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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Histrionic Democrats of the World, Pipe Down

posted by on April 22 at 10:10 AM

Democratic hack bloggers have pushed two story lines since Iowa.

And they completely contradict one another. And we’ll see them again today.

1) Hooray Democrats!!! Record turnout!!! We’re fired up and unstoppable!!!

2) Hillary Clinton needs to get out of the race. She’s destroying the Democratic Party.

Indeed, these contradictory narratives took hold after the record turn out in Iowa and then—at the same time—when lefty bloggers (and, frankly, the MSM) first started “asking” if HRC was going to drop out … and then projecting that she was giving “concession” speeches … and then, flat-out frustrated, finally screeching that she was “destroying the party.”

Get a hold of yourselves, people. She’s not destroying the party. Yes, some of today’s big turnout in PA is rumored to be GOP meddlers, but once again, Democrats will turn out in record numbers.

Hardly destroyed, the Democratic Party is obviously fired up and engaged. (Polling that occasionally shows McCain ahead of Obama or Clinton is not compelling evidence. Here, for example, is a composite tracking poll of O vs. McCain. It’s up and down with Obama currently ahead—and with the momentum. And here’s Clinton vs. McCain, basically in a dead heat and Clinton with the momentum.

And look at the money race. Obama raised $41 million in March and has $51 million on hand. (Clinton raised $20 million in March and has $31 million on hand.) McCain? $12 million raised, $11 million on hand.

If Hillary doesn’t win by more than 7 or 8% today, I personally think she should drop out because at that point she’ll have no case to make. But my word, to everyone who’s wasted our time with screeds about how Hillary’s destroying the party, STFU.

Based on polling, money, and turn out, it’s simply not true.

RSS icon Comments


true, but she's still more concerned with her political career and legacy than she is for the good of the country.

Posted by jameyb | April 22, 2008 10:15 AM

My mistake, Josh. It's a good thing to have TV ads out there labeling the likely winner an inexperienced, elitist snob. I'm surprised she didn't try to link him to France, too. And what case could she possibly have to make even if she wins by 10-15%? She'll still need to flip dozens upon dozens of superdelegates, many if not most of whom will be hesitant to be known for overriding the popular primary vote without a very solid reason.

Posted by tsm | April 22, 2008 10:16 AM

My prediction: Hills makes like Lieberman and runs Independent, thus destroying any chance of a Democratic win.

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | April 22, 2008 10:18 AM

I might be the only one believes that conflict can both ... yes invigorate the base, but most importantly get publicity. In all fairness there really is no such thing as bad publicity. With such a long drawn out fight for a PRIMARY, it's engaged more people in the political process. People who wouldn't care for a democrat HAVE to take notice because of all the press being released. Who really is talking about McCain? The only people talking about McCain are the very frustrated conservatives who don't think McCAin is conservative enough. Very boring, and very ineffectual ... no conflict ... no story.

Take my word, after this presidential election, I don't think the Republicans will be so quick to eject inferior competition so early in the race.

Posted by OR Matt | April 22, 2008 10:19 AM

Josh Feit calling somebody else a hack. Josh Feit saying somebody else's story line is contradictory. Josh Feit saying somebody else needs to STFU already. Josh Feit saying somebody else is wasting time. Josh Feit saying they're writing screeds.

Is that what I just read? Really?

Posted by elenchos | April 22, 2008 10:21 AM

And the constant "obama-isn't ready" memes which Clinton introduces and which can be used by McCain in the general? Where are those accounted for?

And long bitter (ha) rants by Bill Clinton using dirty racial politics to drive white people away from Obama? I didn't see that covered above, either.

Comments? All is well in primary land?

Posted by torrentprime | April 22, 2008 10:23 AM

it may not be destroying it, but it certainly is ANNOYING the party.

Posted by max solomon | April 22, 2008 10:25 AM


Yeah, but he's right this time.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 22, 2008 10:27 AM

It's worth noting that pretty much all of the far-right nutjobs threatening to sit on their hands in the general election have already begun lining up behind McCain after all

Posted by Peter F | April 22, 2008 10:34 AM


No, she isn't.

But she's also not dropping out. It's too late to drop out. She has to let this drag on lest she look like a wimp. Hopefully, she will lay off the kitchen sink attacks against Obama if she doesn't win big in Pennsylvania, but I wouldn't count on that either.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 22, 2008 10:34 AM

No, she's not destroying the Party, but she should drop out - if for no other reason than she's looking increasingly stupid with her constant, manufactured and vapid attacks, and she's taking ECB down with her.

Posted by switzerblog | April 22, 2008 10:39 AM

Mr. Poe, I don't see how having record turnout disproves the claim that Hillary's attacks from the right hurt the Democrats. If this were Democrats pouring their energy into the health care debate, or against the GOP, that would be fine. But Hillary is making Democrats waste their windfall of support fighting off attacks over whether Obama is patriotic or Christian enough. Democratic donors are paying for the slimy attack ads that McCain can't afford.

Josh also offers no evidence that it "simply isn't true" that she's destroying the party. We know a fourth of her supporters want to bolt, as do a fifth of Obama's. Would that be happening if she had quit before Ohio when it was clear she had no chance? Josh sure as hell doesn't know, and we won't know until Hillary drops out and we see where her supporters go.

Remember that the Obama was well ahead of McCain before Hillary began this long slow suicide. When both candidates had a chance, and the campaign was reasonably clean, we were polling ahead of them. Hillary's negative, Guiliani-like ads have dragged Obama down into a dead heat.

In short, Feit doesn't know things and he doesn't learn things. He merely says what's on his agenda, facts or no facts. Which is why he's wrong, as usual.

Posted by elenchos | April 22, 2008 10:42 AM

Except that there are two Democratic Parties. One that wants to live in a progressive future and another that wants to live in a centrist past.

Posted by K | April 22, 2008 10:45 AM

I wouldn't mind her being in the race this long (and with no hope of winning) except for the fact that her campaign is so damn negative. I don't see how this negativity is good for the party.

Posted by Suz | April 22, 2008 10:45 AM

What I think is funny (and pathetic) is that anyone expects thoughtful political analysis from anyone who works at a paper that has prostitute ads on the back pages of the paper.

But what Josh fails to point out is all this record money is being spent on Obama fighting Clinton and the reverse. McCain's money is being used for the general election fight. So in reality, the GOP IS AHEAD OF THE DEMOCRATS FOR THE FALL RACE!!

And once the nomination is settled the half of the party is going to be pissed and stop giving money to either Obama or Clinton.

Posted by Andrew | April 22, 2008 10:48 AM

More to the point (I should really stop being so eager to hit post)... This is not really Hillary's fault or Obama's fault. It's the two-party system's fault, and perhaps the fault of the DNC and even perhaps that RNC, and the false dichotomy that they perpetuate for their own near-symbiotic survival.

We could really stand to have three parties, and they don't need to be obsessively far left or far right, but should be right, center, and left. Clinton could lead the centrist party, and Obama could lead the left party, and we could quit all the internal horse trading and leave the negotiating to the Congressional floor.

Posted by K | April 22, 2008 10:50 AM
I wouldn't mind her being in the race this long (and with no hope of winning) except for the fact that her campaign is so damn negative.


Posted by tsm | April 22, 2008 10:50 AM


The two party system is a reality. Hillary has no power to change it*. She does have the power to choose to either run Republican style attacks or choose to stick to issues that matter to Democrats. She is to blame for the choices she has made, and saying it is the system's fault does not get her off the hook.

* If Hillary follows in Lieberman's footsteps, she will be helping the GOP, not creating a third party.

Posted by elenchos | April 22, 2008 10:58 AM

Don't kid youself that Obama is of the left. Maybe a nudge more than Clinton, but not progressive standards.

general question, help me if i'm missing something terribly obvious:

if democrats are turning out in record droves, donating small amounts of cash in huge numbers, then WHY DO NATIONAL POLLS INDICATE SUCH A CLOSE RACE BETWEEN THE DEMS AND MCCAIN?

the polls call them 'registered' or 'likely' voters. do these people say they like mccain, but just don't show up at primaries?

it kills me to think this is going to be another close one in november that might come down to one state and who's got the dirtiest tactics/ who owns the voting machines.


Posted by chops | April 22, 2008 10:59 AM

Obama's gaffes in Pennsylvania are nothing compared to Al Gore's

Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 22, 2008 11:11 AM

Imagine all the people who could have been actually helped with those millions spent by BO and HC tearing eachother down. No, this definitely hurts -- the more money dems spend fighting eachother, the less money they have to fight McCain. Just like the Iraq war has been a massive waste of money, so has the D nomination war.

Posted by Imagine all the people... | April 22, 2008 11:12 AM

When I start reading more stories that call bullshit on polls saying Clinton backers will vote McCain if she doesn't get the nom, and vice versa for Obama backers, I'll feel a lot better.

Posted by Smade | April 22, 2008 11:12 AM

right, so i should feel good that the three times i've donated to obama it's gone towards defending his campaign from ANOTHER DEMOCRAT versus the fucking republicans? i had SOME respect for her before this turned into a cannibalistic shitstorm for the dems due to her increasingly negative campaigning. it's ALL gone. fuck clinton. she can eat a bag of shit.

Posted by skye | April 22, 2008 11:44 AM

In the end, the big question will be:

"How many delegates did she get from PA, compared to Obama?"

The answer will be: not enough.

It will get worse, especially since her campaign's running on fumes (spiritually and monetarily).

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 22, 2008 11:44 AM

right, so i should feel good that the three times i've donated to obama it's gone towards defending his campaign from ANOTHER DEMOCRAT versus the fucking republicans? i had SOME respect for her before this turned into a cannibalistic shitstorm for the dems due to her increasingly negative campaigning. it's ALL gone. fuck clinton. she can eat a bag of shit.

Posted by skye | April 22, 2008 11:45 AM

While we're linking Onion stories:

'Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, described Clinton's decision as the "single most unifying move" the highly polarizing figure has made yet.'

Posted by V | April 22, 2008 11:45 AM

Simply compare and contrast Huckabee's hopeless campaign with Clinton's hopeless campaign. Huckabee ran positively and didn't attack McCain like a rabid dog. Clinton is running a campaign to sabotage our nominee so she can run again in 2012.

A prolonged campaign isn't necessarily bad. Hillary Clinton's campaign is.

Posted by ru shur | April 22, 2008 11:56 AM

If she wins by a small margin and still stays in the race, Obama should stop running against her and start running against McCain. He should refuse to debate with her in the future and should refrain from getting into her nit-picky negative bullshit. Act presidential and run for president instead of running for the nomination.

Posted by Suz | April 22, 2008 11:57 AM

I agree with 27:

A prolonged campaign isn't necessarily bad. Hillary Clinton's campaign is.

On one hand this campaign has been great for getting new voters registered and excited. I loved that the Washington primary actually counted this year as opposed to the past.

But on the other, the negativity that the Clintons have displayed is terrible for the party. If he wanted to, Obama could bring up all the negative Clinton bullshit, god knows there is a boatload of it! But he hasn't because he is a class act.

Posted by Suz | April 22, 2008 12:03 PM

But Josh...why should she get out of the race following Pennsylvania? What will have changed that wasn't there a month ago? The answer? Nothing. And, let's say she wins today by 20 points. Does that make the math much easier? No.

So, your post is a bit schizophrenic; you argue that others shouldn't be arguing that she should get out of the race, but then you say "she should get out of the race." All you're showing is that you have a different line, but your line is completely arbitrary. We've known for at least 2 months now that Hillary had no shot left to win.

Posted by Timothy | April 22, 2008 12:19 PM

But I don't blame Hillary, elenchos. (For anything.) I blame us. (For everything.)

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 22, 2008 12:42 PM

@22 -- I don't think you're going to get those stories until we have a nominee. There are a lot of very passionate people out there (in here) who aren't going to admit defeat till the confetti is flying in Denver.

Which is also why they're both still showing up doing so poorly against McCain. Suppose I have a favorite in this nomination. Now suppose someone calls me up and polls me and asks if I'd vote for the other candidate. What benefit is it to me to say yes? Not much. If I say no, then my candidate looks more "electable" in the general election.

For better or for worse, we have two candidates right now. Enjoy the ride, it won't last that long.

Posted by AlanD | April 22, 2008 12:43 PM

Yes, Josh, look at the fundraising totals! Look at the turnout! Nothing could possibly be bad about the current situation...

...unless you compare it to where we'd be if the emerging loser had the good sense to bow out a while ago, so all of that turnout and all of that money could've been mobilized against McCain, rather than feeding this pointless intra-party squabbling. If (when) Obama secures the nomination, I certainly hope that the HRC campaign is taken to task for that.

Posted by Hernandez | April 22, 2008 1:32 PM

Leo McGarry needs to take them both to the woodshed and emerge with the nomination decided.

Posted by Smade | April 22, 2008 1:41 PM


I commend you for this reference

Posted by The CHZA | April 22, 2008 3:03 PM

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