“I didn’t learn about hope yesterday[;] I’ve had hope my whole life. It’s not hope that we need[;] its [sic] help!”

Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), the author of the Gulf Coast Hurricane Recovery Act of 2007, understands the difference between hope and help: hope for a functioning democracy wherein all citizens are granted equal access to power and resources has always defined the modern Democratic Party; these hopes, however, will only attain realization through help, through the implementation of rigorous policies that redress the social problems from which dreams and aspirations not unparadoxically spring. Because Hillary is the only candidate who offers us hope with her Economic Stimulus Plan and her Gulf Coast Recovery Agenda, I intend to cast my vote for her in Saturday’s Democratic primary.

The metaphor could not be more apt: the irreversible force of gravity that accelerates the downward plunge of the skydiver follows the same direction of the vector presently driving our plummeting economy toward a potentially disastrous recession. Median household incomes in Louisiana have decreased by 0.7 percent since 2000, and the manufacturing sector of our state has reduced the size of their payrolls by 22,800 jobs since George Bush’s inauguration in January 2001. But this is only a scratch on the surface, for compounding this already bleak picture of our state’s economy is the dramatic increase in per diem expenses for Louisiana’s middle class families: the cost of fuel in Louisiana has increased 82 percent since Bush’s inauguration in 2001; the cost of health care premiums in Louisiana has risen 43.1 percent since 2000; college tuition rates in Louisiana have increased 29.3 percent; the cost of heating homes in Louisiana has increased 3.2 percent in the last year; and costs for child care are exorbitant. All this may explain why 731,000 Louisianans, including 24.3 percent of our state’s children, live in poverty. It may also explain why 823,000 of our state’s residents lacked health insurance over the last two years.

The $70 billion Economic Stimulus Plan Hillary presented on 11 JAN 2008 aggressively tackles all the economic problems currently besetting Louisiana’s struggling middle class. Here is a rough sketch of some of the highlights of her program:

  • Invest $10 billion in extending and broadening unemployment insurance for those who are struggling to find work
  • Accelerate $5 billion in energy efficiency and alternative energy investments to jumpstart green collar job growth
  • Provide $40 billion in tax rebates to working families

Hillary’s plan not only provides tax rebates to middle class families who cannot meet their monthly expenses; it also stimulates growth in the manufacturing sector with economic incentives for green collar job growth in the alternative energy sector, a sector that can generate many jobs in our state with its capacity for solar energy, for hydroelectric power and for ethanol extracted from sugar plants.

 Another economic woe Hillary’s Economic Stimulus Plan addresses is Louisiana’s looming housing foreclosure crisis, a crisis that can cost us over $498 million dollars in the next two years if neglected. Mortgages in delinquency in Louisiana as a result of unaffordable subprime mortgages have increased from 38,500 in the third quarter of 2005 to 46,800 in the third quarter of 2007. This is no small matter, for foreclosed homes affect the property values of neighboring structures. As a result, the amount of tax revenue available for our public school systems and other public services decreases. Hillary offers the following solutions to forestall such a crisis:

  • Establish a $30 Billion Emergency Housing Crisis Fund to assist states and cities mitigate the effects of mounting foreclosures
  • Take bold action to end the housing foreclosure crisis by placing a moratorium of 90 days on subprime foreclosures and by placing an automatic rate freeze on subprime mortgages for at least five years

Hillary is the only Presidential candidate to warn Bush of this mounting economic problem in March 2007, and she is the only Presidential candidate who has made the housing foreclosure crisis a central concern of her campaign. Moreover, she confronted investors on Wall Street about the predatory nature of subprime mortgage loans on 5 DEC 2007.

Hillary’s advocacy for Louisiana’s middle class does not begin and end with her Economic Stimulus Plan, however; she is also the first of the remaining candidates for President to offer a comprehensive program for Louisiana’s recovery in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in May 2007. In fact, the plan Barack Obama proposed in August 2007 and somewhat cynically reintroduced yesterday in New Orleans mimics Clitnon’s Gulf Coast Recovery Agenda. Here is a outline of Clinton’s program:

1. Elevate the Gulf Coast Federal Rebuilding Director

As president, Senator Clinton would take the federal rebuilding coordinator out of the Department of Homeland Security bureaucracy and put him in the West Wing, reporting directly to the president. She would meet with the Director weekly and grant him full authority to lead all federal participation in Gulf Coast recovery. The Director’s first order of business would be to conduct a Katrina/Rita Recovery Census –canvassing all federal assistance needs of Gulf Coast communities.

2. Cut Red Tape

Senator Clinton would take a series of immediate, concrete steps to move federal dollars to where they belong. She would eliminate the local match requirement for FEMA recovery funds. She would streamline and simplify the “project worksheet” process of securing FEMA public infrastructure grants, and deploy sufficient staff to clear backlogs. For priority projects, she would provide upfront seed funding to jumpstart rebuilding while applications and claims are processed. And she would direct FEMA to give the maximum flexibility allowed by law to schools, fire stations, and other critical institutions for creative rebuilding and renovation. She would also convene a state-local-federal summit to resolve challenges confronting Louisiana’s “Road Home” program, with the goal of removing the remaining federal obstacles.

3. Attract Workers to Rebuild New Orleans and the Region

As president, Hillary would create a Gulf Coast Corps, governed by a joint federal-state-local board. The Corps would have two tracks: (1) it would provide financial incentives to skilled professionals – teachers, doctors, nurses, etc. – to serve in high-need areas as identified by state and local officials; and (2) it would directly hire thousands of workers and apprentices – especially locals and those who left but want to return – to complete priority public works projects, as identified by the states. The first track would fill shortages of key personnel who perform essential services. The second track would provide well-paying jobs to restore and upgrade core infrastructure – fire stations, parks, hospitals, roads, sewer and water systems – so that businesses can function effectively and residents can reestablish their communities and reclaim their culture.

4. Rebuild A Reliable Hurricane Protection System So There Is Not Another Katrina

There are still clear gaps and deficiencies in the city’s hurricane defenses. Senator Clinton would immediately order an independent, stem-to-stern review of the Army Corps of Engineers’ plans and progress thus far. She would fully fund and expedite construction to ensure the city has reliable defenses this hurricane season, and would order the Corps to achieve Category 5 protection over time. And, because every 2 to 4 miles of wetlands reduces storm surges by a foot, she would require the Army Corps and other federal agencies to integrate a wetlands restoration plan as a vital component of hurricane protection efforts.

5. Expand Affordable Housing

In addition to addressing Road Home, Senator Clinton would pursue two specific policy initiatives. First, she would address the skyrocketing cost of insurance by: investigating insurance pricing and claims adjustment practices in the Gulf region; reforming the National Flood Insurance Program; reviewing the insurance industry’s antitrust exemption; and working with states to support their insurance programs. Second, she would expand the stock of affordable rental housing by: partnering with states and localities; funding new public housing developments; offering incentives to builders and developers; and providing direct assistance to residents who have lost their units, including those living in transitional housing.

6. Combat Rising Crime and Give First Responders Needed Tools

The murder rate in New Orleans has spiked, while the police ranks have dwindled. Senator Clinton would provide sufficient COPS and Byrne Grant funding to put two hundred new police officers back on the beat in New Orleans, to fill vacancies in prosecutors’ offices, and to help the city deploy new crime-fighting technologies and methods in partnership with local community leaders. Senator Clinton would also confront the challenge of interoperability by setting national communications standards and providing funds for equipment upgrades.

7. Build 21st Centruy Schools in New Orleans

The schools in New Orleans suffered hundreds of millions in damage, and remain in various states of disrepair. Senator Clinton would renovate and modernize school facilities through the Gulf Coast Corps. The Corps would also fill the large teacher shortage – officials are anticipating 650 vacancies alone in the Recovery School District. In addition, Senator Clinton would direct the EPA to provide technical assistance through its “Tools for Schools” program to help New Orleans build modern school facilities that are energy efficient, free of lead, mold and other pollutants, and designed to maximize fresh air and sunlight.

8. Revitalize A Lagging Health Care System

A recent survey reported that more than a third of greater New Orleans residents reported less access to quality health care than before the storm. As president, Senator Clinton would deploy the Gulf Coast Corps to rebuild hospitals and clinics, especially those that serve the under- and uninsured. She would recruit health care workers – doctors, nurses, mental health professionals – through the Corps. And she would provide Community Mental Health Block Grants to address a growing mental health care crisis.

9. Promote Smart Development

In addition to supporting and extending federal incentives to stimulate a thriving Gulf Opportunity Zone and to support small businesses, Senator Clinton would direct federal agencies to provide technical assistance to help individuals and communities build energy-efficient “green” homes and buildings, environmentally friendly public transit systems, and modern parks and recreation areas.

10. Revamp Federal Disaster Response So We Are Ready Next TimeTo avoid a repeat of the catastrophic failures of the Bush Administration, Hillary would immediately pursue two proposals she has offered in the Senate: elevate FEMA to cabinet-level status; and establish a Katrina/Rita Commission – modeled on the 9/11 Commission – to review what went wrong and what changes are necessary. She would modify the Stafford Act to add a Catastrophic Annex and would direct FEMA to work with folks on the ground to develop preparedness and response plans and lines of authority. As president, she will be ready to respond the moment a disaster strikes.

Most impressive about Clinton’s Gulf Coast Recovery Agenda is her commitment to the principles of Smart Growth and an infrastructure that provides protection from Category 5 hurricanes. Also compelling is her Gulf Coast Corps, a program of sustained support for Orleans Parish that is lacking in Obama’s proposal.

 In the wake of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, Louisiana needs more than just hope; we need help. And Senator Clinton offers such help with her proposals and her experience. Whether it be her truly universal health plan, her Economic Stimulus Package or her Gulf Coast Recovery Agenda, Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who offers Louisianans the assistance we need in order to recover from what has been a devastating eight years under George W. Bush.

36 thoughts

  1. Wonderful, substantive endorsement. Hillary cares about the average joe. She see’s the rising economic divide and aims to stop it. We need this woman as President.

  2. Great Post. There is lot of information to digest. Hillary Clinton has lot more experience than her opponent and I am sure she would do a great job as our 44th president.

  3. Maxine got it right. I hope Louisiana gets it right at the polls. Great piece of work – much appreciated.

  4. Hillary had a comprehensive plan to rebuild the gulf coast long before Obama. He essentially copied her plan, like the popular football jock having the smart girl do his homework for him.

  5. Wonderful, thoughtful, analysis. It is not about who will make me feel good with pretty words. It is about who will get of their butt to WORK and HELP this country, and Louisiana.

    Hillary is the one with the track record of working, not talking.

  6. Great posting. Hillary Clinton will be one of the truly great Presidents of our time. It’s so exciting to be part of this. Don’t forget to match this wonderful endorsement with important action: Please contribute and be part of making history!

  7. Well said. Hillary is about substance and maturity – she’s battle tested. Anyone who thinks fierce partisanship will end if Barack Obama becomes president is a bit naive. His rosy, vague talk of hope has inspired a cult of rich white college kids and elites, but there is no there there.

  8. I am impressed with Hillary Clinton.
    She is the most qualified, and she cares.

    Unlike Barrack Obama.
    I’ve never even heard of him until last year.
    He sounds like a preacher.

  9. Hillary’s the one! I am so impressed with her intelligence, drive, compassion, and experience. No one among the Republicans or the Democrats compares to this woman.

  10. I want to see Nola and the Gulf Coast rise up from the ashes knowing that all of America was with them.

    I love this plan and I hope the people of Louisiana vote for Hillary.

  11. Nice substantive post, PCD. It’s just too bad that Louisiana is going to go for Obama. And the Clinton campaign knows this, otherwise Hillary would spend time here herself.

  12. great reporting and I love the photo at the top. She’s a great candidate, and when so many are ‘hyping’ that Obama deserves it and he’s inevitable, it’s refreshing to read substance. Thank you.

  13. She sounds like a wonderful manager but not a leader. How can she vow to meet 1:1 with this Director and not others? There are hundreds of them. When will she have the time? Then how does she fight the favoritism that is already a huge Achilles heel for her?

    A leader sets the agenda for the country; not control middle management. A leader inspires the country to rise up and pull together for a common purpose. A leader surrounds him or herself with and listens to competent experts. He or she cannot just crush those who disagree which is what the Clinton machine is best known for.

    She has not run her family that well, she has been so steeped in illegal and/or immoral controversies that she won’t release the Clinton years papers and her campaign has been so unstrategic that she is barely hanging in by the teeth. If all this signals how she would run the country, I am beginning to have some serious concerns about her viability and electability the more people remember all the past indiscretions.

  14. Thanks so much for this wonderful post. I’m printing it so my computer illiterate family has this information about Hillary.

  15. Bottom Line:

    Like all of you. I know that health care is the most critical, and important issue facing the American people. Now, and in the coming elections. And like the vast majority of the American people, I want HR 676 (Medicare For All) passed into law NOW! “Single payer, Tax Supported, Not For Profit, True Universal Health Care” free for all as a right. Like every other developed country in the world has. See:

    “HR 676:
    For church goers: less money to insur. companies and more to the church- lots more.
    Srs on Medicare: save way over $100/wk. Because no more medigap, long term care & dental insur. needed. No more drug bills.”

    But if we the American people fail to bring enough pressure on our current politicians to get HR 676 passed into law before the elections. We will have to identify, and replace all the politicians standing in the way of passage of HR 676. And, I think the best first place to start is with the politicians that blocked the bipartisan SCHIP bills for the kids. Passed by congress four times.

    But what about the President. It was Bush after all that blocked the bipartisan SCHIP bill passed by congress to assure more health coverage for Americas kids. So which of the presidential hopefuls do I think will be most supportive of implementing the demand of the majority of the American people to have HR 676 (Medicare For All) passed into law immediately!

    We have some very fine presidential candidates who would make good presidents. But none of the top Presidential candidates directly support HR 676, the only true Universal Health Care plan. So I am supporting Hillary Clinton. She is the only top candidate that has ever actually fought for universal health care before.

    I have enormous admiration, and respect for Hillary Clinton. She fought a pitched battle against overwhelming odds back in 1993. To prevent this disastrous health care crisis that is now devastating the American people, and America. She fought so hard for the American people that she risk almost completely destroying her husbands presidency. I haven’t forgotten her heroic effort. If any Presidential hopeful for universal health care deserves my support, it’s her.

    Also, if we the American people fail to bring enough pressure on our government to give us HR 676 which we all so desperately need NOW! Then we will need the most skilled politician we can get on our side to broker the best health care plan for the American people that we can get. Though it will be less than we need, and less than we deserve. The politician I think to best do this is Hillary Clinton. The Clinton’s are probably the most skilled politicians in American history.

    The insurance industry, and medical industry that has been ripping you off, and killing you has given Hillary Clinton so much money because they fear her. They have also given Barack Obama so much money because they fear Hillary Clinton. They think they can manipulate Barack Obama against the best interest of the American people better than they can manipulate Hillary Clinton. There is no race issue with Hillary Clinton. The Clinton’s are the poster family for how African Americans want white people to be towards African Americans.

    As always, African Americans are suffering, and dieing in this health care crisis at a much higher rate than any other group in America. The last time there was any significant drop in the African American death rate was when Bill Clinton was president.

    My fellow Americans, you are dieing needlessly at an astounding rate. In higher numbers than any other people in the developed world. Rich, and poor a like. Insured, and uninsured. Young, and old. Men, women, children, and babies. And we the American people must stop it. And fix it NOW! Keep Fighting!!! Never! give up hope. There are millions of lives at stake. Bless you all… You are doing great!

  16. I had a chance to see a draft of these plans almost a year ago.

    It is as comprehensive and responsive today as it was then.

    Since Senator Obama has seen fit to copy it, and is, four months later, publicly presenting it as his own…why hasn’t the federal government also picked it up and made it a cornerstone of the President’s last year in office?

    At least Bush would get one decent thing started before he turns out the lights in the White House.

  17. Anna Shane:

    Who’s saying Obama deserves the nomination and that he’s inevitable? I thought that Hillary said she deserved the nomination and that she was creating the “aura of inevitability.” That was until she lost Iowa, I guess. But really who, outside of his own campaign, which I believe is still maintaining that the race will be anything but inevitable, is hyping that he deserves it and it’s inevitable? (Don’t all people running for President think they deserve it?)

    I am very conflicted about this year’s nomination process. I don’t shy away from telling people that my son was named after Bill Clinton. My emotional connection to the Clintons is genuine. I want to be loyal to him and to Hillary — both have had to withstand personal attacks one would hope our fellow Americans would naturally eschew. Bill’s track record as President — taking away the embarrassing impeachment process and partisan attacks — was outstanding. The 1990s were far superior to the decade that has ensued, and one could reasonably argue that the country’s economic fundamentals were put on the right track after two decades of neglect (the 1970s) and/or full-throttle assault (the 1980s).

    What I fear is that my love for Bill and Hillary will not be enough to win the White House in November. The right wing may not like John McCain, but they _really_ don’t like Hillary. When I look at the electoral map to see what would be necessary for the Democrats to win this year, I’m left with the doubt that she can peel off Ohio or Florida from McCain while still carrying all of the other states Kerry won in 2004. I just don’t see that she brings any advantages to the table when looking at the general election map.

    Moreover, when looking at the makeup of the electorate, it really concerns me that she is unable to attract independents to her campaign. All of the independents know who Hillary is, and they’re not voting for her in the primaries or caucuses. Meanwhile, Barack Obama has attracted independents to the Democratic party at an unprecedented rate. I believe they won’t stick around if Hillary is the nominee. John McCain knows how to attract independents and quite clearly they’re who resurrected his campaign in New Hampshire. To distill this to a finer point, look at it this way: if Hillary is the nominee, she will ensure that McCain has a mobilized and energized conservative base (which hates her more than McCain), and he will take advantage of all the independents Obama had brought to the Democratic party (or maybe they’ll just stay home).

    So from these examinations of the electoral college map and the makeup of the electorate, I don’t see Hillary winning in November. I’m left with the hope that the issues can override these other determining factors, but again I believe Hillary falls short. On Iraq, I only envision what was done to John Kerry to imagine what the Republicans will do to her on flip-flopping about her vote for war in Iraq. If she’s the nominee we’re not only inviting that rerun from the 2004 race, we’re practically begging for it. Except this time, John McCain’s an honest war hero. He may be wrong about the war, but he has credibility that she lacks (it would really help her, I think, if she’d admit that voting for the Iraq war resolution was a mistake. It insults my intelligence every time she says she didn’t think it would actually mean we’d go to war).

    On the economy, she could make headway against the Republicans. John McCain’s certainly a flip-flopper on the Bush tax cuts, which helps any Democrat. However, McCain is a deficit hawk in spite of the Bush administration’s lack of fiscal discipline. He can carve his own path on that aspect of an economics debate. Perhaps her one shining point ahead of the Republicans is her proposal to address the mortgage crisis. But is any of this enough (including the rerun of 1994’s health care reform) to overcome the obstacles already present in the electoral college map or in the makeup of voters?

    I regret to say, as big a fan of the Clintons (both Bill and Hillary) as I am, I just don’t see success in November if she’s the nominee.

    I do think that Obama does overcome the problems Hillary has as the nominee. Before looking at the electoral college map, I focus on the role of independents. Obama has shown that he’s a magnet for bringing newcomers to the Democratic party. This can be seen in the exit polls for the primaries and caucuses. Just today Time magazine has a poll out showing that in a head-to-head of Clinton vs. McCain, McCain wins. In the matchup of Obama vs. McCain, Obama wins. What’s the swing vote? The independents. I acknowledge there’s a lot of time between now and November — plenty of time to raise his negatives and turn him off to independent voters. But Hillary can’t go down from where she is with independents, and I don’t see her going up either. Keep in mind, though, Obama has had to withstand negative attacks from the Clintons, and his share of the independent vote has not been diminished.

    The policy proposals offered by Clinton and Obama are not significantly different, and for that matter none are out of the mainstream for the Democratic party. I mean, really, either of their proposals for Katrina recovery would do well, and both are light years ahead of the Bush administration and John McCain. The same goes for their health care proposals. To be sure, I accpet Obama’s criticism of Hillary’s plan, just as I accept Hillary’s criticism of Obama’s plan. They’re both right.

    I review all of this to drive home the point that Democrats shouldn’t fear Obama. Both candidates have life-long commitments to helping the less-fortunate and under-represented. I would even go so far to say they both “deserve” to be President. However, I’m looking down the line to November. This election, like all since 1968, will come down to the independent voters. With Hillary, we lose the independents. With Obama, we have the better probability to win those independents, and from there we win the electoral college.

    This is why I am voting for Obama, and for the same reasons urge other Democrats to do the same.

  18. Barack Obama can’t win New York, Florida, or California in a primary. How the hell is he electable. If he gets the nod, it’s Dukakis all over again.

  19. Mike, that’s a disingenuous statement: New York is Hillary’s “home state.” Florida was off the table for both candidates. No one campaigned there. And simply because Hillary Clinton beat Obama in California does not mean he is unelectable there.

    I agree with Chronos on almost every point: Obama’s already demonstrated a better ability to attract Independents in all corners of the nation. And they definitely will be critical in a race against “The Maverick.”

    And Chronos, I didn’t know you named your boy after Clinton.

  20. Yes. His middle name and Bill’s middle name are the same. This was intentional. His (my boy’s) first name is a family name, however.

    Woo-hoo! I got a response!

  21. Hillary has got good things passed already, even by cooperating with some of the Impeachers: children’s health, veterans’ insurance, etc. OF course the important thing is to give her a Dem congress.

    Obama takes credit for bills he kept defanging till the corporate interests agreed, such as on nuclear waste notifications.

  22. Flora Steele:

    Getting into a tit-for-tat about what Obama did or Hillary didn’t really plays into the hands of the Republicans. It also appears to be the M.O. for Clinton supporters.

    They’re politicians, and none have “perfect” legislative records when you nit-pick. I only have to mention “Bankruptcy Reform” or “authorize the use of force in Iraq” to point out that Hillary’s passed plenty of dumb things with those impeachers. But I digress.

    (As for the nuclear waste notifications, that bill didn’t become law.)

    For what it’s worth, though, you’re right. Hillary did work with Republicans to get good legislation passed. So did Obama. So did Biden and Dodd and Edwards. So did Bill Richardson when he was in the House. But the important thing we need to remember, as you point out, is that a Democratic President needs a Democratic congress. And that’s another reason why I’m voting for Obama.

    Why? Another fear I have, and one I believe I share with the Democrats who represent “red” states who have endorsed Obama, is the appearance of Republican attack ads attempting to morph the image of Hillary Clinton into the image of those “red” state Democrats (or vice-versa). These “red” state Democrats made the Democratic majority in Congress, and Hillary’s proven ability to polarize the electorate will significantly threaten their viability either this November or in 2010. When they go, so too does Democratic control of Congress.

    I don’t have anything other than Obama’s rhetoric to go on to believe that he would do any better than Hillary. But I can remember 1994: the mis-management of health care reform, and how her actions contributed to the loss of Democrtic control of Congress. She had the uncanny ability to alienate Republicans AND Democrats. She may have learned from her mistakes, but the way she has managed the course of this campaign makes me believe she hasn’t.

  23. Chronos – I remember 1994 too. We were perfectly happy with our own doctors. We had hospital insurance (and catastrophic hospital insurance) and that was enough. What the hell was this ‘healthcare plan’ thing? We didn’t need no stinking’ plan. I didn’t want it either.

    Then came the HMOs. After a decade of THAT, I’d be happy for whatever Hillary had in 1994. Which is to say, in 1994 we weren’t ready for ANY red tape health plan.

    As for electability, instead of memory and feelings, look at the current polls of each Dem candidate vs McCain. Here is how the whole thing went in Florida:

    Hillary: 856,944
    McCain: 693,425
    Romney: 598,152
    Obama: 568,930

    Current match-up polls might be more accurate, as since Feb 5 we now have percentages of support from Latinos, Asians, RC’s, etc as well.

  24. Thanks for all that impressive info on Hillary…she is such an amazing woman and fantastic role model for girls and women and men too!…I admire her intelligence, poise, grace under pressure, positive spirit, confidence, competency and overall ‘can do’ spirit…I love that she has her feet planted firmly on the ground and will be prepared from day one with specific and concrete plans and positive action…and she is such a strong woman and a fighter…the kind of fighter we need on our side …Hillary will make a phenomenal President…

  25. Flora,

    C’mon, the Democratic Party decided not to give Florida any delegates and to ban campaigning in the State as punishment for clearly violating the party’s rules by setting the primary earlier than allowed.

    There was a national poll today that suggested Obama is leading McCain by 8 points whereas Clinton is leading by 3 points. Using Florida as anecdotal evidence of Hillary’s broad support against McCain is really disingenuous.

  26. Lamar –

    And even in a contest which the DNC had disallowed, and with Hillary not campaignng in the state (Obama did some) — stlll enough people turned out for Hillary to outnumber the votes for both GOP candidates in a race that would indisputably count.

    Current polls are relevant too, but FL was not just polls and guesswork, this was actual counted votes, in a wide-spectrum state.

    Does anyone have figures comparing the turnout for Hillary and Obama with the turnout the same day for a contested GOP race Feb 5, in a large diverse state?

  27. Flora:

    Add Romney and McCain’s totals from Florida together and you’ll beat Hillary’s total. My read of the electorate, though, leads me to believe that Obama’s number will not add enough votes to Hillary’s total because the independent voters will either stay home or vote for McCain come this November. An energized base from the Democratic party alone will not be enough to put Hillary on top in the general election. She must win the independents, who, whether justified or not, don’t like Hillary. Meanwhile, she’ll (I regret to write) energize the Republican base for McCain.

    I agree with all of the flourishes PCD and others have added that Hillary would make a great President. Still I don’t see her making a great candidate in the general election. Yes, I’ll enthusiastically vote for her if she’s the nominee. But, as I think I’ve explained, I believe she would guarantee that the Democrats would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in November.

    As far as turnout is concerned, let’s consider Missouri. This is perhaps the pre-eminent bell-weather state in Presidential elections. With the exception of 1956, Missouri has voted for the winning candidate in every election for the past century. Here are the numbers:

    Obama: 405,284
    Clinton: 395,287
    Dem total: 800,571

    McCain: 194,304
    Huckabee: 185,627
    Romney: 172,564
    Rep total: 552,495

    Independents, according to CNN’s exit polls, made up 22% of the votes in the Democratic primary or 176,126 voters. Of that number, 67% voted for Obama, or 118,005. Assume that those 118,005 independents switch to McCain if Hillary is the nominee. Also assume that Huckabee and Romney’s totals get rolled into McCain’s, and that gives McCain 670,500 votes. If we are optimistic, then Hillary will get all of the remaining votes for Obama, giving Hillary a total of 682,566, just enough to squeak by McCain.

    Before we get our hopes up, though, we must remember the 6% of voters in the Democratic primary who described themselves as Republicans in the exit polls. That translates to 48,035 votes. Of that total, Obama won 36,027, or 75% of these self-described Republicans. Again assume they don’t vote for Hillary, and switch to McCain. That means McCain wins with 706,527 votes and Hillary loses with 646,539 votes.

    Hillary had a commanding lead in the polls all last year until Iowa at the beginning of January. Her numbers have not gone up, and as time has gone by Obama’s have. It appears that Super Tuesday confirmed that the national vote numbers are now at a virtual tie between Hillary and Obama. This is not good for Hillary’s prospects in the nomination process, much less her performance in the general election.

    Democrats shouldn’t despair, because Obama is a great candidate, too. He’s the one who’ll win in November, and that’s also why I’m voting for him.

  28. I must go, just a couple of points.

    You’re right that the Florida totals should have the GOP candidates added together (and the Dems). I was treating those figures like percentages instead of actual numbers.

    I don’t see you mentioning AA’s, Latinos, etc. So any projection from Missouri would have to be adjusted for the relative population of those groups in the remaining states.

    Sorry no time to cite this, but a poll said that overall the people who consider themselves Democrats are about 53% and those who consider themselves Republicans are about 39%? Or the ohter way around? Anyway 50+ to 30+. If we can bring out enough core Democrats (HIllary’s blue-collars) then we don’t need any pesky Independents (who by definition will keep switching) or GOP. Bringing out the blue-collars can be a permanent party-building gain.

    Obama would energize the GOP also, especially when they start talking about things we Dems are too nice to talk about. Some may dislike Hillary but no one can have the dark fears that some of them may have about Obama the unknown.

    Please think a little further ahead. For whatever reasons, we haven’t had any Nov WINNERS since the Clintons. If Obama can grow up to be another winner, fine, we need some. Obama is too vulnerable now, he would be destroyed in November (or if by a fluke he won, the mess the GOP has left would be too much for him, and he’d be rejected as Carter was). Loss of a promising candidate.

    If Hillary gets it now she can clean up the economy (as the Clintons did in 92) and clean up the voting procedures, giving a safer environment for Obama to run and serve (who, being better known, will be less swiftboatable) and a united party instead of the present bleeding one.

    Even if by fluke HIllary lost the GE this year, Obama will be in a much better position in 2012 than he has now.

    Must go….

  29. Going out the door…. Just one quick overview point.

    Hillary’s success has been normal old Demo campaigning in big diverse states: back issues the voters want, go out and shake hands, win by normal secret ballot — just like in November.

    All or most of Obama’s success in the primaries has been where you can game the system: bus in from Illinois, little red state caucuses, “Democrat for a Day.” You can’t do that in November.

  30. OK Flora, if I get the gist of your two posts right, then I see you making five points. I’ll attempt to respond to them in the order you present them.

    1.You believe that the demographic makeup of the electorate (African-American, Asian, Latino, white, etc.) is as important, if not more important than the partisan affiliation (Democrat, Republican, Independent) voters claim.

    First of all the demographic makeup of Missouri can’t be equated with the demographics of Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, or any other state, for that matter. In Missouri, the Democratic primary was 76% white, 17% black, 4% latino, and 2% other. The Republican primary was 95% white, 2% black, 2% latino, and 1% Asian. Could you explain what we should glean from these statistics? Hillary got 57% of the white vote and 15% of the black vote. Obama got 39% of the white vote and 85% of the black vote. (CNN did not have available statistics for the breakdown of the other groups.) As a predictive indicator for the general election, these statistics are less reliable than the partisan breakdown. Who can predict from the demographic breakdown whether Hillary, if she’s the nominee, will get 96% of white Democrats and 100% of black Democrats? Couldn’t she get 57% of the white Democrats and 100% of black Democrats? Or how about 96% of white Democrats and 15% of black Democrats? You can switch the name of the candidate and still have the same problem.

    2. You claim that the partisan identification of the electorate is enough to get Hillary elected in November.

    I think your assumption here proves my point about the flaw of focusing on the demographic breakdown of the primary. If you’re right about the percentage of Democrats vs. Republicans, then it shouldn’t matter how the electorate breaks down among whites, blacks, latinos, Asians, American Indians, etc.

    I think your suggestion about the statistical composition of party affiliation is based on erroneous data, however. Going back to FDR, Democrats have always outnumbered Republicans. Since the 1970s, though, the number of self-declared Democratic voters has shrunk. Go to 1992 and you’ll see that the Democrats did push Bill Clinton into the White House, but Ross Perot was in that race and pulled enough independents away from Bush-41 to ensure that Bill Clinton would get a plurality of the vote. The same thing happened in 1996, though more independents broke to Bill Clinton than Perot. Still, in neither election did Bill Clinton win a majority of the vote. Will there be a Ross Perot in this year’s race? Possibly Michael Bloomberg, but it would be quite a stretch to assume he’s going to jump into the race. He keeps saying no.

    According to the Harris Poll’s 2006 survey of party affiliation, 27% of Americans identify as Republicans, 36% identify as Democrats, and 24% identify as independents. See this link: for more on this statistic. Merely winning Democrats will not be enough to win the election in a two party race.

    3. Obama will energize the GOP, too.

    Obama may do that. We may even say he probably will do that. Hillary, I believe, definitely will. I guess the fact that Republicans use opposition specifically to Hillary Clinton to fund-raise, but not Barack Obama supports my point. But look at the conservative “commentariat.” David Brooks at the NYTimes (their in-house Republican, before Bill Kristol joined the Op-Ed page) writes approvingly of Obama. Andrew Sullivan, a proud conservative, disagrees with most of the Democratic party’s policies, but he’s a big fan of Obama (he’s already said he’s voting for Obama). Check out his article in the December 2007 issue of The Atlantic about why he’s supporting Obama and why he doesn’t think Obama will attract the fervor and vitriol Hillary does from the right:

    Look, I won’t be naive and say Rush Limbaugh is going to undergo a magic transformation and proclaim his ever-lasting eternal love for Barack Obama. He will be the regular, classless buffoon we’ve come to know and curse for the past 20 years when it comes time for him to criticize Obama. I just find it disingenuous for Hillary to claim she’s slogged through the Republican slime machine and survived. She wasn’t going to be thrown out of office for being First Lady, and she’s only won two elections for a Senate seat from New York. She’s never had to face a national electorate on her own. The most credit one can fairly give to her is that Obama hasn’t faced a national electorate on his own either.

    What I’ve seen since the beginning of the primaries, though, is that Hillary’s poll numbers, so commanding from last fall, have fallen while Obama, who has had to face the flak thrown at him from Hillary’s campaign, has steadily risen in the polls.

    In the end, I’m left perplexed about what you mean by what we Democrats are too polite to say about Obama. What on earth are you talking about? Obama’s been accused of possibly being a drug dealer, of being educated in a Madrassa, and a closeted Muslim. Who said this? People affiliated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The negative innuendo and insinuations about Obama are lies and have been thoroughly dismissed by the media. I’m relieved Hillary had enough sense to fire the staffers and disavow her supporters who said these lies.

    4. You believe Obama is weak and would be a bad President, overwhelmed by the job and a one-termer in a way similar to President Carter. Meanwhile, Hillary will fix the economy and clean up “voting procedures” giving a “safer environment” for Obama to run for President in the future.

    You don’t know that, and you can’t prove it. If you’re suggesting that Hillary’s experience in elected office and as First Lady is so much better than Obama’s experience, then couldn’t I say that Dodd or Biden’s experience — longer than Hillary’s in Washington — make them better qualified than anyone else in the election this year. Doesn’t McCain have more time in office than Hillary, too?

    What’s so different about Hillary’s economic policies from Obama’s? Not much as I can tell. Not much as the media can tell either. If either have a Democratic Congress, then we’ll be in pretty good shape with either Hillary or Obama. And what do you mean by cleaning up voting procedures, and why does Obama need Hillary to clean them? Please elaborate on that and how we have a “bleeding” party.

    5. Obama wins by “gaming” the system. Hillary practices “normal” politics.

    We were told from the moment she declared her candidacy that Hillary was the inevitable nominee. She had the name recognition, the fund-raising advantage, and the “machine” to carry her to the nomination and then to the White House. What’s more, we were told she deserved it —
    “she’s in it to win it,” and “it’s her turn.” For being the best candidate for President in Bill Clinton’s lifetime (his description, not mine) why is she in a draw in the race for the nomination? How can she honestly claim to be ready to be President on day one, if she wasn’t ready to win the nomination on day one of the Iowa caucuses?

    If Hillary has the advantage of experience and of being ready to be President on day one, then shouldn’t she know how to lock up this nomination, whether competing in the caucuses or the primaries?

    To dismiss Obama’s success as “gaming” the system is, at its best, a comment worthy of the sorest losers. At its worst, it is an attempt to marginalize the accomplishments of a campaign that has won more election contests fair-and-square. I mean, really, an “observation” like this is dismissive and only serves to belittle the half of the party Hillary will need to unite with her order to win in November.

  31. The Clinton campaign didn’t have a healthcare plan befor it felled and they don’t have one now. Well to be honest, if everyone is a goverment employee, then the Clinton healthcare plan will work for everyone. Unfortunately some are self employed, independent contractors or work for private employors or small business. Under the Clinton healthcare plan these people would be penalized if they don’t pay for their healthcare. This means that most of your family members and friends will have their paychecks garnished. We all know that it doesn’t stop there if it is a goverment enforcement. There will be fines and then misdemeanors which is a criminal offense defined as less serious than a felony. Why did Ms. Clinton decide on this approach? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Big business, big Corporation call it what you will, they want their money back and in order for Ms. Clinton to get their support in her race to presidency she is giving victory to one side (the healthcare providers) by promising to them that she will have the poeople wages garnished if they continue to give healthcare. Thus allowing her to shout the words “UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE” This is a shady tactic and makes fools out of every american that falls for this trick. The Obama healthcare plan is for the people. Poor people, middle class and rich people can rest assured that there is no tricks or penalties in the Obama healthcare plan. VOTE OBAMA!!

  32. According to the demographics, I should be voting for Hillary Clinton: I’m a white, 60-year-old, highly educated woman from the Northeast. But I’m voting for Obama. I’ve waited all my life for a viable woman candidate for the presidency, but this is not the right woman. I want a woman of the highest ability and virtue, who would serve as a glorious role model to all young women. Hillary Clinton is not that woman.
    She rode into power with her husband, and together they’ve acquired a long and seriously flawed history of self-serving and secretive financial and political dealings. The most cursory research will prove that true. She started out her political life supporting the racist Barry Goldwater. She is as comfortable with deception and trickery as George Bush. When I hear woman saying, “Oh, but that’s how you get things done in Washington,” I literally cringe.
    I am passionately supporting Barack Obama. He can beat the Republicans; she cannot. Obama has attracted Independents and even Republicans to his camp, and in a general election they would vote for him, but not for Clinton. Clinton voted for the war, and has never apologized for it. Obama has spoken out against it from the beginning. Obama brings us hope–and not just that. Take a serious look at his ideas and experience.
    Please, I beg of you, Sisters young and old: wait for the right woman. Then we can be proud.

    Diane Wald

  33. I just received an email from the Clinton campaign. Hillary will endorse Obama on Saturday. Now what? Do we stand with her, or is she now the enemy too?

    Now what?

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