Silly Season

Today’s attack video by Clinton on Obama’s movement from supporting a single payer health care system to not supporting a single payer system (which is the position Clinton also holds) makes me wonder if we’re approaching a point where ads like the one above might be made in earnest.

Digby captured the zeitgeist well:

[The Democratic candidates] are nearly identical in terms of policy, all have political gifts and bring something to the table and I find none of the various electability arguments particularly persuasive. Indeed, I believe that the fact they are so similar in all the important ways is one of the reasons everyone is at each other’s throats on this — since there’s no daylight on policy everyone is having to argue their case based on their own emotional connection to the candidate or what the candidate symbolizes, which often devolves into ugly invective. It really does become personal under those circumstances. You can see the result of this in the candidates’ own debate last night. They weren’t really fighting over anything important because they don’t actually disagree about anything important. But they had to fight. It’s an election. Somebody’s got to win.

The attacks will become more petty, vicious, and stupid. How low can they go before this hits rock bottom?

Single Payer Health Care

This video put out by the Clinton campaign hits Barack Obama for moving to the right on health care and not supporting a single payer system now, despite supporting one in 2003.

A logical question that this attack by Clinton on Obama for not supporting a single payer system would be: Is Hillary Clinton’s health care proposal a single payer system?

The answer: No, of course it’s not.

In fact, the link to her health care plan in her issues drop down is “Providing Affordable & Accessible Health Care.” Which could be described as a 300 million payer system.

I’m happy to acknowledge that Clinton has put forward a health care proposal that is somewhat more comprehensive than Barack Obama’s. But it isn’t a single payer system. And while Obama may have moved to the right since 2003 on health care, both Clinton and Obama are in the wrong place on the single payer issue.

In reality, this video is an attack on Obama not on substance, but on changing his position…to the same position as Clinton. It’s cute and well edited and, in the end, a trivial charge (flip-flopping) that only highlights Clinton’s similar wrongness on single payer health care.

Bush v. Gore, Nevada Caucus Edition

While I was on my way out to dinner last night, something very interesting happened: Barack Obama secured more delegates from Nevada than Hillary Clinton. Disconnected from the outcome of the popular vote, the Nevada Democratic Party awards delegates on a geographically weighted basis.

Chris Bowers at Open Left makes a strong case for why we need to recognize that Barack Obama won Nevada and Hillary Clinton did not (as well as why we need to call Iowa Obama/Clinton/Edwards and New Hampshire a tie between Obama and Clinton).

Imagine if, the day after the 2000 election, the national media simply didn’t care about what happened in Florida, and instead acted as though Al Gore had won the election because he won the popular vote. Imagine if all cries from the Bush campaign about something called “The Electoral College” fell on deaf ears, and everyone just acted like Gore won and the popular vote was the only thing that mattered. States? Who cares about the results of individual states? Only the popular vote matters, dummies!

While that would have been perfectly fine with me, since I think the Electoral College is an anti-democratic institution that favors the will of geographic areas over the will of American citizens, it isn’t what happened. The reason it isn’t what happened is that everyone knows Presidency in America is determined by electoral votes, not popular votes. As such, electoral votes, not popular votes, are the main focus during any Presidential general election.

However, today the media decided that the Electoral College doesn’t matter, and because Al Gore won the popular vote he won the election. Or, more accurately, the media decided that because more delegates to the Nevada state Democratic Party convention in April indicated they would support Clinton than Obama, it doesn’t matter that the way the state delegates are arranged by geography actually projects to Barack Obama sending more pledged delegates from Nevada to the Democratic National Convention. Just as the Constitution indicates that the Electoral College, not the popular vote, determines the winner of the Presidency, Democratic Party by-laws make it quite clear that delegates to the national convention, not the popular vote and not delegates to the state convention, determine the winner of the presidential nomination campaign. Strangely, however, even though Obama is projected to win the most delegates to the national convention, Clinton is projected as the winner.

Bowers goes on to make two points that I whole heartily agree with:

First, the Democratic presidential nomination system is not particularly democratic, since the system of delegate selection is different than the concept of one person one vote. Second, I have learned that the national media is not actually covering the Democratic presidential nomination campaign.

I woke up prepared to write a post defending Clinton’s win on the popular vote because it was decisive and because the majority of delegates Obama is likely to get remains a projection for the time being. But it isn’t the popular vote in a particular primary that gets sent to a massive tally board at the Democratic National Convention. If that were the case the Democratic primary would effectively be determined by national popular vote, excepting for the states that hold caucuses. Of course, that’s not what happens.

Likewise, the argument against Obama not retaining delegates who will vote for him between now and May when Nevada’s 25 delegates are chosen is premised on a disjointed assumption: there will be a clear frontrunner by May and it will not be Barack Obama. Making that assumption today about who delegates coming from Nevada to the DNC will be in support of based on who wins subsequent primaries outside of Nevada strikes me as contrary to the point of having a democratic event on January 19th in Nevada to determine apportionment of delegates to the DNC.

If the media was really covering the nomination of the Democratic Party’s choice for President, they would have reported Obama as the winner of Nevada. Unless and until the Nevada delegate selection in May produces a block of delegates that is for Clinton in larger numbers than Obama, I’m continue to hold that Obama has won Nevada.

Also, now that Obama has finished first in Iowa and Nevada, and tied for first in New Hampshire, I think we should be asking the question, is it possible for Obama to run the table in the Democratic primary? Has Obama already overcome a full year of dedicated media coverage of the anointed candidate, Hillary Clinton? To answer my own questions, no to the former and yes to the latter. This is going to be a real dogfight, but we have to recognize beyond a doubt that Obama has proven he can beat Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton: Wrong on Joe Lieberman

Hillary Clinton thinks Joe Lieberman is still a Democrat who should chair one of the most important committees for oversight in the Senate. She identifies Lieberman as an “Independent Democrat,” a designation of Lieberman’s creation with no meaning other than that added by Democrats and reporters who deign to give it meaning.

Lieberman ran against the Democratic nominee for Senate in Connecticut in 2006. He said he would wait to see who each party nominated for the presidency before endorsing, but ended up endorsing Republican war hawk and ideological twin John McCain before a single primary vote was cast. Lieberman has done robocalls, fundraising emails, events, and election night parties for McCain.

Joe Lieberman is not a Democrat, yet he is afforded the privilege of chairing the Senate Committee on Homeland Security. This is the Committee that would be responsible for conducting oversight hearings into the Bush administration’s non-existent response to Hurricane Katrina. Yet after a year in the majority, with Lieberman a member of the Democratic caucus and sitting in the cherry seat on Homeland Security, he hasn’t held one hearing to look into how the Bush administration erred. Brian Beutler at Mother Jones writes:

So as we all take the measure of 2007, here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly in a year’s worth of congressional oversight.

Quiet as a mouse. There certainly have been gaffes, softballs, and missed opportunities. And the most obvious are found in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security—the Senate’s version of Rep. Henry Waxman’s Oversight Committee in the House. Unlike Waxman’s enthusiastic probing, the Senate chair conducted zero proactive investigations into Bush administration malfeasance. It’s chairman? Connecticut’s Joseph Lieberman.

Lieberman holds no value to the Democratic caucus. His is arguably the most vocal supporter of the war in Iraq. He has utterly failed to use his Committee as a tool to make our government work better and be more accountable. He has endorsed a Republican war hawk for President and traveled the nation to help him win votes.

Lieberman is not a Democrat. He is not a Democratic super delegate. He does not preserve a majority in the Democratic caucus. He does us no good and should be stripped of his Committee chairmanship. Of course, that will never happen as long as Hillary Clinton defends him on national television.

I hope George Jepsen is pitching a fit with the Clinton campaign today, because this is just shameful.