Hillary Clinton

The Democratic Primary is Tighter than Willie Nelson's Headband

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It's not as dramatic as the Huckasurge (Huckaboom? Huckacaust?) but Barack Obama is steadily eating away at Hillary Clinton's once-stratospheric poll leads. In Iowa Obama's cut from Clinton's and John Edwards' numbers and risen to a narrow one-point lead. In New Hampshire, Clinton's so-called firewall state (where she could resist an Obama Iowa win with her own win 5 days later), Clinton's lead is down to 5.2 points from a high of 25. In South Carolina, home of the "Clinton gets more black votes than Obama" storyline, Clinton's lead is 0.7 percent, and the latest poll (PDF) shows Obama winning the black vote by 56 to 21.

Clinton's media pushback consists of, among other things, this howler of a press release.

The new CBS/NYT poll released yesterday reveals that voters—by wide margins—think Hillary Clinton is the Democrat with the best chance of winning the general election. Nearly two-thirds of voters (63 percent), more than four times the number chose Obama (14 percent), believe Hillary is the best bet for taking back the White House. The poll comes on the heels of others showing very similar findings: a CNN poll from last week shows Hillary more than doubling Obama (53-25) on who has the best chance to beat the Republican nominee, LA Times/Bloomberg has Hillary leading 54-17 on the same question, and a Time poll from mid-November shows Hillary is by far the most likely to win the general election (76-23 versus 61-38 for Obama).

Funny thing about these polls is that they reflect not Clinton strength but voter ignorance. Obama actually polls as well or better than Clinton against the top five GOP candidates. Sure, some Democratic voters know Clinton is polarizing and think she can overcome that by outsmarting the GOP—no floundering and blowing questions about swift boats or the macabre fate of Kitty Dukakis. And… what happens to that feeling if Clinton hands Iowa to Obama?

Headline explained here.

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  1. Exactly the right question, Dave. For most Democrats, Hillary is much more repsected for her effectiveness and strength than loved. She’s the “strong horse.” Up until recently, she ran a pitch-perfect campaign and was firing on all cylinders. If a crack appears in the armor, it could turn into a rout.

    Not that it necessarily will turn into a rout, like Dean’s slide in 04. Hillary has the institutional backing and workmanlike capacity for plugging along to recover from a slide, keep going, and grind her way back to the top, if it comes to that.

  2. Hillary has the institutional backing and workmanlike capacity for plugging along to recover from a slide, keep going, and grind her way back to the top, if it comes to that.

    If Barack can’t get her, then our only hope is for Sara Connor could crush her in a giant drill press.

  3. If Barack can’t get her, then our only hope is for Sara Connor could crush her in a giant drill press.

    Does that mean that Obama is secretly a time traveler from the future, and that one of his children is actually the savior of the future of the human race?

  4. Does that mean that Obama is secretly a time traveler from the future, and that one of his children is actually the savior of the future of the human race?

    Yes. Al Gore invented the internet. Hillary? Skynet.

  5. Does that mean that Obama is secretly a time traveler from the future, and that one of his children is actually the savior of the future of the human race?

    Well, he has heard of and has a passing acquaintance with computers (and their magnificent powers) unlike every other candidate out there, so far.

    Must be from the future. Obviously.

  6. I don’t know how much more ground Obama can pick up. He’s been the big beneficiary of the Edwards anti-HRC attack ads. They reminded people how much they didn’t like Hillary, and let others know that Edwards is fine with playing dirty.

    Obama has been playing up the positivity, almost like a Democratic Reagan. However, I’m not sure that the message will continue to gain adherents. For one thing, he’ll eventually have to start talking specifics, and for another, he may have to respond to Hillary’s attack ads if the races remain close or he gets the lead.

  7. Unfortunately for him, people don’t respond to “I’m not going spout bullshit about Hilary Clinton” the same way they respond to “John Kerry hates America”

  8. Well, [Obama] has heard of and has a passing acquaintance with computers

    Really? I could have sworn he was a lawyer.

    “Margaret, could you please come in here and put this e-letter in the mail for me?”

  9. joe,

    I mean, in his policy proposals, he gives a great deal of attention to tech applications to (in his opinion) reduce cost overheads in large paper-intensive bureaucratic programs and increase transparency in government.

    For example, he of all the candidates suggested that perhaps making the prescription system electronic would cut down on the number of patients who die from a misread prescription. Nice thought; being a doctor, R. Paul might be able to speak to that…then again, he might just be one of those few doctors whose handwriting is legible. Ditto filing Medicare/Medicaid papers online to reduce the massive work-hours overhead and long turnaround times.

    He also suggested things like legislation pending in session be available online, departments and authorities posting all minutes of policy meetings online, paperwork filings being encouraged in e-file rather than hard copy, etc.. And blogs for cabinet-level officials. And a comprehensive online searchable database for government rulings and documents.

    So far as I know, he’s the only candidate who is talking about pragmatic, technical solutions to government bloat. Me, I prefer Paul’s slash and burn approach to the federal government…but if it becomes about pragmatism and they are gonna tax the crap out of me anyway, I’ll take the candidate who has an idea bout how to reduce waste and streamline bureaucracy in a heartbeat to put those dollars to some effective use.

  10. Elemenope – thanks (even if you were talking to joe). I hadn’t realized he’d gotten so specific about his policy proposals.

  11. “Let’s review: Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush….Clinton?”

    For any cadidate not named Rudy(R-911), That alone is enough to beat Hillary. If Rudy wins the GOP nomination, it would be a “pick the less odious New Yorker to lead you” exercise…and Clinton would win.

  12. Elemenope,

    Electronic medical records to reduce medical mistakes is something all the candidates are proposing.

    But IIRC, he was one of the sponsors of the bill to put earmarks online for the public to peruse.

  13. joe’s right. I might be crazy but I think the other Senator to propose the earmark online bill was John McCain.

  14. joe,

    Yeah, the other candidates (fairly late, although Edwards slacked the least) included it in their Medicare proposal after Obama did. However, it was somewhat “by the way” and I never got the sense they were ever serious about it. And nobody else is talking about dragging the Fed into the 21st century in general terms.

    re:earmarks, yeah. He partnered with someone across the aisle on that one. Anyone remember who? (I’m feeling a tad lazy. 😉

  15. Elemenope,

    That’s the right track to be thinking on. Using technology to streamline government was the one thing Al Gore was really, legitimately good at, but honestly I like Obama’s emphasis on transparency even more.

  16. Thanks, sage. LOL, McCain. An idiot on foreign policy, but at least he cares about the “little things”.

  17. “Let’s review: Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush….Clinton?”

    I heard Jenna Bush and Chelsea Clinton were going to be civilly unionized, thus creating the Bush-Clinton Dynasty will reign for 1,000 years.

    That’s what I heard anyway…

  18. it would be a “pick the less odious New Yorker to lead you” exercise

    I think I speak for many when I say that Hilary is not a “New Yorker.”

  19. Abdul | December 12, 2007, 11:33am | #

    Hillary has the institutional backing and workmanlike capacity for plugging along to recover from a slide, keep going, and grind her way back to the top, if it comes to that.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE refrain from using the words Hillary and grind in the same paragraph!

    The mental image shot past the spam filter in my brain and I may never be the same.

  20. Wake me up when it’s over. Let’s see – we’ve had presidents who took us to war, fought depressions and economic collapses, ended wars, undertook manifest destinies, launched a space program, re-energized economies with tax cuts, preserved the Union, faced down the commies, etc. etc. (I’m not saying all those things were good, just that they were complex and historically important)and now we have a presidential candidate who is going to make prescriptions legible!

  21. Hillary has the institutional backing and workmanlike capacity for plugging along to recover from a slide, keep going, and grind her way back to the top sling mud and other brownish substances in a bareknuckled race to the gutter, if it comes to that.

    Fixed, joe.

  22. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE refrain from using the words Hillary and grind in the same paragraph!

    Unless you mean “grind” in the pidgin Hawaiian sense of “eat”, as in, “Ho, brah, look at dat cannibal grind on the Hillary pupus!”

  23. Just think of ‘grinding’ in the entirely unsatisfying but thankfully unsexual World of Warcraft sense. It helps with the disturbing mental images.

    Then again, the other day I saw TV ads for WoW featuring, first, William Shatner, and then…Mr. T. So, thinking of WoW gives me bad mental images all on its own.

  24. creech —

    Clearly you’ve never been on the bad end of a poorly written prescription. 😉

  25. Electronic medical records to reduce medical mistakes is something all the candidates are proposing.

    Because migrating to EMR is something (a) only the government can do and (b) something hospitals and doctors are too stupid to manage on their own.

  26. “Huckacaust”???

    What a piece of shit this Weigel be.

  27. Someone tell me how many sacred hecatombs I need to sacrifice so we can have a Paul vs. Obama election.

    I hope it’s not too many, those hecatombs are expensive.

  28. elemenope: the technology and transparency issue is one thing I like about Obama. Also his business about legalizing foreign prescription drugs. It seems that (at least compared to other candidates) he has a lot of pragmatic solutions.

    Also, a Hawaiian president? In a crazy moment it occurred to me that we might be better governed if Congress and everybody in the White House had to walk around in leis.

  29. src —

    LOL. Leis. Seriously, though, he’s my number two candidate (albeit far behind R. Paul). If I can’t get government to die screaming, I want it to at least work right, goddammit! For me, principle yields to pragmatism before it yields to despair.

    There are not many things I’d give my right eye for, but a Paul v. Obama race would be…well, no, it wouldn’t be on that list. But it would be mighty fine, nonetheless.

  30. Good for you, prolefeed! You made the incredibly-insightful observation that political campaigns can be dirty.

    Good job “fixing that for” me. Incredibly helpful and relevant to the discussion.

  31. Obama is steadily eating away at Hillary Clinton

    A generation ago that would have gotten him lynched.

  32. R C Dean,

    Because migrating to EMR is something (a) only the government can do and (b) something hospitals and doctors are too stupid to manage on their own.

    Then why hasn’t it been done? It’s 2007 and doctors are stilling scribbling on little pieces of paper which never get entered into a database.

    There can’t possibly be a ten dollar bill on the sidewalk.

  33. And why, exactly, RC, did you decide to address that comment to me, rather than the person who brought up the subject?

  34. Then why hasn’t it been done? It’s 2007 and doctors are stilling scribbling on little pieces of paper which never get entered into a database.

    Eh, not entirely true. Virginia Mason in Seattle has been doing medical transcription electronically for some time. The big job is putting all the handwritten stuff into electronic form. All that “old stuff” is still pretty relevant.

    Anyway, it’s something that must be scanned in manually as the records are pulled. And no amount of government mandates is going to speed that up.

    Most of the “old school” doctors could really care less about electronic records. When they see a patient they want a chart to look at. When they are done they want to add to that by dictating into a microphone. They don’t really comprehend how it gets from the microphone to the chart, and they shouldn’t. They’d rather concentrate on medicine.

  35. Then why hasn’t it been done? It’s 2007 and doctors are stilling scribbling on little pieces of paper which never get entered into a database.

    Joe’s right. You can’t not go to a doctor if you need prescription meds, so the “market pressure” that would be normally caused by tens of thousands of people dying from the way the product is delivered is at best distorted.

    Large capital investments for small businesses like doctor’s offices, like computers, software, and training so staff knows how to use them, are things that sometimes need a little external shove when the cost (through lost business) of any given patient dying is less than the equipment needed to make sure it doesn’t happen.

    Since hospitals can absorb large infrastructure costs better, they tend to get on the tech bandwagon a little earlier, and like sage points out, it isn’t a silver bullet fix by any means.

  36. sage,

    Most of the “old school” doctors could really care less about electronic records. When they see a patient they want a chart to look at. When they are done they want to add to that by dictating into a microphone.

    And that’s where the government comes in.

    They don’t really comprehend how it gets from the microphone to the chart, and they shouldn’t. They’d rather concentrate on medicine.

    OK. We’ve now seen Objection 1: We Don’t Need The Government, The Private Sector Will Do It Itself.

    Once that’s been swatted away, we get Objection 2: It Is A Terrible Idea To Do This Thing That The Private Sector Will Do Itself.

    They’d rather concentrate on medicine. Just like, once upon a time, every other professional job was held by people who’d rather concentrate on their core actions than learn how a computer works. Nonetheless, despite the whining, the use of IT has increased the efficiency and accuracy of every sector it’s been introduced.

    But not medicine, because it’s such a terrible idea to require electronic records. Why do I suspect that, if hospitals actually were requiring this by themselves, without a government mandate, it would be lauded as a great step forward and held up as evidence of the uselessness of government mandates?

  37. Good for you, prolefeed! You made the incredibly-insightful observation that political campaigns can be dirty.

    Good job “fixing that for” me. Incredibly helpful and relevant to the discussion.

    Ummm, the point I was trying to make was that one specific politician — Hillary — was in my opinion prepared to play way dirtier than most people on the campaign trail, and certainly more than Obama — though he may acquire a newfound appreciation for mud if taking the high road seems to not be working.

    Now, if I had in fact just said “politics can get dirty” without commenting on any one specific politician, then, sure, that wouldn’t have been helpful.

    If you are willing to stipulate that everyone here without exception, including you, agrees HRC is ready to be appallingly nasty even by the unusually low standards of politics, then I’ll stipulate that my comment was unnecessary.

  38. Maybe you should actually make your points instead of trying to get in overly-cute digs.

    appallingly nasty even by the unusually low standards of politics

    Let’s see: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Willie Horton ads. Jesse Helms Black Hands ads. John McCain’s Inter-racial Baby phone calls.

    No, I don’t think there is any reason whatsoever to believe that Hillary Clinton would sink into that territory. Bill’s campaign wasn’t particularly nasty. I haven’t seen any evidence that she’d be a particularly nasty campaigner.

    Is this one of those “Hillary is bad, X is bad, so Hillary must do X” things?

  39. Joe, that may be true, but Hillary is not Bill. Time and again during his first term, they together proved that political deftness is not transitive through marriage.

    Besides, dirty politics these days is sanitized away from the candidates’ hands. Hillary won’t bring up Obama’s cocaine, but *somebody* will.

  40. But the question wasn’t about her political deftness. It was about her propensity to get appallingly nasty even by the unusually low standards of politics.

    I’d certainly agree that she doesn’t rise to Bill’s level of pure political talent – who does? – but that doesn’t translate into “especially nasty mudslinging.”

    I suspect she’ll engage in a pretty ordinary level of mudslinging.

  41. OK. We’ve now seen Objection 1: We Don’t Need The Government, The Private Sector Will Do It Itself.

    And that’s what happening. Not due to, but in spite of regulations like HIIPA.

    Once that’s been swatted away, we get Objection 2: It Is A Terrible Idea To Do This Thing That The Private Sector Will Do Itself.

    I must have missed when that was swatted away. And the reason the mandate is what you call a “terrible idea” is because it will simply increase burdensome reporting requirements and other such nonsense.

    “How much progress are you making in complying with our such-and-such act? Fill out this form, and this one, or risk fines and other penalites.”

    Making something a requirement that’s already happening is little more than a redundant feel-good measure. Probably why it’s popular with some.

    Nonetheless, despite the whining, the use of IT has increased the efficiency and accuracy of every sector it’s been introduced.

    Which of those were done because “there ought to be a law?”

    Why do I suspect that, if hospitals actually were requiring this by themselves, without a government mandate, it would be lauded as a great step forward and held up as evidence of the uselessness of government mandates?

    Have you ever heard of Dictaphone?

  42. I hope you are right. However, Iowans and their sensitive constitutions aside, Americans tend to respond to Jock-douchebag strutting and “shows of toughness”; you don’t think, purely from a practical perspective, that Hillary would benefit overall from Hulking out a bit? Since most people think of her as the second coming of the Iron Lady (sans the obvious English nationalism), playing into the part might give her some combat credibility.

  43. Let’s see: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Willie Horton ads. Jesse Helms Black Hands ads. John McCain’s Inter-racial Baby phone calls.

    No, I don’t think there is any reason whatsoever to believe that Hillary Clinton would sink into that territory.

    joe, you make a valid, nuanced point about some of the prior nastiness in politics, then IMO destroy this sense of nuance by making what appears to me a wildly exaggerated claim (“any reason whatsoever”) about HRC’s unwillingness to sink to those levels. OTOH, if you actually believe that there is a 0.000% chance that HRC won’t sink to that despicable level sometime in this campaign — that no matter how tight the race may get, even Florida 2000 tight — and that statement isn’t just hyperbole thrown out in the heat of the moment, then fine, we have a difference of opinion about HRC’s ethical levels that subsequent events may clarify.

  44. Hillary Clinton is the Godfather of the DP. She will win the nomination. It’s just a matter of who she has to make an offer they can’t refuse.

  45. OK, sage. So the use of electronic medical records is both sweeping the nation and a terrible idea. We can see how effectively and completely it is taking over the medical industry by how many doctors think it is an absolutely terrible idea that cuts into their effectiveness.

    It is both an immense burden, and such a massive boon that no prodding by the government is needed.

  46. prolefeed, wank away on your semantic absolutism all you want.

    Just leave me out of it.

  47. OK, sage. So the use of electronic medical records is both sweeping the nation and a terrible idea.

    That’s not what I said, joe. Dictaphone has had their claws in medical records since perhaps the early 80s. It’s a good idea, but not exactly sweeping the nation. But again, the technology will not evolve any faster with beaurocrats in the way.

    From your earlier post: despite the whining, the use of IT has increased the efficiency and accuracy of every sector it’s been introduced.

    How many of those sectors had IT introduced by law?

  48. Then why hasn’t it been done? It’s 2007 and doctors are stilling scribbling on little pieces of paper which never get entered into a database.

    As someone who has been working in this area for years, joe, I can assure you that the less you know about it, the easier it looks. You have massively diverse data sources and huge numbers of people to train, just for starters. Billions are being invested in this migration every year.

    Nobody, but nobody, is less likely to leave a $10 bill on the sidewalk than a physician. Trust me, EMR is not low hanging fruit. Only someone who has zero experience with it would think so.

  49. But again, the technology will not evolve any faster with beaurocrats in the way.

    But again, the problem isn’t the level of technology – which is already widely available and used in other industries throughout the nation – it’s the adoption, and as we’ve seen for 100 years, the medical profession does, as a matter of historical fact, adopt the practices required of it by federal law.

    I’m not sure what phantasmal “bureaucrats” or “reporting requirements” you’re talking about.

    How many of those sectors had IT introduced by law? I don’t know. Who cares?

  50. RC Dean,

    I acknowledge there is a hump to get over in terms of adopting the technology. That’s where the government comes in – in providing the motivation to get over that hump.

  51. But again, the problem isn’t the level of technology – which is already widely available and used in other industries throughout the nation – it’s the adoption

    And here again, all those paper records – which need to be scanned page by page – are not going to suddenly be digital because of some law.

    I’m not sure what phantasmal “bureaucrats” or “reporting requirements” you’re talking about.

    Of course you don’t. That’s obvious from your previous posts on this thread.

    I don’t know. Who cares?

    Apparently you do. The rest of us feel that the technology will continue to be adopted without further interference.

  52. And here again, all those paper records – which need to be scanned page by page – are not going to suddenly be digital because of some law

    That doesn’t mean new records can’t be electronic going forward. I worked in a city planning office. Old paper records, new electronic records, cross references – every industry has had the transition problem. We deal with it.

  53. Anyhoo, sage, it’s not exactly an issue I stay up nights studying.

    I was just pointing out that the position is not, in fact, something unique to the Obamanator.

  54. Well, I think the medical record problem could be, nay, should be solved with cuneiform clay tablets. Fire resistant and pest resistant, can your paper and computer records make that clain? HELL NO! My proposed CCT records will last thousands of years according to the latest research. Call your congresscritter today and tell them to support the CCT Records act of 2007.

  55. Getting back on topic, I think Obama has a very good chance of beating Hillary. The visceral dislike that she receives is not something to be discounted. Edwards is just running for VP again. Is there anybody else in the field?

  56. OK, joe, I’ll give you that.

    As for the philosophical differences – we’ll have to agree to disagree. Peace.

    J sub, the Sumerians are long gone. So I guess I can’t accuse you of being a shill for big…Sumeria.

    On that topic, the word cuneiform is from latin or greek (can’t remmeber which) for “wedge.”

    Not to be vulgar, but could that be where the word “cunt” came from?

  57. If Edwards was running for VP, he wouldn’t be whacking at Hillary, and he wouldn’t be staking out positions so different from hers.

    He’s in this to win, and he is not out of the race by a long shot.

  58. cunnus is latin for vulva

  59. Not to be vulgar, but could that be where the word “cunt” came from?

    That’s not vulgar. That’s speculative etymology.

  60. J sub, the Sumerians are long gone. So I guess I can’t accuse you of being a shill for big…Sumeria.

    I like to come up with ridiculous ideas and justify them with real advantages, ignoring the downsides. Let me tell you about my hydraulic digital computer. Its impervious to EMP.

    DoD, are you listening?

  61. Does it have an abacus as its math co-processor?

  62. Does it have an abacus as its math co-processor?

    No, the abacus is the output device. It’s so obvious.

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