Postmortem

So that stuff I said about Obama winning? Not so much. Ditto for the parts were I predicted an Obama sweep of CT, MA, NJ. Of those, he took only CT, making my predictions pretty crappy.

But even setting aside the fact that a majority of California Democrats picked the wrong candidate, I still have a low opinion of the electorate.

The official guide sent to every registered voter in the state contained the following text in the argument submitted by the proponents of Prop. 91:

VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 91. IT’S NO LONGER NEEDED.

As the official proponents of this measure, we are encouraging you to VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 91. In 2006, our coalition qualified this measure… [blah, blah, blah, minutiae omitted]

By passing Proposition 1A, voters solved the problem of state raids on our gas tax funds.

Proposition 91 is no longer needed.

We respectfully urge you to vote NO ON PROPOSITION 91.

43% OF VOTERS VOTED YES ON PROPOSITION 91! I think ill of that 43% of the electorate, and at least some of them may have voted in the Democratic primary.

Nonetheless, it appears that my basic prediction has been borne out. Obama won 14 states to Hillary’s 10, and is claiming a majority of the day’s delegates (though that won’t be clear until all the votes are counted). The campaign goes on, with Obama in strong position, not only in delegate count, but in funds raised, ability to raise more funds, and in the states that vote soon. Assuming the trends in public opinion continue their trends, he could still win this.

It’ll be an interesting few months.

No matter what, we’re making history. Democratic turnout is consistently setting records. The California primary was the biggest in state history. San Francisco and Oakland both ran out of ballots. The same was true in other states, and it will be true in the remaining primaries. Books will be written about this primary, and every presidential campaign from now on will emulate whichever campaign succeeds. As someone said tonight, “we are the ones we have been waiting for.”

Comments

  1. #1 SLC
    February 6, 2008

    A president Obama would be very bad for the State of Israel. Attached is an article detailing the confluence of Israel bashers amongst the foreign policy advisers that Senator Obama has accumulated. Included is a snippet from the article.

    http://web.israelinsider.com/views/12616.htm

    “Obama has appointed ardent critics of Israel as his foreign policy advisors. They include:

    * Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser;
    * Robert Malley, a relentless apologist for Yasser Arafat;
    * Samantha Power, who has also called for the elimination of foreign aid to Israel and its redirection to “Palestine”.

    Among the conservatives Obama has said he may call upon to advise him are (according to an interview Obama gave in the February 4, 2008 issue of Newsweek) Senators Dick Lugar and Chuck Hagel, possibly the most anti-Israel figures among Senate Republicans.”

    Clearly, supporters of the State of Israel don’t want a president taking advise from Israel bashers like Prof. Brzezinski or Senator Hagel.

  2. #2 Josh Rosenau
    February 6, 2008

    I don’t know what any of those people said to earn the label “Israel bashers” or “ardent critics of Israel.” There is a line between criticizing Israel and criticizing Israeli policy that often gets lost in these discussions. It’s the equivalent of saying that electing an anti-Bush prime minister in Israel would have made Israel anti-America. It’s counterproductive and false. But maybe these people went beyond criticizing policies and actively advocated against Israel per se. I await evidence.

  3. #3 Power
    February 6, 2008

    I live in California. I voted YES on 91 as the best way of protesting against the stupidity of the proposition process. I doubt that all 40% did that, but you never know.

  4. #4 Josh Rosenau
    February 6, 2008

    Power, we can only hope that that’s what happened.

  5. #5 Jennifer
    February 6, 2008

    I’m thrilled Obama did so well in the delegate count, but I also have a rather low opinion of the electorate. Not only because of the CA outcome, but also because GOP voters in my state (AL) picked Huckabee. Ack! But Obama won big here, mostly because he had a great organization and tons of volunteers working our butts off, and Clinton didn’t. It should be a really interesting couple of months…

  6. #6 SLC
    February 7, 2008

    For the information of Mr. Rosenau, there is also the question of the church to which Senator Obama belongs. The pastor of that church is at least a borderline antisemite who has given an award to the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, not noted as a great friend of the Jewish people. The fact is that there is sufficient smoke coming from the camp of Senator Obama relative to anti-Israel positions that the possibility of fire cannot be ignored.

  7. #7 Josh Rosenau
    February 7, 2008

    This doesn’t really answer my question, does it? What is this “smoke,” and is it “anti-Israel” or “anti-Likud”? The difference matters. There are people who are averse to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, or its occupation of the West Bank. Saying that that is “anti-Israel” is equivalent to saying it’s “anti-America” to oppose the war in Iraq.

    And this damning of Obama for an award his pastor gave is just too absurd for words. Hillary Clinton hangs out with Billy Graham, who has made explicitly anti-semitic remarks. Does that make Hillary an anti-Semite?

    I’m all for a vigorous public debate, but this sort of crap is not productive.

  8. #8 SLC
    February 7, 2008

    “This doesn’t really answer my question, does it? What is this “smoke,” and is it “anti-Israel” or “anti-Likud”? ”

    Mr. Rosenau has fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the Israel bashing handbook, namely, “I’m not anti-Israel, I’m anti the Likud party in Israel.” Let’s look at the record.

    1. The settlements on the West Bank were initiated by the Labor Party, not by the Likud.

    2. The 2006 war in Lebanon was carried out by the Kadima party, not by the Likud.

    “Hillary Clinton hangs out with Billy Graham, who has made explicitly anti-semitic remarks. Does that make Hillary an anti-Semite?”

    1. Reverend Graham made those remarks 40 years ago when he, like most evangelicals was anti-semitic. However, Reverend Graham and many of the evangelicals have overcome their earlier prejudices and are strong supporters of the State of Israel. In the case of his son Franklin, probably too supportive in that he has suggested that the Government of Israel raze the Al Aksa Mosque and build the Third Temple.

    2. Senator Clinton is a Methodist, I believe that Reverend Graham is a Southern Baptist. The two churches are entirely separate enterprises.

    As for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, given the activities which followed the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, does Mr. Rosenau seriously believe that a similar withdrawal from the West Bank would be more productive?

  9. #9 Jennifer
    February 7, 2008

    SLC, shut up about religion. If you are interested in Obama’s actual Israel platform instead of just spouting off nonsense you read in a forwarded email, why don’t you do a bit of, you know, actual research?

    http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/IsraelFactSheet.pdf

    http://www.nysun.com/article/69154

  10. #10 SLC
    February 8, 2008

    Re Jennifer

    1. I am assuming that this Jennifer is not the Jennifer that engages in name calling on Matthew Yglesias’ blog.

    2. If Senator Obama is such a good friend of the State of Israel, why does he have Prof. Brzezinski as one of his advisers? The good professor does not endow supporters of the State of Israel with confidence in his advisee.

    3. If Senator Obama is such a good friend of the State of Israel, why does he continue membership in a church whose pastor gives awards to antisemites and who personally bashes that state? His association with this individual also does not inspire confidence in Senator Obamas’ attitude on these issues.

    By the way, as a resident of Virginia, I have to make a decision as to who to vote for next Tuesday. Since I think that a Democratic victory in November is essential to prevent the takeover of the Supreme Court by the fascist right, I am troubled by both of the remaining Democratic candidates in terms of electability. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the country is ready to elect either a female president or a black president.

  11. #11 Josh Rosenau
    February 8, 2008

    SLC, did you look at the links Jennifer offered before launching an ad hominem attack on her, and repeating the same ad hominems you already offered? What’s your substantive beef with Brzezinski? With Power? With the others? Who cares what award his pastor gave? How about examining and discussing what Obama has actually said and done, rather than looking for shadows on shadows?

    For instance, how about addressing the NY Sun’s claim that “Mr. Obama’s commitment to Israel, as he has articulated it so far in his campaign, is quite moving and a tribute to the broad, bipartisan support that the Jewish state has in America.” Or their assessment that “He took Israel’s side against those who would fault it for its actions in Lebanon in the Summer of 2006.” Or how about commenting on this passage they quote from a speech by Obama: “Those who have worked with me in Chicago in the state Legislature and now in the United States Senate will testify that I have not just talked the talk, I have walked the walk when it comes to Israel’s security. I think it is fundamental. I think it is something that is in the interests of the United States because of our special relationship, because Israel has not only established a democracy in the region but has been a stalwart ally of ours,” Mr. Obama said to the NJDC. “The United States government and an Obama Presidency cannot ask Israel to take risks with respect to its security.”

    I hope that you’ll cast your vote not one the basis of how you think other people might vote, or how people Obama talks to might act, but on how Obama himself or Clinton herself has acted and will act in office.

  12. #12 SLC
    February 9, 2008

    Re Josh Rosenau

    1. Mr. Rosenau is seriously in error in charging that I engaged in ad hominem attacks on Ms. Jennifer. I specifically stated that I was assuming that she was not the Jennifer who engages in name calling on Mr. Yglesias’ blog.

    2. Actions speak louder then words. Senator Obamas’ words are fine. Unfortunately, his actions are less fine. I find his continued presence at a church whose pastor is a borderline antisemite and Israel basher unacceptable. I find his apparent reliance on the advice of Prof. Brzezinski troubling. Mr. Rosenau asks what my beef with the good professor is. He has a long history of Israel bashing on his resume. As an example, I am attaching a link to an article in Foreign Policy Magazine authored by Prof. Brzezinski in which he praises the Walt/Mearsheimer article and book. Profs. Neither Prof. Brezinski or Walt or Mearsheimer have ever had anything positive to say about the State of Israel.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/users/login.php?story_id=3510&URL=http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3510

    In addition, I link to another article where Prof. Brezinski makes the absurd claim that somehow solution of the Israeli/Palestinian problem would improve our prospects in Iraq. In this regard, he is either a liar or totally delusional. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Olmert, Mr. Abbas, Mr. Haniyeh, and Mr. Maashal could sign a peace treaty tomorrow morning and it would not have the faintest impact on the situation in Iraq.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-clemons/zbig-brzezinski-israel_b_25821.html

  13. #13 SLC
    February 9, 2008

    Re Josh Rosenau

    I attempted to respond to Mr. Rosenaus’ last comment but, evidently because of active links in the post, it has gone into the review queue, probably never to see the light of day. Therefore, I will repeat it without the links.

    1. Mr. Rosenau is seriously in error in accusing me of engaging in ad hominem attacks on Ms. Jennifer. I specifically stated that Ms. Jennifer is not the same Jennifer who engages in name calling on Mr. Yglesias’ blog.

    2. Senator Obamas’ statements about Israel are all very fine. However, I believe that actions speak louder then words. Senator Obamas’ continued membership in a church pastored by a borderline antisemitic Israel basher is unacceptable. He apparent reliance on the advice of Prof. Brzenzski is, at the least, troubling. Mr. Rosenau asks what my beef with the good professor is. A couple of examples will suffice. Prof. Brzenski wrote an article in Foreign Policy Magazine praising the vicious slanders perpetrated by Profs. Walt and Mearsheimer. He further gave a speech to the the New America Foundation in which he made the absurd claim that an Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement would improve our prospects in Iraq. He is either a liar or is severely delusional. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Olmert, Mr. Abbas, Mr. Haniyeh, and Mr. Maashel could sign a peace treaty tomorrow morning and it would not have the faintest effect on the situation in Iraq.

  14. #14 Josh Rosenau
    February 10, 2008

    The first message got caught in a spam filter, and I don’t check that queue very often. Apologies.

    In response to pt. 1, I have to ask why you bothered to raise the issue at all, if you didn’t think it was the same person.

    As to 2), fine, actions are more important than words. But you aren’t talking about Obama’s actions. You are looking at the actions and words of people Obama has spent time with at some point.

    I haven’t followed the Walt/Mearsheimer debate closely, but what I’ve tracked of it hasn’t made me think ill of their basic argument. Their critics tend to prefer battling straw men and arguing about whether the authors are antisemites over actually addressing the argument being advanced.

    There’s more to foreign policy than Israel, so maybe it’s better to look at his actual policy on Israel than trying to infer what advice he’ll get (without knowing which advice he’d reject). Similarly, maybe you could flesh out why we should care who his pastor gave an award to?