Sunday, 27 January 2008


Ken Berwitz

The votes are in. Now, as with the earlier primaries, we can compare what the political polls said with what actually happened.

Political Polls:  With the exception of one poll (which was off by even more), Barack Obama got 38 - 43% of the vote in yesterday's South Carolina primary.   He beat Hillary Clinton by 8 - 15%.

Reality:  Barack Obama got 55% of the vote in yesterday's South Carolina primary.  He beat Hillary Clinton by 28%.

Obama's actual vote percentage was not only outside the statistical margin of error for every one of the polls, it was outside DOUBLE the margin of error.  And ditto for his margin over Hillary Clinton.

Further, the Mason-Dixon poll, which was touted on NBC as being the more accurate of the bunch, had Obama winning 38% -30%.  It was off by more than TRIPLE the statistical margin of error.

So, still wanna believe political polls?

Still wanna listen to these pundits rant on and on about the latest poll and what it means, as if the data were accurate?


Ken Berwitz

In the past few days I have posted several analyses about how the Clintons are trying to destroy Barack Obama's candidacy.  They conclude that the Clinton strategy is to turn Barack Obama from a general presidential candidate into a Black presidential candidate. 

The cynical calculus here is that Black voters are so easy to manipulate that they can first be directed to vote heavily for Obama, which enables the Clintons to characterize him as little more than a "Black" candidate.  This is supposed to scare the bejeeezus out of White voters, marginalize Obama and defeat him.  Then they will bring those same Black voters right back to monolithic support of the Clintons.  After all, Blacks don't think, they just vote Democratic.

The central premise of this strategy is that Black people are simple, unintelligent folk who can be pushed and pullled at will by the far more intelligent, far more clever Clintons.

Well, half the equation worked yesterday in South Carolina.  Blacks came out in huge numbers to vote for Barack Obama and, effectively, made him the Black candidate.

However, the Clintons, in my opinion, are going to have a major, quite possibly insurmountable, problem with the other half of that calculus.

Why?  Because while Black people may overwhelmingly vote Democratic, they are not umbilically tied to the Clintons.  And by destroying Mr. Obama's chances, their strategy may destroy Ms. Clinton's chances every bit as much.

If Barack Obama had not run, there is little doubt in my mind that Black voters would be giving a vast majority of their support to Hillary Clinton.  She, along with Hubby Bubba, has cultivated this segment with years of ridiculous hype about being "Black" themselves.

But Barack Obama not only parallels Hillary in his political positions, he is Black as well.  Obviously this muddies the waters for those voters.

So what happens when, in order to secure her nomination, Hillary Clinton plays raw, racial politics to destroy a desirable candidate who also happens to be Black? 

Will Black voters really come running, like trained dogs, to reward the candidate who did it when November rolls around?

I've known too many Black people and followed this too long to believe that will happen.  Yes, SOME Black people are simple and easily manipulated (so are SOME in other groups as well).  And, yes, there are SOME Black leaders who will be bought off by the Clintons and trotted out to sell them as if the Obama strategy never happened.

But Black people, however loyal they may be to the Democratic party, know when they are being dumped on.  And, as a group, they are intelligent and perceptive enough to know when someone is posturing as some kind of Great White Mamma, but treating them like ignorant, simpleminded inferiors..

I have a sneaking suspicion that if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Nominee in November, an awful lot of these people, who the Clintons so cynically disdain, will demonstrate a full knowledge and understanding of the write-in option and/or of leaving one line on the ballot blank.

And I hope I'm right.  This pair deserves it.


Ken Berwitz

From Mark Finklestein of

McCain: I'd Sign Amnesty Bill, But 'They' Want Borders Secured First

By Mark Finkelstein | January 27, 2008 - 18:55 ET

Takeaway exchange from John McCain's Meet The Press appearance today.

TIM RUSSERT: If the Senate passed your bill, S-1433, the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, would you as president sign it?

JOHN MCCAIN: Yeah, but the lesson is that it isn't going to come, it isn't going to come. The lesson is they want the borders secured first.

View video here.

"They" want the borders secured first. From the same man who said:

I think the fence is least effective. But Ill build the goddamned fence if they want it.

Will the MSM let voters know that McCain continues to support the amnesty bill he forged with Ted Kennedy, and only grudgingly agrees to secure the borders because "they" -- those pesky American citizens, want it?.

John McCain is a Christian conservative.  One look at his voting record on the website will tell you that (reference the "interest group ratings" at that site and see for yourself).

But, just as Fiorello LaGuardia was fond of saying "When I make a mistake it's a beaut", so is McCain's departure from conservative orthodoxy when it comes to illegals and amnesty.

All candidates are entitled to their opinions.  And even when the party base may not agree with some of them it is (or at any rate should be) understood that almost no one is going to be 100% in lockstep with a party's full set of positions.

But I don't think you can overemphasize the damage McCain's position on illegal aliens - especially regarding a border fence -does to his standing with the Republican base.  This isn't just an issue.  It is a major issue.  A core issue.  A wedge issue.

If Mr. Romney is smart (and few people think he is anything but) Senator McCain's answer to Tim Russert is going to be repeated countless times from today right through to Super Tuesday.

It may be his undoing.


Ken Berwitz

A Pyrrhic victory (IPA: /'pɪr ɪk/ -) is a victory with devastating cost to the victor. The phrase is an allusion to King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War.

You think I'M being hard on the Clintons?  Read this column, written by Philip Gailey, the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times editorial page editor.  He makes me look like a member of Hillary's campaign committee:

Slinging slime is what Clintons do best

Published January 27, 2008

Bill Clinton is all over the place, like a mad dog's slobber.

On the campaign trail as his wife's chief surrogate, he is losing his temper, snapping at reporters, mangling the truth, distorting the record including his own and acting more like a political hatchet man than a former president. He warns that voting for Barack Obama would be a "roll of the dice." Obama's record as a consistent opponent of the Iraq war is a "fairy tale." Last week in South Carolina, Clinton accused Obama of doing a "hit job" on him, but refused to back up the charge. He has injected race into the campaign by defining Obama as just another black candidate who can't go all the way.

Compared to the dirty work being handled by other surrogates and anonymous character assassins, Bill Clinton is taking the high road. Even so, some leading Democrats fear he is damaging the party. Sen. Edward Kennedy and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who are neutral in the race, asked the former president to stop sliming and slamming Obama, according to Newsweek. He is not about to back off. If the price of taking down Obama is to tarnish his post-White House image as a global statesman, Clinton doesn't mind paying it. The Big Dog is having too much fun doing what he does best, which is being unpresidential.

Narcissist that he is, Bill Clinton can't pass up an opportunity to remind voters of the glory years of his presidency, years Hillary promises to restore without all the scandals and embarrassments. Great was his unfaithfulness, and he owes her big-time. Maybe he figures getting her into the Oval Office he occupied for eight years will settle that debt. But as always, it's also about him. If Hillary Clinton is about to make history, he intends to play a starring role in his wife's campaign - and almost certainly in her presidency.

In Clinton-think, it's bad enough that Barack Obama didn't defer to Hillary this time and wait his turn. But the nerve of this guy trying to become the nation's first president who happens to be black. Hasn't anyone told Obama that Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton the nation's "first black president" a decade ago?

Politics is a game of hard knocks, some below the belt, and it is not for the faint-hearted. And no one plays political hardball as aggressively as the Clintons. They are ruthless when it comes to smashing their opponents or anyone else who threatens their political ambitions. What they are doing to Barack Obama is not all that different from what they did to the women who outed Clinton as a serial adulterer as governor of Arkansas and as president.

When it comes to the politics of personal destruction, the Clintons know how to get the job done while appearing to be above the ugliness of it all. Defamation is their weapon of choice.

In Iowa, an e-mail was bouncing around the state planting suspicion that Obama was a Muslim who had been trained in radical Islam in an Indonesian madrassa. This slander was traced by to some Clinton campaign volunteers, who were asked to resign. The candidate said there was no place in her campaign for such smears.

Then Bill Shaheen, co-chairman of Clinton's campaign in New Hampshire, told reporters of his concern that if Obama, who has admitted using illegal drugs as a teenager, were to win the nomination, some voters might wonder if he also may have been a dope peddler. When Obama cried foul, Shaheen apologized and resigned from his campaign post. Hillary Clinton apologized to Obama for Shaheen's smear. The apologies and resignation kept the story alive by repeating the original defamation.

Before the Clintons are through with Obama, he will be stumbling around punch-drunk from all the jabs, kicks, slaps and punches the Clintons are throwing at him. They make outrageously false claims about his record and distort his words. And when he fights back, Hillary asks, whatever happened to Obama's promise to lift politics to higher ground?

Nicholas von Hoffman, a New York Observer columnist, wrote last week: "The heart of the Clintons' strategy is to pull Obama down to their level . . . The Clintons cannot compete with the enthusiasm Obama sets off so they must destroy it. Their tactic is disillusionment. They are the quashers of the dream. Bring Obama's people down by showing them he is just another pol like themselves."

The Clintons don't seem to care if black voters are offended by the way they have been roughing up Obama. Like the Democratic Party, they take black votes for granted in the general election. And besides, maybe after Hillary wins the nomination with the support of Hispanics, now the nation's largest minority, black voters will take note and wonder if Hillary Clinton will be known as the nation's "first Hispanic president." .

And before you make any incorrect conclusions, The St. Petersburg Times ain't exactly noted for its support of Republicans.  To say the very least.  It is as hard left and liberal a paper as you can find south of the New York Times' home offices.

Can you show me how Mr. Gailey will comfortably be able to support Wifey Hill/Hubby Bill in a general election?  Because I sure can't.

Pyrrhus must be smiling in his grave.  Laughing what's left of his butt off is more like it.


Ken Berwitz

In the previous post I described how the Clintons intend to destroy Obama by marginalizing him as a candidate for Blacks rather than for the general population.

Want more evidence?  Try this on for size -- it comes from Jake Tapper of ABC news:

Bubba: Obama Is Just Like Jesse Jackson

January 26, 2008 8:18 PM

Said Bill Clinton today in Columbia, SC: "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in '84 and '88. Jackson ran a good campaign.  And Obama ran a good campaign here."

This was in response to a question from ABC News' David Wright about it taking "two Clintons to beat" Obama. Jackson had not been mentioned.

Boy, I can't understand why anyone would think the Clintons are running a race-baiting campaign to paint Obama as "the black candidate"

-- jpt.

Now please be aware that the last sentence was Jake Tapper's editorial comment, not mine.  I insist that readers not confuse the two.  So, in order that there be no such confusion, here is my opinion:

Boy, I can't understand why anyone would think the Clintons are running a race-baiting campaign to paint Obama as "the Black candidate".

And before you claim Tapper and Berwitz have exactly the same view of what Clinton was doing, please allow me to reference a major difference:  I capitalize "Black".

So there.

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