Obama Campaign Floating “Inevitability” – Updated

After the latest round of wins for Obama, his campaign is now putting forth the notion that it’s almost “impossible” for Clinton to catch him.

Check this story from The Politico:

Who’s inevitable now?

With three landslide victories in Tuesday’s “Chesapeake Primary” in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., and a widening lead by any measure of delegates, Senator Barack Obama’s supporters have begun to suggest a case that, just a few months ago, was coming from Hillary Rodham Clinton: He’s a lock.

In a conference call with reporters before polls closed Tuesday, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe cited “the cold, hard reality of the math.”

“I don’t think it’s so much about momentum as the reality of the math,” he said, citing the campaign’s success in building a small but unmistakable lead among pledged delegates. “If we continue to do that, mathematical reality sets in and it becomes harder and harder to overcome.”

Then another Politico report this morning from Ben Smith:

As we wrote last night, Obama has begun to make his own inevitability case, and David Plouffe made it explicit on a conference call this morning, telling reporters that it’s now “next to impossible” for Clinton to surpass what he says is a 136-person lead among pledged delegates.

“The only way she could do it is by winning most of the rest of the contests by 25 to 30 points,” he said. “Even the most creative math really does not get her, ever, back to even in terms of pledged delegates.”

“This is not about votes — it’s about delegates,” Plouffe said.

The other half of this case, of course, is that superdelegates will and/or should follow the pledged delegates.

I would temper the Obama campaign to remain steadfast, but not cocky about victories. It will put them in a different place in the campaign. Take the victories and stay on message. Still, one can’t help but pay attention to the fact that once either candidate begins to get a slight lead, they may well end up being the nominee.

Nothing can be settle until Ohio and Texas on March 4th, however, Obama is in a very good position with Clinton actually fighting for some victories.

Update:

Apparently Clinton has not been congratulating Obama on any of these victories, story from the CNN Political Ticker:

EL PASO, Texas (CNN) – For the second election night in a row, Hillary Clinton failed to acknowledge or congratulate Barack Obama after he won the day in dominating fashion.

On Tuesday in El Paso, hours after Virginia had been called for Obama, she stuck to her “Texas campaign kickoff” message and did not stray from an energetic, Lone Star-themed stump speech. She did mention Obama by name, only to chide his health care plan.

On Saturday night in Richmond, Virginia, Clinton spoke to a crowd of thousands at the state’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner, but she ignored Obama’s quartet of blowout primary and caucus wins that day as well (Obama also won the Maine caucuses the next day).

The courtesy of conceding a primary or caucus loss — and then congratulating your opponent — is by no means required. But it has become standard practice during campaign season.

Does this matter? I mean, congratulating your opponent shows good “sportsmanship” but does it say something about the Clinton campaign, are they a bit spiteful toward Obama?

  • Although it has become very popular to criticize anything which may appear as “negative campaigning” from a candidate, most people don’t realize that their disgust has been entirely fabricated by the Media, who have suddenly hijacked the concept of “fairness” and have pushed a conceptual preference of superficial and generality. They call “negative” any sort of substantive attack on their favorite candidate and only permit methods which THEY have deemed “uplifting” from all others. This of course means that any evidence of misconduct on a candidate’s part (drug use, sexual deviance, corruption, etc.) would be automatically labeled as negatives, as though these things had no bearing on the character of a presidential hopeful. Hillary Clinton and her campaign have stupidly fell for this trap, and as a consequence, have shown to be unprepared to fight a foe like Obama, who has characteristically “majored” in empty rhetoric and false hopes, all with the intent of appealing to the most primitive emotions and expectations of our people while taking advantage of their legitimate disillusion with the political process. Similar to a preacher, who pontificates on the ideas of love and companionship but is unable to practice it himself, the “hopeful” politician is able to collocate himself in an elevated stance when he is faced with any criticism which may attempt to shatter the dreams of the “disenfranchised”. Who wouldn’t like these things to come true, even if the preacher himself is a hustler and a crook? Completely protected with this mantle of sainthood, the new political actor becomes immune from attacks and investigation, furthering his personal goals of wealth and power. Of course, as history has proven, these same preachers of morality are always exposed for what they are; but how long will this take and how can the other campaign effect it?

    It has been suggested by many inside her campaign that she should immediately turn “negative” on Obama. He has a horrendous record on the Illinois Legislature which could be addressed with more clarity (pushing the wrong button while voting, etc.). He has a nebulous association with (slum lord) Tony Rezko, who is being prosecuted at this very moment for a variety of crimes, and in which Obama has been particularly mentioned in the case transcripts as “the prominent Presidential candidate”. Obama’s wife has been investigated and found to be at foul for her dealings with Tree House Foods Inc. and their unfair business practices (which include her unreasonable personal pay hike). Also, there is the question of Obama’s dealings with Exelon Enterprises and their nuclear leaks case (in which he changed legislation to favor said corporation), and now he also has two of it’s top officials, Frank M. Clark, executive vice president, and John W. Rogers Jr., a director, as his largest fund-raisers. Amid all of this damaging information, it would be utter lunacy for the Clinton campaign to restrain itself and not call Obama out on these issues. Irrespective of the fear of being accused of “the same old politics”, the reality of Barack Obama’s record could finally drive a wedge into the ludicrous claim that he is an apt candidate for the Democratic Party when facing a General Election.
    If Hillary Clinton does not make her case during the following weeks in an effective and aggressive manner, she is liable to be caught frozen on the headlights of the Mainstream Media’s presidential pick; Barack Hussein Obama. Strategically, attacking Obama on his record and dubious dealings with the Special Interests and PACs (from which he has taken millions of dollars) is the only remaining strength on her side that does not involve her obvious superiority in experience and track record. If she doesn’t chip away at Obama’s self-righteous mantle of infallibility and purity, she will lose the nomination and split her Party, which will be witness to a large piece of itself going the way of McCain in the General Election, all to ensure that Obama and the Media were not victorious. Ironically, all this rhetoric against negative campaigning will be irrelevant during the November contest, since Republicans have never considered ANY type of attack as “unfair”. The heart of the Democratic Party is now exposed to the anvil of the Telecommunications industry, and only time will tell if it will be sliced into multiple pieces, or if it will stand it’s ground at the time of the Convention.

  • Michael

    Jennifer, you raise some important points, but I believe there are also details that directly contradict with events already discussed on this blog.

    Hillary Clinton, for the first time, has lost the lead in delegates and is the underdog. As Barack Obama before her, she now has to be aggressive in a new and desperate sense. Obama’s campaign has constructed a very well conceived platform, which you point out shields him most negative attacks. This is political savvy on his part, and I chalk it up as an innovative and far-thinking political tool that, I hypothesize, will be an effective foil if he goes up against the Republican “machine.”

    As for negativity, there are important things to consider. Hillary Clinton’s campaign spilled the first ‘blood’ so to speak during and after Iowa. Nate mentioned over a month ago how during a debate Hillary vowed not to go negative, and then did– to which the Obama campaign released a clock on their website showing how many days ago she had vowed to NOT go negative, and how many days she had been going with negative campaigning.

    Your response in many ways illustrates part of the negative campaigning from both sides of the Democratic isle. Supporters are getting heated and lashing out at the opposing platform, using negative rhetoric (in lieu of their candidates!).

    Obama bought some land with Rezko. Yes, that was wrong, and he has since apologized and has been giving back money that Rezko donated to his campaign. Michelle Obama worked for Tree House Foods for two years and quit last year. I have no idea what “foul dealings” you are referring to with her, other than the fact that Tee House Foods happens to sell their products through Wal-Mart.

    This litany of responses can go on, but I will stop here by saying that there is very little data and depth to many of these accusations, or dirt from what is found. Obama has generated over 450,000 different individual donors. If anything, he has demonstrated a strong grass-roots support network, which is now being funneled by MoveOn.org (which reportedly helped raise a few million to his cause in a few weeks). Hillary Clinton’s support is far more sparse– both in individual numbers and in financial figures.

    His incredibly support in Illinois and support by fellow Democratic Illinois senators reflects a strong track record (and this was also fully addressed in the last debate with John Edwards, where Hillary did try to go negative with this and it backfired horribly).

    If you want to talk about corporate money, the numbers, again, are against you if you compare Obama and Clinton. If you want to compare scandals with spouses (Michelle and Bill), I would say hands down Bill takes the cake (from the Lewinsky scandal to the recent Uzbekistan uranium scandal).

    I do not see any numbers to back up your claim that the Democratic Party will “split” with an Obama win. Take Nevada, where the core counties Clinton won were heavily traditional Democratic, whereas the counties Obama took were not– or the recent Potomac victories that showed the across the board support for Obama (regardless of income, sex, race, etc.).

    Lastly, I take issue with your linking of Obama and the Media together. I agree there are some like Chris Matthews (and FOX) which were against her from the start, but the Clinton campaign had an incredible advantage in press time and coverage for months leading up to the Iowa Caucus. It was Obama’s victory, and subsequent political blunders by Clinton, that tipped the scale for Obama.

    In the end, I do not think you should fault Clinton for not going negative. There are far more problems with her campaign that has led to this event.

  • Tahler

    Hillary’s not done yet, mister!

    She’s certainly got my support for President

  • Michael

    Tahler, you’re right. She is far from done. However, the winds are not in her direction. Unless she rights her ship about, she will be at an overwhelming deficit.

  • Here’s an interesting article Michael…
    By Scott Helman, Globe Staff |
    August 9, 2007

    Using campaign appearances, e-mails to supporters, and Iowa TV ads, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has repeatedly reminded voters that his presidential campaign does not accept contributions from lobbyists or political action committees, casting his decision as a noble departure from the ways of Washington.

    He hit the theme hard again in Tuesday’s Democratic debate in Chicago as he sought to capitalize on rival Hillary Clinton’s remark last weekend that taking lobbyists’ cash is acceptable because they “represent real Americans.”

    “The people in this stadium need to know who we’re going to fight for,” Obama said at Soldier Field. “The reason that I’m running for president is because of you, not because of folks who are writing big checks, and that’s a clear message that has to be sent, I think, by every candidate.”

    But behind Obama’s campaign rhetoric about taking on special interests lies a more complicated truth. A Globe review of Obama’s campaign finance records shows that he collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and PACs as a state legislator in Illinois, a US senator, and a presidential aspirant.

    In Obama’s eight years in the Illinois Senate, from 1996 to 2004, almost two-thirds of the money he raised for his campaigns — $296,000 of $461,000 — came from PACs, corporate contributions, or unions, according to Illinois Board of Elections records. He tapped financial services firms, real estate developers, healthcare providers, oil companies, and many other corporate interests, the records show.

    Obama’s US Senate campaign committee, starting with his successful run in 2004, has collected $128,000 from lobbyists and $1.3 million from PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit organization that tracks money in politics. His $1.3 million from PACs represents 8 percent of what he has raised overall. Clinton’s Senate committee, by comparison, has raised $3 million from PACs, 4 percent of her total amount raised, the group said.

    In addition, Obama’s own federal PAC, Hopefund, took in $115,000 from 56 PACs in the 2005-2006 election cycle out of $4.4 million the PAC raised, according to CQ MoneyLine, which collects Federal Election Commission data. Obama then used those PAC contributions — including thousands from defense contractors, law firms, and the securities and insurance industries — to build support for his presidential run by making donations to Democratic Party organizations and candidates around the country.

    Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that after seeing the influence of lobbyists firsthand during his two years in Washington, Obama decided before he entered the presidential race that he would take a different approach to fund-raising than he had in the past.

    “He’s leading by example and taking steps that he feels need to be taken on the national stage to clean up the undue influence of Washington lobbyists on the policies and priorities of Washington,” Psaki said. “His leadership on this issue is an evolving process.”
    Psaki said Obama believes that healthcare lobbyists have blocked progress toward universal health coverage, and that oil company lobbyists have blocked badly needed changes to America’s energy policies.

    Obama has returned thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from registered federal lobbyists since he declared his candidacy in February, his presidential campaign has maintained ties with lobbyists and lobbying firms to help raise some of the $58.9 million he collected through the first six months of 2007. Obama has raised more than $1.4 million from members of law and consultancy firms led by partners who are lobbyists, The Los Angeles Times reported last week. And The Hill, a Washington newspaper, reported earlier this year that Obama’s campaign had reached out to lobbyists’ networks to use their contacts to help build his fund-raising base.

    This activity, along with Obama’s past contributions from lobbyists and PACs, has drawn fire from opposing campaigns. Some political analysts say Obama, by casting himself as an uncorrupted good-government crusader, has set himself up for charges of hypocrisy.

    “If you’re running a campaign about credibility, that credibility and persona are so important you better be squeaky clean,” said Richard Semiatin, a political scientist at American University. “While he’s getting good traction out of this, I think in the long term he’s really got to be careful.”

    From the day he entered the presidential race, Obama has projected an outside-the-Beltway persona, positioning himself as the Washington change agent that Americans are pining for. Last week, his campaign began running a new TV spot in Iowa, in which the narrator says, “He’s leading by example, refusing contributions from PACs and Washington lobbyists who have too much power today.”

    In the Democrats’ previous debate, on July 23, Obama was unequivocal when challenged by former Alaska senator Mike Gravel about who his donors were.

    “Well, the fact is I don’t take PAC money and I don’t take lobbyists’ money,” Obama said, touting his work on an ethics reform bill that just passed Congress. “That’s the kind of leadership that I’ve shown in the Senate. That’s the kind of leadership that I showed when I was a state legislator. And that’s the kind of leadership that I’ll show as president of the United States.”

    And on June 25, right before the second quarter ended, Obama sent an e-mail to supporters asking them to contribute to his campaign to make up for the lack of special-interest money.

    “Candidates typically spend a week like this — right before the critical June 30th financial reporting deadline — on the phone day and night, begging Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs to write huge checks,” the e-mail said. “Not me. Our campaign has rejected the money-for-influence game and refused to accept funds from registered federal lobbyists and political action committees.”

    Obama’s main Democratic target on the issue of lobbyist and PAC contributions has been Clinton, whom Obama has been working to paint as a figurehead for the broken politics of Washington. Through June, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Clinton had collected $413,000 from lobbyists and $533,000 from PACs — leading all 2008 presidential contenders in both categories. Clinton has also raised about $3 million from PACs and $400,000 from lobbyists for her Senate campaigns, according to the group.

    Clinton’s campaign declined to comment.

    Peverill Squire, a political scientist at the University of Iowa, said Obama, given his record of raising special-interest money throughout his political career, was taking a “gamble” in holding himself up as a beacon of purity.

    “He probably will be hurt if he’s put in a position where he’s trying to draw very fine distinctions between his present campaign and his past behavior,” Squire said.

    Obama’s campaign is relying almost exclusively on an unprecedented network of grass-roots donors and activists — nearly 260,000 of them had given him money through June alone.

    And some good-government activists say that, past fund-raising practices aside, Obama has genuinely been a champion for ethics and campaign reform, both in the Illinois Legislature and in Congress.

    “On the one hand, sure, he rose to power as many people do in this town, which is to raise money from the people who have the money,” said Gary Kalman, of the advocacy group US PIRG.

    At the same time, he added, Obama has championed public financing for elections and he fought hard to pass the federal ethics reform bill.

  • Michael

    Jennifer, the article is a fair representation of things have been. Obama is not squeaky clean (and I think he admitted to this in a November debate). While he is advertising a record that is not truly indicative of his past, he is also trying to make a statement (which Edwards was doing a much better job of).

    Why are we using negative reinforcement versus positive reinforcement in this scenario? Why are we not applauding him for trying to do what he is doing? Or for asking our candidates to do the same?

    Silent, through all this, is the fact that Hillary Clinton has received incredible sums of money from PAC, has not given the money back, and has claimed she takes the money but “will do what she wants to do.”

    Why are we not critiquing this style of campaigning as well– or more so for that matter?