Sunday, January 27, 2008

Can Obama Win On Super Tuesday? I Think So

When I read Caroline Kennedy's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, my first thought was that the Obama campaign ought to bring her to Los Angeles and camp her in the barrio until Super Tuesday.

When Caroline's endorsement, appearing as an Op Ed page article in this morning's New York Times, is followed by that of her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, as the New York Times is reporting will happen tomorrow at a rally at American University, they will be gold to the Obama campaign, especially in the Latino neighborhoods where Sen. Hillary Clinton has appeared strong.

The Boston Globe reported today that Ted Kennedy will campaign for Obama in California, New Jersey, Arizona and other states where there are large numbers of labor union members and Latinos, and that Caroline Kennedy will also appear with her uncle and Obama at American University tomorrow. (Within hours of the report of Kennedy's impending endorsement, Rep. Xavier Becerra, a leader of the Los Angeles Latino community and senior Latino in the House, announced for Obama).

But there is much more happening after Obama's big victory last night in South Carolina than the Kennedy endorsements, important as they are.

Is that cracking we hear this morning? Listen carefully. I believe it is the cracking of the Clintons' campaign to restore divisive leadership to the USA.

Oh, they are not ready to give up yet. Just last night in Missouri, Bill Clinton was comparing Obama's South Carolina victory to those won years ago by Jesse Jackson. The poor silly oaf. If Bill Clinton really believes that Obama's campaign is comparable to Jesse Jackson's, then he has lost his marbles. If he keep playing the race card like he did in South Carolina, Hillary' political fortunes are going to continue to nosedive. Doesn't she have either the smarts or the fortitude to order him to shut up?

Assuming that on Super Tuesday Obama's home state of Illinois is sure to support him, then Obama must concentrate on five states between now and Super Tuesday, Feb. 5 -- New York, New Jersey, California, Georgia and Alabama. In all, he should be able to make substantial inroads on the Clinton lead, and he may win some of those states.

California and New Jersey are among the states that permit independents to vote in the party primary of their choice, and Obama has done very well among independents.

The fact is, every time Obama speaks, he is gaining adherents. No one, not even Sen. John McCain, can hold a candle to his speaking ability. No one can inspire the American people like he can.

Too much, by far, is being made of Obama's 80% support among black South Carolina voters and 24% support among white voters. That preoccupation ignores two salient facts: Obama's 50% of the white vote in South Carolina aged 18 to 35, and the fact that former Sen. John Edwards drained away quite a few white votes.

If Edwards stays in the race, as he vows to do, then whatever votes he gets are going to come out of Clinton's hide.

Last night, while the news of South Carolina was reverberating around the country, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the most important paper in Missouri, another Super Tuesday state, was endorsing Obama and McCain for the respective party nominations. It is the latest example of a large move in the print press toward the two men of character in the race.

"This year, voters have the chance to turn the page on 28 years of contentious, greed-driven politics and move into a new era of possibilities," the Post-Dispatch said..

"Mr. Obama offers the greatest potential for truly transformative change. On the Republican side, Mr. McCain's independence and integrity have the clear edge in a flawed field."

Also important is the column in the New York Times today by Frank Rich, arguing that a Clinton candidacy in the fall would run thje risk of handing the race to the Republicans.

Rich, who generally knows what is going on, writes, notably, "Up until this moment, Hillary has successfully deflected rough questions about Bill by saying, 'I'm running on my own,' or, as she snapped at Barack Obama in the last debate, 'Well, I'm here, he's not.' This sleight of hand became officially inoperative once her husbabd becane a co-candidate, even to the point of taking over entirely when she vacated South Carolina last week. With 'two for the price of one back as the unabashed modus operandi, both Clintons are in play.

"For the Republicans, that means not just a double dose of the one steroid, Clinton hatred, that might yet restore their party's unity but also two fat targets..."

The apt headline on Rich's article was, "The Billary Road to Republican Victory."

Stay tuned. The next week is going to be one of the most exciting in American politics since Abraham Lincoln emerged in 1860.


Three skiers died from avalanches in the San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood over the weekend, and one of the finest stories in the Los Angeles Times this morning was one on avalanches and the struggle to be safe from them, by using new equipment, by Tami Abdollah.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If Edwards stays in the race, as he vows to do, then whatever votes he gets are going to come out of Clinton's hide."

You're so right and all three of the candidates are well aware of it.

1/27/2008 2:49 PM  
Blogger Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Just Like Her Daddy and Worse

The Princess Royal of the Kennedy clan, who has herself accomplished nothing in life except being born to wealth and privilege, has draped her father's moth-eaten cloak on Barack Obama, who, in her father's White House, would have been a footman or cook. Say what you will about Obama, he got there himself without the benefit of a rich daddy or corrupt political machine. He may be more unprepared to be president and more disastrous for this country than was JFK, but we hope, at least, that he will be impervious to "love notes" from middle-aged political camp followers who are still trying to be influential without ever being relevant.

Tomorrow the black sheep of the family, Sen. Ted Kennedy, will follow in his niece Caroline's footsteps and endorse Obama at American University. It is still possible that some Kennedy cousin might endorse Hillary; perhaps the other murderer or the rapist.

1/27/2008 11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Los Angeles Rally was for African Americans not Latino Community. CNN gave us the wrong indication...

Obama has uphill climb to win Latino votes in California
By Julia Prodis Sulek
Mercury News
Article Launched: 02/01/2008 01:37:12 AM PST

Click photo to enlarge

1/30/2008 - Los Angeles, CA - Marisol Olivares was one of... (Pauline Lubens / Mercury News)
L.A. Democratic presidential debate
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Feb 1:
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LOS ANGELES - King Taco on Cesar Chavez Avenue, across from the tattoo parlor and pawn shop, is Hillary Clinton country.
As first lady, she met with locals at a church a couple blocks down the street. As presidential candidate, she stopped in for a taco last month. And while Spanish is the language of this street, nearly all know what Clinton means.
"When I talk to my friends, we all say we're going to vote for her," said Sal Arciga, a 25-year-old phone operator having a carne asada burrito a table away from where the senator from New York sat.
What does he think about Barack Obama, running against Clinton for the Democratic nomination?
"O-who?" he asked, putting his burrito down, thinking about it. "I think he needs to come and eat here."
And that's essentially what Obama will have to do if he expects to break the Clinton stronghold on the huge and influential Latino vote here in California. He's got five days to do it, and he made an dramatic attempt Thursday with a rally at a Los Angeles trade college just hours before the final Democratic debate before Tuesday's primary. The event was billed as an outreach to Latino voters.
The only glitch? Most of the crowd was black.
"Sí se puede!" Obama shouted out to the crowd filling the campus plaza. "Yes we can!"
When the crowd responded to the Latino rallying cry, they did so in English.
Obama, a senator from Illinois, has a lot of work to do

in five days.
An appearance today at East Los Angeles College by Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts - whose endorsement of Obama has been viewed as a help to the campaign's Latino outreach effort - is expected to be more on target.
The Latino vote is critical for Obama if he is to beat front-runner Clinton in the California primary on Super Tuesday, when more than 20 states will hold party contests. A quarter of Tuesday's Democratic primary voters will likely be Latino. Two-thirds of the state's Latino voters live in Southern California, and more than 60 percent are registered Democrats.
The Obama campaign boasts that it launched the first Spanish-language TV ad, and for the past three months he has been sending foot soldiers into L.A.'s Latino neighborhoods with bilingual campaign fliers. This week, the campaign opened a field office in heavily Latino East Los Angeles. And when Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts comes to San Jose on Saturday to stump for Obama, he will do it at the Mexican Heritage Plaza.
But so far, Obama has been losing California Latinos to Clinton by a 3-to-1 ratio, the latest California Field Poll shows.
"It's not necessarily a negative view of Obama that's preventing him from winning it," said Mark DiCamillo of California's Field Poll. "It's that Hillary is already family."
Some say, however, a hostile undercurrent between some Latinos and blacks - especially in urban Los Angeles - is yet another hurdle for Obama.
Carmelo Garcia, a 20-year-old student in the crowd at the trade college Thursday, acknowledged those resentments between the two groups. He experiences them routinely, he said, in name-calling alone. Watching Obama deliver his "Sí se puede" speech in front of mostly blacks, "I worry that he might give a little bit more to the black people instead of the Latino community."
While he appreciated Obama's message Thursday of unity and shared struggle among all races, he's still voting for Clinton - a name spoken in his house since childhood. With that loyalty, he said, "I wasn't even paying attention to Barack Obama."
Dolores Huerta, 77-year-old co-founder with the late and legendary Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers union, is not worried. She is confident the Latino voters will stay with Clinton.
Obama, she said, "doesn't really have a relationship with the Latino community." His use of the term "sí se puede" in speeches and on campaign signs handed out at Thursday's rally is just a "little shortcut" for Obama to make inroads.
Inroads she believes are dead ends.
She pointed out that while Obama earned the endorsement of the heavily Latino Culinary Workers Union in Nevada, many of the dishwashers and cooks defected to Clinton and created for themselves a term of endearment: "Los Hillarios." It's quite a tribute to Clinton, who had trouble pronouncing "sí se puede" at a Salinas rally last week with the United Farm Workers. And Clinton scored perhaps the biggest prize. She was in Salinas - to accept the endorsement of the United Farm Workers - where the slogan began.
At the Obama headquarters in Los Angeles, where handpainted signs that say "Sí se puede" are taped to the walls, one of Obama's chief Latino endorsers acknowledges the challenge.
"There's no doubt it's uphill politically," said Maria Elena Durazo, the executive secretary of the Los Angeles Federation of Workers, which represents 80,000 workers.
What matters to Durazo, and to Latinos like her, she said, is "character and roots."
"He's the son of an immigrant and single mother," she said of his father's Kenyan roots and his mother's Kansas upbringing. "He went through and felt what it's like for people without work every day. Being of mixed ethnic family, he had a taste of the bias people have and how that can hurt someone's opportunities."
Obama had great prospects after college, she said, "but he chose to be a community organizer for mostly people of color. When we tell the Senator Obama story, it fits."
The campaign just needs to spread that story effectively - and fast.
He still has a few days to grab a taco.
Contact Julia Prodis Sulek at or (408) 278-3409.

2/01/2008 9:15 PM  

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