Bamboozling the American Electorate Again!

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 03/01/2008 - 6:58pm.

Bush-Cheney strategy involves G.O.P. crossover voting to take out Hillary, marketing newcomer Obama, a possible "independent" ticket, and maybe even martial law...

Evidence of a covert campaign to undermine the presidential primaries is rife, so it's curious that the Democractic Party and even some within the G.O.P. have ignored the actual elephant in the room this year. That would be Karl Rove. Long accused of rigging the two previous presidential elections, this master of deceit would have us believe that he's gone off to sit in a corner and write op-eds.

Not so. According to an article in Time magazine published last November, Republicans have been organized in several states to throw their weight behind Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic rival of Hillary Clinton. At least three former fundraisers for President Bush flushed his coffers with cash early on in the race, something the deep pockets haven't done for any candidate in their own party. With receipts topping $100 million in 2007, the first-term Illinois senator broke the record for contributions. It was a remarkable feat, considering that most Americans had not even heard of him before 2005.

The Time article went on to explain that rank and file Republicans were switching parties this spring to vote for Obama in the Democratic primaries. Though not mentioned in the piece, a group called Republicans for Obama formed in 2006 to expedite the strategy. Many states have open primaries, allowing citizens to vote for any candidate, regardless of their party affiliation. In Nebraska, the mayor of Omaha publicly rallied Republicans to caucus for Obama on February 9th, according to Fox News Channel. Called crossover voting, the tactic is playing a crucial role in what appears to be a Rove-coordinated effort to deprive Clinton of the nomination. Even with his more well-known dirty tricks arsenal - phone bank sabotage, fake polling data, swiftboating, waitlisting, electronic voting equipment, Norman Hsu, etc. - Rove would be hard pressed to defeat Clinton in November, since she's generally popular nationwide and has promised an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. If the contest isn't close, the vote-rigging won't matter. (Several influential Republicans admit as much in a February 11th story for Politico.)

If, on the other hand, Obama wins the nomination (or even the VP spot), Rove's prospects brighten considerably. Largely unvetted by the media, the senator carries considerable baggage from his stint as a state legislator, particularly his 17-year relationship with Chicago slumlord Tony Rezko. So far, the mainstream press has paid lip service to the particulars of Obama's past and instead portrayed him as a fresh new face in American politics. For instance, the author of the Time article, Jay Newton-Small, offered the following explanation to account for the bizarre love affair G.O.P. voters say they're having with an African American senator on the other side of the aisle. "It seems a lot of Republicans took to heart Obama's statement in his rousing speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that 'there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America.'"

Is he kidding? The conservative publication National Journal claims Obama's voting record is the most liberal in Washington, even moreso than Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Not everyone agrees with that assessment by a long shot, but it's nevertheless hard to picture the voting pattern Mr. Small implies here: Nixon - Reagan - Bush - Dole - Bush - Obama. And this through-the-looking-glass rationale is widely shared by journalists, pundits and politicians across the political spectrum, many of whom advance the equally suspect position that Clinton, the first viable female candidate for president, represents the past.

Last year, at the same time she commanded a huge lead in the national polls, political analysts and professional strategists retained by CNN and other broadcast networks began hammering across the notion that "the voters don't like her". In a peculiar way, the adjectives "unlikable", "divisive" and "polarizing" used to characterize the New York senator have been repeated over and over in the same manner terms like "biological warfare" and "weapons of mass destruction" were employed during the lead-up to the Iraq War. In both cases, the terminology traces back to a cadre of right-wing, neocon ideologues who keep the studio seats warm at Fox News. "There is no candidate on record, a front-runner for a party's nomination, who has entered the primary season with negatives as high as she has," Rove told Reuters last August. Earlier this month, Bush's former senior political advisor joined Fox as a part-time election analyst.

Obama himself recites Rove's "high negatives" comment in press interviews whenever discussing Clinton. His often bitter criticism of the former First Lady and other "Washington insiders", who he says want to "boil and stew all the hope out of him", represents a staple of his core political message. His campaign slogan "I'm a uniter, not a divider" is also reminiscent of the Bush 2000 campaign, which Rove managed. Perhaps that's not suprising when you discover that one of Obama's speechwriters is Ben Rhodes, the brother of Fox News VP David Rhodes. (Marisa Guthrie, of BC Beat, reported this connection recently.) The latter Rhodes has been with the network since its inception in 1996. You may recall that on election night in November 2000, it was Fox that called Florida for Bush, even though the other networks declared Gore the winner, citing the exit polls. How Fox knew the polls were wrong in advance of the vote tabulation has never been explained.

Her naysayers aside, on Super Tuesday, Clinton captured sizeable majorities in the population-rich states of California, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey. While Obama won most of the the red states in play, Clinton took Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico and Arkansas. Earlier winning in Nevada, Florida and New Hampshire, Clinton had reached the peak of her campaign. It has been all uphill ever sence, however, with Obama emerging victorious in the caucus states of Washington and Nebraska, the Louisiana primary, then Maryland, Virginia, D.C., Wisconsin and Hawaii. Obama currently enjoys a 90-delegate lead, according to the Associated Press. Neither candidate is expected to reach the 2025-delegate mark needed to cinch the nomination before the convention in August.

Presidential Race or Next American Idol?

Now that McCain has nearly locked up the Republican nomination, it's likely that crossover voting will intensify in the remaining primary states. Republicans For Obama, for one, is not bashful about stating their goal of defeating Clinton in the email appeal sent to registered voters. Recently, the Obama campaign launched a similar drive called "Be a Democrat For a Day", according to the Brattleboro Reformer, a local newspaper in Vermont. Yet even when the G.O.P. race was still hotly contested by Romney, McCain, Thompson, Giuliani, etc., only one in three ballots cat nationwide were for Republican candidates. In red-state New Hampshire, Democrats received 50,000 more votes than Republicans, about 10 percent of the primary turnout. In Iowa, the lopsided vote was even more pronounced, as G.O.P. winner Huckabee received half the number of votes cast for Clinton, who placed third behind Obama and Edwards.

As ominous a portent as that may be for the Clinton campaign, its besieged candidate must also contend with a Madison Avenue-style branding campaign that's helping her opponent gain traction by the hour. Once an unknown quantity, Obama is now viewed by millions of Americans under thirty as a cult icon, the Starbucks equivalent of a changemaker charting a new future of consensus politics. Even a cursory review of his record in Illinois and Washington does not bear out such hype, but no one is paying attention to the details. During a recent MSNBC interview of Austin's State Senator Kirk Watson, this Obama endorser was unable to list a single past accomplishment of the candidate when asked. In a focus group appearing on a segment of the Fox program Hannity and Colmes, those voters supporting Obama likewise stumped by the question. The fact he was leading Clinton in delegates and poised to become the country's first African American president were the sole achievements cited. For their part, NBC and other networks routine glossed over the gap in substance by describing the Obama candidacy as a "movement".

The marketing ploy has worked like a charm. A generation of new voters hungry of something different are gobbling up Obama's anti-establishment brand like fish in a barrel. Free videos touting the candidate's rock star status began appearing on You-Tube in 2007, including the racy "Obama Girl" clip that featured a bikini-clad actress gyrating her behind to lip-synched lyrics of veneration. And nobody would have predicted a few years ago that progressive pundits would join in an unholy alliance with Fox to promote the novice politician with the strange proximity group. Yet here we are. Ari Berman, an editor with The Nation, has been popping up on Fox programs he and his staff once regarded as 24/7 campaign commercials for the Republican Party. The fact that Obama is known to have watered down legislation requiring nuclear giant Exelon to disclose its radiation leaks to the public doesn't seem to trouble them in the least. Exelon is Obama's fourth largest campaign contributor. (See the New York Times article for more on the leaks controversy.)

In a blog posted on her website the morning after the Iowa Caucus, popular liberal Adrianna Huffington lauded the Illinois senator as practically the Second Coming. Like others of her stripe, she didn't have much to offer in the way of specifics, and spent the bulk of her remarks railing at Bill Clinton, who she said had conducted himself in an interview as "arrogant and entitled, dismissive and fear-mongering". With an eye to social justice, the founder of Huffington Post might have viewed as a mitigating factor to her animus the former president's four-year mission to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Africa, Asia and New Orleans. Yet like his wife, Bill gets no points for having an actual record of public service.

Huffington, it should be noted, was one of several progressive politicos swindled by the California recall referendum in 2002.That was the year Enron's Ken Lay, on the hook for $3 billion pilfered trom the state in the rolling blackouts scandal, succeeded in installing "Governator" Arnold Schwarzenegger through the back door. Candidate Huffington dropped out of the race a few days before the election, conceding the entire affair had been a set-up to divide the Democratic vote.

That she and her peers have allowed themselves to be bamboozled a second time is astonishing. With a few clicks of a mouse, they might have easily learned that former Speaker Dennis Hastert and the Illinois G.O.P. fielded a non-Illinois resident named Alan Keyes to run against Obama for the U.S. senate seat in 2004. Keyes, who had little public office experience, was hand-picked to replace Jack Ryan, the candidate who officially won the G.O.P. primary. Ryan was forced to resign in the wake of an alleged sex scandal involving his ex-wife. (A bit of trivia - The ex-wife is actress Jeri Ryan, who played the character "Seven of Nine" in the television series Star Trek Voyager.) In the general election, Alan Keyes received 27 percent of the vote to Obama's 70 percent.

Here's a little more history you won't find at HuffPost or The Nation: At the time of his senate run, Obama was a relatively minor player, a two-term state legislator who lost a congressional race against African American incumbent Bobbie Rush in 2000. Obama's first significant campaign donor in the 1990's was Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a Chicago power broker and developer who he met while still in law school. After leaving Harvard, Obama hired on with a community nonprofit agency in Chicago called Project VOTE, where he helped organize voter registration efforts. He later joined the law firm Miner Barnhill & Galland, whose clients included Rezko, and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago.

Obama worked on a low-income senior housing development deal in which Rezko and a partner firm run by Allison Davis collected $855,000 in development fees. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "In addition to the development fees, a separate Davis-owned company stood to make another $900,000 through federal tax credits." While a state legislator, Obama wrote endorsement letters on behalf of his friend to the agencies allocating funds for other housing projects. Later, while Rezko was busy fundraising for Obama, tenants in some of these dwellings found their heat cut off and other maintenance issues unattended. The City of Chicago eventually sued Rezko, and an F.B.I. investigation into fraud allegations led to a felony indictment. Set to begin February 25th, his trial has been postponed to March 3rd, the day before the Texas and Ohio primaries.

According to Edward McClelland, writing for Salon.com, "Rezko, after all, built part of his fortune by exploiting the black community that Obama had served in the state Senate, and by milking government programs meant to benefit black-owned businesses." While it may be unclear why Obama would continue his relationship with Rezko after this point, it's indisputable that he did. In 2005, Obama approached Rezko for help in purchasing a $2 million Georgian-revival home in a Chicago suburb. The property deal involved two adjoining lots that the owner wanted to sell together, soRezko's wife Rita bought the first at full price, though never occupied it. Obama and his wife Michelle acquired the parcel with the mansion, receiving a $300,000 discount.

Although no laws were apparently broken in this transaction, Obama's entanglement with Rezko may represent a significant hurdle to achieving his presidential aspirations. In January, the developer received a $3.5 million loan from an Iraqi businessman, causing afederal judge to remand Rezko to the county jail, fearing that he might flee the country, according to the Sun-Times. It's not a stretch to presume that the candidate who has pledged an end to "Scooter Libby politics" might spend his Day One in office to issuing a pardon to his long-time benefactor. Regrettably, the press is having none of it (at least, not yet), and only grudgingly reported a few snippets of the affair after Clinton brought it up during a CNN debate in January. Obama responded to her claim by explaining that he had once billed five hours of legal time on a charity project with ties to a Rezko business.

Since the debate, some of Obama's campaign donations have been called into question. While the Chicago Sun-Times puts the figure of known tainted cash at $168,000, the senator initially agreed to surrender half that amount, but only as an "abundance of caution", a senior staffer said. Later, after NBC Nightly News broadcast a story about the finances, the campaign announced it would donate the entire amount.

 (For more on the Rezko case, read the articles in the Sun-Times.)

OutFoxing Fox News

NBC may in fact be outFoxing Fox News when it comes to helping Obama defeat Clinton in the primaries. The network appears to deal with news critical of Obama by tempering it with something negative about Clinton. Shortly after she raised the Rezko matter, for instance, the Today Show's Matt Lauer confronted her during an early morning interview with a photo taken 1990s, showing a much younger Clinton and the former posing with Rezko at an event. There was no evidence that either husband or wife had any history with the slumlord, and the sleepy-eyed candidate explained that she's appeared in thousands of pictures over the years. Regardless, Lauer's terse questioning suggested a sinister intent. The same journalistic device was employed in reporting Obama's apparent plagiarism during a speech in Wisconsin. Nightly News dug up separate video clips showing Clinton and her husband both reciting the same two-line passage from the bible, offering it as evidence that her opponent's uncredited use of Governor Deval Patrick's "Just Words" speech in 2006 was nothing out of the ordinary.

A few other examples of media bias are worth noting. On the night before the New Hampshire primary, NBC anchor Brian Williams followed Obama on the campaign trail, flashing a Newsweek cover of the senator while uttering superlatives. Williams acted like someone undergoing a spiritual epiphany. During the same broadcast, Andrea Mitchell described the Clinton campaign as broke, desperate, and ablaze with in-fighting. Mitchell continued with this theme the following night, assuring viewers that Clinton's three-point lead in the vote tally would eventually evaporate. She was mistaken.

Shortly before Super Tuesday, both Mitchell and Meet the Press host Tim Russert claimed on Nightly News that the leadership of the Democratic Party was "mad as hell" at Bill Clinton and lining up to back the Illinois senator. No sources were offered to corroborate this bombshell allegation. Russert went on to explain that Ted and Caroline Kennedy's recent endorsement of Obama represented a sea change in the election, adding that because Ted's brother Bobby Kennedy had been friends with Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farmworkers, the endorsement should pave the way for Obama capturing the Latino vote.

What NBC's crack team of reporters failed to mention was that three of Bobby Kennedy's own children, as well as the son of Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers union itself had already endorsed Clinton. In Nevada, Latinos in the 60,000-strong Culinary Workers Union had defied their white male leadership's endorsement of Obama and helped Clinton win the caucus there. Yet while the Florida primary was showing Clinton with a 15 point lead in the polls, over at CNN, fill-in anchor Bob Acosta was declaring the Obama campaign a "runaway train" after its big South Carolina victory.

On February 10th, two days before the Maryland-Virginia-D.C. primaries, CBS anchor Katy Couric joined the Clinton-bashing extravaganza with a 60 Minutes segment spiced with multiple questions about how the candidate would deal with losing the election. The contentious exchange followed a Steve Kroft piece on Obama that seemed like an instant replay of the Williams New Hampshire epiphany. At the time CBS ran the two segments, Obama was still trailing Clinton in delegates.

To wit, if there's a runaway train in this race, it isn't either of the candidates. For the past 20 years, media outlets have become increasingly consolidated into chains owned by multinational corporations, so that over time the news, entertainment and advertising divisions have become increasingly indistinguishable from one another. The Dan Rather flap at CBS in 2002 offered an early glimpse into this Orwellian transformation of the public airwaves. The NBC/MSNBC network, which has come under fire for the mysoginist undertones of its cable news programming, is owned by the energy company and defense contractor General Electric. Clinton critic Andrea Mitchell is married to former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan.

Some journalists admit off-camera that Clinton has not been treated fairly in the course of the campaign. In December, Howard Kurtz published an article in the Washington Post that first exposed the widespread media bias favoring Obama. "The Illinois senator's fundraising receives far less press attention than Clinton's," Kurtz offered as an example of the phenomenon. "When the Washington Post reported last month that Obama used a political action committee to hand more than $180,000 to Democratic groups and candidates in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the suggestion that he might be buying support received no attention on the network newscasts." Fear of Flying novelist Erica Jong offers her take on the situation in Hillary vs. the Patriarchy, published in early February by the same publication.

Unlike the big Florida victory on January 29th, the news of Clinton's New Hampshire win was not blacked out from coast to coast the next day. However, her detractors quickly rushed to fortify their positions. In the two weeks leading up to the South Carolina primary, on-air pundits and Obama spokespersons initially argued that New England's white voters had betrayed their publicly declared support of the black candidate in the secrecy of the ballot booth. While this tactic smacked of sour grapes, it was only the beginning. When Clinton made a speech tying Martin Luther King's efforts to President Johnson's signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, highlighting the role of Johnson, the Obama camp responded with a four-page memorandum urging surrogates to slam her for disrespecting Dr. King.

If you tracked the coverage of the ensuing feud, you would never know that it was this document that sparked the episode. Before the memo surfaced on the internet, Obama insisted to reporters that neither he nor anyone on his staff had accused Senator Clinton of any impropriety in her speech about Johnson. He said he was "baffled" by her suggestion that they were somehow involved. Meanwhile, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn claimed Bill Clintons' incendiary reaction to the racism charge had compelled him to renege on an earlier promise not to endorse a candidate before his state's primary. A few days later, Clyburn retracted his endorsement of Obama, but the damage was done as black voters converged on election day to back the senator from Illinois. Now that the Clintons were being barbecued in the press for "playing the race card", Obama would no longer have to worry about the African American vote.

Clinton Unplugged (not what you think...)

Intelligent and astute, Hillary Clinton has historically shied away from personal attacks, whether it comes from Manhattan's sexist firefighters or Chris Matthews' daily disparagement of her on MSNBC's Hardball. Her campaign only briefly cut off relations with NBC when another reporter, David Schuster, said the Clintons had "pimped-out" daughter Chelsea as part of their election strategy. Nevertheless, Clinton seems remiss in doing little to challenge unethical actions by media and elements of the G.O.P. who are trying to throw the Democratic primaries. After a Saturday Night Live skit dramatized the press favoritism exhibited towards Obama during the debates, she finally spoke up. The pundits roundly dismissed her as a whiner making excuses for her poor showing in several primaries, but an AP survey confirmed that she was far more likely to get asked tough questions before her opponent, whose own answers were often carbon copies of Clinton's remarks.

Perhaps like Benazir Bhutto, the years of relentless political bludgeoning may be wearing her down. Regarding Karl Rove, she has yet to implicate him as the instigator of the Obama candidacy, although in Ohio she accused her rival of tactics "straight out of the Rove playbook". As for the rest of the Bush-Cheney team, all she has mustered to date is her oft-repeated statement, "They're not going to surrender the White House voluntarily." Last spring, she suggested that another terrorist attack against the United States would inevitably play into the hands of the G.O.P.

Vague as they sound, those last two remarks may prove prophetic in the event the Obama strategy fails and she goes on to win the Democratic nomination. The implications of a female president for American foreign and domestic policy are profound, creating jitters not only on Wall Street but for the Pentagon, the CIA and the State Department. Improbable though it may sound, a number of officials accused of breaking U.S. laws or violating the Geneva Conventions might be arrested and prosecuted by a Clinton-run Justice Department.

If that's not enough to keep Bush appointees and generals lying awake deep into the night, their long-running undercover operation with the ayatollahs in Iran (who paved the way for Reagan's 1980 election), the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, and the Saudi royal family could be curtailed by the staunchly pro-women's rights democrat. The Saudis especially have reason to fret now that they and their counterparts in Kuwait and the U.A.E. have started buying up huge stakes in U.S. banks. Condolleeza Rice and Nancy Pelosi are one thing. A Clinton White House is quite another.

For his part, President Bush may have implemented a back-up plan last April when he signed National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51, an executive order allowing him to suspend the constitution without prior congressional approval. NSPD 51 gives the President the discretion to declare a state of emergency (i.e. martial law) in the event of a major terrorist attack or other "decapitating" incident against the United States, even if the attack happens outside the country.  Under this scenario, he can cancel elections, padlock the Capitol dome and send the Supreme Court justices home. The directive also allows assigns the President's homeland security assistant - a low-level position exempt from senate confirmation - to administer what has been dubbed the Enduring Constitutional Government.  (Here's the text of the directive.)

Michigan and Florida, Delegates and the Conventions

Assuming the homeland security assistant doesn't take over the country before next August, the Democratic Party's 796 superdelegates may get to decide the nomination. About half are elected leaders, the other half party officials and campaign managers. The specter of less than 800 people determining the ticket in November has set Obama surrogates back on their haunches, this time arguing that a "brokered convention" decided in "smoky back rooms" will destroy the party. (The local fire marshall may have something to say about this scenario as well.) Initially it was thought that two-thirds of the superdelegates were pledged for Clinton, but more recent surveys suggest the situation is fluid.

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean has issued a press release reassuring Americans that he will intervene before August if the race still remains deadlocked. The extent of his authority to do so relies on the cooperation of both candidates. However, Clinton is already under pressure from the media and Obama supporters to "do the right thing" and bow out of the race, instead of risking a floor fight at the convention. While the rules don't require her to do so, her instinctual aversion for conflict may get the better of her. With so few members of Congress and national celebrities coming to her aid, it's understandable that she wouldn't want to continue carrying the torch alone.

That would be unfortunate. Several times in the past, conventions have decided the party nominee. The most memorable took place in 1932, when neither Franklin Roosevelt nor his rival Al Smith secured enough delegates to cinch the nomination. Corporate Media tycoonWilliam Randolph Hearst took advantage of the deadlock, convincing FDR to adopt an isolationist foreign policy in exchange for the delegates of the third-place candidate, Texas Congressman Jack Garner. FDR also had to take Garner as his running mate. What's interesting here is that after FDR beat Hoover in the general election, a would-be assassin nearly liquidated the new President-elect in Miami. The bullets went astray when a woman in the crowd grabbed the assailant's arm. Otherwise, Jack Garner would have become president.

Today, with only two candidates left in the race and the innovation of superdelegates, the deadlock scenario is moot. Still, the VP slot remains open and there are also lingering questions about what, if any effect the Tony Rezko trial in Chicago will have on Obama. It's possible that global warming crusader Al Gore, who says he'd still like to be president, may be jockeying to enter the election, perhaps as a draft candidate if Obama is forced to withdraw. (Although few voters remember, Gore is the same gentleman who received a grade of "F" from the League of Conservation Voters when he ran for president in 2000. Here's his 1998 press release on the Kyoto Treaty.)

If Gore doesn't surface as a candidate at the convention, he could be tapped by the so-called centrist politicians who met last January in Oklahoma to lobby for a bi-partisan, independent ticket. A similar effort, the internet-based initiative known as Unity '08, likewise hopes to field a Democrat and a Republican to run together in the November election. New York mayor and billionnaire Michael Bloomberg is said to be testing the waters for a possible run, but his poll numbers to date look unpromising. Because the G.O.P. played such an anemic role in their own party primaries, the Karl Rove camp may be angling to field their Bush-Cheney successor team as independents.

The DNC is also considering the possibility of holding caucuses in Michigan and Florida in April or May as a way to allocate their delegates, which were stripped because the states were not granted "waivers" to hold primaries before February 5th. The Clinton campaign, which originally agreed to the ban, has since argued that both delegations should be seated according to the primary results. In the case of the Florida primary, the argument has merit, given that Democratic voters there recorded the largest turnout in history. It also appears some of Obama's cable TV spots appeared in the state, though he was not accused of violating the pledge not to campaign there. Clinton won 50 percent of the popular vote, Obama 33 percent, and John Edwards 16 percent. State Senator Bill Nelson, a Clinton supporter, has balked at the suggestion that the ballots cast by 1.7 million Floridians should be replaced with caucuses that might at best attract 50,000 participants. (It's the nation's fourth most populous state.) State party officials argue that Florida's Republican-controlled legislature set the date for the primary, not them.

Michigan held its primary on January 15th. Since Obama and Edwards pulled their names from the ballot beforehand, the votes for Clinton cannot be said to represent a mandate. Unfortunately for her, the stripped delegates in both cases have worked in Obama's favor. With its high percentage of hispanic voters, Florida could have been easily forecast far in advance as a Clinton treasure trove. The same is true for Michigan, whose native son Mit Romney's candidacy precluded the possiblity of a large crossover vote of Republicans. Michigan also boasts a relatively low number of upper-middle-class whites, Obama's strongest performing constituency after African Americans. Had the DNC not sanctioned Michigan and Florida, Clinton would likely have hauled in the lion's share of over 300 delegates up for grabs, radically changing the course of the race. (The G.O.P., by the way, didn't punish either state for moving up their primaries.)

If the DNC opts to schedule caucuses, Obama would likely emerge the victor, since this form of voting often requires traveling long distances, waiting outside a building while volunteers sort out the logistics for directing voters to different room numbers, and then attending a meeting that lasts one or two hours. Such factors tend to deter Clinton's base: older voters; wage earners who work during the hours of the caucus: voters who need childcare, don't own a car or have other obligations; immigrants and those for whom English is a second language.

And then, of course, there's Texas. This state allots a third of its delegates by way of a caucus, and the rest through an open primary. This is Bush-Halliburton-Enron country after all, so we can anticipate another massive Republican crossover drive to help Obama pick up as many delegates as possible. Thus, even Clinton's superdelegate failsafe may prove insufficient in overcoming the stacked deck against her. (With the Rezko trial looming, she should in any case hang on until the 2025-delegate mark is reached.) Thanks to Karl Rove and his friends in the shadows, the Democratic nominee may ultimately be determined not by Democrats but by the G.O.P., naturally with the help of its unwitting accomplices at the DNC.

 (Print out as a PDF File)

by Rosemary Regello - February 29, 2008 - posted at www.thecityedition.com

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 03/01/2008 - 6:58pm.