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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Heads Up on Feb. 9

posted by on January 8 at 23:59 PM

If this isn’t sorted out after Feb. 5 (Super Tuesday)—which seems kinda possible after tonight’s curve ball— it’s all eyes on Washington’s Feb. 9th Democratic caucus.

p.s. Everyone seems pretty hard pressed to explain Clinton’s surprise win tonight. I was glad to see Josh Marshall at TPM at least mention something that seems to be getting overlooked in all the talk of the “emotional” moment at the diner. In the middle of all the Obamamania there was a debate in N.H.

Clinton’s been an impressive force in the debates all along, typically gaining ground after most of them. Perhaps her performance in Saturday’s debate (her brain power) was just as relevant as her tears.

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How is Clinton's win tonight a surprise win?

Clinton barely beating Obama was the most unsurprising result possible.

However, it does make it very interesting in the context of the next showdowns -- even though the GOP results are even more interesting.

Posted by mackro mackro | January 9, 2008 12:31 AM

Think of poor fucking Oregon. May 20th. Disenfranchised, and they can't even pump their own gas.

Posted by Big Sven | January 9, 2008 12:49 AM

HRC debated well; clearly NH voters didn't think she was "too angry" as many seemingly too-conflict-avoidant Sloggers thought. Big Bill also said Obama was an unscrutinized fairy tale and raised some flaws in O.'s record on Iraq.

Counterpunching -- Clintons do it. Useful for fighting Republicans.

Guess that old style politics --"fighting" an opponent -- still works.

Posted by unPC | January 9, 2008 12:59 AM

Right. Which is what John Edwards has been doing all along - fighting. Obama is a lover not a fighter. Nothing wrong with that except that it's not presidential material in this dark corrupt time. We need someone who will kick some serious ass.

Posted by Calamity Jane | January 9, 2008 1:04 AM

I'd like to see this go all the way down to the wire....all the to the's been to long since weve had a real one that wasint a corination
remember 68?
I dont...wasint even born for another 17 years
but the thought excites me

Posted by linus | January 9, 2008 1:13 AM

Are you sure it was her brain power in the debates? Maybe she was crying because Edwards jumped on her in the debates, and then Edwards, that mean mean jerk, dissed her for crying. That does it! I'm voting for the poor girl!

Posted by Phoebe | January 9, 2008 1:29 AM

No doubt -- she needs to "human up."

Only then is her braininess OK (we trust it'll work for us, not against us).

Posted by unPC | January 9, 2008 1:50 AM

Unless those tears were for herself.

Posted by Phoebe | January 9, 2008 2:01 AM

There were no tears. Not a one. She got a little misty-eyed. Big fucking deal. You might too if you ever came close to experiencing the pressure she must be under.

Posted by Not a Hillary supporter but cut her some slack | January 9, 2008 2:03 AM

Fuck slack.

If they were any degree of genuine, it's still and affectation.

If they were any degree of not-genuine, she's being a politician.

Scoreboard: She's a Republican mark just like Bill was.

"Change" is getting old after 16 minutes but I'll take the Pepsi Challenge with Obama before anymore CLintonfraud any day.

Edwards is still getting slept on. That dude is so ready to screw it to the people who've been screwing us. Surprisingly the corporate media is like, "Huh? Edwards? There's no Edwards, relax."

Posted by Then Again Who Gives A Shit | January 9, 2008 3:14 AM

You know. I really don't want us to end up with a Clinton/McCain battle. That would make me nervous.

Clinton against anybody else, or Obama against the whole lot of them.

Just not Clinton/McCain. :crossingfingers:

Posted by violet_dagrinder | January 9, 2008 5:26 AM

Can this just be over so that I can vote for whoever the Democrat is? I think they're all very nice people.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | January 9, 2008 6:17 AM

Josh, thank you.

Obamamania is my new favorite word.

Posted by Lauren | January 9, 2008 7:26 AM

@9 ditto. Did y'all see Jon Stewart last night? He aptly pointed out that Hilary's 'emotional breakdown' was little more than her voice catching once while talking about the campaign, and then showed Bob Dole, George HW Bush, and a plethora of other R men in actual fucking tears. This was simply a person being human. Get a grip people.

Posted by NaFun | January 9, 2008 7:32 AM

Gawddammit. Hil's ahead in NH? I predicted a few months ago she'd get the nom, but hoped the Obama showing in NH would prove me wrong. Fuckies. Now it's back to nailbiting.
If she wins the presidency, which is a pretty damn big if, she'll get assassinated by wingnuts and leave us with her running mate. So any vote for Hil is a vote for a jawgrinding victory (if any at all) and a presidential term for her running mate. Who is that going to be....?

Posted by christopher | January 9, 2008 7:41 AM

PS- I can't believe I prefer Iowan voter choices over New Hampshire decisions. WTF is wrong with those peeps?

Posted by christopher | January 9, 2008 7:44 AM

I'm really not sure why her win is such a mystery. Between her pulling the heart strings of young women with her "emotional breakdown" and the independents voting in the Republican caucus because they thought Obama had the Democratic caucus sewn up, it's pretty easy to see how Clinton won.

Posted by Ryan | January 9, 2008 7:51 AM

Hillary is not for change: Remember when Bill was President the White House went out of it's way to ensure that Hillary had no real roll in policy. Now that she is running Hillary is claiming credit for everything Bill did.

And let's not forget that Hillary sat on the board of WalMart ( a company well known for providing healthcare and a living wage for it's employees) and she defended Coke against disabled employees.

Posted by Just Me | January 9, 2008 8:04 AM

Josh maybe you should study the polls that so influence you. From the presidential to local transportation polls you need to look at who sponsors and conducts them. You need to look at leaning towards versus certain. You need to read the questions, etc.

All media want this race to continue and they want upsets. They would love a brokered convetion, two would be better.

Imagine a Gore/Obama ticket or ?

Posted by whatever | January 9, 2008 8:09 AM

I like your optimism, but I can't imagine a situation where Feb 5 doesn't settle this race.

Posted by josh | January 9, 2008 8:10 AM

Are you sure Hillary winning doesn't have something to do with the massive issues counting votes in NH? something's not right in that state.

Posted by terry | January 9, 2008 8:15 AM


Why do we have both a caucus and a primary in this state? I was googling last week to see if caucus locations were up, and found all these state and county voter sites reminding us about the primary coming up later in February... where I guess the Presidential contenders are listed again... but the results are non-binding compared to the caucuses... so... why? And wtf?

Posted by James | January 9, 2008 8:17 AM

If she hadn't (barely) won New Hampshire primary, nobody would be looking back at the recent debates with any fondness for Hillary's performance. She handed the Republicans her cranky "I've made change" Dammit! clip for future commercials, and her performance was lackluster at best. How is it that fact that for a flickering moment in said debates she actually appeared Human with Feelings, that should be a plus for her, when it only highlights how studied, poll-driven, and false she's been the rest of the time?

Posted by andy niable | January 9, 2008 8:17 AM

remember, before this week, Hillary was supposed to win New Hampshire. this is not a massive win for Hillary, this is what she was supposed to do in NH the whole time.

Posted by tomas | January 9, 2008 8:18 AM

All the pundits talk about the "Clinton machine" and then are suprised when it works. That doesn't make sense. She won because she's an outstanding campaigner. The misty-eye thing had nothing to do with this. It was sheer hard work and strategy over the long term.

Also, considering that race and gender has never been a factor in Presidential debates in the past, perhaps people ahem, aren't always telling the truth about their votes this time around?

Posted by la | January 9, 2008 8:18 AM

Josh, I'm confused like @22 is. The Stranger could do a great service to its reader base by running a primer on the Washington Democrats process for Caucuses and the Primary.

I tried reading the Secretary of State website and the WA Democrats website but came away confused. The Primary on Feb. 19th decides how SOME of the delegates are allocated for the Republican National Convention. But then it says that the Primary has NO impact on how WA Democrats allocate delegates to the Democratic National Convention. If that's they case, then why bother voting as a Dem in the Primary? And what do we need to do at a Caucus to make sure our favorite Dem candidate "wins" in WA?

I'm sure a lot of voters who are new to the process here would benefit from an article in The Stranger that breaks this all down and simplifies it.

Posted by Steve | January 9, 2008 8:36 AM

Heads up folks, time for a reality check (which Sloggers hate). For the Democrats it is now Clinton or someone else. That someone else is Obama. Fortunately, Obama is a great candidate, and no Kerry/Dukakis/Mondale/whatever. No matter how much you wish, the Democratic nominee will not be Kucinich, or Gore, or Edwards, or Richardson. So support at this point for Kucinich or Gore or Edwards or Richardson = support for Clinton. If Edwards wanted to stop Clinton he would drop out now. (His--admirable--reliance on public campaign financing would cripple him against the Republican nominee in the fall anyway.) If you want to stop Clinton you can start backing Obama. There is no alternative. Really. Enough said.

Posted by kk | January 9, 2008 8:52 AM

22, 26:

The WA caucus process is explained online here.

Posted by ivan | January 9, 2008 9:09 AM

kk: Last night, some NPR pundit explained that a vote for Kucinich, Richardson, and Edwards is actually an anti-Hillary vote. So, as long as those guys are still in the race, Obama and Hillary will be neck and neck. He claims that as soon as one or all of those guys drop out, Obama should have a field day.

I'm not sure it's as simple as that but I do believe that supporters of those three will be more comfortable supporting Obama than Hillary.

Posted by Ryan | January 9, 2008 9:14 AM

Don't forget, Bill Clinton called Obama a "fairy-tale" and attacked Obama's version of events relating to his position on the Iraq war.

Posted by Joshua | January 9, 2008 9:15 AM

@18: "WalMart ( a company well known for providing healthcare and a living wage for it's employees)"

do you mean that walmart was known for NOT providing healthcare?

Posted by yearning | January 9, 2008 9:18 AM

Washington State Caucus/Primary primer:

1. These rules are set by the Democratic and Republican Parties, not Washington State or any government.

2. Republicans split their delegate selection between caucuses on 2/9 and the Washington primary on 2/19.

3. Democratic Party chose to have all delegates (except superdelegates, a few officeholders + Party chair, etc.) selected through a caucus process starting 2/9. The democratic primary is a "beuaty contest" selecting no delegates. It has p.r. value only.

4. The caucus is on 2/9 starting at 1 pm but you can't find out where the hell your caucus is yet, because the Democratic Party appears to have no caucus locations listed yet on their various websites yet.

Keep looking at websites for Washington State Democrats, King County Democrats or your legislative district democrats (43d District Democrats is Cap Hill, U district, Wallingford for example) to see if, I mean, when, they ever post the damn locations.

You will need to know your precinct number to find your precinct caucus location. It's on your voting card. A precinct is a geographic entity of a few blocks with about 500 voters roughly and each precinct can have a different location for the caucus. The Party normally groups a bunch of caucuses together (so that a big old school cafeteria could ahve 30 caucuses for 30 precincts. But sometimes your own precinct caucus will have it's own location, like in the house of the Democratic party "PCO" "precinct committee officer(?)"

5. You have to go to the caucus to have any influence in the process.

6. When you go, you basically "vote" for your candidate and using cmoplicated formulas the people running the caucus (your local Democratic party activists) determine how many "delegates" from yoru caucus are elected for each candidate.

(Each caucus gets a different number of delegates. This is based on prior Democratic voting. So, your caucus could have ten delegates and another caucus with the same number of voters, five delegates.)

Anyway, if you have 20 people showing up and 10 delegates to allocate, you could end up with say 6 for Obama, 2 for Clinton, and 1 for Edwards and Richardson each.

7. The supporters of each pres. candidate then have to actually pick the delegates. Hey if you love caucuses, that could be YOU. These "delegates" then get to go to the next caucus about 6 weeks later (legislative district caucus) where they do a mega version of the same thing, electing delegates to the NEXT caucus (county caucus) where they do an even bigger version of the same thing, ultimately sending delegates to the NEXT caucus (WAsh. State Democratic Convention in the summer) where they do an even bigger version of the same thing, which picks delegates to the NEXT caucus (Demo. National convention) where they do an even bigger version of the same thing (except there they actually pick Obama or Clinto or Edwards and the VP choice, etc.).

So your original caucus "vote" won't count if the delegates you pick fail to go to the next level.

historical nugget: in 1992 Tsongas "won" the Washington precinct caucuses but along the way he dropped out, so most delegates switched to Clinton before the convention.
There's many more rules and bylaws and shit for the actual running of the caucuses, you can pass resolutions there, too if you want, and make a donation to the Democratic Party, etc.

Conclusion: you have to go, to go you have to monitor the party websites and hope they tell you where to go at some point.

If you want to help your candidate bring neighbors to the caucus to swell his or her no. delegates compared to other candidates'. These neighbors would have to be registered voters living in the precinct.

Now Organize!

Posted by unPC | January 9, 2008 9:35 AM

UnPC @ 32 says:

The caucus is on 2/9 starting at 1 pm but you can't find out where the hell your caucus is yet, because the Democratic Party appears to have no caucus locations listed yet on their various websites yet.

Wrong. They're here.

Posted by ivan | January 9, 2008 9:50 AM

I thank unPC for the info, but I disagree with the implication that you go to caucuses just to support "your" candidate. Go there and listen and discuss the issues with fellow caucusers. Going just to vote or deliver your soundbite is obnoxious and deprives you of the most fulfilling aspect of participatory democracy.

Posted by butterw | January 9, 2008 10:59 AM

The information is also here.

Posted by ivan | January 9, 2008 12:08 PM

I don't know which term is more appropriate: The Washington Primus, or the Washington Caucary?

Posted by mackro mackro | January 9, 2008 12:35 PM

UnPC, you got a couple of things wrong. The way it works is the delegates elected at the precinct caucus go on to the legislative district caucus. Delegates elected at that caucus go on to the congressional district caucus. Delegates elected there, and a handful of others selected by the party officials and the voting National delegates go on to the National convention. The county and state conventions are not caucuses; they are conventions and primarily are to vote on various resolutions, edits to the county and state platform, etc.

Posted by Geni | January 9, 2008 5:00 PM

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