Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When Will Hillary Drop Out?

Not before the convention. Barack Obama (D-IL) can't make the magic number he needs, so why should Hillary Clinton (D-NY) drop out?

I first floated the idea of this almost a week ago, and as I have had time to think about it more, I've decided that it bears more consideration.

The media has been telling us for months that the magic number to reach the Democratic nomination is 2025 (2026 due to recent elections), and completely ignoring the 2209 (2210) number that would be necessary if Florida and Michigan were seated in full.

As Harold Ickes has said:

2210 is the high mark,” he said — referring to the number of delegates needed if the Michigan and Florida delegations are seated fully — “and it appears 2026 is the low mark. But that low mark is no longer in my view a reasonable number to even talk about.

He's absolutely correct.

However, I think most people would say the same about 2210, and tell you that the real number is somewhere in the middle.

The options are:

  1. Do not seat Florida or Michigan.
  2. Split the Florida and Michigan pledged delegations 50/50. Superdelegates are free to vote as they wish. (The list of Florida and Michigan superdelegates)
  3. Florida and Michigan hold new elections. (3/17 - Florida has announced they will not hold a new election as did Michigan on 3/19)
  4. Split Michigan 50/50 including supers. Give Florida pledged delegates 1/2 vote, but based on January election. 1/2 vote for superdelegates also. This is supposedly under significant discussion.
  5. Seat them based on the elections that have taken place. Give Obama the 55 Michigan uncommitted delegates.
  6. Seat them based on the elections that have taken place. Don't assume Obama gets the 55 Michigan uncommitted delegates.

We are not endorsing any of these options. We're just providing information so our readers can judge how each option will affect the race.
Note: Many readers have asked why we continue to include options 5 and 6 in this post, and why we include option 6 in our sidebar. It's because politics is a strange business, and you never know what might happen in the future.

Allow me to be the first to officially move into the 2210 camp. I now believe that is the only number worth discussing.

Why? Lawsuits.

Florida has already started the process to sue the DNC to have their delegates seated in full at the convention. You'd be naive to assume that Michigan will not follow suit.

So, we can discount options 1, 2, 3, and 4 immediately. That leaves:

  • Seat them based on the elections that have taken place. Give Obama the 55 Michigan uncommitted delegates.
  • Seat them based on the elections that have taken place. Don't assume Obama gets the 55 Michigan uncommitted delegates.

Ah, but giving Obama the 55 Michigan uncommitted delegates would be overturning the results of their "election". Under the same law that Florida Dems are using in the basis for their lawsuit, the DNC can't do that either.

That leaves option 6 as the only viable possibility. So, the number is 2210 and Obama needs 133 to get there, a number that seems virtually impossible to reach by June 3, the date of the last Democratic primary.

What will happen between June and August? Well, Howard Dean will push any uncommitted supers to commit. However, it seems unlikely that that will work better than it has so far. Obama will pick up a few, but probably not many. If you're a super and you haven't committed by June 4, what incentive is there for you to commit before you absolutely have to?

This battle is going to the convention folks...

The FairTax and Economic Growth

Great blog post on what we can expect our economy to do when we adopt the FairTax.

I'll just give you the money quote.  But read the whole thing.

Our economy would be almost three times larger in 2082 if we average 3.5% growth than it would be if growth averaged 2.0%. The “present value” of our GDP over the 75-year period would be more than 70% larger. The implications of this difference are staggering

Congress: Raising Your Gas Prices Since 1976

Last week, our hardworking Congress grilled Oil Executives on the high cost of gasoline.

Before I make my main point, I'd like to point out this graph:

The red line is the price of crude oil, and the blue line is the price of gasoline. Notice that the blue line hasn't been rising nearly as fast as the red line.

In spite of this, I do think Congress should be asking some tough questions about the price of gasoline and crude oil.

And since the Oil execs are there, here's some questions they could ask.

  • Why haven't you done any new drilling in Alaska?
  • Why haven't you done any new drilling off the coast of California?
  • Why haven't you done any new drilling off the coast of Florida?
  • Why haven't you done any new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico?
  • Why haven't you built any new refineries in the last 33 years?
  • Why haven't you done any exploration into the shale oil deposits in Colorado? Are you aware that there's more oil there than in the Persian Gulf?

However, Congress won't ask any of these questions, because they already know the answers and don't want you to know them.

The Democratic "Dream Ticket"

Should Barack Obama (D-IL) select Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as his running mate? Tigerhawk gives a resounding "no", and I totally agree.

As he says:

The Clintons are too powerful to control, too ambitious to control themselves, and too untrustworthy to appease.

Also, there's a long-standing rule of thumb in Presidential politics. Never pick a VP candidate that will upstage you. Yes, I know John Kerry (D-MA) forgot that rule, but John Kerry forgot a lot of things, including where he was in Christmas of 1968 and who was President then.

And lets not kid ourselves, while Obama is certainly charismatic and the media loves him, the Clintons are a media force (some might say a media force in the wrong direction, but that's a point for another post), and will often take the spotlight away from Obama. This is not something that Obama can afford.

And she's not going to help him on the ticket. Republicans hate her. Democratic chances this year depend upon limited conservative enthusiasm, much like 2006. He doesn't want to doa anything to get the conservatives motivated. Having Hillary on the ticket might just do that.

Also, he's already going to win Illinois and New York (probably). The only upside of her being on the ticket is the "reunification of the Democratic party", which is a big upside, but doesn't outweigh the downsides, in my opinion.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Byron York Says To "Count Every Vote"

In an article for The Hill, Byron York points out what I've been saying for months now, that Hillary Clinton may (D-NY) yet win the popular vote for the Democratic nomination. He even doesn't count Michigan in his thinking. I count Michigan, but give the "uncommitted" votes to Barack Obama (D-IL). Byron wonders why some Democrats don't seem to care about this.

It just doesn’t make sense to me that some Democrats would rather not count the votes of fellow Democrats in two rather large, and extremely important, states.

This is the party that went bonkers over 537 votes in Florida in 2000, and now they want to ignore 1.7 million Democrats in the same state, plus 600,000 in Michigan?

That, combined with the recent lawsuit by Florida Democrats to have their delegates seated in full at the convention spell troubling times ahead for the DNC.

It's going to be hard to convince the Hillary supporters to join Obamamania if she's won the popular vote. It will be even harder if the status of Florida and Michigan are still up in the air, or decided in Hillary's favor. Then we have a nominee who's not really the nominee:

What is at stake is Obama’s standing as the clear, unquestioned leader of the party.

When the winner is the guy who didn’t get the most popular votes, some people won’t be happy — just ask all those Democrats who sported “Re-Defeat Bush” stickers on their cars in 2004.

This nomination process has caused a rather large rift in the Democratic party. One that is not likely to be healed soon. What will happen if Florida and Michigan are not seated, or are seated in a way that leaves no one from those states happy? What will happen if Hillary wins the popular vote, but loses the nomination? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I know that Democrats don't get over it quickly when they feel they've been shafted in an election.

And this lawsuit opens the door for a real 2000 type scenario. It's now worthwhile considering the small, but very real possibility that Democrats from Florida or Michigan may go to court to challenge the nominee selected by the party at the convention. If Obama is nominated and Florida and Michigan delegates are not seated fully, when a full seating could change the nomination, things could get ugly.

The good news for the Democrats is that the scenario that I've just painted is extremely unlikely.

About as likely as the U.S. Supreme Court intervening in an election and ordering a state to certify its election results over the protests of the state's own Supreme Court.

Oh, but that already happened.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Consensus" On Global Warming? Apparently Not

The Petition Project:

We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

But has anyone signed the bloody thing?  You bet.

[M]ore than 31,000 scientists have signed a petition rejecting claims of human-caused global warming. The purpose of OISM's Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of "settled science" and an overwhelming "consensus" in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climate damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists. As indicated by the petition text and signatory list, a very large number of American scientists reject this hypothesis.

It is evident that 31,072 Americans with university degrees in science - including 9,021 PhDs, are not "a few." Moreover, from the clear and strong petition statement that they have signed, it is evident that these 31,072 American scientists are not "skeptics."

Ok, this is still science by democracy, which is ludicrous, but at least it lays to rest the idea that all reputable scientists are on board with the idea of human-caused global warming.

Check out the Petition Project here.

Fantastic Article By Joe Lieberman

There's a fantastic article by Joe Lieberman (I-CN) in today's WSJ on the changes to the Democratic party in recent years. It goes along with something I've said myself many times. If John F. Kennedy were alive today, he'd be a Republican.

A couple quotes to whet your appetite:

And this was the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy, who promised in his inaugural address that the United States would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of freedom."

and:

Of course that leftward lurch by the Democrats did not go unchallenged. Democratic Cold Warriors like Scoop Jackson fought against the tide. But despite their principled efforts, the Democratic Party through the 1970s and 1980s became prisoner to a foreign policy philosophy that was, in most respects, the antithesis of what Democrats had stood for under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy.

and the zinger:

A great Democratic secretary of state, Dean Acheson, once warned "no people in history have ever survived, who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies." This is a lesson that today's Democratic Party leaders need to relearn.

As they say, read the whole thing.

What Republicans Can Do To Get Me Back

I hear that after the debacle in Mississippi last week that the Republicans on Capitol Hill are finally waking up and realizing they’re in trouble.

Good.

It’s been a long time coming. You should’ve realized it in November of 2006. Actually, you should’ve realized it before then.

I’ve told numerous people who have called me on the phone that the NRCC and RNC will get money from me when the Republicans start acting like Republicans again. Since you’re finally waking up, let me spell out in detail what it will take to get the support of your base (or at least me) once more.

  1. Ok, you probably don’t have much of a chance of salvaging 2008. The best you can realistically hope for is to hold the White House and for the bleeding to not be too bad in the House and Senate. However, if you want to try something for 2008, it needs to be big, and bold. Like the 1994 Contract with America. Actually, Newt Gingrich is a good source for this again. See here and here.
  2. Realize that this isn’t the 70s or the 80s. It’s the 2000s. If Bush and Rove have taught us anything about modern politics, it’s that you don’t get very far unless you can motivate the base (this was your failing in 2006 as well). This is where the money comes from and the most reliable voters, especially on a national scale. You can woo independents and right-leaning Democrats in a region or a state or a district, but trying to do it on a national scale is a recipe for disaster. That’s what Republicans did in the 70s. If you want Congress to look like it did in the 70s then follow that plan. It’s fine to have left-leaning “mavericks” like John McCain (R-AZ) in the party, but if you take the whole party there, you’ll lose the base. And you’ll lose your money, and you’ll lose the votes.
  3. Keep your pants zipped. I’m tired of reading about Republican sex scandals.
  4. Be the party of energy independence! How about drilling in ANWR, off the coast of FL, off the coast of CA, and in the Gulf? How about shale oil in CO? How about nuclear power? How about hydrogen power? How about wind power? How about raising CAFE (I know I'm in the minority of conservatives on this one) standards? How about NGV (natural gas vehicles)? And how about allowing some refineries to be built while we're at it?
  5. Eliminate Republican earmarks and pork barrel spending. This is one area where you can follow John McCain’s lead. Republicans need to stand for small government, and this is the best way you can start that as a minority party. Show me 0 earmarks for Republicans in the budgets for 2009 and 2010, and you’ll be riding strong going into the 2010 elections.
  6. Small government! Small government! I don’t mind investigating global warming, to see if it’s a real problem that needs real fixes, but don’t just start growing government to fix a problem that may not even exist. Move away from McCain on this one, or at least temper what he’s saying with a desire to investigate first/spend later.
  7. Stay the course in Iraq. Every Republican running for Congress/Senate/White House needs to read Michael Yon’s book, Moment of Truth in Iraq. There’s plenty in there that will upset both Reps and Dems, but the point of the book is this: we are at a turning point in Iraq right now. We can win it, or we can lose the war on terror right now, and it’s all about character. The Democrats are showing no character at all on this issue. Be the party of character. Republicans need to stand tall with John McCain on this.
  8. Secure the borders. Not as part of a “comprehensive immigration reform bill”, not as a “first step”. This needs to stand on its own. The Republican party needs to stand for this, because it’s obvious that the Democrats aren’t. This is another area where McCain is headed the wrong direction. He wants a “comprehensive plan”. Look, you prove to me that you can secure the borders, then I’m willing to listen to what you have to say about immigration. Not before. I’ve been lied to before on this one. I won’t fall for it again.
  9. Fight to keep the Bush tax cuts in place. Actually, I’ll do you one better later on in this post.
  10. I’m not so hung up on gay marriage and stem cell research as some. I think these are niche issues. If the Republicans can make use of them, great. But I suspect that they are district by district or state by state issues, not national ones for the Republican Party.
  11. Stand up to the mainstream media. Don’t hide behind Fox and expect them to do all your dirty work for you. When there’s a Democrat scandal and the AP doesn’t name the party, when the mainstream media twists the facts to suit their agenda, call them out on it. I want to see a live press conference on TV detailing what the New York Times did wrong this week. I know, this one is risky. Politicians don’t get very far who make enemies of the press. Guess what, though? This is like September 10th, 2001. The press has already declared war on Republicans. The Republicans just haven’t realized it yet.
  12. That “Culture of Corruption” thing works. Start calling Democrats to the carpet on this. How can you possibly be defending William Jefferson? How is he still in Congress?
  13. Point out the failures of the Democrats in this Congress. Call them on the carpet regarding their promises about earmarks and corruption and high energy prices. Point out the price of gas in November 2006 vs. now.
  14. Stop with the “boogeyman” letters and phone calls. You keep contacting me telling me that if I don’t donate the Democrats are going to do this, that, and the other thing, all of which are truly awful. You’ve gone to that well too often. It’s dry. You need to prove that you can do better yourselves before you can go to that well again.
  15. There’s one thing that you can do right now, this year, that will get me to reach into my wallet and donate as much as I can to the NRCC and individuals. Support the FairTax (H.R. 25, S.25). Make that part of the Republican platform at the Convention. The FairTax or something like it is inevitable. It’s the only way this country is going to survive the 21st century economically. Eventually, either the Republicans or the Democrats are going to realize it. Whoever realizes it first will have my eternal gratitude. You can be that party. Or you can let the Democrats have my money. It’s up to you.

That’s fifteen items off the top of my head. You’re going to have to do a majority of them before you can even get my attention. Keeping my attention is going to require nearly every single one. Some of them will be hard to accomplish as a minority party. But stand firm on these issues and make the distinctions between your positions and those of the Democrats loud and clear, and 2010 will be a better year for Republicans than 2006 and 2008.

But my original answer to the RNC caller on the phone is still the best way to put it. “Act like Republicans.”

New And Noteworthy

What’s Going On?

Well, I really have missed doing my September 11 timeline. My daughters have asked about that, and I want them to understand it a little bet...

All The Best