to his Olympian perch and renew previously unstoppable surge? Fresh and recharged? Is that even wise at this juncture? Or will he be forced (willingly or unwilling) to slug it out in the low road of terra firma? Logistically, we wonder if HRC can capitalize meaningfully on the perception of momentum change necessary for creating new actual ground truth. We are reasonably sure that the path to ‘victory’ (or glory) will not lie with substance or improved political discourse. The Crown Prince’s halt in Texas (to our surprise) and Ohio now creates the vision of a grinding war of attrition. HRC has the experience and capacity for prevailing; she lacks the in depth resources. The Crown Prince is unprepared personally and in self image terms for such brutality (again in our view); he has resources in spades.

So it is no surprise HRC opens the door for a peace treaty in the form of a joint ticket. It’s the best play given her cards and the party may overall benefit concentrating on McCain rather self-immolation. We’ll see how that plays out.

All of the political theater makes McCain’s strategy for visibility particularly interesting. There are only so many times a man can be on Leno.


  1. the Fly-Man says

    I think this is the real play that will be quietly exercised by the Clintons AND the McCain camp so succinctly put by Christopher Hitchens the other day on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program:
    “HITCHENS: But so, the white working-class vote seems to be breaking in a different direction, at least in Ohio and parts of Texas, and that — and that the open-but-nasty secret is that many, many Hispanic voters don’t mind telling opinion pollsters they don’t want a black president, or indeed mayor or police chief or senator, at any price. It’s really a question of whether Mrs. Clinton wants to be represented as the candidate of that backlash. My opinion is she would do anything. She wouldn’t mind running with George Wallace if it would get her the nomination.”

  2. Comment says

    It’s easy to imagine Machiavelli being appalled by Tweety misquoting him or even referencing in any way.

  3. Comment says

    This Williams and Tweety is exchange 9when McCain was meeting Bush) is absurd, over the top beyond mancrush stuff:

    MATTHEWS: You know, when he was a prisoner all those years, as you know, in isolation from his fellows, I do believe, uhm, and Machiavelli had this right — it’s not sentimental, it’s factual — the more you give to something, the more you become committed to it. That’s true of marriage and children and everything we’ve committed to in our lives. He committed to his country over there. He made an investment in America, alone in that cell, when he was being tortured and afraid of being put to death at any moment — and turning down a chance to come home.

    Those are non-political facts which I think do work for him. When it gets close this November, which I do believe, and you likely agree, will be a very close contest between him and whoever wins the Democratic fight. And I think people will look at that fact, that here’s a man who has invested deeply, and physically and personally in his country.

    WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more. Of course the son of a Navy Admiral, a product of Annapolis who couldn’t wait to become a Navy aviator…

  4. Comment says

    The county by county demographic vote breakdown in Ohio is interesting. HRC destroyed him among downscale whites – in numbers far greater than other states.

    This may just be a reaction of a state in semi-depression where all the downtrodden turn against each other rather than the powers that be. Who knows?

  5. Comment says

    If Obama soundly and unequivocally rejects Florida and Michigan’s delegates – People wil cry foul and unfair. But this small display of ruthlessness will go some way to helping him earn some spurs. It would be a great bogus issue for McCain to whine about in the general election, but all to no effect. People are not gonna switch their Presidential vote on such a basis in a meaningful way and McCain would lose ground in other areas if he pursued this. Interesting to see people in the media who express ‘concern’ about Obama on this issue are all people who want him to lose. So the more he can get them tocry foul – the better.

  6. Comment says

    We have mixed feelings about this Samatha Power thing – Long term, these professors – these ‘armed soldiers of democracy’ – presented a problem if they were too closely tethered to the campaign. It was sorta BS for her to be fired for strong words, but it just had to happen at some point. Power was becoming a story herself – before this incident. Humanitarian hawk and all that – takes lots of ‘splaining. Creates headaches.

  7. Comment says

    It’s a testimony to Crist’s political skill that he gets away with his absurd posturing re Dem party votes in Florida. Ofcourse, he has no business interfering in Dem party delegate selection – But the Tweety &Co. media is so numb they seem to think that there are constitutional issues at play. Imagine how Crist would react if someone – say some elected Democrat – tried to get invalid votes counted in a GOP primary counted to hurt Crist.

  8. Comment says

    Obama should regard the push to seat the Florida and Michigan delegates the way Michael Corleone regarded the initial offer from that Neveda Senator regrading that hotel deal in the Godfather. By rejecting Florida and Michigan and telling them all to take a hike, he will earn kudos everytime they scream . It will not be clear at first – He will have to resist voices of accomodation in his own camp. Does anyone think , for a second, that Hillary would let rejected delegates have a seat if it disadvantaged her?

  9. Comment says

    One real advantage Obama will have is that he will constantly provoke embrassing comments like that Congressman King from Illinois. This will happen even more in the general election when Obama pursues votes in traditional GOP areas in dixie. He will draw fire and that will help him in the swing states and McCain will constantly be embrassed by supporters.
    McCain has to worry much more about low grade prejudices among unsophesticated advocates than he does about easily lampooned and explained away Hagee types. They media will just bracket him – fair or not – as McCains Farakhann.
    But that absurd Cunningham character – that radio guy. There are so many of those guys. It’s gonna be fun.

  10. Anon says

    Does anyone doubt that a HRC administration will be followed by a Jeb Bush one. We have to break this cycle.

  11. Anon says

    We think Obama got raw spin on Canada – The fact is that he has variety of supporters with differinf view on NAFTA and its possible that some of these people who claim to speak for him are speaking for themselves. Though the Canadian embassy now says there was no difference. But there’s probably a difference between what Harper’s people said to reporters off the record and what the diplomats have on the record. re Obama – It’s now or never, imo = A recession will be followed by a boom and HRC must be denied credit for the next boom

  12. Dr.LeoStrauss says

    First Canada, now this one. We smell a whiff of the Peanut Farmer in the whole thing, except he was actually a naval veteran and a governor.

    The Crown Prince may want to rethink the Prize in any event. The economy and overall U.S. appear to be in a grim trajectory for some time. He’s young. Time to get some unassailable experience and let someone else take a hit.

  13. Anon says

    re McCain’s foreign policy – We think it can be gleaned by the half-second mention of “Admiral McCain” by WFB a few seconds into his speech about Panama:


    In other words – we think McCain, even more than his Pop, wants Iraq not so much for US security, but as a security blanket to salve bitterness from greatness slippage.

  14. Comment says

    Imo – McCain is not part of any Movement, save the McCain movement. He obviosly sees himself in relation to his families naval history and part of his motivation is to vindicate feelings of falling short in prison on some level – even though he could defend himself intellectually. McCain’s Keating experience also seems to be a case of arrogance, not greed. McCain wants glory and vindication – HRC will be able to bait him easily if she is the nominee.

  15. Hunter says

    I am, however, still curious about the positive case for Hillary with respect to foreign policy. Beyond empty phrases about experience, that is. (Not that experience isn’t necessarily important, just that after so many months of endless repetition, words lose their meaning…’experience’ as much as ‘change’.) I crave policy specifics. I’ve no idea if she’s let any of that out to the public. Either way, someone here might have some insight. Doktor? wwz? Anyone?

  16. Hunter says

    I figured you weren’t endorsing the Spengler column, and my reference to it was just to point out that I am accounting for Taibbi’s naked partisanship. But the accounting isn’t as severe because, well, he’s not really wrong. As for McCain being a Warlord 2.0, I’m not sure about that, but when I referred to the neo-cons, my archetype was Wolfowitz. “Perpetual war for perpetual peace” kind of guy though he may be, he’s no Dominionist. In the ‘About’ section of this website, you refer to “the current regime and its associated Movements’ determined assault…”. The plural Movements does not escape notice. McCain doesn’t even try to represent them all, for which they hate him. Taibbi’s thesis seems to be that in the American psyche, all the other aspects of the Movement have collapsed, and McCain is absolutely firm on the only aspect that still has any currency in the electorate.

    In any case, your conclusion that “he has not demonstrated since 2004 the judgment we would find comforting re geopolitical realities” should probably be the last word on the subject.

    ARQ: “the Eepublican party”?

  17. A Random Quote says

    “It was a day of mourning when the dear old
    Fifth Avenue was obliterated. Those who will
    hand down unscathed to our children and to our
    children’s children, the benches we loved so much,
    will receive the blessing of one whom the boys
    have repeatedly told me is ‘The Original
    Amener.’ … The Fifth Avenue Hotel has entertained in its
    day a larger number of the great of the earth
    whose plans for social and commercial enterprises
    and improvements were here matured and executed,
    than has any other house in America. But
    perhaps its chief fame will remain in its long
    association with the Eepublican party. Sitting in
    the “Amen Corner,” which may never be revived,
    one’s vision extended from Montauk Point to
    Buffalo, and it is no idle boast to say that it was
    the judgment that collected in the ‘Amen Corner’
    and there threshed out the issues of the day,
    which for a period of many years directed the
    destinies of the State of New York, wrote its
    statutes, and decreed all its important acts of
    ~The Autobiography of
    Thomas Collier Platt (1910)

  18. Comment says

    It never makes sense to deal with the Clintons of you’re a Dem. The Dem party lost lots of ground – gained little – during Bills years – Plus, he somehow made the people forget that. Denying Florida and Michigan and winning on that basis (Bill will secretly vote McCain anyway, imo) is a better way to “move on.”

  19. Comment says

    No that we think about it – We think it is better for Obama to just deny Michigan and Florida and let ’em stew. It’s better to risk some bad flack than to appear to be swayed by the HRC lobby, Granholm, and the cynical Crist – Also , the logic of it sets up an explicit confrontation between the Dean wing and the Clinton wing of insiders – Let’s have it out, there’ll be blood on the moon – But so what? Far better to threatn a Obama revolt than risk seen buckling to pressure or losing two big states.

  20. Comment says

    McCain’s last victory speech – lauding his own humility – and lots of baleful cliches about duty was worrisom on some levels – It showed that his staff was afraid to correct him and let him go out and deliver such a lame speech.

  21. Comment says

    McCain is not as maddeningly imperialistic as TR – IMO – But he also lacks TR’s literary gifts. Indeed he often displays a purly vulgar and utilitarian attitude to words, “just words.” LOL.

    People roll their eyes at this, but the modern American political suspicioun of authentic rhetoric and oratory is part and parcel, imo, of a larger problem

  22. Comment says

    IMO – McCain has read all the TR books that we have read. But that he likes all the tings about TR that most people who like TR find repugnant. McCain likes TR because of his chauvinism, not in spite of it. He likes the imperialist bully Bully TR, but discounts the TR who grew in wake of he son’s death in ww1.

  23. Comment says

    HRC’s problems are well exposed by reading her mostly ghostwritten books. All cant and garbage. But there’s a real human buried under all those Penn-tested phrases. She has to reach within and find what is buried.

  24. Comment says

    Make sure to watch Colbert with John Legend tonight – Colbert shows why he is the best all around entertainer since Al Jolson.

  25. Dr.LeoStrauss says

    Agree with both Hunter and Aldershot — in order:

    Hunter, we drank the Kool Aid for him in 2000 and as detailed either here or over at 1.0, were on the ground in South Carolina and had a, um, how to say this? Shared a front row seat that election night with people whose relationship transcended any campaign staff. We also enjoyed later working with his office and committee staff . His pivot in 2004 and all that has unfolded since then? Well your link’s theme says it. Would he be a Warlord 2.0? No. He is not the vessel for an effort to overthrow the Enlightenment within the guise of existing institutions. The fact that the Movement still hates him tell us the answer. But he has not demonstrated since 2004 the judgment we would find comforting re geopolitical realities. Our link to Spengler was not intended as endorsement or embrace. We actually laughed in agreement with you Hunter when you said “Wow.”

    Aldershot also resonates. When we said HRC would have the experience in a sluig fest, we just meant that enduring the near coup d’etat in the late 1990s teaches one lessons for a lifetime, notwithstanding what was learned back home. We’ve never tried to deny or make any effort here to hide the fact that we we were among the tiniest of tiny specs within the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

    It will be interesting to see this unfold. Obama has shown he is a good counter-puncher. His responses so far have been still a bit tentative. Perhaps this is the campaign’s sense of what Aldershot notes based on polling or just a plain tactical approach. There are temporal limits, however, on essentially a passive aggressive approach with the hope that a third party (the American electorate) will take your side. Even rope a dope eventually requires one to deliver decisive blows.

  26. Aldershot says

    “but there is an intelligent way to raise fears about HRC and the eight year side show she will inevitably bring to the WH.”

    Today it struck me that HRC may relatively quickly over-play her hand…there’s a level of retarded emotional intelligence that rankles, and revives old unpleasant associations. I heard on MSNBC today that she was calling on Obama to run a more civil campaign…that he was using Republican talking points. This, after she had said that she and McCain have experience and he only has a speech from 2002. But you have to laugh at her chudspa.

  27. Hunter says

    “Even so, as of today, he remains to us a dubious roll of the dice not only here at home but for the geopolitical realities we all confront.”

    Speaking of “the geopolitical realities we all confront” what does the Stiftung think of McCain? If I recall more or less correctly, you used to be at least somewhat laudatory, but I can’t imagine 100 years of occupying Iraq sounds like much fun even to old members of the foreign policy club. I just read Taibbi’s latest:

    He’s way more foul-mouthed and fair than, say, Spengler on Obama, but doesn’t attempt to hide his visceral fear of a McCain presidency. He asserts that “There is significant evidence that McCain believes war is something righteous and necessary, a tonic for the national soul, intrinsically “noble” irrespective of context…” I can’t help but notice that this is exactly the neo-cons’ position, as they inherited it from the original Leo Strauss (allegedly…). The evidence and argumentation leading up to the above quoted conclusion is on the third page of Taibbi’s article, btw. Is any of this on point? Or just the ramblings of a paranoid liberal? If McCain’s not a dubious roll of the dice, he seems like sure disaster. In what (specific, positive) ways is HRC neither dubious nor surely disastrous (FP-wise)?

  28. Dr.LeoStrauss says

    And how fast the pack moves: as of 10:00 AM Eastern, the consensus pundits totally jettisoned Pennsylvania have joined the Stiftung (and common sense) re FLA and MI. Doubtlessly, Tweety will continue to insert his PA prism on the scene and gratuitously drag Fineman in complicity.

  29. Dr.LeoStrauss says

    Agree with that. He would be better prepared for a general election and actually sitting behind the desk if he earned his bones as they say. Even so, as of today, he remains to us a dubious roll of the dice not only here at home but for the geopolitical realities we all confront. Even when we see criticism of the Stiftung on some blogs that we fail to count his 200 bill in a state legislature as proof of presidential credentials and experience.

    Resko may seem minor at this point. It probably is.

    It is odd to see the Crown Prince’s people after Texas now talking about the Clintons like all of us within Newt’s nimbus back in the day used to do. Perhaps he will say not too soon that part of his vaunted judgment when he was not in office will be he would have also voted for impeachment, too.

    As an aside, David Shuster’s appearance on MSNBC this morning positive oozes awkwardness. And further consolidates Mika Brzez’s plummet into Katie Couuric-hood. A mild amusement over morning coffee.

  30. Comment says

    If Obama does prevail, this loss will be seen as beneficient to him in the long run. He became a better candidate when he lost in NH. HRC has not yet begun to fight. Obama does not benefit from the low grade bias that the Tweetys spew, but there is an intelligent way to raise fears about HRC and the eight year side show she will inevitably bring to the WH. As far as we can see, he is clean on Rezko save appearance – so it’s a lesser form of scandal that three of HRC’s post WH fundraisers been in.

    Now’s a good time for Obama to propose re-does for Michigan and Florida right before the convention or at any point that HRC will find inconvienient. He has to start pre-empting her coming attacks, so her attaks seeem defensive.

  31. Aldershot says

    How does a man bearing a heavy load cross a narrow bridge? With single-minded attention.

    The tide has turned for Obama, but I think young grasshopper has the ability to prevail. We shall see.

  32. Comment says

    Obama has to start making some Schwarma if he wants this nomination. He has to shred her rationale and remind people why they wanted to CHANGE. Technically he can win it even if he loses Phily, but it could get complicated.

  33. Comment says

    The highlight of the evening was when McCain bragged about his humility in his acceptance speech.

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