Now that Sarah Palin has announced her intention to run for president at the next available opportunity, it’s worth a pause to consider how, exactly, she’s going to do that.  It’s worth considering how other Republicans have made their way to the White House.

It is generally agreed that the Republican base was not happy with John McCain going into the Republican Primaries.  Well, who did support him?  Crucially in the early primary states, it was the independent voter.  Many of those early primaries are held in states where anyone can vote in either primary, Democrat or Republican.  Those independents who lean Republican voted for McCain en mass, they’re now leaving him behind, and it’s partially due to McCain’s pick of the unqualified Sarah Palin for the veep role.  As I mentioned a couple days ago, John McCain is now ironically doing rallies filled with people who never supported him.

Mike Huckabee found out about losing the independent voter.  Mitt Romney learned about losing the independent voter.  The independent voter is currently teaching a continuing education class on their role in American politics.  The test is four days away.  Will this be another educational opportunity lost for Miss Sarah?

Josh Marshall turns in a brilliant piece on the historical roots of Hillary Clinton’s victories in several eastern states: it’s not the whites, it’s the mountains. This post weaves together history and current demography to paint a compelling picture of the current primary race. It would be interesting to know if this same theory bears itself out in other voting records in other races, primary and general:

Talking Points Memo | Upcountry

. . . During the 18th and 19th centuries, in the middle Atlantic and particularly in the Southern states, there was a long-standing cleavage between the coastal and ‘piedmont’ regions on the one hand and the upcountry areas to the west on the other. It’s really the coastal lowlands and the Appalachian districts. On the other side of the Appalachian mountain range the pattern is flipped, with the Appalachians in the east and the lowlands in the west. . .

And not just cool, they’re super popular in the Democratic primaries! I mean, everybody’s trying to get a few on their side:

Clinton makes case for wide appeal – USATODAY.com

“I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article “that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

Yeah, white people rock, ya gotta have white people. Especially because they’re such hard workers! Not like those lame-ass non-white people. Why, if you’ve got a big convention in a few hours but you forgot to put up a podium, what you need is some white people! They’ll get that podium up lickity-split, no shit!

Let me just say for what I hope to be the last time this election season that my dad has worked thirty plus years at Xerox, putting in fifty and sixty hour weeks to pay for mine and my sister’s upbringing. His dad worked at Bell and Howell. I learned to cook because my mom was working two jobs and somebody had to put mac and cheese on the table for me. I graduated from Sodus High School, also known as the “Not Quite Ready for Ivy League Players.” I went to school for a year for music. . . it was MCC.

If some southern Republican douchebag with shit on his boots wants to call me a New York liberal elitist, that’s on him. But when my multi-millionaire Senator – who is married to a Rhodes Scholar, for Chrissakes – does it, it fucking pisses me off. I’d like to let it go and vote for her next time she’s up for reelection in the Senate, but she makes it very hard to do. 2000 may go down in my personal history as the last time I voted for a Clinton, . . unless Chelsea runs, and then only because she’s hot.

And yes, goddamnit, I like lattes. The largest one you’ve got, caramel, with drizzle on top, hold the scones. Happy?

What the hell is this?

NYT: Options dwindling for Clinton – The New York Times- msnbc.com

And in Indiana, for example, less than half of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters said they would support Mr. Obama in a general election, while one-third said they would vote for Mr. McCain. About one-fifth of Mr. Obama’s supporters in Indiana said they would vote for Mr. McCain in a general election should Mrs. Clinton get the nomination.

I realize that a lot of this is bitterness – and that there’s a lot of bitterness on the Obama side as well – but to publicly make the statement that you’d consider four more years of Bush doctrine in the world, more Conservative judges in the Supreme Court and the McSame Health Care Plan? I don’t believe it’s true, I don’t think they’ll really side with McCain. If anything, maybe a few will pout at home come election day and feel guilty about it later. But what kind of gaping asshole says things like this to pollsters?

But I think that more than anything else, it’s the Clinton campaign style that brings this out. She’s thrown every nasty bolt she could find his way, she has used every single excuse in the book to justify her campaign, she and her surrogates have used Republican playbooks and even Republican sources while pretending to want to lead us in a different direction, she’s even metamorphosed from Queen Wonk to Shot Slammin’ Anti-Intellectual Diva for the sake of a few Indiana votes. She has whipped up a virulent hatred that is unambiguous in blog posts, comments and now in exit polls.

And for what? A two-percent margin of victory in Indiana that contributes absolutely nothing to her delegate count. A double-digit loss in North Carolina that puts her at least fifteen or twenty delegates further into the hole. A supercharged hate machine that threatens – bluff or no bluff – to ruin the party and probably the country if it doesn’t get what it wants.

And ask yourself this, Electability Monkeys: has Barack Obama won against a good campaign or has Hillary Clinton lost to a lame campaign? Because neither answer bodes well for Hillary’s electability rationale.

Well, well. Looks like there’s a possibility that 3:00am phone call may just be an arguably illegal robocall from Hillary’s attack minions:

Facing South: FACING SOUTH EXCLUSIVE: D.C. nonprofit aimed at women voters behind deceptive N.C. robo-calls

Who’s behind the mysterious “robo-calls” that have spread misleading voter information and sown confusion and frustration among North Carolina residents over the last week?

Facing South has confirmed the source of the calls, and the mastermind is Women’s Voices Women Vote, a D.C.-based nonprofit which aims to boost voting among “unmarried women voters.”

What’s more, Facing South has learned that the firestorm Women’s Voices has ignited in North Carolina isn’t the group’s first brush with controversy. Women’s Voices’ questionable tactics have spawned thousands of voter complaints in at least 11 states and brought harsh condemnation from some election officials for their secrecy, misleading nature and likely violations of election law.

Barack showed up on Fox News’ morning show, and I thought that was probably kinda bad.  But that’s nothing.  Drudge is reporting that Hillary Clinton will be appearing on Fox News’ own Bill O’Reilly show.  To top that, Barack Obama would have to literally bag Ann Coulter on video tape.

Well, if he does, we’d at least know for sure about those Adam’s Apple rumors. . . .

OK, let me just get the predictions out of the way, two weeks in advance of the next round of primaries:

  1. The numbers as you see them now will remain largely unchanged.
  2. There will be a minimal shift in the same pattern that has remained the pattern this entire primary season: Barack Obama’s numbers will go up, Hillary Clinton’s numbers will go down.   This shift will be inconsequential, however, as the winner at this moment will be the winner after it’s done.

I guess the reason I’m not a journalist is because I can only discuss the exact same thing so many times and then I really don’t give a shit.  And at this point in the primary season, the numbers are completely solid on both sides of the Democratic contest: Hillary’s supporters have made their choice and so have Barack supporters.  No one’s moving, except for those who’ve been disgusted by the Clinton brand of politics.

Perhaps I’ll be surprised and there will be some tidal wave of rejections.  I’m not betting the farm on it, though.

When this is all said and done, Bill Clinton will go down in history as the man who absolutely ruined his wife’s campaign. Not that she didn’t do a fair job of it; not that her advisers haven’t done a fair job of it; not that she deserved it. But he’ll go down as the man who could have single-handedly won her the presidency and didn’t, simply because his old ego won’t allow him to not spar directly with the press:

Crooks and Liars » Bill Clinton accuses the Obama campaign of playing the race card

Bill Clinton is still upset about what happened during the South Carolina primary. The victimization used in this campaign has been tiring. From the WHYY blog

Unfortunately, scarce does not include the original video of Bill Clinton’s remarks in South Carolina, so here’s that clip for the full context. Note that in every case, it is unquestionable that his insistence on going round and round with the media – rising to the “bait” of the South Carolina dude, arguing with the WHYY chick, pretending to be disinterested in the last dude – is what gets him into trouble every stinkin’ time. Don’t tell me you can’t see the “oh, shit,” in his eyes on the Jesse Jackson comment. Don’t tell me you can’t see him backtracking. It’s all right there, the stupid clod.

Bill, shut the fuck up, already.

John Zogby hasn’t exactly been batting a thousand this season, and his prediction hold very little weight. Still, some observations are worth noting, such as this one:

Pollster: “Clinton Will Not be President…This Year” – 13WHAM.com

Another factor impacting the polls: people are getting sick of talking about the race in general. Zogby said pollsters are getting many people hanging-up the phone on them, saying they don’t want to participate.

Wonder if anyone’s keeping a record of those numbers?

I know a lot of us Prog bloggers like to pick on David Brooks, but as I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past, I generally like the guy. Not because I agree with his politics, but mostly because he’s more about defending ideas – however indefensible – than defending politicians. Unlike the William Kristols of the world, he’s willing to be honest when politicians screw up, and I like that.

But his latest offering in the NYT blogs, which I got via TPM, is really inexcusable. And it cannot go unanswered because, rather than simply a dumbass comment of his alone, it is a sign of a larger issue. The gist of his argument (he pretends to make three points, but there’s really only one) is here:

No Whining About the Media – Campaign Stops – 2008 Elections – Opinion – New York Times Blog

I understand the complaints, but I thought the questions were excellent. The journalist’s job is to make politicians uncomfortable, to explore evasions, contradictions and vulnerabilities. Almost every question tonight did that. The candidates each looked foolish at times, but that’s their own fault.

We may not like it, but issues like Jeremiah Wright, flag lapels and the Tuzla airport will be important in the fall. Remember how George H.W. Bush toured flag factories to expose Michael Dukakis. It’s legitimate to see how the candidates will respond to these sorts of symbolic issues.

He starts by clearly pointing out that he – as, we may presume, a great many in the main stream media – misunderstands his role as a journalist. It is not, as he states, to make politicians uncomfortable. It is to expose the truth, even when that truth is bland, does not generate immediate ratings or readership and does not require skewering politicians.

He claims that Jeremiah Wright “will be” an important issue in the fall, never mind that there is nothing to suggest any real public interest. He claims that the offense is felt merely by “Democrats,” as if voters on both sides of the isle aught not to want more from their journalism.

Note that, in fact, he does not mention the voters even once in his entire piece. He is not speaking about what the voters aught to know. He is not suggesting that an informed public needs to understand how Barack Obama feels about small town voters or what happened in Bosnia when Hillary Clinton was there. Rather, he is speaking about what the media selfishly wants to report. When he says that such issues “will be” important issues, he merely speaks the minds of the collective media delusion.

I would not claim David Brooks speaks for the majority of journalists in this country. I do think that his words reflect a certain intellectual incest that happens within a cadre of professionals who speak to each other, write about each other, and never leave their walled gardens long enough to find out what people really think. Some may agree with his sentiments, some may disagree, but no other arguments are let into the discussion. Before long, the collective wisdom of the group bears a nine-headed baby like the one the American people were subjected to last night.

If you want to know how truly awful the whole affair is, consider this. In preparing for yesterday evening’s debate, Charley Gibson and George Stephanopoulos must of needs compared their questions. They would have to have come up with an order in which to ask them and in fact, other people such as producers and directors were doubtlessly involved. Yet clearly, if anyone ever objected in that all-important, formative preparation time, that objection did not make itself known to the rest of us.

And elsewhere, in what the journalistic community assumes must be unrelated news, CNN viewers tell Lou Dobbs, “Yes, ya douche. We’re fucking bitter.”

I’ve never considered myself psychic in any way, but last night, when my patient and loving wife paused the DVR during dinner so I could watch the Democratic debate, I thanked her and turned it off. I’d had a sense that no good could possibly come of this debate, and from the reports, it appears I was right. In fact, not only was no new ground covered, but the debate appears to have been in fact, nothing but has-been gotchas.

RochesterTurning turns in a report of the national blog media’s take. For national print media’s take (like they’re ones to throw stones) see here, here and here. And happily, commenters on ABC’s website also decided to take the network to task in their blog comments.

A town called “Camp Hill,” which I’ve never heard of, has a mayor with a lifelong registration in the Republican Party. Or did. He’s switching so he can vote in the Democratic primary and cast his ballot for Barack Obama.

Hmm. . . wonder if we can make him a super delegate, now that he’s a Dem?

Camp Hill mayor switches parties to vote for Obama – Midstate PA Local News, Weather, Sports & Entertainment – PennLive.com

“I’m sick and tired of the politics of fear in this country. He’s the only one who doesn’t do that,” Thieblemont said of Obama. “He’s the only candidate who’s said he’d talk to our enemies and try to get some common ground.”