Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Clinton, McCain Win in New Hampshire

Hillary Clinton and John McCain have scored victories in the New Hampshire primaries. McCain's victory was not unexpected, despite the fact his closest rival was well within the margin of error in some of the pre-election polls. On the other hand, Barack Obama led Clinton in every poll since Iowa, with one showing him ahead by 13 percentage points. So we can safely score this one as a clear upset for Hillary. (Usually, this many polls showing such a large margin are right.)

Hillary beat Obama by 10 points in the women's vote, so maybe the crying did help. If it wasn't the crying, it had to be the indignation shown by her in the final debate or her husband Bill, when he called the Obama campaign's claim of consistency on the Iraq War, a "fairy tale". Whatever the reason, the emotion got her back in it and now she's back in the saddle, far from folding her campaign.

What this vote tells us now is, we have a horse race in both parties. And although the GOP race is far from over, the Dems could be poised for a longer fight than expected too.

But in all of this analysis we will hear today and in the coming days, one thing has to be clear. The media has to eat some crow over their premature anointing of Obama as the nominee.

Once a favorite of the media, the Clintons have found themselves shut out of the most favorable coverage they received, in months and years gone by. They came to N.H. fully prepared to slug it out with greenhorn Obama and his campaign supporters. And they used the media to their advantage on this one. They beat them at their own game, which is playing on people's emotions.

As a side note, it is a sad state of affairs that someone can waltz onto the political scene with little experience running anything, make speeches about hope, vision, and change; only to have people following him around as they would the pied piper and claiming some kind of rock star status, with no record behind him. This is the media's doing. This is what they do best.

The man can make good speeches, but I find little substance in them. And as far as specifics go, there are none. At least Hillary leaves the specifics out of her well-defined issues. She may not tell us how she will fix it, but she does tell us what she will fix. Obama is all about generalities and wants to ride some magical wave that catapults him into some kind of JFK status. That's good for college kids and it may work with them. But those of us that lived through the Kennedy era know he isn't anywhere near that magnitude.

So here we are, again. We are waiting for the next round of voting, get ready for more sound bites, more rhetoric, and more negative spins by all sides and factions. Nothing has been decided. Stay tuned.

UPDATE:

I watched interviews on the Today Show with Hilary, Obama, and McCain.

Hillary looks tired, it's amazing how much this campaign has aged her. Makeup isn't doing as well as it once did. Taking into consideration that she was tired, she still didn't sound as sure of herself in answering the simplest of questions.

Obama was very nervous, his answers weren't flowing like his speeches. Understanding he too was tired, he still seems to have trouble with live interviews. The interviews I have seen have all been taped before this one, and it makes me wonder how much editing goes on behind the scenes before these things get aired.

McCain sounded the most comfortable and looked to be the better rested of the three. He didn't fly off into a lot of long answers, but did do a good job of communicating his thoughts. Experience in the fine art extemporaneous speaking pays off great, at this level.


19 comments:

Rocket said...

HI LA

Ah those pollsters! Gotta love'em

As of today all candidates will become tearful friendly.

From your side, how did the experts get it so wrong?

LASunsett said...

//From your side, how did the experts get it so wrong?//

As I said in the post, I think the media played a huge part by trumping up Obama as the "Golden Child". But as for how the pollsters got it wrong? The old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat - well, there's also more than one way to skew a poll.

Greg said...

So the crying worked!

Obama looks good in general polls b/c he attracts a lot of independents. When the party faithful shows up to express itself, Hillary will do well. In states where independents aren't allowed to vote in the primary, Hillary will have an even bigger advantage.

Same story for McCain.

The real test is whether McCain & Obama can attract the party-faithful.

I watched Obama's speech last night. He is an unbelievably gifted orator. Head & shoulders above any other candidate. He would be very dangerous in the general election, even though he has no real experience and is too young to be POTUS.

Greg said...

I'm "unenrolled" (ie., registered to vote under no particular party) in my state. The question for me will be whether I want to vote in the Republican primary for my guy - McCain - or whether I want to vote in the Democratic primary to help the candidate least likely to beat McCain if he gets the nomination. That would be Hillary. Tough call. What do you guys think?

Greg said...

That's good for college kids and it may work with them.

As you know, I work for a municipality. I see hoards of high school and college kids coming in to register to vote. They tend to like Obama, as far as I can tell. The young vote could make a real difference.

Also, notice the Republicans are getting about 1/2 the number of voters in their primary as the Democrats. Very bad news for the Republicans. They'd better get working on that now, or they will have no chance to keep the White House.

Mustang said...

On the democratic side, I want everyone to realize that the change democratic hopefuls keep talking about is what we will have left for ourselves after taxes. I earnestly believe that if voters elect a democrat in November, it will not be long after that before another horrific terrorist attack within our borders. Raise your hand if you think that any leader in the Middle East respects a female leader.

I wish I could say that I think every candidate is a genuinely good person, or one with our nation’s best interest at heart; I cannot. It is true that every candidate has a personal agenda — not all have an agenda that favors America over their own.

On the republican side, Huckabee is a religious zealot, Romney is a phony conservative, Paul is a nut case, and Giuliani is sans personal integrity. I had hopes for Thompson, but I fear that most people discern that he lacks passion for high office, which speaks well for him personally, but not politically. Several years ago, Thompson headed an investigative committee looking into allegations that members of congress accepted contributions from foreign entities — including the Army of the Peoples’ Republic of China. He terminated the investigation when he learned that the problem was prevalent among both democrats and republicans. In my view, Thompson placed political expedience ahead of our Nation’s interests.

I do not agree with McCain’s views on solving our problem with illegal immigrants. But, as a retired Navy captain, former member of the House and a senator with considerable experience in matters relating to domestic, and foreign policy — he is the only truly qualified presidential candidate. I’m not looking for a perfect person; someone with the dedication of the average lance corporal would suit me fine.

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//When the party faithful shows up to express itself, Hillary will do well. In states where independents aren't allowed to vote in the primary, Hillary will have an even bigger advantage.//

Wasn't NH a state where independents can vote in the primary? Everywhere I read or watch, they say that the independents carried McCain to victory. One can only assume that the independents did the same for Hillary.

LASunsett said...

Mustang,

//I do not agree with McCain’s views on solving our problem with illegal immigrants.//

If that's the only disagreement you have with him, then - in this election - you have a good thing going.

As you know, I would love nothing more than to see the Fair Tax implemented and see the income tax go down into history as one of the most oppressive forms of taxation ever in the history of mankind. But I won't throw the baby out with the bathwater, that is to say, i will not support someone on one issue alone.

A.C. McCloud said...

As much as I love what Fred stands for, he's not able to communicate it very well. He'll drop after losing SC.

Question is who does he endorse? I just can't see him throwing behind Mitt or Huck. Probably McCain but Giuliani is still possible. Either way, I believe the love affair of the media towards McCain will disappear if he becomes the nominee in an effort to rattle him. And he can be rattled. So at this point I'm soon to be a free agent.

Greg said...

LAS: Wasn't NH a state where independents can vote in the primary?

Right - that was my point (even though Obama didn't win). In NH, the independents could vote, and they helped McCain and Obama. I doubt they will do as well in restricted primaries. On the other hand, what weakens them in the primary (their appeal to independents) helps them in the general election.

Greg said...

LAS, I finally found some numbers on that issue, from Politico. According to exit polls, Obama won the independent vote by 8 points. Hillary won the registered Dems.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0108/7809.html

Mustang said...

I would love nothing more than to see the Fair Tax implemented and see the income tax go down into history as one of the most oppressive forms of taxation ever in the history of mankind.

I agree with you LA. But I do not think that a flat tax has a snowball's chance in hell even if there were only two democrats in the House or Senate. Special interests, you know. Besides, the fox is guarding the hen house. No politician will lock himself into a de facto balanced budget or adopting priorities for spending.

Well, that's my opinion and I'm sticking with it . . . unless someone want to pay me a lot of money to change my position. (Politics American Style)

LASunsett said...

AC,

//Question is who does he endorse? //

My guess is, it would be McCain. But don't bet any paychecks on it. I also thought Obama was going to win NH.

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//According to exit polls, Obama won the independent vote by 8 points. Hillary won the registered Dems.//

And the women vote. By 12 %.

LASunsett said...

Mustang,

//But I do not think that a flat tax has a snowball's chance in hell even if there were only two democrats in the House or Senate.//

It's a long shot. But I never say impossible, even in politics. It may not happen in my lifetime, but at some point someone that wants to get elected or re-elected may be forced to look at it.

A.C. McCloud said...

One of the criticisms I've heard against the FT is that it might spark a black market to get around the 24 percent tax. Not sure I totally agree but I think Mustang's comment pretty much sums it up. It's pretty hard to change anything in DC, which is why it's funny to hear everyone talking about change.

Rocket said...

I'm a novice on this FT but I have read a bit on it since it was brought up on this blog and I have run several businesses in my life.

Maybe some of you guys can illuminate me as to your feelings.

"The FairTax would broaden the tax base to include all 300 million Americans and an estimated 30 million to 40 million foreign tourists and visitors"

Above from Wiki

Why should I as a non resident US citizen have to pay for Americans Social Security etc at 23% when I buy something. Why should I replace the corporate income tax burden of American companies. I will never see a penny of the "benefits" of this tax having rarely worked in the US except for summer jobs.

I can live with 5% but 23% is a bit skyward and surely anti consumerist.

Secondly, how are you going to deal with the logistics of collecting the tax. It seems like one bureaucracy replacing another if there is to be monthly rebate for low income earners.

Don't you think consumption will decline because in spite of the fact that there will be no more withholdings people will look at such higher prices and possibly brake their expenses. In other words they will only see the price tag.
Where will the residual of this money go?

Are most people able to control their expenses. Given credit card debt and savings rate (negative) in the US, I'm not so sure. Given the above it seems there is a problem between the notion of gross and net income at the moment.


Thirdly from experience in France, once these VAT "wanabee" taxes start there is often no stopping them from climbing. Such is the hunger for revenues by governments.

Why not do the calculations on a 2 - 3% national VAT and implement that as the Japanese did. (5%)

Follow that by a digressive deduction on income through filing.

Ex

20K - 5% deduction across the board

50K - 3% deduction. etc.

Add to that the possibility for corporations and independants business people to pay the difference between VAT collected on sales and VAT spent on business purchases? Remember VAT is collected at each step of the manufacturing process.

Thus you build a widget and sell it to a wholesaler for $100 + $2 VAT.

The wholesaler sells to a retailer for $150 + $3 VAT

The retailer sells it to the end user for $200 + $4 VAT

Tax collected in the process $9 minus VAT paid out during each step. Example, supplies, machines, transportation etc.

I'm no mathematical statistics genius so it would have to be figured out based on current income and expenses.

Does this apply to real estate too?

If so then you can just forget about foreign investment in real estate in the US and with the mess that things are in now, it seems as if a nice injection of foreign capital into the real estate markets wouldn't hurt.

Seems like the same grass roots movement to eliminate income taxes as preached by the extreme right (JM Lepen) in France.

LASunsett said...

Rocket,

//Why should I as a non resident US citizen have to pay for Americans Social Security etc at 23% when I buy something.//

It looks bad for foreign tourists and ex-pats when they visit. But when all is said and done, you won't be paying any more than you are now.

//I can live with 5% but 23% is a bit skyward and surely anti consumerist.//

Take a moment and think about how much tax attorneys and accountants cost corporations. About 23% of their budget. That's built into the cost and reflected in the price of the product. Get rid of these people, the cost goes down, then the price can go down, and there it is.

The FT replaces the income tax. Except for state and local income taxes, healthcare, retirements, and other withholdings, the taxpaying citizen will get to keep more of his checks and purchase goods at the same prices he/she is used to.

Plus, there are no deductions for rich people anymore. They buy a yacht, they pay the tax. They do not have to buy the yacht though, as it's completely voluntary.

//Secondly, how are you going to deal with the logistics of collecting the tax. //

The same way the the states collect their sales tax. Maybe using the IRS to oversee it. They will be out of jobs, anyway. So I am sure they'll work with it.

//, once these VAT "wanabee" taxes start there is often no stopping them from climbing. //

It's not a VAT. You still have income taxes in France don't you? Well your VAT is just another tax. The FT is a straight up consumption tax.

//Does this apply to real estate too?//

Yes. Everything that is sold.

//If so then you can just forget about foreign investment in real estate in the US and with the mess that things are in now, it seems as if a nice injection of foreign capital into the real estate markets wouldn't hurt.//

Not if the price is the same as it is now.

The other thing that the FT takes care of is the illegals that soak up our programs, while paying nothing because they don't pay income taxes. There will be no more under the table, because they will be required to pay when they buy something here.

People that live under the poverty line will get tax prebates to cover the tax, so we won't hear the tired old generic whine, "it's going to hurt the poor".

Rocket said...

LA

Thank you for your answer. I'll try to study up some more on this and maybe on another post we can discuss it.