Welcome to AskHodder

Please leave comments, check out my links, click the ads, and maybe even read what I write - Thanks for clicking!

Monday, December 29, 2008

My 2008 Hall of Fame Ballot

In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I am disclosing to you the readers my 2008 ballot for the baseball Hall of Fame. The BBWAA does not require this disclosure (in fact I think they discourage it) but screw that, I've got nothing to hide!

Just so we're clear on the rules:

1. There are 23 players on the ballot, each voter is allowed to vote for 10

2. Any player named on 75% of all ballots cast is elected to the HOF

3. Any player failing to reach a minimum of 5% of the vote is off the ballot forever

4. Everyone with more than 5% and less than 75%, better luck next year

5. If after 15 years on the ballot a player fails to reach the 75% threshold he is removed forever.

The Ballot

Rickey Henderson *
Jim Rice
Andre Dawson
Bert Blyleven
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Tommy John
Tim Raines
Mark McGwire
Alan Trammell
Don Mattingly
Dave Parker
Mark Grace *
Dale Murphy
David Cone *
Harold Baines
Mo Vaughn *
Matt Williams *
Jesse Orosco *
Greg Vaughn *
Ron Gant *
Jay Bell *
Dan Plesac *

* indicates a players first year of eligibility

My votes
1. Rickey Henderson - anyone leaving him off of their ballot has no business voting. The greatest lead off hitter of all time and a member of the all century team is baseball's all time leader in runs and steals, and is second only to Barry Bonds in walks. If you really need more convincing read what Joe Posnanski wrote over at Joe's blog.

2. Bert Blyleven - easily the best pitcher eligible for the HOF but not in, and better than many that are. Guys like Rob Neyer and The Baseball Beat have been all over this for years.

3. Tommy John - His numbers are actually pretty good, and had he not been plagued by injuries he would have easily managed the magic counting stats that have kept him out.

4. Tim Raines - If he had not been relegated to Henderson's shadow he would have been a no brainier last year. I won't regurgitate the arguments, but if you have doubts you should read for yourself.

5. Mark McGwire - I wasn't a big fan of his while he was playing, I always thought he got too much credit because he was so one dimensional, and I never thought he was in the same league as his fellow Bash Brother, Sosa or Jr. and that's because he wasn't. But anyone not willing to vote for him because he embarrassed himself in front of Congress, or because he "cheated" needs to take both hands and get a hold of themselves. Lot's of "cheaters" are in the HOF, the BBWAA is not the moral police, so stop acting like it.

6. Alan Trammell - I go back and fourth on this one, but let's let the debate continue.

7. David Cone - Honestly, right now I'm not convinced that he belongs. However, he was a phenomenal pitcher who retired earlier than he could have and a class act who deserves the respect of not going vote-less, but also, I think maybe the right stat package hasn't been put together and new math may show him more hall worthy down the road.

8. Mo Vaughn - (see Williams)

9. Matt Williams - Neither of these guys have any kind of shot at induction, and really, they don't deserve it. I expect that they will both fail to hit 5% and fall off of the ballot, but they were two of my favorite players and I enjoyed watching them and want to be sure they at least get a couple votes.

10. My tenth spot will go unused, I'm only voting for nine guys.

Yes that's right, I am not voting for Jack Morris, and I am not voting for Jim Rice. Why? because they just weren't good enough. Get over it.

The two biggest points for Morris are that he won more games than anyone in the 80's and he was a big game pitcher. Winning the most games in a decade is trivial, arbitrary and down right meaningless. He had a post season ERA of 3.81, including a hefty 4.87 in LCS, not to mention the 6.57 and 8.44 he had in two rounds with Toronto. Everyone chooses to forget about those series and instead remember the one game he was brilliant. If he gives up a run, or comes out after 9, or even if his line remained the same except it took the Twins another inning or two to score and the bullpen got the win, he's not in this discussion. One game is not enough.

As for Rice, oh boy. We are supposed to ignore the fact that he was one of, if not the, worst fielder in the league. We are supposed to ignore the fact that he is one of the most horrific base runners the game has ever seen. His poor eyesight cut his career short and sped up his decline, so we have to overlook his counting stats not measuring up. We are supposed to believe that he was the most prolific hitter of double play balls, relative to his number of at-bats because of his greatness, because the runners were afraid to steal and cost him an rbi (I've never understood that point). We are also supposed to overlook the fact that he almost never walked and was a bellow average hitter on the road because "those aren't standards that were used at the time". Oh, and only look at his good years, he played 16 seasons (including his 1974 cup of coffee) and was downright awful in 5 of them, so forget those 5 stinkers.

Here's the thing, even if you do all that, he's still not good enough. If you look at stats like ops, which is just about the best of the widely accepted measures of a hitter, Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans and Yaz were all about even with him. What does that mean? It means that without even bringing defense into the equation (and they were all defensive phenoms) Rice was about the fourth best hitting outfielder on his team. Not in baseball, not in the AL or even the AL East, there were three better outfielders, on his team.

Yes OPS was not a common stat when Rice played, and yes that does matter, just not how you might think. What it stands to prove is that Lynn and Evans were a lot better than people think, much better than Rice. If the pitchers were so afraid of Jim Rice, they shouldn't have been, it was the other guys in that lineup they should have been worried about.

That's my ballot. I think Henderson sails and Rice eeks it out and we start all over again next year. That's all on baseball for now

Monday, November 3, 2008

Georgia on my Mind

Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia is locked in a tight battle with former state rep Jim Martin, for reelection. Georgians have been voting since last week, new voter turnout is sky-high, and there is an increase of 30% in African American turnout from four years ago. While doing some last minute campaigning and likely feeling nervous about this trend, Mr. Chambliss attended a rally along side Governor Palin where the crowd was chanting “Vote McCain, not Hussein!”, he encouraged his supporters to get to the polls because, wait for it, “the other folks are voting.”

It is said that a true display of intelligence is being able to separate the argument from the arguer, being able to see that reasonable people can disagree and still be friends. I agree with that, I try to subscribe to it and as the possessor of many minority opinions I greatly appreciate when others do the same. That said, the comments of Mr. Chambliss over the weekend were reflective beyond his opinions and would seem to give insight into his judgment and character, making it difficult, and frankly improper, to separate man from the disposition.

Let me put it another way and address the Senator directly: Senator Chambliss, you sir are a douche bag. I hope the people of Georgia repudiate you for using the politics race and fear and Jim Martin whoops your bitter bigoted ass.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You asked for it, you got it

The askhodder community has been asking for my election night predictions, well here you go:

Obama 401
McCain 137

Based on polling I've seen coupled with my own intellectual masturbation I say that Senator Obama takes all of the Kerry states plus: Ohio, West Virginia, Virgina, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina, North Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado, you can see the map I made on paint here.

Most polls have Senator McCain winning Montana, North Dakota, Georgia and West Virgina, but like I said, this is me guessing, but I think they will surprise some people next week.

If you notice on my map I left Kentucky and Mississippi in grey (but put their votes in the McCain column) these are my super sleepers, the polling has them trending McCain, which they probably will, but don't be surprised if they run blue, or if they aren't decided until after next Tuesday night. In other words, I'm calling them this years Ohio and Florida, and while they won't matter in the presidential race, the air tight senate races could spice things up....

ps, look for Alaska to be closer than expected

Yup, that just happened

We hear a lot in the news about the illegal warrantless wiretapping, about the government listening in on our private phone calls and such, well apparently they do actually listen to Al Qaeda as well. In so doing, the NSA was able to pick up this juicy nugget, Al Qaeda wants John McCain to win the election, because "a continuation of the Bush policies is best for recruiting". Don't take my word, check my sources....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ms. U Betcha

Sarah Palin has been getting bad rap in the last few weeks, deservedly so, but I think people's attacks on her have been misguided.

Everyone has sex when they're 17. You're supposed to, it's what that year is for. If you turned 18 or graduated high school a virgin, you were wrong, and I'll bet it wasn't by choice. My point is that could have been you, and if you're going to tell me that Bristol didn't know enough to know a condom is a good idea, you're out of your mind. Moreover, since when is a Presidential candidates view on sex education a front and center, or even relevant issue? Mrs. Palin and President Bush share the same view, and while both Barbara and Jenna's sex lives have been in the news, their fathers stance hasn't been used to discredit him.

While it's true that she hasn't been in public office long, neither has Senator Obama, neither had JFK, Eisenhower, Jackson, Zachery Taylor, Nixon or Teddy Roosevelt (when they became vp), regardless of how you feel about them, they all did some impressive things in office. During the primary Mr. Obama convinced his party that it is judgment rather than experience, that we ought to seek candidates with the highest potential for greatness, and he was right.

Who cares how much her clothes cost? The other three candidates are probably wearing suits that cost a couple thousand dollars a piece, President Clinton has been known to wear $400 neck ties.

The thing is, she has given us so much more to hate about the idea of her being taken seriously, let along voting for her. As governor of Alaska she made a habit of firing people from non political positions to replace them with friends from high school, she has presided over massive corruption, she doesn't believe in science, but she does believe it a God given right to shoot wolves from helicopters. In Sarah Palin's perfect world, when a seven or eight year old little girl, someone Piper's age, is raped and impregnated by her father she should be forced by law to not only pay for a rape kit, but to carry that pregnancy to term.

Focus on things that matter

Back with a Boom

I'm sorry that it's been so long, we're got a lot to cover so let's just get moving…

People have been talking and asking me about the Bradley effect and how it will impact this election. I was going to write on it, but Nate Silver over at fivethirtyeight.com said it much better than I could in his rebuttal of a garbage piece by Bill Greener at Salon.com.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday Mendozas

A few thoughts...

I have a military commitment that will have me incommunicado in South Carolina for 9 weeks so this is my last post for a while.

Since Super Tuesday Senator Obama has picked up 69 super delegates, Senator Clinton has lost two (John Lewis switched to Obama, and Eliot Spitzer's resignation eliminated his vote)

Governor Spitzer's resignation has lowered the magic number from 2025 to 2024

Obama's total:1,629 - 395 shy
Clinton's total: 1,486 - 538 shy

There is a total of 934 delegates remaining, 338 of whom are super, which means there are 596 pledged delegates.

Mr. Obama needs 66% of the remaining pledged delegates, or 42% of all delegates

Mrs. Clinton needs 90% of the remaining pledged delegates, or 58% of all delegates.

Here's the thing about all that math, if we're being generous and including the Super Delegates, Mrs. Clinton needs 66% of all the remaining delegates just to break even with Mr. Obama. Pennsylvania has 188 delegates, or 20% of the delegates left. She isn't going to take 66% in PA. If she takes 55% that would be a huge win. Even a big win in PA will make it less likely that she can catch up.

A number of the unpledged Super Delegates have said that they will endorse whoever is ahead at the end of the primary contests, and as we have just shown Mrs. Clinton can not catchup before the convention, ergo Mr. Obama has a lock on the Democratic nomination.

The argument that Mrs. Clinton has more electoral votes than Mr. Obama is a stupid argument. I mean, it's true, but it's a totally meaningless point.

I have it on good authority from staffers inside the Clinton campaign who commented on the condition of anonymity, that there are serious internal discussions about forming a third party and mounting a legitimate 3rd party candidacy. I think it may be too late in the game to call that play, but if she is able to get some big name defectors from both parties it is certainly possible that she could pickup enough votes for her party to be taken seriously. No chance she wins though.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Updated Delegate Math

If you can, try to remember way back to January, back when there were eight Democratic candidates for President. Back in January the all important state of Iowa voted to determine who would be the Democratic candidate for President. Back then people complained that Iowa had to much sway, that it didn't adequately represent America, that it is as diverse as a Mayflower reunion, and that other states ought to have a say. This year the primary season has lasted longer than any other time in recent memory, and as it turns out the other states went with the same guy Iowa did anyway.

If you will also remember about that night, John Edwards came in second, and earned some delegates that night, some of whom have now been reapportioned. Also, California finally finished counting out their votes and their final totals are in. As always, the updated math is reported first here at AskHodder.com

Obama 1618 Clinton 1479

The magic number still sits at 2025

There are 603 pledged delegates remaining, 957 including super delegates

Number of remaining pledged delegates needed to clinch:

Obama 407, 68%
Clinton 546, 91%

Including Super Delegates
Obama 43%
Clinton 57%

Mrs. Clinton needs 73% of all pledged delgates to be aloted in order to pull even with Mr. Obama, 65% including Super Delegates

Friday, March 14, 2008


Geraldine Ferraro is one of the most respected women in the United States, and rightly so. Before being elected to the US House of Representatives in 1978, Marymount Manhattan College’s most famous alum served as a teacher, and district attorney in New York City. As a member of congress she held several leadership positions, many of which had previously only been held by men. In 1984 Democratic Presidential candidate and Senator Walter Mondale tapped Mrs. Ferraro as his running mate and got a huge boost in the polls, and though the ticket lost big in the Electoral College, the race was closer than the map would indicate. During that campaign Mrs. Ferraro became one of the first people to say publicly (and certainly the first to do so with such a large megaphone) that President Reagan’s strategy of illegally funding and selling weapons to extremist rebel splinter groups and installing monsters as world leaders would come back to haunt us.

All that being said, in 1984 was she qualified to be the vice president? Absolutely. The world would be a much better place if the Mondale Ferraro ticket had won the 1984 election. But if she were a man, would she have been on the ticket? I don’t think so, and neither does Mrs. Ferraro who has said that many times publicly.

But so what? Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg likely would not have been appointed to the Supreme Court if they were men, and they were/have been exceptional in that role. Senator Clinton, though exceedingly brilliant would never have become a serious candidate for even the Senate were she a man. General Powell and Justice Marshall were phenomenal public servants but would not have been appointed to their positions if they were white. Every semester thousands of students make Dean’s List at schools they would not have been admitted to if they were white males. In fact, it happens all the time that people end up in positions with help from their race, sex or gender and excel, even though a more “qualified” person may have been out there. Some might argue that doing so disadvantages white men, but no more so than handicap parking spaces put non-handicapped drivers at a disadvantage.

All too often we look only at past performance when we ought to also be looking at future potential. Maybe Mrs. Ferraro is right and the biggest reason that Senator Obama has made it so far in this campaign is because of the color of his skin. Is there anything wrong with someone saying that? No. Especially not Mrs. Ferraro, so Obama supporters need to get over themselves, cool it with the racial talk and well, LEAVE GERALDINE ALONE!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Post Mississippi Math

Oh my how things have changed. Mississippi is now colored in after Senator Obama's 2-1 victory last night, AskHodder.com is prepared to call the Texas caucus, and there has been some Super Delegate movment (I know I said before that I wasn't counting them, but I meant that I'm not counting the ones who have not yet declared as still up for grabs, so when they do endorse I will still factor them in, it makes them more like a bonus).

The new delegate count:

Obama 1611
Clinton 1480

The magic number still sits at 2025

There are 609 pledged delegates remaining, 960 including super delegates

Number of pledged delegates remaining needed to clinch:

Obama 414, 68%
Clinton 545, 90%

Including Super Delegates

Obama 43%
Clinton 57%

Mrs. Clinton needs 72% of all pledged delgates to be aloted in order to pull even with Mr. Obama, 64% including Super Delegates


Last night the 20th state to join the Union and the second state to join the Confederacy, a state that held436,631 men women and children in bondage in 1860, a state famous for its river, fried chicken, corn bread, breath taking views, mockingbirds, magnolias, honey bees, Grand Opera House, crawfish, folk dance, and large mouth bass, the home of John Grisham, Thomas Harris, Oprah, Morgan Freeman, Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Kermit T. Frog, William Faulkner, B.B. King, James Earl Jones, Elvis Presley, Tennessee Williams and Parker Posey, a state still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, the one, the only, the Great State of Mississippi, held a presidential primary.

The result? With 99% of precincts reporting, askhodder.com is comfortable calling the state for Senator Barack Obama. Mr. Obama has taken 61% to Senator Clinton's 37%, 19 delegates to 14. Here is a county by county break down with my apologies for the coloring, I had to make the map myself, counties carried by Obama are in blue, Clinton in brown.
By its self, this is likely not that interesting, but let's look at the same map, except we'll color the counties that President Bush won by at least 70% in yellow. If you noticed, the Clinton Campaign won all of them. Now let's take the same map and color the counties that the Kerry Campaign won in green. If you noticed, Mrs. Clinton only took one county carried by Mr. Kerry. See all three of these maps on the same page
What does this tell us? I talked this morning with a couple different Clinton Campaign staffers who argue that it shows she can win over conservative Democrats, and that Republicans are showing up for Mrs. Clinton. I think they are right about the second part, but not for the same reasons they do.
There are a dozen different polls out there that preview head-to-head match ups, in every Obama v McCain, Obama wins by double digits, and in every Clinton v McCain, it's very close, a statistical tie. I've said it before, national polls tell very little about how a presidential election will turn out, I'm not going to argue the merits of those polls, but rather the perception they give people who read them, the wikiality is that if Mr. Obama is the nominee, game over, if Mrs. Clinton is the nominee, game on (this is generally more true among Republicans, Democrats who support Mrs. Clinton think that she can pull it off and ignore those polls).
It's my contention that last night Republicans in Mississippi voted for Senator Clinton to try and give Senator McCain an easier opponent come November. Possibly even taking the advice of Rush Limbaugh and trying to "bloody up Obama ", of the mindset that the longer the primary goes on the better it is for the Republicans.
I don't think it's going to work though. I think that Mr. Obama has a lock on the nomination at this point, and really the longer the primary season goes on the better it is for the Democrats, it keeps them in the news. But also I think Mrs. Clinton's initial strength is part of what has pushed Mr. Obama to be the powerhouse candidate that he has become, the longer she stays in the better for him. With no opponent the McCain campaign has been relegated irrelevant until the Democrats have a nominee, which might just make Mr. McCain irrelevant until August, while people stay excited about the Democrats.
For more on how the race is shaping up, check out my next post on post Mississippi math.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Post Wyoming Update

The Wyoming results are in and Senator Obama has won the state with 61% of the vote compared to Senator Clinton’s 38% and 1% voted uncommitted. Wyoming has twelve pledged delegates, seven of whom will go to Mr. Obama and five to Mrs. Clinton. This is using the AP numbers (CNN only apportioned four delegates to Mrs. Clinton)

New delegate math, using last week’s numbers and only making changes based on the Wyoming results:

Magic number 2,025

Remaining pledged delegates: 735

Obama total: 1567 + 7 = 1574
Clinton total: 1462 + 5 = 1467

Number of reaming pledged delegates needed to clinch the nomination:

Obama 451
Clinton 558

Percentage of reaming pledged delegates needed to clinch the nomination:

Obama 61% (same as last week)
Clinton 76% (a 1% increase from last week)

Mrs. Clinton needs 65% of the remaining pledged delegates to pull even with Mr. Obama

Mississippi votes tomorrow, there are 33 pledged delegates up for grabs. Mississippi also has 7

super delegates, 3 of whom are committed to Mr. Obama, and 4 are uncommitted.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Much Ado about Nothing

On Tuesday Senator Clinton won three out of five contests. Bam! She’s smack back in it, right? No. According to John Zogby, going into the Tuesday contests she needed about 62% of all the remaining pledged delegates to catch up to Senator Obama, by my math she took 53% (the actual percentage is likely a little lower because the Texas Caucus results are not in yet). She now needs 65% of the remaining delegates to catch up to her opponent by the convention, so in a way, Mrs. Clinton actually lost some ground Tuesday night, despite picking up 18 delegates. On the positive side for her, she did push back the goal posts on Mr. Obama’s hopes of clinching before the convention.

The magic number to clinch the nomination is 2,025. Including the Texas Caucus, by my math there are 747 pledged delegates left, and if we use the AP numbers, Mr. Obama has 1,567 delegates and would then need 458, or 61% to clinch, and Mrs. Clinton would need 563, or 75%. Sticking with the AP numbers there are 272 non-committed Super Delegates, if included there are then 1019 votes up for grabs and the break down becomes 45% for Mr. Obama to seal the nomination and 55% for Mrs. Clinton. The Super Delegate math is really pretty fuzzy because their support is so fluid it makes them hard to factor them in. I would guess that most of the remaining non-committed will not endorse before the convention, as Al Gore and John Edwards have pledged to do (or not do, depending on how you look at it.) So in the interest of simplicity I will not use the
Super Delegates.

There are twelve contests left (see chart). Right now it looks like Mr. Obama will win the Texas Caucus, and it is predicted that he will also carry Wyoming and Mississippi. Based on the trends that have been established Mr. Obama should also carry Oregon, Montana, South Dakota, North Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana. Because the contests are now so spaced out, I’m willing to bet that Obama runs the table. Why am I willing to make such a bold statement? Because so far, everywhere he has campaigned, his numbers have gone up, and everywhere Mrs. Clinton has campaigned, her numbers have gone down.

I was an early Clinton supporter, I went to some of her rallies, gave money to her campaign, I voted for her in the Senate, wrote and spoke favorably about her. I was excited to think about having another Clinton in the White House, and even more so at the thought of a woman finally being elected President. But the more I listened to her speak, the deeper I looked at her record, the closer I looked at her specifics, the more hollow her vanilla message rang and I became disenchanted. I am inclined to think that many other people had a somewhat similar experience.

Texas Caucus - ?? 67

Wyoming – 3/8 18

Mississippi – 3/11 40

Pennsylvania – 4/22 188

Indiana – 5/6 84

North Carolina – 5/6 134

West Virginia – 5/13 39

Kentucky – 5/20 60

Oregon – 5/20 65

Montana – 6/3 24

South Dakota – 6/3 23

Puerto Rico – 6/7 63

Florida - ??

Michigan - ??

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Michigan and Florida

I am so frigging sick of hearing about how the Democratic Party disenfranchised Michigan and Florida, because that is not what happened at all.

Party primaries are a PARTY function. The party decides to have them, and how much they matter, period. The Democratic Party decided to have Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada vote in that order, before February 5th. They made it very clear to the other 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, Saipan, and Americans living abroad to set their primaries any time after February 4th but before the convention in August. 48 states, a district, four territories, and block of people living in over 100 different countries were able to follow those rules and schedule their primaries and caucuses accordingly.

Two states decided that they were better than that and scheduled primaries in January. The rules were overwhelmingly clear. The Florida and Michigan primaries are null and void, meaningless. They have no more legitimacy than if I were to organize voting in my basement and ask the party for delegates.

I will agree with Governor Christ that based on its diversity Florida is probably the state that best represents the whole country, or at least top five with California, New York, Oregon and Texas. Although I suspect Mr. Christ was really just trying to get his electorate pissed off at the Democrats as part of a larger effort to be elected Vice President.

I will certainly agree with Governor Granholm that Michigan needs more attention. They have got to be the most economically depressed state in the whole country and they are consistently ignored. Detroit is their best city. P.s. forget Arnold, amend for Jennifer, she is doing a fantastic job in Michigan and would be a brilliant presidential candidate if only she weren’t born in Canada.

Absolutely Florida and Michigan should send delegates to the convention, but they have to have legitimate elections first.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Audacity of Hopelessness

Written by AskHodder contributer Frank Rich

WHEN people one day look back at the remarkable implosion of the Hillary Clinton campaign, they may notice that it both began and ended in the long dark shadow of Iraq.

It’s not just that her candidacy’s central premise — the priceless value of “experience” — was fatally poisoned from the start by her still ill-explained vote to authorize the fiasco. Senator Clinton then compounded that 2002 misjudgment by pursuing a 2008 campaign strategy that uncannily mimicked the disastrous Bush Iraq war plan. After promising a cakewalk to the nomination — “It will be me,” Mrs. Clinton told Katie Couric in November — she was routed by an insurgency.

The Clinton camp was certain that its moneyed arsenal of political shock-and-awe would take out Barack Hussein Obama in a flash. The race would “be over by Feb. 5,” Mrs. Clinton assured George Stephanopoulos just before New Year’s. But once the Obama forces outwitted her, leaving her mission unaccomplished on Super Tuesday, there was no contingency plan. She had neither the boots on the ground nor the money to recoup.

That’s why she has been losing battle after battle by double digits in every corner of the country ever since. And no matter how much bad stuff happened, she kept to the Bush playbook, stubbornly clinging to her own Rumsfeld, her chief strategist, Mark Penn. Like his prototype, Mr. Penn is bigger on loyalty and arrogance than strategic brilliance. But he’s actually not even all that loyal. Mr. Penn, whose operation has billed several million dollars in fees to the Clinton campaign so far, has never given up his day job as chief executive of the public relations behemoth Burson-Marsteller. His top client there, Microsoft, is simultaneously engaged in a demanding campaign of its own to acquire Yahoo.

Clinton fans don’t see their standard-bearer’s troubles this way. In their view, their highly substantive candidate was unfairly undone by a lightweight showboat who got a free ride from an often misogynist press and from naïve young people who lap up messianic language as if it were Jim Jones’s Kool-Aid. Or as Mrs. Clinton frames it, Senator Obama is all about empty words while she is all about action and hard work.

But it’s the Clinton strategists, not the Obama voters, who drank the Kool-Aid. The Obama campaign is not a vaporous cult; it’s a lean and mean political machine that gets the job done. The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidate’s message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating.

The gap in hard work between the two campaigns was clear well before Feb. 5. Mrs. Clinton threw as much as $25 million at the Iowa caucuses without ever matching Mr. Obama’s organizational strength. In South Carolina, where last fall she was up 20 percentage points in the polls, she relied on top-down endorsements and the patina of inevitability, while the Obama campaign built a landslide-winning organization from scratch at the grass roots. In Kansas, three paid Obama organizers had the field to themselves for three months; ultimately Obama staff members outnumbered Clinton staff members there 18 to 3.

In the last battleground, Wisconsin, the Clinton campaign was six days behind Mr. Obama in putting up ads and had only four campaign offices to his 11. Even as Mrs. Clinton clings to her latest firewall — the March 4 contests — she is still being outhustled. Last week she told reporters that she “had no idea” that the Texas primary system was “so bizarre” (it’s a primary-caucus hybrid), adding that she had “people trying to understand it as we speak.” Perhaps her people can borrow the road map from Obama’s people. In Vermont, another March 4 contest, The Burlington Free Press reported that there were four Obama offices and no Clinton offices as of five days ago. For what will no doubt be the next firewall after March 4, Pennsylvania on April 22, the Clinton campaign is sufficiently disorganized that it couldn’t file a complete slate of delegates by even an extended ballot deadline.

This is the candidate who keeps telling us she’s so competent that she’ll be ready to govern from Day 1. Mrs. Clinton may be right that Mr. Obama has a thin résumé, but her disheveled campaign keeps reminding us that the biggest item on her thicker résumé is the health care task force that was as botched as her presidential bid.

Given that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama offer marginally different policy prescriptions — laid out in voluminous detail by both, by the way, on their Web sites — it’s not clear what her added-value message is. The “experience” mantra has been compromised not only by her failure on the signal issue of Iraq but also by the deadening lingua franca of her particular experience, Washingtonese. No matter what the problem, she keeps rolling out another commission to solve it: a commission for infrastructure, a Financial Product Safety Commission, a Corporate Subsidy Commission, a Katrina/Rita Commission and, to deal with drought, a water summit.

As for countering what she sees as the empty Obama brand of hope, she offers only a chilly void: Abandon hope all ye who enter here. This must be the first presidential candidate in history to devote so much energy to preaching against optimism, against inspiring language and — talk about bizarre — against democracy itself. No sooner does Mrs. Clinton lose a state than her campaign belittles its voters as unrepresentative of the country.

Bill Clinton knocked states that hold caucuses instead of primaries because “they disproportionately favor upper-income voters” who “don’t really need a president but feel like they need a change.” After the Potomac primary wipeout, Mr. Penn declared that Mr. Obama hadn’t won in “any of the significant states” outside of his home state of Illinois. This might come as news to Virginia, Maryland, Washington and Iowa, among the other insignificant sites of Obama victories. The blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga has hilariously labeled this Penn spin the “insult 40 states” strategy.

The insults continued on Tuesday night when a surrogate preceding Mrs. Clinton onstage at an Ohio rally, Tom Buffenbarger of the machinists’ union, derided Obama supporters as “latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust-fund babies.” Even as he ranted, exit polls in Wisconsin were showing that Mr. Obama had in fact won that day among voters with the least education and the lowest incomes. Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Obama received the endorsement of the latte-drinking Teamsters.

If the press were as prejudiced against Mrs. Clinton as her campaign constantly whines, debate moderators would have pushed for the Clinton tax returns and the full list of Clinton foundation donors to be made public with the same vigor it devoted to Mr. Obama’s “plagiarism.” And it would have showered her with the same ridicule that Rudy Giuliani received in his endgame. With 11 straight losses in nominating contests, Mrs. Clinton has now nearly doubled the Giuliani losing streak (six) by the time he reached his Florida graveyard. But we gamely pay lip service to the illusion that she can erect one more firewall.

The other persistent gripe among some Clinton supporters is that a hard-working older woman has been unjustly usurped by a cool young guy intrinsically favored by a sexist culture. Slate posted a devilish video mash-up of the classic 1999 movie “Election”: Mrs. Clinton is reduced to a stand-in for Tracy Flick, the diligent candidate for high school president played by Reese Witherspoon, and Mr. Obama is implicitly cast as the mindless jock who upsets her by dint of his sheer, unearned popularity.

There is undoubtedly some truth to this, however demeaning it may be to both candidates, but in reality, the more consequential ur-text for the Clinton 2008 campaign may be another Hollywood classic, the Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy “Pat and Mike” of 1952. In that movie, the proto-feminist Hepburn plays a professional athlete who loses a tennis or golf championship every time her self-regarding fiancé turns up in the crowd, pulling her focus and undermining her confidence with his grandstanding presence.

In the 2008 real-life remake of “Pat and Mike,” it’s not the fiancé, of course, but the husband who has sabotaged the heroine. The single biggest factor in Hillary Clinton’s collapse is less sexism in general than one man in particular — the man who began the campaign as her biggest political asset. The moment Bill Clinton started trash-talking about Mr. Obama and raising the specter of a co-presidency, even to the point of giving his own televised speech ahead of his wife’s on the night she lost South Carolina, her candidacy started spiraling downward.
What’s next? Despite Mrs. Clinton’s valedictory tone at Thursday’s debate, there remains the fear in some quarters that whether through sleights of hand involving superdelegates or bogus delegates from Michigan or Florida, the Clintons might yet game or even steal the nomination. I’m starting to wonder. An operation that has waged political war as incompetently as the Bush administration waged war in Iraq is unlikely to suddenly become smart enough to pull off that duplicitous a “victory.” Besides, after spending $1,200 on Dunkin’ Donuts in January alone, this campaign simply may not have the cash on hand to mount a surge.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good for you Texas

That isn’t a phrase I have used all that often, but last night the Lone Star State made me proud.

I haven’t written about Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, but I often discuss him with friends, I frequently tell the story about meeting him at a 2006 gubernatorial debate in Agawam where an entrance census, census not survey, showed 95% of those in attendance did not know who they would vote for if the election were that night, which is not uncommon, people go to debates to learn about the candidates. Patrick blew the doors of the place. I had goose bumps. He got more standing ovations than his opponents got applause, I would liken it to the Obama buzz, except bigger. The exit census showed 97% would vote for Patrick if the election were that day, census. What does that mean? It means that of the 200 or so people there that night, six or seven people would vote for one of the other candidates, including the two other candidates themselves and their wives. Barring a massive scandal or a lack of personal ambition, I think Deval Patrick will be President someday.

Patrick and Obama have been friends for years, they went to school together, they worked together as community organizers in Chicago, and Gov. Patrick is one of the chief strategists on the Obama campaign. They are also very similar politicians, near identical résumés pre-politics, they speak with sincerity about bridging the blue/red divide and they both have the power to give a speech that’ll knock your socks off. That said it didn’t surprise me to read about the manufactured controversy about them making the same point in a speech (and by the way, if you can forget who said it first, it’s a dynamite speech).
It also didn’t surprise me to get a couple phone calls from Hilary staffers curious for my opinion. I pointed out the close relationship the two have, and also that Patrick had suggested Obama use the allegedly “stolen” lines. They seemed to think it was going to cripple Obama and rejuvenate the Hilary campaign, I said they were crazy, but one staffer who works very closely with Mrs. Clinton said “wait until you hear the line we came up with. She’s going to drop it on him and it’ll be the chant at every McCain rally, it’ll be all over youtube, it’s gonna be the turning point.”
I was skeptical.

The line? “That’s not change you can believe in – it’s change you can Xerox”. The audience booed. Good for you Texas. It was one of the dumbest things her campaign has done, how is she going to condemn him for using lines written by his staffers with a line written by her staffers? I called my friend after the debate to ask that question and to say that “a big part of why you’re losing so monumentally, is because you have a candidate and a campaign staff that can’t seem to tell the difference between brilliant ideas and really stupid political moves, this was dumber than when you dug up his kindergarten papers”.

Her campaign still thinks it’s going to resonate.

Just for kicks

This is an unofficial statement from Xerox on Hilary’s attempt to burn Obama:

[W]e here at Xerox make mostly printers and multi-function devices, not copiers.
So yes, Obama, like Xerox offers 21st century color
multi-function devices... almost a 1/3rd of our business comes from integrated
document solution systems not copiers. It is kinda like saying Disney's only
offerings are Mickey Mouse cartoons, and overlooking everything else from theme
parks to television networks and retail clothing.

So you don’t think your old?

Believe it or not the students graduating from high school this year were born in 1990. Maybe you’re still not convinced, but try to wrap your mind around a few things about the world they’ve known:

They have never known a world without the internet
MTV has never played music
Cable TV has always had the digital menus
They don’t remember before the Patriots were the best team in football
They have always known about global warming
Seinfeld has always been in reruns
Dial up and pay by the minute internet were before their time
Their homes have always had at least one pc
Long distance phone calls have never been expensive
They have never seen a black and white TV or rotary dial phone outside of a museum
Phones have always had call waiting and caller id
They had just started middle school on 9/11
Nelson Mandela has always been free
Aids has always been a source of societal concern
There has always been a Starbucks on every corner
Haley Joel Osmet, the kid from The Sixth Sense, is older than they are
Gasoline has always been expensive
The Simpsons came on the air before they were born
Jon Stewart has always hosted The Daily Show
They don’t know who Walter Cronkite is
Barbra Walters has always been on The View and they don’t know what she did before
They don’t really remember life before Harry Potter
TV has always included reality shows
They never cared about arcades
They have never owned any music on cassette, and have always been able to download it offline
Cell phones have always been common
They don’t remember when Michael Jackson was more than a punch line
Steroids have always been in sports
The Berlin wall has always been down, and the Soviet Union is what Russia was before they were born

Things they think are old school:

The SNL cast with Will Farrell, Chris Kattan, Jimmy Fallon, and Tracy Morgan
Play Station 1
Hootie and the Blowfish, the Gin Blossoms, Smash Mouth and Oasis
Bill Clinton (they were too young to read during the Lewinski scandal)
Cordless phones with metal antennas
Michael Jordan
The CD Discman
The expression “old school”

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Jason Jones hit the nail square on the head

I actually wrote this post over a week ago, but after a certain segment on “A Daily Show” I knew I had to rewrite it. Jon Stewart asked Jason Jones why the Romney campaign never really caught fire despite limitless funding, good presidential looks, a beautiful family, economic experience etc. Jones responded that “the Mitt Romney campaign was never quite able to get over the fact that Mitt Romney, is a douche bag.” Quite possibly the best political analysis I’ve ever heard.
Romney might not wear a wool hat during the summer or t-shirts with stupid sayings, he isn’t leaching off his girlfriend until his band takes off, he isn’t a security guard with a blog or living in his parent’s basement. Romney isn’t Nick Lachey or Ryan Phillipe and as far as I know he doesn’t own a Segway scooter or wear wide leather strap bracelets, and he doesn’t even smell like a summer mist, but Mitt Romney is a douche bag in that he represents everything people hate about politicians. He is an inauthentic, super polished, over privileged, mud slinging, groveling panderer, and he treats people like they’re stupid. Granted so do most politicians, but Romney is just much more blatant about it.
Mitt Romney grew up a child of privilege, never wanting or having to work for a thing in his life, but he tucks his polo shirt into his jeans, sinches his belt, throws on a brand-new Carhartt jacket and acts like he knows what it’s like to do hard labor. When he ran for office in Massachusetts he swore up and down that he was pro-choice, a position he reversed to run for President and his answer on the flip flop was that “I said I was pro-choice, but every time I had the opportunity, I came down on the side of life” and I’m sure someone on his staff thought this was a brilliant answer. It’s not. Instead it begs the question, were you lying then or are you lying now? but the answer is one of those two.
When Hilary was doing well talking about experience, Romney talked about experience, when Obama’s message of change and the need to fix a corrupt Washington system started to take off, Romney talked about the need for change, when McCain pulled ahead in the polls as the best person to handle the wars, Mitt Romney parroted McCain’s position. He never talked about new ideas, only why other people’s plans were stupid, his campaign never even put forth an original thought. When a reporter asked him if he supported the war so much, why his sons weren’t serving, he replied that they were serving in a different fashion, that they felt the best way they could honor America was to get him elected President.
Romney did look good on paper, but in substance, he’s a douche bag and that’s why whenever he would show up in a state the other guy would start winning. He only won three primaries, and they were all states he claimed to be from (Utah, Massachusetts, and Michigan). People aren’t stupid Mitt, and they proved it by voting you out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chuck Norris

Seriously, Chuck Norris turns 68 next month. Don't take my word for it, check out his IMDB page, even if you do believe me it's worth checking out http://imdb.com/name/nm0001569/

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mitt Romney

In 2002 I was eighteen and I voted in my first election, I hate to admit it, but yes, I voted for Mitt Romney. I didn’t feel right about it at the time, and I have come to deeply regret it. That is really an understatement, I don’t just regret it, it haunts me, my chest tightens and I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it. Sometimes at night I lay awake in bed, unable to sleep because I’m so horrifically overwhelmed with the shame and embarrassment I feel knowing that I had something to do with people taking Mitt Romney seriously on a national stage.

Have you ever dragged a stick through a nasty pond/swamp and when you pulled it up it had slimy hair like gunk on it that you dredged up from the water? I don’t know what that stuff is called, but I have to figure there are only about four or five things in the world more repulsive and vile than that crap, I don’t know what they all are, but I do know that Aids is one of them, and Mitt Romney is another. As governor the deep blue legislature was able to make him pretty irrelevant by overriding his vetoes, killing his legislation and just generally keeping Romney from doing any of the truly awful things that he plotted sitting alone in his secret evil laboratory while drinking puppy blood from the skull of a small child he hit with his car. True story[*]. In a Mitt Romney presidency we likely will not be so lucky to have such a noble and valiant Congress to protect us.

If you’re thinking about voting for him, don’t. The only thing he has going for him is that he looks presidential, but so do Fred Thompson, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson. Mitt Romney is a liar. Not just a little fibber but a boldface fucking liar. When he ran for governor he promised to cut income taxes, he never did. He did however manage to raise taxes by increasing fees, creating new taxes, and cutting local aide, which in turn raised local taxes. He likes to take credit for Massachusetts’s new health insurance laws, but the legislator had to drag him kicking and screaming, plus it’s a flawed system, and most of the flaws are in places he made changes. He scrapped college scholarship programs that generated new teachers, and he did it retroactively too. He never said a damn thing about illegal immigration until he ran for president. In both his run for governor and his run for the Senate he swore up and down that he respected a woman’s constitutional right to have soul consent over her own vagina, now he says he has always been on the side of vaginal regulation. In his previous elections he was clear in his support for the rights of consenting adults to maintain closed bedroom doors, yet he spent the majority of his time as governor fighting to strip people the right to be treated like people, and even after the court, the legislature and the populace told him to knock it off and stop being such a douche bag Romney refused (as evidence by the fact that he is still, such a douche bag).

He was a shitty ass governor. So much so that he wished he could have had George Bush’s approval ratings by the time he left office. His handpicked successor lost in a landslide, despite spending millions of her own dollars and launching a disgustingly negative campaign against a challenger who didn’t run a single negative ad.

Please primary voters don’t make the same mistake I made. I regret nothing more in my life than the vote I cast for him. I am truly and deeply sorry that my state elected him thereby affording him enough legitimacy to run for president, and words can not express how sorry I am that I had anything to do with it. My state failed you, so did I, and I’m sorry.

[*] Don’t believe me? Watch, I’ll bet I don’t even get sued

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Clinton Vs Obama =/= Women Vs Black People

For every African American that supports Senator Barack Obama there are almost two that support Senator Hilary Clinton, and for every woman that supports Mrs. Clinton, there are three that support Mr. Obama. This seems to be cause for much head-scratching and confusion for people, especially political pundits, writers and commentators. Everyone is asking “why?”

I’m going to explain it to you, sure, it may seem arrogant that one kid can explain something that many serious people don’t understand, but it’s actually pretty simple, are you ready? Here it is: WOMEN AND BLACK PEOPLE AREN’T STUPID! So stop acting like it. It is embarrassing to think that women would be so closed minded as to support a candidate just because she is a woman. It is even more mortifying, degrading and shameful for white people to assume that a race that has fought for hundreds of years, generation after generation for people to “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” would be so hypocritical that they would turn around and do the same thing.

If the Democratic Presidential bid is a three way race (it’s not by any means, but it is certainly being framed that way) and the assumption is that women will support the woman, blacks will support the black, are we to also assume that the white men support the white guy? No. This is not the case because people assume that white men have enough brain power to makeup their minds based sound reasoning and personal ideology. Stop acting like women and blacks are stupid, they aren’t, and neither is the populace as a whole, we just get treated like we are every four years.