Prediction For North Carolina, Indiana Democratic Presidential Primary

Each primary night this year we thought that the results would somehow move the Democratic nominating process to a point where the eventual nominee would be known.  Once again, for better or worse, depending on your point of view, we will not know where the nomination will fall on Tuesday night after the North Carolina and Indiana Democratic primaries are held.  If you are a political junkie such as myself, this election cycle is like eating chocolate brownies covered with raspberry sauce every day!   As a Democrat who understands the needs of the nation, I know the necessity of wrapping the process up, and having a party nominee that can win in November.  But we will not know the nominee on Tuesday night.  But since I am enjoying this campaign I thought I would add a few thoughts and early predictions for the May 6th contests.

In the nearly two weeks since the Pennsylvania primary if has been a series of tumultuous blows and counter-blows as the Barack Obama campaign was forced to deal with the remarks of Reverend Wright.  At a time when Hillary Clinton was capitalizing on a new found populist message regarding gas prices and a cozy relationship with the “bubba vote’, Obama was scrambling to tamp down the daily news stories over his former pastor.  He will have a full-blown interview on “Meet The Press” with Tim Russert Sunday morning, and will have a chance to round the rough edges off a hard week.  But the only way to blunt the hard news these past weeks is with convincing wins for Obama on Tuesday.  I do not see that in the cards.

It is imperative that Barack Obama score above the expectations in order to stop the hemorrhaging in the minds of the superdelegates about his nomination.  While North Carolina has long looked favorable for him, and still does, he must show that he has not lost ground by allowing Clinton to close the gap and come in with a close second.  Sadly I do not think that will happen.  Where Obama had enjoyed a double-digit lead over Clinton, he now has been reduced to the single numbers in some polls.

The real prize however is in Indiana where the once tight race has opened in Clinton’s favor. The key will be the blue-collar voters that seem more than willing to give the nod to Hillary “where is my gun and shot of whiskey” Clinton.  I may disagree with her on issues, but I do not discount her ability to morph into whatever the campaign requires.  That will prove handy to some extent if she is eventually the Democratic nominee.  However, that concession in no way speaks to the more principled stand and demeanor that I think most want, and need, from a president.  Clinton is seen in poll after poll to lack the integrity and truthfulness test.  In the end, should she become the nominee, after the war and economy are debated endlessly, this character issue will weigh on the mind of the voters and pose as her biggest problem.  McCain will use this flaw over and over again to his advantage, if Clinton were to be the nominee.

In Indiana I will be watching the number of Republicans who switch over to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton, knowing that she is the weakest candidate to face John McCain.  Meanwhile independents are more likely to line up for Obama.  It seems that voters who are not Democrats could select the winner in Indiana.

I do not predict a sweep of the contests for either candidate.  If Clinton were to win both North Carolina and Indiana her rival Barack Obama would still have more delegates, and the struggle would continue as he fights to be the nominee.  I have long argued the eventual nominee will be the person leading with the most elected delegates.  The problem with Clinton doing well at the end of the nominating process is that the superdelegates are getting mighty nervous.  I do not discount the major news event that a sweep for Clinton would create, but I do not think superdelegates can overturn the will of the powerful forces that have made Obama all but the nominee, without a fissure so deep and wide in the party that the only outcome would be a GOP victory in November.  A Clinton sweep would be a blow to the Obama campaign, but not one that would necessarily prove to be the end for him.   (By this time some readers may think I never give Clinton a break….I actually like her but think her campaign style and tactics are slimy.)

However, if Obama were somehow to sweep the two states on Tuesday it would then be the end for Clinton’s White House dream.  If Obama could sweep after the two weeks he has endured, then a clear message so loud will have been sent that even the Clinton household would understand it.

So with all these thoughts and views what are my predictions?

I think that Obama wins by 6 % in North Carolina.

Clinton wins with 8 % in Indiana.  A more conservative and blue-collar crowd that has no ability to process the Obama phenomenon will prove to be Clinton’s gift. 

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The Problem Is Not With Reverend Wright, But With Republican Operatives

I have argued here on this blog that the type of political tactics which allows for the Reverend Wright matter to dominate the whole of America is troubling.  Barack Obama suffers as the result of the GOP working over-time to demonize him, the one candidate they fear most in the fall campaign.

Now comes a well written national article that adds on to that theme.  THIS IS A MUST READ!

Not all of what Wright says is comforting.

His views are not universally appealing, nor are they or should they be seen as unassailable.

But, for the most part, they are well much within the mainstream of American religious and political discourse.

The problem is not Jeremiah Wright.

The problem is a contemporary political culture that has come to rely on character assassination as an easy tool for reversing electoral misfortune — and a media that willingly invites manipulation.

Let’s not forget how Wright became an issue in the 2008 presidential race. Republican operatives, fretful about their party’s political fortunes, decided that the only way to weaken the candidacy of Wright’s longtime parishioner, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, was by suggesting the Democratic presidential front-runner was in the sway of an anti-American radical.

That end was achieved by separating out from long and thoughtful sermons regarding matters biblical and political seemingly offensive phrases and then inviting the Grand Old Party’s media echo chamber to repeat the sound bites until they became conventional “wisdom.”

This is a classic guilt-by-association maneuver, played out so aggressively in the current circumstance that it would make Joe McCarthy blush. But it has worked, at least in part because people of good faith have not taken the time to assess and appropriately answer the charge that Obama’s connection to Wright confirms the candidate to be either a closet radical or, worse yet, a dupe of some free-floating, ill-defined but still frightful fringe.

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Wright can be unsettling, thought-provoking, often right and sometimes wrong. But he is neither anti-American nor unpatriotic.

In more ways than Republican and now Democratic critics seem prepared to admit, Wright is the embodiment of an American religious and political tradition of challenging the country’s sins while calling it to the higher ground that extends from the founding of the republic. No less a figure than Thomas Jefferson — who constructed that wall of separation between church and state but who worried a good deal about questions of the divine — worried openly about the retribution that would befall a nation that permitted slavery.

“The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other,” wrote Jefferson in 1781’s Notes on the State of Virginia, where he asked, “(Can) the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

The wrath of God brought down on a country that permits slavery? A nation damned by its original sin? God damn America?

America has been blessed from its beginnings by champions of liberty, by abolitionists and civil rights marchers, by suffragists and union organizers, by anti-imperialists like Mark Twain and challengers of the military-industrial complex like Dwight Eisenhower. Necessarily, these patriots have said some tough things about American leaders and policies. They have acknowledged flaws that are self-evident. Yet, they have not done so out of hatred. Rather, they have loved America sufficiently to believe it can be as good and as just as figures so diverse and yet in some very important ways so similar as Thomas Jefferson and Jeremiah Wright have taught us.

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Did Barack Obama Do The Right Thing By Denouncing Reverend Wright?

One can understand the political needs that Barack Obama faces as he runs for the Democratic Party nomination, while at the same time understanding the desire of Reverend Wright to publicly defend himself.  The right-wing use of Wright’s comments, often out of context, is not a new tactic for the GOP.  Contortions and confusion is a game plan they use often.  Sadly it works.

As CNN reports Obama made it clear today that he was “outraged” with Reverend Wright over comments made in the past couple of days.

“I have been a member of Trinity Church since 1992. I have known Rev. Wright for almost 20 years,” he said at a news conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “The person I saw yesterday is not the person I met 20 years ago.”

What particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing,” Obama said, adding that Wright had shown “little regard for me” and seemed more concerned with “taking center stage.”

I cannot prevent him from making these remarks,” but “when I say I find these comments appalling, I mean it. It contradicts what I’m about and who I am. … It is completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country.”

In a break with previous comments, Obama focused his criticism on Wright the man, and not simply his remarks.

Obama had at the center of his campaign the idea that the old ways of ‘doing’ politics was not in the best interest of the national needs.  Many agreed and cheered him on.   More importantly they voted in large numbers for him.  When confronted with the Wright matter I had hoped that Obama would speak to the larger themes of not allowing the conservative’s rant on Wright, which was amplified by the media, to deflect from the larger issues, and thereby drive the race for the White House.  By denouncing his pastor in the fashion that he did, Obama gave in to the basic premise that the conservatives had laid out when they started their constant barrage of Wright.  The GOP playbook worked again.  And the public gets the shaft.

What Obama should have done is attack this style of campaigning by the Republicans.  These types of political attacks on Barack Obama about his pastor are aimed at playing politics with the lowest common denominators.  Again.  Will the Wright matter effect the price of gasoline or improve health care coverage for working Americans?

The GOP has a bloody war on their hands and an economy that has soured into a recession.  So they needed to have a diversion that affects the strongest person who could kick their ass in November. 

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Watch Reverend Wright At NAACP Convention

I have not felt that Reverend Wright had a fair playing field while the continuing loops of news tape repeated endlessly over the past weeks on all-news networks.  Taken in snips, and out of context, Wright was maligned and used as a political tool by the opponents of presidential candidate Barack Obama.  Reverend Wright, who has long had a respected resume for his intelligence and scope in the religious community around the nation suffered the onslaught and slurs in silence.  This weekend he rightfully responded.  First he joined Bill Moyers, always worth viewing on PBS, and then on Sunday night he delivered a speech at the NAACP dinner.

And he deserves to be heard.   I am proud to use this blog as a way to allow viewers to see the NAACP dinner speech.

So here is Reverend Wright.

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