Friday, January 04, 2008

Post-Iowa postpourri

--Lots of commentary to be found, but I'll just link two of my local peers Greg and Gary. Gary's is best for both accuracy and agreeableness; Greg is as usual barely comprehensible through his ponderous writing and conservative -- and Hillary -- bias. He keeps up a theme of antagonistically denigrating Edwards and progressives with excessive harshness, which compels me to dismiss most of his take (most of the time), but at least we all agree that Edwards must find a win somewhere to remain viable after February 5. I don't think it will be in South Carolina, and thus I don't see where it will be.

The agent of change (make that progress) this go-round is Barack Obama. And about progress, I'll quote some of an e-mail Open Source Dem, the irregular poster here, sent me late last night:

Please note that in Iowa the people sent out an overwhelmingly insurgent and populist message.

Please also notice that the people running the GOP have wrecked it. They are more interested in maintaining control of their party than actually winning. Does that sound familiar?

Here is Andrew Sullivan, an actual Tory:

Tonight was in many ways devastating news for the GOP. Twice as many people turned out for the Democrats than the Republicans. Clearly independents prefer the Dems.

Now look at how the caucus-goers defined themselves in the entrance polls. Among the Dems: Very Liberal: 18 percent; Somewhat Liberal: 36 percent; Moderate: 40 percent; Conservative: 6 percent. Now check out the Republicans: Very Conservative: 45 percent; Somewhat Conservative: 43 percent; Moderate: 11 percent; Liberal: 1 percent.

One is a national party; the other is on its way to being an ideological church. The damage Bush and Rove have done - revealed in 2006 - is now inescapable.

Let me say the damage our state and local party establishment have done by pandering to non-existent “moderate” Republicans is also very bad. The competition today is between progressive and reactionary populists. The only in-between strategy is exit strategy.

Does that sound familiar?

The young voters Howard Dean needed four years ago finally showed up last night -- tripling their numbers and making the difference for Obama. The overall turnout Democrats to Republicans was 238,000 to 118, 000, or the two-to-one margin Sullivan refers to. (That compares to 122,000 Democrats caucusing in Iowa in 2004.) In an open primary the percentages would look like this:

Percentage of total vote
24.5% Obama
20.5% Edwards
19.8% Clinton
11.4% Huckabee (R)

That's all the omen you need.

-- Christ, Chuck Rosenthal is both drama queen and publicity whore. Just go TF away already, you jerk.

-- New Hampshire votes this Saturday Tuesday. On Saturday the 5th there will be back-to-back GOP and Democratic debates moderated by Charlie Gibson of ABC. And Facebook users can participate in debate groups, discussing the candidates and commenting on the play-by-play. But we'll be down in Galveston meeting the Texas 2008 Democratic slate with Jim Hightower.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Watching the caucuses live

on C-Span. I first caught this four years ago and was fascinated.

FWIW, I'm hoping it's Edwards, Obama, Clinton and then Dodd, but I'm thinking it will be Obama, Edwards, Clinton and then Richardson.

Will update here later with results and some post mortem.

7:45 p.m. A good site for the latest:

And it currently shows:

Senator John Edwards : 33.18%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 32.47%
Senator Barack Obama : 31.52%
Governor Bill Richardson : 1.90%
Senator Joe Biden : 0.81%
Senator Chris Dodd : 0.07%
Uncommitted : 0.05%
Precincts Reporting: 346 of 1781

8:05 p.m.:

Senator Barack Obama : 33.48%
Senator John Edwards : 31.97%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 31.76%
Governor Bill Richardson : 1.73%
Senator Joe Biden : 0.96%
Senator Chris Dodd : 0.06%
Uncommitted : 0.04%
Precincts Reporting: 750 of 1781

8:30 p.m.:

Senator Barack Obama : 35.78%
Senator John Edwards : 30.69%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 30.52%
Governor Bill Richardson : 1.89%
Senator Joe Biden : 0.98%
Uncommitted : 0.10%
Senator Chris Dodd : 0.03%
Precincts Reporting: 1347 of 1781

9:00 p.m.:

Senator Barack Obama : 37.14%
Senator John Edwards : 30.00%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 29.60%
Governor Bill Richardson : 2.16%
Senator Joe Biden : 0.95%
Uncommitted : 0.13%
Senator Chris Dodd : 0.03%
Precincts Reporting: 1642 of 1781
(Percentages are State Delegate Equivalents.)

Sometimes I hate being right.

A seven-point win is pretty significant. Don't tell Greg, though; he thinks Hillary has already won.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Rosenthal bails

This 180 makes even Jim Rockford jealous:

Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal has withdrawn his name from the Republican ballot for re-election today amid pressure from his own party following last week's release of intimate emails he wrote to his personal assistant.

Rosenthal publicly had rejected the local GOP's call for him to drop his re-election plans or face the prospect of the party endorsing another Republican for the March primary.

His decision to drop out of the election was confirmed about 5:35 p.m. by Michael Wolse, the Harris County Republican Party's primary director.

The story goes on to identify Jim Leitner as filing to run as a Republican. He was mentioned in the story filed this morning:

Two of the potential candidates, according to sources, are defense lawyer and former prosecutor Jim Leitner and former felony court judge Patricia Lykos, who now works for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. They both ran against Rosenthal in the 2000 Republican primary.

Let's skip to the part that concerns him:

Leitner, who placed third in the 2000 primary, said his experience on both sides of the courtroom would help the perspective of the district attorney's office.

In 2001, Leitner said he thought Harris County prosecutors were overzealous in their pursuit of death sentences against capital murder defendants.

"As long as that is the prevailing view, there are going to be a lot of capital murder prosecutions. People in other counties don't see it that way."

He added, "I think we kill a lot of people who don't fit the statute."

A Republican arguing against the death penalty. No wonder he came in third. Perhaps the climate has softened a little for his candidacy in the GOP this go-round.

That alone would qualify as progress.

Update (1/3, 5:30 a.m.): This morning's story quotes Leitner as saying he'll stand down for a more qualified challenger and names some assistant DAs as potentials ...

Top Rosenthal assistants Marc Brown, Stephen St. Martin and Denise Bradley, formerly Denise Nassar, also went through the interview process with party leaders, along with former state District Judge Patricia Lykos. Brown and Bradley said they will talk with their colleagues about becoming candidates, perhaps with only one emerging from Rosenthal's staff as a consensus choice.