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Dear Ron,

Let me introduce myself.  I'm Sean.  We've never met, but, dude, you are killing me.  Please make it stop.

You see, I thought I had found a nice little place to crash for free the week of the RNC while I cover the convention for FiveThirtyEight.  I didn't know what you had planned for me.

It appears you thought it would be a good idea to inflict two of your ardent supporters on me crashing in the same apartment, and now that they know I'm a blogger, I cannot get them off.  Hell, I snuck this laptop into the bathroom just to get a breath.

Look, I get it.  WE ARE NOT A "DEMOCRACY," WE ARE A "CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC."  This is incredibly significant, because it means that we are all our own personal republics.  It's the person, the precinct, the district, the region, the state, the nation.  All REPUBLICS.

Ron, you're an asshole.  I'm gonna get you for this.



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| 581 votes | Vote | Results

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Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 11:02 AM PDT


by PocketNines

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers:

"Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people "cling" to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans?"

Um... yes, please.

You giant bluffer.

What do you have in a "yes" this fall?

May I have a large order of "yes" and a side of fries?

Brian, you pose an excellent question.  It's on-point.  And the answer is:


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Mon Aug 11, 2008 at 09:08 PM PDT

Dear Mark, Be Ashamed To Die

by PocketNines

Short but sweet.

Most of my reactions to the Josh Green piece for The Atlantic on the epic clusterfuck of the Clinton campaign are opinion and not analysis, so I'm posting them here rather than at FiveThirtyEight.

On Mark Penn (emphasis added):

In light of this history, he got off to an inauspicious start when Clinton entered the race in January 2007, by demanding the title "chief strategist" (previously he had been one of several "senior advisers") and presenting each of his senior colleagues with a silver bowl inscribed with the words of Horace Mann: "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

Dear Mark,

Be ashamed to die.

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Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 11:08 AM PDT

Thirty Five to One

by PocketNines

Cross posted at FiveThirtyEight.

(Following on yesterday's organizing diary, I thought this would be a useful scoop.)

With this morning’s Jonathan Martin front-page piece on McCain’s organizing surge at Politico, it looks like continuing the discussion of ground game is just the order of the day. From the piece, it seems clear that the campaign shake-up has resulted in a far more aggressive effort at voter outreach. For Republican partisans, this can only be good news.

However, we need a bit of a reality check, since we are talking about voter contacts – numbers of phone calls and door-knocks. According to Martin’s reporting, the McCain camp made 20,000 combined door knocks and phone calls nationwide in the previous entire month. (Yes, you read that right.) With the resurgence, they are up to 324,000 in one week, an approximately 6500% increase.

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This is a response diary to a pretty stupid trend of breathless armchair diaries.  I'm not naive enough to think it will stop, but I want to offer the organizer's perspective.  Campaign organizers can't talk to the press or blog (message control), so I'll let you in on the mindset.

We Are the War Room We've Been Waiting For:

And that's a large reason why the Chicken Little proclamations that we so often read and hear elsewhere - the petulant demands from armchair campaign managers that the Obama fight back in specific ways - are so silly:  Surrogates almost always make the better counterpunchers and anybody with a modem or a network of friends or neighbors is now as much of a surrogate as the big names that can garner mass media attention. When you can do something yourself, it's just plain infantile to call upon daddy or mommy - or the presidential candidate or political leader upon which you project that role - to do it for you. Hopefully, one of the lasting results of 2008 will be the emergence of the more grown-up form of political activism in which rather than calling on others to do things for us we simply do it ourselves.

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Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 12:42 PM PDT

Obama on Jon Tester

by PocketNines

Sparked by Kos' front page Tester post the other day, and while I'm in a VP mindset.

Before the comments go wild with misinterpretation, I'm not suggesting I think Obama will pick Jon Tester as VP.  That would blow my mind.

But in thinking about Obama and Tester it occurred to me the example of Tester is a good way of unpacking a feeling I have about how he'll pick his VP.  (I certainly am skeptical, as noted at fivethirtyeight today, that he'll pick a VP to try and win a specific state.)

From the Mansfield-Metcalfe dinner in Butte, MT, April 5, 2008:

And as if that weren't enough, we've got a tag team now.  (Cheering) I - I came to Montana, looking for Jon Tester's barber.  (Laughing, cheering) I was thinking about going with that style.  I was thinking about getting one of his ties.  But it only works for Jon.  Because he is an American original.  I don't know somebody who is more decent, more hardworking, more dedicated... (crowd goes totally crazy) so give it up for Jon Tester. (wild cheering continues).

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It's the 3d of June, 2008.  Mattering states are voting.

On this day in history, nearly 40 years to the day of one of the country's darkest moments, Barack Obama has secured enough delegates to clinch the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States of America, this land that we love.

Barack Obama.

A skinny kid with a funny name who believed that this country had a place for him too.

As its leader.

As a leader who will talk to this country as if we were adults, who will be honest with it.  Who will be transparent.  Who will work hard to inspire participation by the formerly cynical in our society for all our mutual benefit.  Who will change the image of America for a world desperate for us to be our best selves.

For we are our brothers' keepers.  We are our sisters' keepers.

When that man, in 2004, got up and spoke those words, I saw a president.

Those words, of the deepest progressive and spiritual values, are the direct rebuttal to Reagan's "government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem."  Barack Obama will provide language for countless, less powerfully speaking Democrats to run for office in coming decades.

This is a leader who matters.

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Sat May 31, 2008 at 06:56 PM PDT

Is 2118 the Magic Number?

by PocketNines

AP says so, NBC says so, everyone except the great DCW is pretty much saying so.

But is it true?

Here is the most recent pdf the DNC put out listing all superdelegates who weren't add-ons.  It was released May 15, after the Cazayoux and Childers special elections.  It has 721 names.  It still lists Al Wynn, the only discrepancy with DCW's list.  I've double and triple checked the count.  It's 721.

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An update to last Friday's diary, with news of interveningly gained supers and the advisory about half-seating of FL/MI under discussion.  Also news from Chuck Todd on "2026" and "2210," see below.

This data is current through the Boyd and Betty Richie endorsements last night.  Betty was Pelosi Club, but that number is still 6 because Chris Van Hollen joined last weekend.  New Friday supers will be noted and the numbers will change accordingly.  When the numbers have changed, the names that are in the new numbers will go here:

Friday May 30 endorsements:

We've also learned Deb Kozikowski is going to announce on June 4, and so will Jimmy Carter (who reconfirmed his Pelosi Club status).

"June 3 is the end of this process. Every (Democratic) voter in the country will then have had an opportunity to vote," said Kozikowski, during a Belfast Telegraph interview. "There is no reason for a superdelegate not to weigh-in on June 4."

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Warning: this is an uncharitable, venting rant.  I am angry, and to give you an idea, we are headed to Rude Punditville.  Stop right now if you don't want to read it.  Awhile back, I wrongly made a premature case for how Hillary Clinton needed to be talked about in order to give her supporters an easy transition into the fold.  I was wrong.  Some things trump.  So if you don't like harsh language or are a tenderheart, click away now.  I don't even particularly want this to be rec'd, just on the record.

What follows is a totally incomplete list of people who must speak up immediately and clearly, or it's on them too.  Silence + standing endorsement equals ratification.

In no particular order:

Paul Krugman.  Krugman, you weaselly motherfucker, you better ask for some forgiveness without the slightest goddamn snide remark.  

Tina Fey.  Tina, you exhorted voters to elect this goddamn horrorshow.  You have terrible judgment and you need to apologize for what you tried to bring about through your advocacy.

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All numbers updated with 1 OR super, 2 CA supers, 2 Edwards NH pledged confirmations.

Rachel Maddow has it mostly right.  She was right on the night of May 6, the lone voice insisting the Clintons should be taken at their word that they were planning to go out ugly, and I agreed with her at the time and still do.

But she is wrong in one important respect.  She cites Obama needing approximately 90 of 210 to get over the top in a seat Michigan and Florida in full scenario.  I am now going to conclusively show why the math is much, much more favorable for Obama than that.

Because Obama's camp, ridiculously competent in all strategic choices math-related, certainly sees what I do, I believe Barack Obama is going to pre-empt the May 31 meeting with an agreement to seat both delegations in full, and I think he is going to wait another week to do it so his delegate number is maximized.

If he gets 23-36 supers (unanticipated by the calendar: add-ons) in the next week, he can just let the calendar put him over the top on its own.

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It's the 20th of May, 2008.  The Great State of Oregon will officially, historically give Barack Obama the pledged delegate majority, and I know that means Oregon matters.

I dedicate this to my friend big Dave O., a field organizer who has worked his mind and body into gruel for Barack Obama starting over a year ago in NH, then SC, then Maine, then Ohio, then PA, and finally home in MT.  That guy is a god damn warrior and nothing would make me happier than seeing his dedication and excellence rewarded when that day comes.  (Also one of the biggest field heroes in Jon Tester's race, btw.)

Dave's not a softie like me, but he shared one short, simple moment from this campaign saga that caught him good.  It was South Carolina, and Dave had a couple rural upstate counties near Spartanburg.  After the polls closed, he and one of his volunteers, a 70-something y.o. black man, quietly watched the returns come in.  They stood silently together a long time.  With glistening eyes and stunned wonderment the man finally turns to Dave, this young, white, good-hearted man from rural Montana.  Looks Dave in the eyes and says simply, "I never thought I would see this."

Oregon, take us home baby.

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