And Just So Not Everything Today is About the Hugos

There’s this, from the “Things We Already Knew Already” department, about Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the Democratic nomination at this point in time:

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.


Also, I’m interested in what people think the over/under is on an Obama/Richardson ticket. I wouldn’t bet against it, personally.

47 Comments on “And Just So Not Everything Today is About the Hugos”

  1. Yes, contrast this reality with the ridiculous headlines I saw all over the place yesterday: “Poll: Clinton surges ahead for Democrats.” That’s nice. It would be nicer if the story explained that said poll was essentially meaningless to who is going to be nominated.

  2. I just heard on NPR that Rush Limbaugh is telling Republicans to re-register as Democrats and vote for Clinton to keep this going for as long as possible.

  3. If Ms Clinton had any concern whatever for the good of the party or the good of the country, she would gracefully back out now. Unfortunately, her only concern is for the glory of Hillary Clinton. If she manages to use backroom insiders to steal the nomination from Obama at the convention, then we will have president McCain next year. Obama can beat McCain. Clinton can’t.

  4. An Obama/Richardson ticket has the potential to be so many good things, and would be a huge consolation prize for me – I’d’ve voted for Richardson over Obama in a heartbeat.

    However… in the event of such a ticket winning the election, who’ll be the public face of economic and trade policies?

    We need foreign policy chops to climb out of Bush 43’s hole, but… we need domestic policy chops to climb out of Bush 43’s hole.

  5. Richardson’s skills would be wasted as VP. Better as Sec’y of State. I think — to at least partially placate Clinton’s very vocal core — that Obama must put a female on the ticket, and it would be wise if it were a red state governor like Sebelius of Kansas or Napolitano of Arizona. (Then bring Clinton in later as Sec’y of Health and Human Services.)

  6. First of all, I love a man who says ‘ayuh’. I thought that a New England thing, though, and you live in Ohio. Did it drift?

    And pretty much the entire news media seems to be on board with this one, by this morning. The New York Times tried to be nice about it, giving three near-impossible criteria she’d have to meet to make the nomination, and Slate broke down those three to explain why they were impossible.

    Here’s what’s funny; I can’t help but think of Obama’s reaction to this same situation, and how he’d probably manage to gracefully bow out while still giving the impression that he wasn’t so much quitting as doing a favor to the Democratic party. For the greater good, you might say. Say what you will of Hillary – there’s a lot of good in the woman, but there’s rarely grace.

  7. Intrade now has RICHARDSON-VP trading at about 11. In other words 8-1 odds against, although he is the current leader for VP contracts, slightly ahead of Webb. Seems like a bet worth taking. The key question for any Obama VP selection is “Can he swing Florida?” and Richardson is about as good as anyone on that question. It also wouldn’t hurt to have someone in the VP slot who clearly isn’t a hard-core liberal, and he mostly works there too.

  8. Before I’d heard Richardson on the campaign trail, I thought he’d be a shoo-in for the nom: Hispanic with western surname to fool the whites, governor, southern (although not deep south) state, centrist, older than Obama… but he’s got all the charisma of a marshmallow. A Huckabee diet, a voice coach, and some fire in the belly, he could have swept the nation.

    Are the “stats on paper” enough for Obama? Dunno. It’s never enough for the Cubs to get to the series. Mostly VP candidates stand behind and to the left, and just nod a lot. That might be just the right role for Richardson.

    Wesley Clark as a VP for Hillary could be a very strong ticket if she gets the nom.

  9. Also, I’m interested in what people think the over/under is on an Obama/Richardson ticket.

    I’m ready to elect Obama and just get it over with.

    Then Republicans can forget about politics for a few years and get back to the business that matters – creating jobs and wealth.

  10. Obama/Clark would be good. I know Clark is part of Hillary’s campaign team, but if she’s not the nominee I don’t see why that should matter.

    I think Obama needs someone with foreign policy chops to blunt any attack McCain will make about his lack of experience. Richardson and Clark are probably the two best high-profile Dems in that regard.

  11. The old adage about counting chickens seems to apply.

    Were these normal circumstances, I’d agree that Obama had the nomination pretty much bagged and tagged. But these aren’t normal circumstances. It’s the American political system; it’s the Democratic Party; and it’s the Clintons on the other side of the table. Don’t take anything for granted.

  12. I’ve been rooting for an Obama/Richardson ticket ever since Richardson dropped out, so this is wonderful news to me. Perhaps it’s within reach! :)

  13. When this is all said and done, would someone please take Mark Penn out behind the barn and beat some sense into him? That man has done more to turn me off Hillary Clinton than anyone else has ever done.

    And just to address that other point. I’ve been a fan of Richardson for quite a while and have always thought he had the potential to be on a ticket. And if that wasn’t an option, I’ve thought he’d be very good as Secretary of State.

  14. 17. Frank
    I find it interesting that everyone here still thinks Obama can win the nomination.

    Perhaps everyone else is tired of arguing.

  15. Frank:

    He’s ahead in pretty much everything. Why would you be surprised people think that means he can win the nomination?

  16. I suspect Frank truly appreciates the Terminator-like quality of the Clintons.

  17. Onion

    Because the Superdelegates will decide it.

    Before last week, the calculus was clearly in his favor. But the Superdelegates are tasked with picking a winner when no candidate can win outright. And it is not clear as of today that the Supers will be able to pick Obama.

    I suppose I should have said that I find it interesting that everyone here is so confident of his getting the nomination. Last week, I would have been with you.

    But stuff like this, if it keeps up, will make it difficult.

  18. Nothing we’ve seen so far wasn’t already in the Republican opposition-research mud armory, full of toxic mud bombs ready to be flung onto the Democratic nominee as tactics demand. The zealous right-wing press and bloggers and other empowered citizen journalist/political enthusiasts are picking away, prematurely flinging mud they find, prior to the convention. You never know, they might find some “dead girl or live boy” material on Obama, or Hillary’s DNA on Vince Foster’s suicide weapon. (It’s a mystery why nobody in the press is ragging on McCain. A colleague from AZ had to remind me that he was one of the Keating Five, and that his wife “stole drugs from poor people”.)

  19. Bill, nobody in the press is beating up on McCain YET. Right now they don’t have to. McCain has his nomination clinched. There’s no story there. No news. And anyway, they have plenty of time to beat up on him all summer long.

    They may also be thinking that there’s no need, that a Dem victory in November is basically guaranteed no matter who wins the Dem nomination. Even beyond the fact that McCain is a Republican and therefore identified with the (alleged) failure that is the Bush administration, McCain is not a strong candidate because a large segment of the Republican base hates his guts.

  20. Obama/Richardson has been my dream ticket from the start of this campaign. I soured on it slightly when the governor made his homosexuality-is-a-choice gaffe, but he’s walked himself back from it and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on the issue.

    Richardson was clearly high on the (hypothetical) short list before, and must be considered the odds-on favorite now.

  21. I openly supported Richardson for President, but will accept him as a VP nominee. This is based on:

    (1) He was born in Pasadena, California, in whose environs my wife and I have lived for quite some time (it’s not far from the mighty Covina nexus of Scalzi’s past), and where my son was born. Curiously, less than 5% of Pasadenans I’ve asked know this.

    (2) He has the best Curriculum Vitae for the job since, well, since George H. W. Bush (the well-qualified dad, not the discombobulated sprout).

    (3) On the other hand, during one of “egghead” Adlai Stevenson’s presidential campaigns (1952?), a supporter allegedly told him that he was sure to “get the vote of every thinking man” in the U.S., to which Stevenson is said to have replied, “Thank you, but I need a majority to win.”

  22. I’d prefer Webb to Richardson…Webb’s quicker on his feet and doesn’t make as many gaffes, plus he supplies the national security credentials. There are also rumors Richardson may have a woman problem; also, with Richardson, there are bound to be questions raised about Los Alamos.

  23. Clark has foreign policy chops?

    I suppose if you think nearly starting a war as opposed to starting one makes one better at foreign policy, sure…


  24. Richardson endorsed Obama this morning, so this should tell you something. Richardson is very smart and very ruthless and completely pragmatic, and he wouldn’t endorse someone else without being promised something in return.

    Richardson would be fine as VP, but he’d make a better Secretary of State. I’d rather see Wes Clarke as VP, to better shield Obama against claims that he’s soft and/or clueless re the military.

    But Richardson wouldn’t be a bad choice, and he would bring a lot of clout with Latino voters, which Obama at the moment does not have.

  25. “Also, I’m interested in what people think the over/under is on an Obama/Richardson ticket. I wouldn’t bet against it, personally.”

    Dave Chappelle actually predicted just such a scenario a few years ago.

    Would be funny if it were true.

  26. I think Richardson would give the campaign a measure of credibility that some, myself included, seem to think it lacks.

    He could certainly do worse…

    Frankly, I am more interested in who McCain is going to ask…


  27. Richardson has a great resume and he does seem like a genuine character, but he’s not terribly compelling. After watching him in 15 or so democratic debate, all I can say about him is that he spent most of his time bragging about his qualifications. The rest of the time he was making promises with more vigor — but less caution — than the other candidates (excluding Kucinich, of course). I don’t recall any moment where I felt he was particularly insightful or wise.

    For all his strengths, Obama has some significant weaknesses. He really does come across as a risk or an unknown to people that are content to get their information from the MSM (and that’s most everybody). The scrooges among us say he’s all rhetoric, no substance. The Wright circus has made it clear that there is an underlying fear among some of our fair-skinned citizens that Obama is secretly an anti-white racist, or just an affirmative action candidate. I can only imagine how gleeful conservatives would be by a hispanic VP nominee. The general election would be devious, subversive tactics galore. And, most disturbingly, I think they would work.

    With that in mind, it seems to me that the ideal choice would be an older white person that just drips with experience — preferably military — and policy detail. Biden would be a fine choice, except the last thing Obama needs is one more person around him that’s loose with his words. Clinton would make an OK choice if she were a competent decision-maker (and also if she didn’t bring along 200 lbs of baggage). I really like Chris Dodd, but he might put the country to sleep. I’ve been very impressed by Governor Janet Napolitano, but she’s still a relatively unknown national figure.

    Clark is perfect.

  28. Andrew @ 30: General Clark was ordered to keep the airport out of Russian hands, so to blame him for nearly starting a war when he was following orders is a bit much. Had he decided on his own to confront the Russians I could see what you’re saying, but he didn’t.

    Besides, the Russians were the provocators — had they been allowed to take the airport they would have provided air cover as the Sebs reestablished control in Kosovo, undoing everything the just-ended bombing campaign had accomplished.

    And to say that this one incident is proof that General Clark is unqualified to speak on foreign policy is ridiculous.

  29. If you are looking a pure electoral math, Richardson brings small edges to the ticket. A little pick-up in Florida, some bleed over in Texas and a cementing of New Mexico.

    The smarter thing for Obama to do would be to name Ted Strickland his VP. That would pretty much sew up Ohio and the ballgame is over. Yep, Ohio is now the Sandra Day O’Connor of our Electoral system.

    Strickland also works for Clinton as well, in the case of Obama being bitten by a radioactive spider and going all Cloverfield on Chicago. That really is the only way Obama loses the nomination. For once I’m actually looking forward to the convention! Should be interesting to see either of these two trying to play nice and squirming at the same time.

  30. @ John H.

    I know quite a few professional military men and women who wear the uniforms of many different nations, including a couple who were there during the whole Pristina “incident”. Lets just say their opinion of the general isn’t as high as some of the others out there.

    As I mentioned before though, I think Obama could certainly do worse as a VP.


  31. I was originally a Richardson fan, but when he showed no ability to campaign, I started looking at the only other good candidate – Obama. I’m at the point now where I’m unsure which role Richardson would be most valuable in – VP or SecState. I suspect he would be much more valuable as SecState. The VP is the President of the Senate – and I don’t think Richardson would be as good in that role as he would as SecState, a role which seems molded just for his abilities.

  32. Are you forgetting about the Pennsylvania primaries? I have some contact with the old Penn Bluebloods and there is strong support for Clinton there. I would not be surprised to see her show very strongly in the Keystone State.

    According to CNN, there are about 950 delegates still up for grabs. Obama has a 140-delegate margin. The Democrat nomination is still very much up for grabs.

  33. According to RealClearPolitics there are 2687 delegates already apportioned, with Obama having 1414 and Clinton 1246 (27 not given to either at this point). There are 795 super delegates, with Obama having 214 and Clinton 250 (331 undecided right now). The remaining states add up to 566 delegates, so those combined with the undecided super delegates give 897 — throw in the other 27 and it’s 924.

    Yes, the nomination is still up for grabs, and it’s going to come down to the super delegates. But as the Politico piece said, the super delegates are not likely to deny Obama the nomination if he wins the popular vote.

  34. 7: Then bring Clinton in later as Sec’y of Health and Human Services.

    Is the idea that anyone who failed so monumentally to reform how US health care is handled is unlikely to fail so badly a second time?

  35. KIA, remember these are contests where a 20% spread is a HUGE victory, and Pennsylvania is the last large state left.

    This is how bad it is for Clinton: Even if she wins Pennsylvania by an impossible landslide — 80% to 20% — she’ll still need to win every remaining contest by an average of 18%. Short of divine intervention for Clinton — like a REAL scandal involving Obama — she’s going to lose the pledged delegate count and the popular vote.

    Regarding super-delegates, there’s absolutely no way that the Democratic party’s leaders and prominent members are going to oppose the popular winner. I have no idea why anyone thinks this is even remotely plausible. This is the democratic party. The one that feels Al Gore should have been president in 2000 because he won the popular vote. The one that mostly stayed hush-hush in the rush to war in 2003 not because they agreed with it, but because they didn’t want to oppose their constituents. The one that’s running on a largely populist message this season. Democrats would rather implode than be perceived as alienating their constituency… so you can see why it’s finally starting to dawn on people that the Clinton dynasty is nothing more than fantasy.

  36. @42: …unlikely to fail so badly a second time?

    More than fifteen years later, after surviving a starring role in the center ring of America’s most deplorable political circus, and with eight years’ experience as a legislator under her belt? Sure. Why not?

    Aside from the fact that, five months away from the conventions, this entire thread is little more than a parlor game anyway, and aside from the fact that were my scenario to play out Clinton would find herself among an almost entirely new cast of players on both sides, it’s my recollection that not insignificant factors in that earlier failure included a greenhorn’s tendency to overreach and an inability to combat Republican FUD. You do remember Harry and Louise?

    I’m actually not a big fan of Hilary Clinton. I am a big fan of believing motivated people can learn from their mistakes.

  37. I don’t know if Obama could trust Richardson. Bill Clinton is still trying to get the knife out of his back. Webb’s the guy who can save Obama’s bacon on national security. I also think Obama’s bacon needs saving in that particular area. I like Obama and think he could make a good president, but he’s gonna need some help in the long pants area and we all know how dangerous it is to have an advisee in the Oval Office–even one with the very best of progressive intentions.

    For my money, Webb ought to be the one running for President, but I’m not expecting a lot of agreement on this issue. I’ll be lucky to get though this primary season without my own children firebombing my house.

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