Wednesday, February 20, 2008


An aloha moment

Yes, Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, finished highschool in Hawaii and undoubtedly received some votes in yesterday's caucuses for no better reason than being a Native Son—but 76% to Clinton's 24%? It was aloha all over howdy-doody.

But here's the truly amazing number: According to the Honolulu Advertiser, "The caucuses have drawn fewer than 5,000 people in the past but the vote count totalled 37,182 last night." That's a record turnout and more than a sevenfold increase in caucus attendance. The Democrats expected a better-than-average turnout and had printed 17,000 ballots. They ended up having to "improvise with notebook paper and index cards."

Since anyone willing to register as a Democrat, even at the door, was allowed to vote in the Democratic caucus, there have been some sour-grape speculations that this huge turnout was an insidious Republican plot—

... others wondered if Republicans weren't showing up to make mischief for the Democrats, temporarily registering for the party so they could vote for the candidate they believed would make the weakest opponent for GOP presidential candidate John McCain.

Gimme a break. If there's a Republican conspiracy, it's to nominate Hillary. And if Hawaiian Republicans don't know that, they've been cut off from the mainland far too long. More power to 'em.

For years the pundit class has been commenting on the demographic shift the white Republican establishment will eventually have to face. If that day hasn't arrived, it was certainly heavily foreshadowed in the Hawaiian caucuses. Here's the 2003 ethnic breakdown of the state—

You can't get much more multiethnic than that.

Of course Hawaii is heavily Democratic, so whoever wins the nomination will surely get Hawaii's electoral votes. But Hawaiians have made the point that they expect Barack Obama to be the recipient.

Related post
Newt nominates Hillary (4/15/05)


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Commodity of the Day

... I am a proven commodity and I think actually that is a much better place to start if you're worried about our winning in November. —Hillary Clinton in an interview with Peggy Fikac

Yesterday I caught a sound-bite of Clinton using the line "I am a proven commodity" at a campaign rally in Wisconsin. After a little googling I discovered that discussions of Clinton as a commodity are rather common among our talking heads.

My goodness! I can recall the day when the phrase "the commoditization of women" designated one of the most loathsome evils of patriarchy to be found in the feminist lexicon. Now we have a presidential candidate declaring herself to be a "proven commodity."

In the quote above she was trying to express her superiority to Obama in combatting Republican slime—

Senator Obama has never had a negative ad run against him. I don't think that will continue. If he were to be our nominee, I think the Republicans will do what they always do, which is to try to make a negative image of whoever our nominee is. They can't do that to me. I mean I have a proven track record of being able to beat Republicans, of withstanding whatever they send my way. So I am a proven commodity and I think actually that is a much better place to start if you're worried about our winning in November. "

Her choice of words seems unfortunate, and somewhat illustrative of the problem with Hillary. She might have said she was a "proven fighter" or a "proven winner" or even a "proven campaigner"—but a "proven commodity"?!

First, it seems evident that declaring yourself to be a proven commodity may make a few hearts on Wall Street flutter but is not likely to excite the masses who, if they deal in "commodities" at all, are likely to do so on Ebay.

Second, anyone with a bit of historical memory or googling expertise would quickly discover that it was Clinton's earlier commodities trading that created a ruckus during her husband's first term in office. It's bad form to dredge up unpleasant associations.

And third, it leaves this viewer with the impression that she really thinks of herself as a commodity. While George Bush has been a commodity—and nothing but—from start to finish, I don't believe the electorate will be cheered by the prospect of another. As Investipedia notes, "When a product becomes indistinguishable from others like it and consumers buy on price alone, it becomes a commodity."

Over at CNN's Political Market Hillary's price has fallen to $29.64 against Obama's $70.32. While the price seems cheap, I cannot recommend a buy.

Related post
"I'm Hillary, fly me" (6/27/07)


Monday, February 18, 2008


Quote of the Day

I want people when they look at me not to see the next first lady of the United States. I want people to see what an investment in public education can do. —Michelle Obama speaking in De Pere, Wisconsin

Well said.

And the Purple Prose award goes to her husband—

We are dealing with a basic hole in our soul of the nation – we are lost.

Related posts
Dumb your child down the Republican way (8/18/04)
Dismantling public education at home and abroad (5/8/06)
Market Failure of the Day (5/23/06)
False Analogy of the Day (8/25/07)


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