Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wow, it's a busy day in politics for stupidity.

Well, first things first.

A suit to close nine at-large caucus locations on the Las Vegas strip has been rejected by a Federal judge.

This isn't the stupidity, wait for it.

Ten months ago the Democratic Party in Nevada decided to open caucus locations in casinos because the members of the largest union in Nevada, the Nevada Culinary Workers Union, by and large couldn't go to caucuses. The caucuses are held on a Saturday- the one day when hotel and restaurant workers are least likely to be able to get off work. The new at-large caucus locations allow those workers to vote either at or within walking distance of their workplace, where otherwise they couldn't participate.

The day after the New Hampshire primaries, the NCWU formally endorsed Barack Obama for President. Almost immediately members of the Nevada State Education Organization filed suit to stop the at-large caucus locations... on the grounds that those locations constituted favoritism, when some of their members (mostly custodians) worked at schools on Saturday and could not attend.

The NSEO had previously endorsed Hillary Clinton.

If this doesn't seem familiar to you, you've forgotten the 1992 election cycle. Go find a secondhand copy of Primary Colors- they're still cheap at bookstores pretty much everywhere- and refresh your memory.

Anyway, although that's blatantly corrupt, that's not stupid. Nor is Hillary Clinton's campaign trying to pretend it's neutral on the suit stupid.

What's stupid is not telling your husband what the meaning of "neutral" is, and allowing him to go way, WAY off the reservation to a reporter with a videocamera rolling.

In his rant Slick Willie strongly defends the lawsuit, claiming (*cough*bullshitalert*cough*) that the votes of the at-large primaries are worth five times as much as the votes anywhere else in the state.

He went on to repeat the Clinton campaign policy of neutrality, in such a heated and angry tone to make it blatantly obvious that the Clinton campaign is anything but neutral. If you aren't involved, Bill, why are you so pissed off about it? And if you're that pissed and NOT involved, shouldn't you be?

And as for your neutrality, the Washington Post tends to doubt it:

"Lawyers for the plaintiffs, several of whom are backing Clinton, have asked U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan to shut the sites because they would award a "disproportionate allocation of delegates" to participants who work in the casinos...

Obama, of course, is not neutral- he's openly and loudly on the side of the casino and restaurant workers. From the sound of things, he's also on the side of the angels in this particular fight, which is probably why the Clintons would like you to believe they're neutral. It's either that or admit they're trying to disenfranchise up to 60,000 members of a union they thought they had in their back pocket last March... when they, the Clintons, agreed to the new caucus locations.

So: allowing Slick Willie to go boom and attack a reporter for asking the question- stupid.

Also stupid: pandering to neo-Confederates in South Carolina.

Quoting Mike Huckabee:

"You don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag," Huckabee said at a Myrtle Beach campaign event. "In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole, that's what we'd do."

Hm. Sounds like Huckabee's courting the Ron Paul vote.

Two days ago Huckabee expressed his support for anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality amendments to the Constitution by saying that the Constitution should be changed to bring it in closer line to God's law- the Christian God. He might not have realized at the time that that was a much broader statement than anyone in his right mind would make... but it doesn't appear that he cared much.

Remember the very first Commandment of the Christian God: "I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt have no other gods before me." Huckabee would have to begin not with abortion or homosexuality, but with the repeal of the First Amendment itself. (Granted, that would be just fine with most Republicans, who can't stand not being able to oppress everyone who isn't a fundamentalist evangelical Christian.)

Today, not content with pissing off the religious dissenters and tolerators in favor of the Taliban-like elements of Christianity, he's gone on to piss off everyone except white supremacists and Civil War re-enactors by playing to the worst elements of the South Carolina electorate.

Of course, both examples of stupidity are more than just stupidity. They're signs of desperation. Hillary Clinton wants Nevada badly, having pretty much written off South Carolina. She wants a win leading into Florida and thence to Tsunami Tuesday. She doesn't think she can afford to cede both South Carolina and Nevada to Obama... yet, in her ham-handed attempt to rig the polling places in her favor at the last minute, she may have done just that. I predicted a few days ago that Clinton would get a narrow win in Nevada. After this, I think Obama squeaks it out in a nail-biter.

Clinton also has other reasons to be worried. Although her national polls have trickled upwards since New Hampshire, her lead over Barack Obama has been shrinking. One of two polls released today shows not her normal two-digit lead, but instead a lead within the margin of error nationwide. There's also very serious doubt as to whether Hillary Clinton can capture a clear majority of Democratic support. Finally, the steady stream of previously uncommitted Democratic elected officials endorsing Obama- and remember each and every one of them counts as a delegate at the convention- is a sign that Clinton's greatest asset, her inevitability, is dead and gone. Bill and Hillary are worried that the footsteps behind them aren't a victory parade, but the march of doom for their third co-presidential campaign.

On the other side of the aisle, Huckabee is desperate to win South Carolina- where he's in second place and fading behind John McCain. If he can't win in South Carolina, in the very heart of the fundies who constitute his only base of support, he can't win anywhere... and he knows it. He's looking for anything, anything at all, to get him just enough extra votes to claim victory.

Hint, Huck: McCain tried the same damn thing eight years ago, and it helped kill his campaign.

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