Sunday, May 4, 2008

Team Hillary: Race baiters?

Based on a column by Charles Blow of the New York Times, HuffPo's Al Giordano accuses Hillary Clinton's supporters and media allies of engaging in a "cynical effort to turn the 2008 campaign into a race riot":
You can see that Clinton is in a staggering free-fall among African-American voters, her favorability is down 36 points while 17 percent view her more negatively than before, while Obama's favorable and negative ratings among whites have paired at five point increases. . . . The greater context is that even including Obama's slight dip [due to the controversy surrounding Rev. Jeremiah Wright], he's more popular today among white voters than he ever was prior to February.
Giordano ofters this interesting bit of media analysis:
Nary a superdelegate can go on Fox News without being berated by an anchorperson screeching (this is pretty close to an exact quote): "But your duty as a superdelegate is to select the most electable and that's Hillary Clinton!" That these anchorpersons are Republican partisans openly cheering for Senator Clinton is our first clue of the game afoot. One of the major successes of Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos is that it has got all the right-wing pundits and reporters marching lockstep behind the effort to give Clinton enough oxygen to keep slashing away at Senator Obama, who remains the prohibitive likely Democratic nominee.
Maybe Giordano monitors Fox News more closely than I do, but . . . Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!

First of all, how many Democratic superdelegates have appeared on Fox? And did any anchorperson actually "screech" at them in the manner described by Giordano? I concede that Fox News anchors are, in general, GOP cheerleaders, and I can imagine them (or any other reporter) asking superdelegates how considerations of "electability" factor will into their decision. But if Giordano can produce video or transcripts of this "almost exact quote," I'd like to see it.

What is even more dubious is Giordano's suggestion that "right-wing pundits and reporters" have the ability to "give Clinton enough oxygen" to continue her campaign. Exactly how much influence does Charles Krauthammer or Major Garrett have in the Democratic primary? I don't doubt that some Democratic voters watch Fox News, but far more get their news from other sources, including ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN, none of which are notorious as major employers of "right-wing pundits and reporters."

The basis for Giordano's rage is this chart in Blow's column. The chart is interesting, but it is essentially irrelevant to the actual argument made by Team Clinton. The chart shows CBS/NYT polling data about the favorable/unfavorable ratings of Hillary and Obama among registered Democrats.

I repeat: "among registered Democrats." This is not what Hillary's handlers are talking about when they talk about Obama's "electability."

Understand that the percentage of registered Democrats within the electorate varies from state to state. One of the reasons we speak of "red states" and "blue states" is that there are a lot more registered Democrats in New York and Massachusetts, for example, than there are in Tennessee or Texas. So any poll that reports only the opinions of registered Democrats will necessarily oversample the deep-red states. QED.

The "electability" argument is not about the opinions of hard-core partisan Democrats in Boston or Detroit. It's about swing voters in swing states.

Swing voters are people with no strong commitment to either major party. Swing voters may be registered as Democrats, Republicans or independents, but the key point is that they are "in play" for either party in the general election.

Swing states are those which, like swing voters, are "in play." The GOP presidential campaign is unlikely to put much effort into wooing voters in Massachusetts, just as the Democrats aren't likely invest campaign resources in Alabama. Assuming that the fall campaign is fairly close, the battleground will be narrowed down to a relative handful of states. Based on past elections, that means most of the focus will be on the Ohio/Mississippi river valley states -- Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Iowa -- as well as Florida.

So when Team Clinton talks about "electability," they are arguing that Hillary has an advantage over Obama in her ability to win swing voters in those swing states. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but that's what the argument is about, and that CBS/NYT poll chart doesn't say a damn thing useful to that argument.

Giordano insults Democrats who support Hillary, saying they have fallen "hook, line and sinker" for the electability argument "because they are gullible, haven't an original idea in their little pea brains, and follow the pack of what everybody else is talking about." But it is Giordano who shows himself to be gullible, having failed to question the relevance of poll data about registered Democrats to the issue in question.

Giordano sees in this New York Times graphic a magic wand with which he can dispel all doubt, vanquish all foes, and thereby triumph over Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos." When Democrats insult other Democrats over irrelevant nonsense, I assure you it only advances Rush's objectives.

Please, don't let me persuade any of you Democrats from calling each other idiots and morons and liars and racists. Be as petty and as vicious as you want. I'm thoroughly enjoying this show.

1 comment:

  1. First, let me say that I AM a Black voter. I am so sick of the Giordano types, I could scream. They know nothing about me, and I STRONGLY reject their assuming the position of speaking FOR me. I have been a Hillary Clinton supporter for sixteen years. I have watched her evolve into a force to be reckoned with in American politics. I have read the biographies of both Senator Clinton, and Senator Obama. I respect them both for their accomplishments, and could support either one of them in November. My first choice is, and will ALWAYS be, Senator Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton does not just "talk" about it, she has "been" about the issues important me throughout her career. Senator Obama's people have lied and cried "race baiting" throughout this campaign which began just prior to the South Carolina primary. The way that they have behaved has been scandalous. I loathed Fox news until until about three months ago. They are now where I go on the Internet for the "least" biased News coverage of this election process. The majority of the Black political blogs are laughable. I, a hard working wife, mother, grandmother, Moderate member of the Democratic Party, contributor in money, and deeds, because I support who "I" feel is the most qualified, ELECTABLE candidate,Senator Hillary Clinton, according many, am now a "handkerchief" head, a "uncle Tom", and a "sell out" among other things. One of the principles instilled in me from early childhood was that if you want something, work toward achieving it. In my opinion, Barack Obama's resume for the job that he is aspiring to is "lacking." Tt is as simple as that. I am not even going to "go there" as I certainly could on Senator Obama because that is not the intent of this post. The real intent is to say "enough" is "enough", and that the only thing being "baited" by many in the Obama camp, is the "hook" for a Mccain presidency. I, like many other Blacks who support Hillary Clinton, am a STRONG, proud Black woman who refuse to be "spoken for", or "pressured" by any group, and I strongly reject the "race baiting" bull shit that the Clinton Camp is, and hasbeen accused of for months now.

    Jackson, TN.