Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Obama captures Maine in another setback for Hillary Clinton

The weekend Obama rout continues:
Early returns in Maine showed Mr. Obama leading Mrs. Clinton 58 percent to 41 percent, and The Associated Press, CNN and NBC News called the race for Mr. Obama.

Voter turnout in Maine was reported to be high on Sunday afternoon, despite a snowstorm. The Portland Press Herald reported on its Web site that there were long lines in Portland, while a large crowd in Cape Elizabeth delayed the start of the caucus there by more than an hour.
So what is Hillary Clinton's camp going to say about today's defeat? They played the lowering expectations game for Washington, Nebraska, and Louisiana (which held caucuses and a primary yesterday) but not in Maine:
Maine should be friendly territory for Obama. Its voters are staunchly anti-war, and caucuses, which rely heavily on grass-roots organizing, have proved to be Obama's strong suit. But Clinton campaign officials are optimistic.

Maine is "independent-minded and has strong female elected officials," including two GOP senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Clinton adviser Karen Hicks said. The candidate's domestic-policy proposals, including universal health coverage and middle-class tax cuts, are particularly well-suited for the region, Hicks said. "You have a lot of women working two jobs, working on their feet, with their hands."

Clinton's habit of outlining her proposals in precise detail makes for long speeches but delivers substance that appeals to women, her supporters say. "Women really do care about substance," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a Clinton backer. Likening politics to grocery shopping, Cantwell said, "Women want to hear the list."
Politics is like grocery shopping!? What an awful metaphor.

We know you're a policy wonk, Senator Cantwell, but you really need to brush up on your understanding of the political brain.

Science and research have proven that people do not "shop" for the ideal candidate using a laundry list or grocery list of issues and programs. George Lakoff and Drew Westen have documented this extensively.

Americans vote their identity. They vote for the candidate they feel they can trust. Authenticity matters.

Millions of Americans believe Barack Obama is authentic, trustworthy, and capable, which is why in the span of a few years he has made the leap from Illinois legislator to presidential candidate, with a stint in the United States Senate in between.

Obama has been criticized as being not ready to be president by many pundits, and if by experience, they mean familiarity with the D.C. cocktail party circuit, then they are correct, because that isn't the kind of experience Barack Obama has.

His background is rooted in the streets of Chicago, not the halls of power on Capitol Hill. As a community organizer, he has witnessed the plight of American families oppressed by poverty. That's precisely the experience our next president needs to have to effectively tackle America's daunting challenges.

People aren't drawn to a candidate because they can reel off a list of positions or pass a litmus test. When I ask Hillary Clinton supporters why they're supporting her, they don't gush over a shopping list of programs and proposals.

Certainly, substance comes up. Many Clinton supporters argue her plans are more realistic and concrete than Obama's. But they're not supporting Clinton because she has a list (think about it: anyone can have a list): rather, they believe Clinton has the ability to deliver, or execute, what she is promising.

In other words, they identify with and trust Clinton to be an effective president, someone they can depend on to quickly begin cleaning up the mess left behind by the Bush administration and the defunct Republican Congress.

And while Hillary Clinton is certainly a force to be reckoned with, so is Barack Obama. His campaign has a strong, powerful theme that is resonating deeply with progressives and biconceptuals alike. He is reshaping Democratic politics, reaching out to young people, and attracting independents to his side.

Obama's campaign has reached the point where it has the strength to match the Clinton machine. Unless Hillary is able to stem the tide of losses soon, Barack will overtake her and be on his way to the nomination.


Blogger Jason Black said...

You quote:

Maine is "independent-minded and has strong female elected officials," including two GOP senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Clinton adviser Karen Hicks said.

Hilarious. Switch the names around a bit, and basically that entire pull quote you used works just as well for Washington as it does for Maine.

The Clinton campaign's "logic" must apparently go something like this: "Maine, just like Washington, is independent-minded and likes to elect women to high offices. Therefore, although Obama cleaned our clocks in Washington, clearly Senator Clinton will do well in Maine."

With logic like that, who needs enemies...

February 12, 2008 3:12 PM  

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