Pennsylvania minus six weeks

A new open thread for discussion of the US presidential election. Barack Obama won easily in Wyoming on Saturday, as he always does in caucuses: on Wednesday our time comes a primary in Mississippi. However, by most observers’ reckoning the last contest of interest is that in Pennsylvania on April 22.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,156 comments on “Pennsylvania minus six weeks”

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  1. Methinks you Obi Dreamers are just a tat nervous with Rezko Trial just starting. Six weeks to High Noon at Penn. along side Rezko Trial. Just hope there is nothing from Rezko Trial that will blow Obi out of the water. Do not forsake me oh my darling ………….. for I must face the man who hates me.

    “Sen. Barack Obama was among eight state officials and others consulted about the structure of a state board that later became involved in what prosecutors describe as a fraud scheme, according to a memo from a Democratic official.

    The June 2003 memo by former Democratic National Committee chairman David Wilhelm did not indicate exactly what input Obama had in connection with appointing members to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. It gave no indication Obama was involved in the alleged corruption that later engulfed the board. The memo was discussed Monday at the trial of Antoin ”Tony” Rezko, a Chicago businessman who was a prominent contributor to Obama and Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Among other things, Rezko is on trial for allegedly plotting with board member Stuart Levine to split a bribe from a contractor”.,obama031008.article#

  2. And just wait till the Heiner affair hits Finnigans!

    Sorry, the parallels are just so startling. If something comes out of the Rezko trial, then he and the Dems are both probably doomed. The disenchantment of another generation of young voters would be another opportunity for McCain to take the honours. I’m not a supporter of any candidate, but I can’t see it sticking to Obama. The issues seem a bit too complex to cut through to the voter psyche.

  3. Rezko is the Brian Burke of the US primaries. Unfortunate association, but not fatal.
    And a beat up by the opposition. Just because Obama knows him does not mean he had any knowledge/ involvement of his criminal activities.
    Besides, with Hillary’s previous history of the Whitewaer scandal and her current tax evasion issues you think she’d be keeping her haed down on this one.

  4. Yet again Americans prove they’re not grown ups, so they hoist Eliot Sptizer on his, er, own petard, hiring a high cost hooker with FBI wire taps to prove it.

    As far as I know, they don’t usually charge customers (how’s that for a double standard?), so why make him do the ‘perp walk’? It’s the deep puritan streak in the American pysche that just cannot accept that ‘norms’ are, for the most part, a facade, and that people’s private lives are not always what they project.

    At least we have it about right in this country, where the press will not go after pollie’s private lives, (or high officials), unless there is some clear conflict with their obligations or the activity is blatantly ‘scandalous’.

    I supose there’s some irony in Spitzer’s case as he’s prosecuted a number of these cases himself, so maybe it’s a case of poetic justice, but it really does not serve the public that his extramarital activites are outed.

    Will they ever grow up?

  5. KR, I think Spitzer might actually be in a bit of trouble, this is from the Ben Smith blog on Politico/com:

    “Given the reports that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was heard on a wiretap arranging for a prostitute to travel from New York to Washington to meet in his hotel room, it appears that he has violated the Mann Act. This federal law carries a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment for knowingly persuading or inducing any individual to cross state lines for the purposes of prostitution. Governor Spitzer also appears to have violated District of Columbia law, making it unlawful for any person to engage in prostitution or to solicit for prostitution. This is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, or a fine of up to $500, or both, for the first offense.”

    One less Superdelegate vote for Billary I guess. 🙂

  6. “This federal law carries a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment for knowingly persuading or inducing any individual to cross state lines for the purposes of prostitution.”

    So anyone on the staff of a Senator or Congressman who arranges for said representative to travel over state lines to visit a lobbyist should be charged forthwith! And if said meeting with lobbyist involved, as well as the normal prostitution of an elected representative, actual horizontal folk-dancing…. Senator McCain, what was that woman’s name again?

  7. KR @ 6 ” …hiring a high cost hooker with FBI wire taps to prove it.
    As far as I know, they don’t usually charge customers … ”

    Well, KR, if they don’t charge customers it isn’t prostitution – it’s just like a very short-term marriage 🙂

  8. Interesting array of responses Bludgers, but I have to admit I hadn’t yet got to the nitty-gritty of whores across borders. Wow, in the land of ‘free markets’, such activities between consenting adults seems almost to violate the most cherished entrepeneurial spirit, doesn it?

    Yes, it does look like Mr Spitzer might not be Supering for Hillary in August, eh?

    And RB, that’s very funny, but in the scheme of things, your point has a much heavier impact on the public interest, and yet they don’t seem overly fussed about how corrupting an influence it is on the body politic.

    Irony, huh?

  9. Sorry if it’s already been mentioned but there is an excellent analysis of how accurate a predictor experience is for performance at this site. It confirms that experience is NOT a predictor of how good a President will be. I don’t think it really affects the Billary vs Obama debate as they both have much less experience but it will help against Macca. That’s another low-flying one-winged duck splatted by the voice of reason. I would love to point “name names” of the bludgers who have made this erroneous argument which is not based in reason but you know who you are… 😀

  10. Here’s the act he’s been charged under:

    Mann Act, passed by Congress in 1910 to address prostitution, human trafficking and what was viewed at the time as immorality in general, makes it a crime to transport someone between states for the purpose of prostitution. The four defendants charged in the case unsealed last week were all charged with that crime, along with several others.

    …so by arranging a tryst by phone, to meet in another state (well DC), is punishable, but the actual ‘act’ is not what he’s charged with.

    1910, well, they did have telephones at least!

    Since he didn’t actually ‘transport’ her himself, it looks like his ‘crime’ was really one of ‘immorality’ (as concieved in 1910!), and it’s not as if he was pimper her himself, he’d agreed to pay her for, uh, ‘personal services’.

    Maybe he should have tried an intern instead, much safer, ask Bill. (Irony alert!!)

  11. Oh dear:

    In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end prostitution ring out of Staten Island.

    “This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure,” Mr. Spitzer said at the time. “It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring.”


    It seems Mr Spitzer has some hypocricy issues to sort out too! LOL

  12. Diogenes,

    As opposed to the Obama Ostriches here who stick their heads in the sand whenever well founded contrary arguments are put forward.

    As for Obama, is he a high flyer or just another low flyer with occaissional gusts of wind?

  13. Top of Tomorrow to you, Bludgers:

    Today’s catoons and comment are brought to you courtesy of Pal Gerry “Hoodwink” Henderson and PNAC, ie. Hoodwink Henderson’s Sydney based institute, his Project for a New Australian Century.

    Kirri: “ Will they(Sep voters) ever grow up?”
    20 years ago Gary Hart was the Dem WunderKid with heaps of The Big Mo’ towards the Dem presidential Nomination. He was knee-capped by the MSM on some wowser morals rap (getting a bit on the side, from memory). Who really knows with a country top-heavy with self righteous hypocrites? But you’re correct, we’re so much more relatively mature as a voting nation in dealing with matters concerning personal morality and that sort of thing. Think one of the reasons for our more enlightened, or “French” tolerance, is that fundies have much less sway here. It’s up the “rovers” and their spouses to sort, not the bloomin’ voting public.

    And if the world can have Medicin Sans Frontiers, why can’t the Seps have Whores Without Borders?

    Worm: the Lt.Governor who will replace the “disgraced” pants-man Gov. is also a HRC supporter, so there will be no loss of SDs from NYC as such.

    RB: “actual horizontal folk-dancing….”, but Robert, the NY Gov and special friend were just measuring heights. Honest!

    Pennsylvania minus six weeks: just three words, William…. bring it on!
    But first, Team HRC will have to negotiate and spin a “minor delegational speedbump” in Mississippi.

  14. The satire machine is in top gear, and this little gem from one Wall Street gossip site. (Wall Street and Spitzer have been on very bad terms for quite some time):

    Eliot Spitzer Vows To Crack Down On Excess Prostitute Pay

    Discovering that the exclusive international ring of prostitutes known as the “Emperor’s Club” charged up to $5,500 an hour for their services, New York governor Eliot Spitzer vowed to put an end to this price gouging practice.

    Four people alleged to have run the “Emperor’s Club” were charged with conspiracy to violate federal prostitution statutes, while two of them were also charged with laundering more than $1 million in illegal proceeds.

    “That kind of excessive compensation is simply outrageous. Prostitution is allegedly a victimless crime,” Spitzer said in a press conference that took place only in our imaginations. “But now we see that its customers can become its victims.”

    Spitzer added it was especially shameful that one of the most trusted names in prostitution had engaged in this shocking betrayal and rank greed.

    …ouch! And there’s much worse, of course.

  15. GG

    I’ve got a horrible confession to make. I actually don’t have that much time for Obama. I just think Billary is a lot worse. For me, it’s a choice between three crappy alternatives, with Obama being the least worst. He’s a politician through-and-through, and I fu##ing hate politicians. It’s a philosophical thing. I really did choose the name Diogenes with good reason, not just to be knob!

  16. KR, on moral righteousness of the US, I think we will be experiencing more of it here if Brother Smirk and the holy rollers get their way with Ruddster. No porn on the net, no grog after midnight, none of them penny arcade amusement thingies that a toddler can’t handle, this is the thin end of the wedge. Brace yourself for moral panic!! 🙂

  17. EC, that’s a fine line and a nice segue from our, ahem, “French” attitudes:

    “And if the world can have Medicin Sans Frontiers, why can’t the Seps have Whores Without Borders?”

    Touche! (with a silent “d”!)

    But seriously, note that our attitude is one of mirth and Chaucerian merriment at man’s foibles, but their system is geared to government regulation of morality between consenting adults.

  18. Can someone explain to me why a pserson’s sex life is such a big deal in the US?? Unless abuse/ children are involved Who Effing Cares Who Effs Who????
    The irony is that they get more worked up about what grown ups do with their genitals than the horror of the bloodshed and death that their war machine causes.

  19. Diogenes #12. Which experience would you prefer: a single-term Congressman who failed to be re-elected or a former Governor of Texas. Yep, if “experience” counts then Bush the lesser was a better candidate than Lincoln.
    The Clintonistas would have been lining up with those who thought that Seward (of New York) was the natural candidate for the Republicans in 1860, not the unknown from Illinois.

  20. Kirribilli R @ # 6: At least we have it about right in this country, where the press will not go after pollie’s private lives, (or high officials), unless there is some clear conflict with their obligations or the activity is blatantly ’scandalous’.

    A cogent point, K.R.. However, the media overkill all this past month about alleged corruption perpetrated by four Labor members on Wollongong Council was chiefly motivated by the huge increases in circulation/audience guaranteed by city planner Beth Morgan’s admissions to having sex with three developers, in particular her long-term affair, Frank Vellar, who is the bloke at the centre of allegations against three of these Labor Council pollies as well as embarrassing questions raised about his campaign donations to Illawarra state Labor MP’s.

    This media frenzy over Beth Morgan’s sexual relationships was a quantum leap beyond what any garden variety bribe scandal involving politicians and developers would normally generate. At least one large photo of Ms. Morgan has been in the “Illawarra Mercury” every edition since the ICAC hearings started, although for 90% of the hearing days she was merely an observer in the back of the room.

    For a fortnight, coverage of the scandal took up the first 8 or 9 pages of “The Mercury”. A few days ago, in desperation, this noble Fairfax publication resorted to a Beth Morgan Look-a-like story in order to slip in another large photo of Beth adjacent to the one of her local ‘doppelganger’, who apparently didn’t object to being profiled in this way (15 minutes of fame syndrome).

    Sex sells big-time in OZ, and we don’t seem to have progressed a whole lot further since the swinging Seventies and our media’s overkill about the Jim Cairns/Juni Morosi “affair”. I haven’t the slightest doubt that Glen Milne, to offer one obvious example, will happily “channel” any dirt on PM Rudd or his ministers which comes his way, just as Milne did with his New York stripper club beat-up.

  21. Asanque, Dio’s link takes the 8 difference from California into account. Obama gained 13 supers to Clinton’s 4, with Clinton taking 4 more delegates from Tuesday’s elections than Obama. The 8 difference in California then bumps it up to 13.

    The big one that I saw from there was:
    “Update: And another +2 for Obama — he gains Joyce Brayboy of North Carolina, and if Spitzer resigns, she loses his vote. The Lt. Gov. David Patterson is a Clinton person, but he already had a vote as a DNC member. He doesn’t get two votes now. So a net loss for Clinton.”

  22. T-Worm: “EC @ 17, according to Ben Smith The Lt. Governor is already a Superdelegate.”

    True, in my haste to to hurl myself into the fray, perhaps I didn’t make it clear that the former Deputy Gov. who is now Gubero Uno, is also a HRC supporter, so Brutessa doesn’t lose a NY SD in the process.

    Yeah Kirri at 20, I’m a hunnert pahcent with former Canadian PM, Pierre Trudeau, who said when his spouse was a platinum card-carrying member of the Rolling Stones (The Pom Rockers) groupie circuit about 25 years ago, that The State had no business in the bedrooms of its constituents.

    But the bastard had a Frog name, was a bloody jesuit educated libertine Quebecqois, and also a prime mover for legalising shirt-lifting in Canada, so what would you expect, eh!?

  23. As a rule of thumb, the magic number I keep coming up with for Billary is 60%.

    To get ahead on pledged delegates, barring her stealing Obama’s democratically-elected pledged ones, she needs to win 60/40 in the remaining vote.

    She needs to win the remaining states with 60% of the vote to get ahead on the popular vote.

    Failing these, based on likely outcomes in the state votes, she needs 60% of the remaining undecided superdelegates. It’s all highly improbable but not completely impossible. But the SDs are breaking 2:1 to Obama since 27.1.08 (117 to 60).

  24. Worm, hold the phone, acc. to Al at 30 from his Kos link, Brutessa actually does lose a SD. Aw gee, that’s just too bad, foiled again by a wolfish man who just couldn’t keep it in his pants. Guess she’ll be up way past 3AM worrying about this one.

  25. Um who becomes the new Lt Governor though? Wont they get a super delegate vote?

    I have answered my own previsous question btw that a New Yrok Governor can pardon people for state crimes. Were any of spitzers crimes a federal offence?

  26. Spitzer, Mr Trudeau, Mrs Trudeau, Bill Clinton et al. What is it about Red phones that gets these people into trouble. Can we please have a change to a different coloured phone.

  27. If he is charged under the Mann Act, or the United Slaves White-Slave (there’s a depressing throwback) Traffic Act, that would be a federal offence.

  28. Scotty, I suppose it depends on who is made Lt. Governor if anyone is as I believe it is an elected position so I don’t know the rules regarding that issue. It seems from reading a couple of US blogs this morning though that she will/may lose a SD out of this.

  29. Ferny- I really hate politicians. All my favourite people in the world are writers, philosophers, musicians, composers, scientists, journalists and the like.

    Independent thought is impossible as a politician. The reality of the system just doesn’t allow for it so all political acts are compromises of your principles. I much prefer people who choose a career where they aren’t continually having to choose between idealism and pragmatism.

    I actually doubt that Obama will be able to change the US all that much for the above reasons.

    I REALLY hope he wins though, but for a completely different reason than most people. I want the US to vote for him to show that human nature isn’t so base that it can’t see beyond the lowest common denominator politics of the Bush/Clinton era.

  30. 34 – Diogenes

    [‘Failing these, based on likely outcomes in the state votes, she needs 60% of the remaining undecided superdelegates. It’s all highly improbable but not completely impossible. But the SDs are breaking 2:1 to Obama since 27.1.08 (117 to 60).’]

    Out of curiousity, how did you derive this figure?
    796 Superdelegates
    Out of which 458 are decided.
    That leaves 338. 60% of 338 is approximately 202. 40% is approximately 136.
    So the margin is 66.

    Are you including potential Florida and Michigan results into the equation? Which states are you giving heavily to Clinton? Pennsylvania?
    Otherwise, given Obama’s lead is currently 119, Clinton would need closer to 70% of undecided super delegates from my calculations.
    If Florida and Michigan have a revote, and Pennslyvania is won heavily by Clinton, I agree with 60% of undecided superdelegates on a best case scenario.

  31. 40 – Diogenes
    I also agree with your analysis.
    The best way to pick a politician, is to eliminate those of the lowest common denominator and pick the least contemptuous remaining.

  32. Another reason for Hillary to drop out.

    She is extremely unlikely to win, and the Florida/Michigan debacle if unresolved will hurt the Democrats tremendously. At best, a lot of money that could have been used to fund the general election will be wasted.

    Even if there was a revote and Hillary won both convincingly (extremely unlikely), she would still be behind in the popular vote and pledged delegates. Thus, superdelegates would need to step in and help her win, and that would cause anarchy for the Democrats.

    She should have dropped out before Texas/Ohio. As noted prior to these states, even if she won, she would not make significant inroads into the pledged delegates. She could have bowed out gracefully and the Democrats would be focused for November.

    The Clintons have let their egos get in the way, and whilst one could argue that negative campaigning helps publicity for the Democrats, one could more persuasively argue that it will hurt the Democrats more in the long run.

  33. 41 asanque- That’s based on best figures within reasonable limits for Hillary in the remaining states, with a 58% win in Pennsylvania, and Florida revoting with no change or being seated as is. Michigan doesn’t really matter as it would be close to a draw probably.

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