Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Hampshire

A twelfth-century miniature that has absolutely nothing to do with last night's primary election in New Hampshire.

Well, it certainly is a season of surprises. I suggest that until November we stop listening when the professional bloviators in the media tell us something is a sure thing. Hillary was finished, nothing could stop Obama. Well... Still, it's important to see that she only won by two percentage points in a state she was supposed to win anyway, and that she and Obama both came out of it with the same number of delegates.

There has been a fair amount of discussion at William's and Jeff's about the primaries and the candidates. I still feel closest to Edwards, but I don't see him going very far at this point. Perhaps he could surprise us in South Carolina, but if he doesn't I'd rather see the voters who are concerned about Hillary put their weight behind Obama.

For the record, I will vote for Hillary if she does get the nomination, but not terribly happily. If nothing else, I'm tired of the Bush-Clinton alteration -- do you realize that 18-year-old voters in this election were born under Bush I? I could list the other problems I have with Hillary, but Kevin has done so very well already here (though I feel more sympathetic to Edwards' populism than he does).

One thing I have noticed in talking to people is how much this nomination is about personality and our reactions to personality. For example, William and I have differed with Crystal about Edwards' sincerity. Each of us has tirelessly explained why we like him or not, but in the end it comes down to a gut feeling that really can't be debated. It's the same with Hillary. I personally don't see her as soulless and fake as some people do (though I wonder about her opportune show of emotion this weekend), but I do feel (emphasis on the word "feel") that she lacks vision and that her brand of politics is too divisive and cutthroat. On policy, I'm probably closest to Kucinich, though I see that it is unlikely that he could implement it and impossible that he could be elected. I prefer the Clinton and Edwards health-care plans to Obama's, and Richardson's approach to foreign policy. Still, Obama's speech after winning Iowa really moved me. My brain says it's all just pretty words, what about his policies, will he be too conciliatory to people who are willing to eat him for breakfast... but still, maybe there is something to what he said in last weekend's debate:
And, you know, so, the truth is, actually, words do inspire, words do help people get involved, words do help members of Congress get into power so that they can be part of a coalition to deliver health care reform, to deliver a bold energy policy. Don't discount that power. Because when the American people are determined that something is going to happen, then it happens. And if they are disaffected and cynical and fearful and told that it can't be done, then it doesn't. I'm running for president because I want to tell them, "Yes, we can," and that's why I think they're responding in such large numbers.
Getting away from the politics of fear is something I think we're all longing for. I'm about ready to throw my weight behind Obama.

In the meantime, it's interesting to see the breakdown of NH voters. Once again, wealthier and better-educated people like Obama more. Less well-off people are not responding to Edwards' populist message. Clinton and Edwards both did better than Obama among people who said they voted for the candidate "who cares for people like me." Very oddly, Clinton, the most hawkish of the Dems, did best among those who wanted troops to be withdrawn immediately from Iraq, whereas Obama did overwhelming well with those who want troops to stay in Iraq "as long as they're needed." On the religious breakdown, Obama and Clinton did equally well among Protestant voters, but Clinton dominated among Catholic voters with 44%, and Edwards did better with Catholics than with any other religious denomination, getting support of 24%. There are more interesting tidbits there, take a look at it.

On to Nevada.


jackjoe FRANK said...

Of course the real story of N.H. was the polls and pundits. I favor Edwards but see little chance of his getting anywhere. Alice, my wife, is passionate for Obama; I lean slightly to Clinton.

Now Chris Matthews has gone wild. He has been vicious to both Clintons. This morning he is furious to N.H. voters for not being truthful to poll takers. His point being that white voters are afraid of being called racist if they don't say they favor Obama. Probably true to a degree, but HIS job is to know that. I know it because of Wilder, for example. But, in addition, his hysterical hatred of the Clinton's has caused some reaction for Clinton and must have a cause. Any Ideas? Even Alice, very, very, strong for Obama, was offended by Matthews and the other pundits for their crudity. Won't bore you with my analysis. Maybe some wise Mike out there could tell us. Jack

Meg said...

Canadian election campaigns last 6 weeks. And I'm not sorry for it one bit!


The world will know far more than it ever wants to about each and every candidate by the time the voting rolls around.

jackjoe FRANK said...

BTW doesn't Huckabee remind you a bit of W.J. Bryan? Huckabee is my favorite Republican. Maybe you, William, and Bobsey twins could touch on this. Jack

Liam said...

Meg --

Once again, Canada wins. I think after the Bush years, and with no heir apparent, the anticipation is huge down here. New York has its primary on "super Tuesday" -- my vote might even matter!

Jack --

I find Huckabee very likable and down-to-earth, and he has a great sense of humor (the Chuck Norris thing is a riot). Still, his attributing his bump in the polls to God show a disturbing theocratic side to him, he has absolutely no understanding of foreign policy, and his tax plan is absolutely crazy. Of course when he sits down next to slimebags like Giuliani and Romney, he does appear much more appealing.

jackjoe FRANK said...

Of course Huckabee is crazy on most points. But so was Bryan. I like his little touch of populism. And the God thing? Well, God talks to Bush, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn et. al. What more do you want?

pro sex(condoms, masturbationfor the young, sex thoughts, catholic said...

My nickname is pro sex(condoms, masturbation, sex thoughts) Catholic

Liam said...

Okay, Pro. Not very subtle, but whatever. Do you have anything to add to the conversation.

jackjoe FRANK said...

Okay, remove "pro" comment. Bad taste I know but weak from boring 13th century metaphysical arguments on so many blogs. Posted questions about church and s..(see, good taste) on catholic blogs but no one will respond. So back to Angels and pins.

crystal said...

Clinton, the most hawkish of the Dems, did best among those who wanted troops to be withdrawn immediately from Iraq

Interesting - that would be me too. I would feel blessed if any democrat wins the election, even Edwards. Too bad Hillary and Obama can't marry and rule together :-)

Liam said...

Maybe through a freakish experiment we could graft Hillary's, Obama's, and Edwards' heads onto one body.

Jeff said...

Well, the race was exciting for at least a little while... Irony of ironies - I heard an interview on NPR today. The woman who asked Hillary the question that caused her to tear up a bit (which many of the pundits are considering the turning point in NH) voted for Obama. A bunch of her friends called her on the phone, crediting her with switching their votes to Hillary.

My nightmare scenario is that we'll be looking at Hillary Clinton vs. Mitt Romney in the general election. I fear that Romney has enough of his own money and enough of a nationwide strategy to prevail in terms of delegate count regardless of how many states he fails to win outright. The other Republican candidates all seem to be limited to a certain geographical appeal, but Romney might have the means to sustain a long string of second-place finishes and just outlast everyone else.

Liam said...


Hillary vs. Romney? That would make it much more enjoyable to vote for Hillary. I still think the race can only be lost by the Democrats, not won by the GOP. There's not a single Republican candidate who doesn't have huge holes in his armor. I would love Romney to get the nomination, because I think he's the weakest and the one who most deserves a sound beating.

cowboyangel said...

Excellent post, Liam.

I know that personality and identity and our reaction to it have always played a role in elections, and probably should - gut instinct is worth a lot - but the degree to which it's happening right now does disturb me. This is especially true, it seems, of Obama, and he seems to want it that way. He's not running on policies as much as he's running on vision. His book was like that and his campaign doesn't seem much different. Both policies and vision are important. And both impact us.

But hundreds of thousands of people haven't died in the last 5 years because of Bush's vision of the Middle East - they've died because of a specific decision to invade Iraq and the specific votes in the Senate and House that supported that decision.

I still think the race can only be lost by the Democrats, not won by the GOP.

That brings me little comfort. You and I both know that the Democrats are very, very capable of losing an election they should win. I still can't believe that during a time of war they're probably going to nominate a woman half the country hates or an inexperienced black man named Barack Hussein Obama. Am I the only one who's concerned about their choices and the possible trouble they could have in a general election? We're talking about a voting public that re-elected George W. Bush.

I noticed the numbers for Catholics supporting Hillary in NH. Is that just a flukey number from one primary, or is there actually more support among Catholics in general for Clinton?

Liam said...

I still feel the choices are better than last time around. Hillary is problematic, but I think she will run a better campaign than either Kerry or Gore did. Obama appears to appeal to a great number of people, and I can't imagine a single one of the Republicans being successful (though of course I could be very wrong). I just hope that whatever dem emerges won't be too covered in slime after the primary.

I have no idea concerning the Catholic thing. I'd like to see more numbers on that.