Wednesday, 06 February 2008


Ken Berwitz

Here is an excellent analysis of the Republican aftermath of Super Tuesday, written by "Adam C" (whoever that might be) of  If I were doing the writing I'd largely be duplicating it, so I'll let Mr.C (?) tell the story, then add a few thoughts afterwards:

The Aftermath of Super Tuesday

Huckabee Overperforms, Romney Underperforms, McCain Performs

By Adam C

Overall, the popular vote (76% reporting at CNN):

McCain 40
Romney 31
Huck 21

1. Surprising many, GOV Huckabee pulled narrow victories in GA, TN, AL, and WV to add to his home state win in AR. Huckabee continues to fail to appeal outside the South. He would make a great Senator of Arkansas.

2. Romney slightly underperformed. He won his home states of UT and MA and he showed his continued success at caucuses, winning ND, MT, CO, and MN. However, his weaknesses were undeniable. Romney came in third in the South stealing votes from either McCain or Huckabee. And he showed a surprising weakness in primary states where no one had a tie to the state (CA, MO, CT, NJ, NY). Overall, Romney seemed to hit a ceiling of support based on his coalition. His chance of winning the nomination is negligible.

3. The number of Democratic voters vastly outnumbers the Republicans in most states. Even in the South and in solid Republican states like Oklahoma, there were more Democratic votes. Whoever wins the nomination still faces a big uphill battle.

4. McCain expanded on the same formula he used in NH, SC, and FL. He won moderates and mildly conservative voters while making inroads with more conservative voters. His acceptance speech was another olive branch to conservatives. However, until he is officially the Last Man Standing, it is unlikely that conservatives will give him a chance to win them back.

Finally, mathematically, McCain maximized his advantage by winning a lot of WTA states: NY, NJ, CT, DE, AZ and MO. Thus, the tiny victory in MO sends 57 delegates McCain's way. And while his 51-41 loss in MA only translates into a 22-17 delegate loss, his 47-34 win in AZ gave him all 53 delegates. The two home states combined become a 70-22 McCain advantage. If the current CA results hold up (44-25), McCain will take over 150 of the 173 there.

Based on rough estimates, it seems the delegate count will be roughly:

McCain 725
Romney 300
Huck 225


A few thoughts of my own:

-The polls were lousy again.  No one showed Huckabee with this kind of strength.  Romney was supposed to be surging in California but McCain beat him by 9% there.  Etc. etc. etc.  Why do people live and die by these polls?  How many times does this have to happen before they get it?  Beats me;

-Unless something unforeseen happens, Romney has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.  I don't see a realistic way he can win the nomination;

-Mike Huckabee reminds me of George Wallace in 1968.  Not for his views, which are certainly incompatible with Wallace the segregationist, but in the fact that he has a super-loyal following at one end and a lid clamped tightly shut at the other.

Wallace got, about 13% of the vote in the 1968 presidential election and I remember thinking he couldn't get less than 8% -10%or more than 10-15%.  Similarly, Huckabee will hold a segment of the political right and evangelical Christian vote (a good deal of overlap there) but will be anathematic to a great many others (like me) who don't want a clergyman with an interest in proselytizing anywhere near the oval office.  A clear low end and a clear high end;

-There is a lot of speculation this morning that McCain and Huckabee have cut a deal and Huckabee will eventually be McCain's VP nominee. 

That would make the Republican standard-bearer a 71 year old man who has to work at keeping his temper in check (with only partial success) and who was gullible enough to be one of the Keating 5 and to foist the McCain-Feingold idiocy on us.  His running mate would be a former Baptist minister who said he wanted to take the country back for Christ and has never rescinded that statement.

Could this ticket win?  Yes it could.  But without me. 

I have never had a problem voting Republican.  But there is not a chance in hell I would ever vote for McCain/Huckabee.  And I ain't the only one.


Ken Berwitz

So there's this sex education class in which the instructor says "There are 100 different ways of having sex".  A student jumps up and screams "I know 101!!! I know 101!!!"  The instructor says "Will you sit down and behave or I'll toss you out of here".  He sits down and the instructor continues:  "One way is when the woman lays on her back with her legs spread and the man inserts his penis in her vagina".  The student jumps up and screams "I know 102!! I know 102!!":

With this in mind, please read the following article from today's edition of, written by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, that talks about "Five reasons Hillary should be worried":

Five reasons Hillary should be worried

By: Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen
Feb 6, 2008 02:31 PM EST

Hillary Clinton survived a Super Tuesday scare. But there are five big reasons the former first lady should be spooked by the current trajectory of the campaign.

Longtime Clinton friends say she recognizes the peril in careening between near-death primary night experiences and small-bore victories.

Although the friends did not have details, they believe she may go ahead with the campaign shake-up she had been planning just before her surprise victory in New Hampshire.

Her team is girding for trench warfare, telling reporters that the nomination will not be decided until at least the Pennsylvania primary on April 22, if then.

Clinton aides told reporters on a conference call today that the Democratic Partys complex delegate allocation rules mean that neither candidate is likely to take a sizable lead in the foreseeable future.

While Clintons campaign gloated about having the most total delegates for the cycle so far, her staff nevertheless recognizes that Super Tuesday was no triumph. Heres why:

1. She lost the delegate derby. Pure and simple, this is a war to win delegates, one that might not be decided until this summers Democratic convention.

And when the smoke cleared this morning, it appeared that Barack Obama had ended up with slightly more delegates in the 22 states.

Obamas campaign says the senator finished ahead by 14 delegates.

With results still coming in, Clintons campaign says the candidates finished within five or six delegates of each other. Either way, Super Tuesday was essentially a draw.

Clinton may still hold the edge overall, but Obama is closing in rapidly.

2. She essentially tied Obama in the popular vote. Each won just over 7.3 million votes, a level of parity that was unthinkable as recently as a few weeks ago.

At the time, national polls showed Clinton with a commanding lead in some cases, by 10 points or more. That dominance is now gone.

One reason is that polls and primary results reveal that the more voters get to know Obama, the more they seem to like him.

This is especially troubling for Clinton since the schedule slows dramatically now and a full month will pass before the next big-state showdown.

All of this allows candidates ample time to introduce themselves to voters in each state which plays to Obamas core strengths.

3. She lost more states. Obama carried 14 states, six more than Clinton, and showed appeal in every geographical region.

His win in bellwether Missouri was impressive by nearly every measure, marked by victories among men and women, secular and churchgoing voters, and urban and suburban voters.

4. She lost the January cash war. Money chases momentum, so Obama crushings 2-to-1 fundraising victory last month is revealing.

He raised more than $31 million; Clinton raised less than $14 million. The implication is hard to ignore: Democratic activists and donors are flocking to Obama at a pace that could have a profound effect on the race going forward.

5. The calendar is her enemy. Now that more than half the states have weighed in, there is a fairly predictable formula for determining who is most likely to win the upcoming contests.

In caucus states, Obamas organizational strength shines: He has won seven of eight. Up next are three more caucus states, Washington, Nebraska and Maine.

Obama also runs tremendously well in states with large African-American populations, another promising sign since next Tuesdays three primaries are in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia all of which have significant percentages of black voters.

Then comes another caucus state, Hawaii, where Obama is viewed as a native son.

The bottom line is that it figures to be another month before Clinton hits a stretch of states places like Ohio and Pennsylvania where she will be strongly favored to win.

So it couldnt be any clearer as to why the supposedly inevitable candidacy is anything but even when shes supposedly winning.


Boy does this ever make me feel like the student in that joke. 

Yes, all five mentioned by VandeHei and Allen are valid reasons Ms. Clinton should be worried.  But there are more.  Here is a sampling:

-The only way Ms. Clinton can win is to attack Mr. Obama into submission, which will alienate untold numbers of Black voters.  They have a very real potential to show their "appreciation" on election day by either writing in his name, not voting at all for President or (gasp!) pulling the Republican lever.  If Clinton loses even 10-15% of the Black vote she can kiss any chance of winning the presidency goodbye;

-Ms. Clinton has a number of serious campaign finance scandals to worry about, all of which occurred during this campaign.  I've blogged about them over and over again here.  If the media decide they prefer Mr. Obama more than her, they will suddenly find reasons to tell the general public these scandals exist;

-Every time Hubby Bubba opens his mouth Ms. Clinton has to worry about what damage he'll do to her campaign.  He is the loosest of loose cannons, and no one is capable of stopping him.

Those are three.  Three major ones.  If Mr. Obama finally decides to play the hardball he has to play in order to win this nomination, not only will he use them, but I can almost picture him jumping up and screaming...

"I know more!!! I know more!!!"


Ken Berwitz

Here's how.  No comment necessary


A carnival float carries large papier-mache figures during the ...
Mon Feb 4, 6:45 AM ET
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A carnival float carries large papier-mache figures during the traditional Rose Monday carnival parade in Duesseldorf February 4, 2008. The Rose Monday parades in Cologne, Mainz and Duesseldorf are the highlight of the German street carnival season.

REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY)


Ken Berwitz

Here is an excellent detailed account of Monday's terrorist strike against Israel.  It is spot-on in describing the terrorist groups involved - fatah and hamas - which also happen to be the groups elected to govern palestinian Arabs. 

The article was found at  But not by me.  It was brought to my attention by "free", a chatroom buddy who knows I blog here.  I thank him for the heads-up::

Uniquely Bizarre
Barry Rubin
February 5, 2008

The Arab-Israeli conflict definitely holds the record for the most bizarrely treated issue in modern history. It is easy to forget just how strange this situation is and the extent to which it is understood and handled so totally different from other, more rationally, perceived problems.

Let's take a very simple example and examine the surrealistic, bizarre way in which normally sensible people and institutions respond.

On February 4, 2008, two terrorists attacked the quiet town of Dimona in southern Israel. One blew himself up near a toy store in a marketplace, killing an elderly woman and wounding forty people. The other was injured in the first blast and, before he could detonate his own bomb, was killed by a policeman.

At first, some Fatah officials claimed that one of the men was theirs, from that group's al-Aqsa Brigades; the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said the second belonged to them. Such are the bare facts. But from here it gets far stranger.

Apparently, Fatah and the PFLP did dispatch a two-man terrorist team, but they were apparently caught before crossing into Israel. At the exact same time, Hamas sent another duo, and they succeeded in reaching Dimona.

Thus, through no fault of their own, Fatah and the PFLP did not actually commit the attack. But they tried and would have preferred to have carried out the terrorist assault. From here, a number of conclusions should be obvious:

  1. The nature of Fatah. Why is Fatah, the organization routinely described as moderate by Western governments and media, involved in constant terrorism attempts--and sometimes successes--against Israel?

    The al-Aqsa Brigades are an integral part of Fatah. The Brigades' founder and leader is Marwan Barghouti who has been head of Fatah on the West Bank.  Many of the Brigades' gunmen are on the Fatah payroll in various ways, often as members of security forces which are supposed to prevent...terrorism.

    Of course, the leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and in effect Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas "condemned" the attack. That is, he said he didn't like it. But no member of Fatah has ever been expelled from the organization or fired from the security forces for involvement in terrorism. The PA's media regularly broadcasts incitement to commit terrorism. It does not transmit television, radio, and newspaper demands on its members not to attack Israeli civilians.

    So is Fatah a terrorist organization?

    Well, apparently not. Granted, Abbas personally would prefer these attacks not occur. In the Fatah spectrum he is at the moderate end. Nevertheless, he presides over a group that is terrorist and which regards itself as fighting a war against Israel whose main tactic is deliberately murdering civilians. It uses its funds for this purpose and encourages such behavior through program and propaganda.

    A Reuters' dispatch about the attack, when it was thought to be perpetrated by Fatah, said it was a challenge for Abbas to control "rebels within his own Fatah faction." The point, however, is that they aren't rebels at all but rather members in good standing who probably have more support in Fatah than does Abbas himself.

  2. International policy toward Fatah. Therefore, if Fatah, and the PA, should not be shunned at least they should be subjected to serious international pressure, right? If only for their own good since presumably the world believes that they are better off if they abandon terrorism? Again, apparently not.

    Fatah is the group which is being given well about $7 billion by international donors. And there are no strings attached to that aid: no measure of whether Fatah uses or advocates terrorism whatsoever. It gets the money no matter what it does. There are good reasons for the West to work with, and even aid, the PA and Fatah but there are no good reasons for that support and aid to be unconditional.

  3. Motive. Fatah officials said the reason for the attack was to protest Israeli "aggression" against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. To begin with, of course, Israel is merely responding to rocket and mortar attacks on its territory. If these were to cease, Israel would never attack the Gaza Strip and continue to supply it--directly and indirectly--with its electricity. But if Israel were never to attack the Gaza Strip, the Hamas regime and its junior partners in the Gaza Strip would continue to attack Israel. By definition, then, they are the ones who are aggressive.

    Incidentally, there are no sanctions whatsoever against the West Bank, which Fatah rules. Thus, Fatah is at war with Israel while Israel, despite periodic raids against individuals directly involved in terrorism, treats Fatah as a partner and urges countries to give it financial aid.

    But there's more. Fatah is essentially coming to the aid of a Hamas regime which threw it out of Gaza and killed, sometimes in cold blood, and represses its own people. Why? Because Fatah and the PA are competing for Palestinian popular support in the Gaza Strip and the way that one does this is to murder Israeli civilians. This is a very telling definition of Palestinian politics, ideology, and public opinion.

  4. The other terrorist killed was initially claimed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a radical Arab nationalist group, which also tried to kill Israeli civilians on that day. Recently, the founder and long-time head of the PFLP, George Habash, died. Habash was a veteran terrorist who practically invented airplane hijacking and international terrorism. Habash was lauded by the PA and Fatah at his funeral as a great hero of the movement.

    Riyad al-Malki, the PA's Minister of Information and Foreign Affairs of the "moderate" PA is a PFLP member and ran the organization on the West Bank for many years. So when Western politicians and diplomats deal with the "moderate" PA they are talking directly to a man who played a leading role in a terrorist group which continues to make--and proudly claim responsibility for--terrorist attacks.

    Arab members of Israel's parliament went to the funeral and joined in the accolades for a terrorist whose group continues to murder their fellow citizens.

  5. When the second terrorist fell as a result of the first explosion, Israeli medical personnel did not hesitate from rushing to help a man they thought was an Arab victim of the attack. Then the nurse saw the explosives' belt and realized the man she was trying to save was about to murder her. She had to run for her life, pulling along another wounded person, and yell for help from the police.

To summarize: Fatah acts as a terrorist group; the PA facilitates terrorism and includes people leading terrorist groups; Fatah views itself as an ally of a group that attacks it and murders its own members; the West aids Fatah and the PA with no attempt to discourage their behavior; Israeli Arab politicians side with terrorism; and Israelis, at the risk of their lives, try to save Arab lives, and would like to have a two-state solution if the other side is every able to make and implement such a deal.

Oh, yes, and guess who much of the world blames for the conflict. As I said, uniquely bizarre.

These, folks are the people who Israel is expected to be peace partners with.  And palestinian Arabs, en masse, are the people who freely elected them as their leaders. 

Peace process, my backside.


Ken Berwitz

It is sometimes (ok, often - no, make that usually) forgotten that our fight in Iraq is not with the government.  Nor is it with the general population. 

Our fight is with terrorist insurgents.  And the most dangerous terrorist insurgent group is al qaeda.

Here, courtesy of the Associated Press, is a reminder of how depraved they really are.  Please read it slowly so every word will sink in deeply:

US says al-Qaida in Iraq using children

By LAUREN FRAYER, Associated Press Writer 44 minutes ago

Videotapes seized during U.S. raids on suspected al-Qaida in Iraq hide-outs show the terror group training young boys to kidnap and assassinate civilians, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Wednesday.

Footage aired for reporters showed an apparent training operation with black-masked boys some of whom appeared to be about 10 years old storming a house and holding guns to the heads of mock residents. Another tape showed a young boy wearing a suicide vest and posing with automatic weapons.

But U.S. and Iraqi officials said they could offer no estimate on how many children have fallen under the terror group's control. They named just a handful of attacks blamed on women or children.

The American military said some of the tapes were found in December during a U.S. raid in Khan Bani Saad, northeast of Baghdad, and said it indicated a pattern that al-Qaida in Iraq was increasingly using children for sinister means.

"Al-Qaida in Iraq wants to poison the next generation of Iraqis," Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. military spokesman, told reporters Wednesday inside the heavily guarded Green Zone. "It is offering children as the new generation of mujahedeen," he said, using the Arabic term for holy warriors.

"We believe this video is used as propaganda to send out to recruit other boys ... and to send a broader message across Iraq to indoctrinate youth into al-Qaida," he said.

Other scenes from the Khan Bani Saad video showed masked boys forcing a man off his bicycle at gunpoint and stopping a car and kidnapping its driver along a dusty country road. At one point the boys wearing soccer jerseys with ammunition slung across their chests sit in a circle on the floor, chanting slogans in support of al-Qaida.

Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari told reporters that militants are kidnapping more and more Iraqi children, though he could not offer details or numbers.

"This is not only to recruit them, but also to demand ransom to fund the operations of al-Qaida," al-Askari said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said Wednesday that its troops, along with Iraqi forces, killed seven suspected insurgents and detained 45 others in five days of raids across Iraq.

Also Wednesday, a roadside bomb exploded near a police convoy transporting suspected Shiite militia fighters south of Baghdad, killing four passers-by and wounding nine other people, police said. At least 19 people were killed or found dead Wednesday across the country.

The roadside bombing was an apparent attempt to free the 10 detainees who were linked to the Mahdi Army militia that is nominally loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, according to police Brig. Gen. Ghassan Mohammed Ali.

He said the detainees had been captured over the past month and had been accused of attacking civilians and U.S. and Iraqi security forces in the city.

The bomb went off in Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad, where there have been fierce clashes between rival Shiite militia factions engaged in a violent power struggle in the oil-rich area.

Two women and two men in a car near the explosion were killed, and nine other people two policemen, three prisoners and four civilians were wounded, Ali said.

Al-Sadr has ordered his militia to stand in a six-month cease-fire that expires at the end of February, but the U.S. military says disaffected fighters have broken with the movement and persisted with attacks.

Iraqi security forces in the area also are often accused of being infiltrated by militia fighters, particularly from the Badr Brigade, the militant arm of the largest Shiite party, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, or SIIC.

Ten year olds?  TEN YEAR OLDS?????

This is what al qaeda is.  This is what it is capable of.  This is what it does.  And, in the sick-beyond-belief world of terrorist groups, it is not alone.  Palestinian Arab terrorists, for example. are every bit as depraved as al-qaeda is.  Then we have Sudan and Zimbabwe and....well, you get the idea.

The harry reid's and nancy pelosi's of the world (and the Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's, let's not forget) would like to cut and run from Iraq regardless of whether the freely elected government's security forces can contain these "people".  In other words, while al-qaeda still could take over the country against the will of its population, and to the extreme detriment of everyone's safety.

Would you sleep well knowing we did that?  I sure wouldn't.


Ken Berwitz

Here is a heartfelt commentary by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC regarding media hatred - and concomitant media bias - against Mitt Romney.  I read it at and I'm passing it along so you can see if it rings true:

Scarborough: MSM 'Blinded By Hatred' of Romney

By Mark Finkelstein | February 6, 2008 - 07:34 ET

Joe Scarborough has given away the MSM's dirty big secret: it hates Mitt Romney and is letting that animus distort its coverage of the Republican race. Joe went on an impassioned riff at the opening of today's Morning Joe.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I want the media mavens in Manhattan and Washington, DC to listen what I'm about to tell you, because it goes against your narrative, but it is the truth. Look at the map; let's put the map back up there. Last night was a good night for John McCain, he won the big states . . . but starting at about 9 PM last night, before a lot of the Western states were closed, we heard over and over again that Mike Huckabee had now raced into second place, and once again friends that Mitt Romney should drop from the race . . . McCain had nine states won, Romney had seven states won, Huckabee had five states won. And yet, what did we hear time and time again, at this network and every other network: Mike Huckabee has now raced into second place.

View video here.

Here's a shocking thing, and I know it's going to stun a lot of people, and I hate to make a leap of faith here, but from where I come from, 207 [Romney's delegate count] is higher than 142 [Huckabee's ]. Now I am not being a smart aleck, but I can read numbers and the news media can read numbers, and if the news media looked past the end of their nose, and looked past the narrative that they wanted to tell, they would also bring up something else, Mika: they would bring up the fact that Mike Huckabee had a wonderful night last night, but the only other state in the Deep South, that is his home base, from now till the end of the process: Mississippi . . . I have to point this out time and time again: I am not in the tank for Mitt Romney.

I am flabbergasted that people in the media are as blinded by hatred for one candidate. I know all the other candidates have said they hate Mitt Romney: it's everybody against Romney, and that's fine: they can hate him if they want. But the news media is supposed to report dispassionately. If they did, they would look at the future calendar and say this . . . as we move forward friends, right now, John McCain is not the presumptive nominee, but he is close to that. A couple of more big wins for John McCain and he will represent the Republican party this fall.

But as we move forward, the states that are going to be on the calendar are states where Mike Huckabee will not be as strong unless he expands dramatically past his evangelical base. What does that mean? That means Mitt Romney finally has what Mitt Romney has wanted since Iowa: a one-on-one where the conservative runs against the moderate. One other thing that Mitt Romney has: money.

Now if you look at the calendar, if you look at what's coming up in the future, you don't say that this is Mitt Romney's to lose. But you sure as hell don't say he should drop out of the race. We heard that Mitt Romney should drop out of the race after Iowa, after New Hampshire, after Florida. It continues, over and over again, and I'll be damned if we didn't hear it again last night. We've been beating this drum -- look at all the states the man won. He won Maine, he won Massachusetts, he won Michigan. He won all of those states; he's got the second most delegates; he's got the most money. And yet the media continues to scream: "drop out."

. . .

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Since you believe there's been this narrative against Mitt Romney, why do that hate him so much?

SCARBOROUGH: I don't know, and that's really not my job. My job is -- listen, I can't get into the minds of people. I don't know why the other Republicans hate him so much but there have been reports they do. I don't know why the m -

BRZEZINSKI: I think they think he's a faux conservative.

SCARBOROUGH: OK, well, the thing is, if you're in the media, and you think he's a phony, you put that on your editorial page.

BRZEZINSKI: Well that has happened.

SCARBOROUGH: You don't let that color your news coverage, and it has colored the news coverage from the beginning. It doesn't matter whether he's a phony, it doesn't matter whether he's a Marxist or not. If you are reporting election results, you cannot have your analyst come on every single week, and last night, last night, Willie, they were saying before: they were wringing their hands over evangelicals rejecting [Mitt Romney] when he got as many evangelical votes as [Mike Huckabee.]

WILLIE GEIST: I wonder if there is something to Romney's argument about him being the outside guy, and even in the media everyone knows John McCain, they know his story, they like John McCain, and whether that's translating over the airwaves in the analysis: I think there's something to it.


Wow.  I don't know what's causing it - maybe the remembrance that he still is a registered Republican even if MSNBC signs his paychecks - but Mr. Scarborough bluntly told off the mainstream media, didn't he? 

Do they deserve it?  Are you kidding?  Does Gladys Knight have Pips?  Is a crab's ass waterproof?

Go Joe.


Ken Berwitz

I'll let the Fox News report tell the story of former ABC correspondent John McWethy's untimely death:

KEYSTONE Former ABC News correspondent John McWethy was killed when he skied into a tree at Keystone Resort Wednesday, the Summit County Coroner confirmed.

McWethy, 61, was skiing on an intermediate trail when the accident occurred.  Witnesses said he missed a turn and slid chest-first into the tree
shortly after 10 a.m

He was pronounced dead at the Summit Medical Center in Frisco.

McWethy, a five-time Emmy award winner, was a correspondent for ABC News from 1979 until 2003 and the lead correspondent during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He had moved to Boulder, Colorado last fall after retiring for the television industry.

A spokeswoman for Vail Resorts said McWethy was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident

How ironic that the lead correspondent in Afghanistan and then Iraq survived those horrible wars, but died suddenly during a sports activity while in retirement. 

May he rest in peace.


Ken Berwitz

In two words, the Democratic Party's primary outlook is...a mess.

Ed Morrissey of lays it out beautifully for us.  I'll add my two cents afterwards:

Super Tuesday Results: Democrats

The Democratic primary race took an interesting twist last night. Hillary Clinton went into the massive Super Tuesday contest with twice as many wins as Barack Obama and a significant lead in pledged delegates, both normal and superdelegates. She came out of Super Tuesday in almost a dead heat among normal delegates, and losing more contests than she won -- but still technically leading the race.

The Politico claims that the big-state wins gave Hillary an edge, but it ignores the structure of Democratic primaries:

The clarity Democrats so desperately sought escaped them on Super Tuesday, as both candidates found cause to claim victory even as one of them cemented her front-runner status.

By winning critical contested strongholds in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and most important California, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York showed big-state muscle and remained the putative leader. Decisive red-state victories in Oklahoma and Tennessee bolstered her assertions of electability.

But Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois proved the breadth of his national appeal and national organization in winning six more primaries and caucuses than his rival.

He narrowly beat Clinton in the key interior state of Missouri. He didn't clearly reverse the campaign narrative or seize the momentum of the race, but he ground out a rough tie in the number of delegates each campaign accrued.

Big states don't mean much for Democratic candidates. All states proportionally allocate delegates in Democratic primaries, so what matters is the overall vote across all of the states. Obama kept it close enough in the big states, and won big in Illinois and other medium-sized states to make up the difference.

In wins, Obama now clearly outshines Hillary. Obama won 14 of the contests yesterday, and he won a broader geographical spread. Hillary won in California, New York and New England, and three Southern states. Obama won the interior West, completely carried the Midwest, got the larger Southern states, and stole Connecticut. A look at the map shows Obama's reach.

Without the superdelegates, the count between Hillary and Obama separates them by a mere six delegates. She has a current lead of 87 superdelegates to put her 93 above Obama, but that may not last long. The next contests favor Obama, with Saturday's Louisiana, Nebraska, and Washington primaries, and next Tuesday's DC, Maryland, and Virginia Beltway showdown. Obama will vault ahead of Hillary in normal pledged delegates by next Wednesday -- but probably not with the superdelegates Hillary has in her pocket.

It's still looking like the GOP 1976 for the Democrats. If Hillary has to rely on the superdelegates to beat Obama at the convention, it will be a disaster for the party. They needed a more decisive outcome yesterday, and what they got was a complete muddle.

UPDATE: CapQ commenter RBJ wonders whether I'm including Michigan and Florida delegates in these totals. No, I'm not, but that brings up another point about the convention. Hillary would have a significant lead if those delegates get seated in Denver -- and the floor fight to seat them could be the catalyst for the meltdown I described yesterday. The only way that gets avoided is if Hillary has won the nomination without them.

-Let me start by pointing out that, as was true for the Republican primaries, political polling was lousy.  California is a great example.  The last several polls showed Senator Obama surging ahead of Senator Clinton.  Zogby (which can't seem to blow its reputation for accuracy no matter how many times over how many years it is badly wrong) had Obama ahead by 13% there.  The reality?  Clinton beat Obama by 11%.  That is a difference of 24%.  Huge. 

But you have my personal guarantee that the so-called "pundits" will give you every poll number they can find throughout the campaign anyway.  Hey, it's easier than thinking;

-Ms. Clinton may have won a few more delegates, but Mr. Obama won 2/3 of the states.  The Democratic nomination isn't going to be settled until the convention, even though it looks like the Republican nomination is pretty close to over already -- exactly opposite of what was supposed to have happened. The architect of this primary structure was Terry McAuliffe, which gives us another insight into his "capabilities";

-Hillary Clinton has already shown Obama what she is capable of, between the stealth attacks on his background, the intimations that he is just a "Black" candidate and her sob and cough routines.  I hope that Mr. Obama understands she is capable of worse.  And I hope he understands he will be seeing it for sure in the upcoming weeks.

-How fascinating is that last point about Michigan and Florida?  And how frought with danger it is for the Democratic party!

Republicans already have a fair to middling shot at retaining the presidency - something that seemed unlikely just a few months ago when the collective geniuses of media were busy anointing Ms. Clinton as if she'd already won it.  But what happens when this goes to the convention without a clear winner and Clinton demands the Michigan and Florida delegates be seated and counted?

Both Obama and Clinton pledged to shun these two states because they had disobeyed the DNC on when they held their primaries.  It was understood none of the delegates would get a vote. 

But, with all too characteristic dishonesty, Ms. Clinton left her name on the Michigan ballot so she would "win" it anyway, and then campaigned in Florida despite promising, along with Mr. Obama, that she would not do so.

Suppose - and it is a very realistic scenario - Clinton demands Michigan and Florida be seated and it is their votes that give her the nomination.  That will create a firestorm of such magnitude among Black Democrats that a) Clinton will lose a ton of them on election day (if that happens she cannot win the presidency) and b) may cause a large number of Blacks to reconsider their unfailing loyalty to the Democratic party, just as so many Blacks moved from the Republican party in the 1960's.

You will hear that the fix was in.  You will hear that there was no way the Democratic party would allow a Black man to be its candidate.  You will  hear about Jim Crow and keeping Black people down.  And I am certain there will be a tidal wave of write-in ballots from Black areas on election day, all for Senator Barack Obama.

Never in my 50+ years of watching politics have I ever seen an election cycle like this one. 


Ken Berwitz

Today the San Francisco Chronicle has an editorial about Berkeley and its treatment of the U.S. Marine recruiting station there. 

Here it is.  See what you make of it.  But please pay special attention to the final two paragraphs, which I have put in bold print:

Berkeley goes to war

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

There's nothing surprising - or objectionable - about an anti-war protest outside a Marine Corps recruiting office in Berkeley. Bullhorns, locked arms, chanted slogans: Bring it on if that's the way demonstrators want to oppose the Iraq war.

But what is the Berkeley City Council doing by endorsing statements denouncing these recruiters as "uninvited and unwelcome intruders" and reserving curb space for the convenience of weekly protesters?

Berkeley's leaders have taken the worthy notion of political protest and shoved it over the cliff. While playing up arguments of free speech and organized protest, the council has loaded the deck with insulting language that denigrates the military and embarrasses the anti-war cause.

The motion approved by the council includes a number of remarkable statements: "The United States has a history of launching illegal, immoral and unprovoked wars of aggression" and "The military recruiters are sales people known to lie to and seduce minors."

The move has provoked an uproar. South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint wants to yank some $2.1 million in Washington money bound for Berkeley schools, food programs and ferries. Sorry senator, we don't see the connection - or sense of fairness.

Two Berkeley City Council members, Sharon Olds and Laurie Capitelli, are hurrying a resolution for the council's Feb. 12 meeting to paper over the harm done. Their idea is to state Berkeley's opposition to the Iraq war and support the troops, no-brainer notions in local politics. The measure would also attempt to undo the damage by also dropping the offending rhetoric of the original resolution that singled out the Marine recruiters. That would be a welcome ending to a foolish crusade.

I was on board until those last two paragraphs.  Here's why they don't sit well with me:

-Senator Jim DeMint has it right.  It isn't just the city council, it is the city that elected the council -- and a mayor who, as I blogged about yesterday, has a history of suppressing the free speech he disagrees with.

Berkeley's City council does not act in a vacuum.  It is sanctioned by the population.  Maybe it's about time there was a consequence for their sanction;

-If the the Berkeley city council and the San Francisco Chronicle think that hurriedly putting out some kind of backtrack to cover their butts is going to create a "welcome ending to this foolish crusade", they are both nuts. 

No one, in or out of Berkeley, will see it as anything other than trying to have their cake and eat it - i.e. sending out their hate message loud and clear, then retracting it just enough to get the goodies they're afraid of losing. 

Some whoring is subtle.  But this whoring is right on the square.

Let me say again what I said in a previous blog:  I hope Senator DeMint's proposed withholding of funds goes through.  In record time.  Let these anti-USA jerks know that their hatred comes with a price tag.

And if they don't like the price?  If they think they've lost too much $$$ for their actions?  Just bill code pink for the effing parking space.  That will be a start.

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