Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 11, 2008

Horserace Watch

What is the story of the four Obama primary victories in Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington State and Maine? Why did Clinton lose? Tell me.

TPM says Obama may win all February primaries. The momentum then might be enough to let him win some big ones in March.

But then there is quite some gerrymandering in districts and a big victory in a state may not mean a big number of delegates for the winner. As Alex Cockburn points out Obama got 302,684 votes in Alabama and Clinton got 226,454. But somehow that resulted in the same number of delegates for each of them.

When one clicks through the states in the NYT election guide, the details of the delegate allocation seem to vary everywhere and are quite complicate. Just as an example - Nebraska:

Based on the results of precinct-level caucuses on Feb. 9, delegates are pledged to vote for candidates at county conventions in June where, in turn, state delegates are elected. On June 28, state delegates caucus at the state convention. Sixteen pledged delegates result from this process, and five at-large pledged delegates are chosen at the state convention. Additionally, three pledged delegates are selected from party leaders, for a total of 24 pledged delegates. Party leaders comprise six unpledged delegates, and an additional unpledged delegate is selected at the state convention.

Obama won with 68% against Clinton with 32%. But only 16 of 31 total delegates were chosen in that election. Obama got 11 and Clinton 5. The other 15 delegates still can go either way.

Am I the only one to find this system bizarre?

On the Republican side there seems to evolve a "anything but McCain" movement which gave Huckabee two wins. The Washington state party establishment pulled the emergency break and stopped counting votes when McCain was in danger to lose there too.

We have seen such before in Florida, but in a party primary?

While it strives to export 'democracy', the U.S. may first need to import that product to see how it is supposed to function.

Posted by b on February 11, 2008 at 17:38 UTC | Permalink


b, this kos diary may address some of the issues you raised. not all delegates are the same. the party rules, its not a democracy choosing the nominee, its the party consolidating behind one candidate. a contest for Pledged Delegates

Posted by: annie | Feb 11 2008 17:46 utc | 1

As a participant-observer (resident of a state which is holding its primary tomorrow), I believe Obama has momentum because he is offering "change", and this is more appealing to most of the public than Hillary's appeal of "put a woman in charge" and "back to the '90s". We voters are hopeful now, and I expect we will be disappointed later - because a lot of what's wrong with this country is what the people do, or don't do, or put up with the elite doing. But it's hard to make accurate predictions, especially about the future.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. | Feb 11 2008 18:02 utc | 2

What mistah said.

I'm thinking if Obama makes it to the big show and gets screwed the way Kerry and Gore did the reaction will be quite different this time from the public.

(no skull & bones this time around either)


Posted by: beq | Feb 11 2008 18:31 utc | 3


the primary electoral system is not a democratic electoral system, it is a system developed by and for a particular political party (which also happens to call itself "Democratic").

It is designed to allow some degree of input from registered voters, but not to the extent that the party functionaries cannot have a strong say in who is to be nominated.

Look on it as more of a political marketing survey: the input is collected and then the party decides which product it is going to launch at the end of its nominating convention.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Feb 11 2008 18:38 utc | 4

it is in fact voodoo, b & if you are familiar with the film angel heart - you will have understood that while looking like fancy maths it is in fact diabolic

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 11 2008 18:50 utc | 5

& above all what makes it provably diabolique - is the commentaries of wolf 'golem' blitzer & anderson 'horse's ass' cooper which on a bad day will send me straight to the pharmacy for calmants

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 11 2008 18:53 utc | 6

Another quiet afternoon here at the UESLA penthouse. The caviar and Grey Goose is excellent, as always. The Upper East Side Liberation Army can be counted on to provide for its members.

Some folks out there in Cattle Land, where consumers graze happily on their own children's economic futures, are catching on that we plan to broker the two political conventions this year. McCain is going to get there, all right, but fail to lock up the nomination, so there will be "some other options" considered.

In the Democratic herd, the Clinton machine is going to strangle every Superdelegate into keeping their promise to hand her the nomination no matter how many voters turn to Obama.

Obama's camp is going to make any deal necessary to swing the Edwards endorsement they think will carry them to the magic number of delegates to lock the nomination, or get damn close.

Ah, now is the season of extraordinary dealing, when the very bedrock principles of the Republic are up for auction, no reserve bids.

Ah, deals upon deals within deals. Deals to get money up front, votes now for policy later on. Deals to get me there on the understanding I'll gut the place when I do. Deals to hollow out the commons, the pension plans, Social Security, the remaining safety net, sell the roads and bridges, the water, trees, and air -- everything eventually. Deals to dismantle the Republic, and divvy up the range among the cattle barons.

Whether the Republic is dismantled by this Party or that Party makes no difference to the Owners, and apparently matters little enough to the tenants anymore, either.

The way to an Ownership Society is wide open, and progressing nicely. No one who isn't with the program is allowed near the White House, not for these past thirty years. The Republic is hollow. The nation is a theme park now.

You can tell the average American to his face that in ten years time he will be competing directly with Chinese and Indian and African labor, on a penny for penny piece-work basis, and he will blink and go on about his business.

No grasp of his fate, no grasp of his life. He goes shopping.

When white people moved in and took over the Americas, it was because nine out of ten natives were dead of smallpox beforehand. The villages were deserted, and the survivors scattered and skinny. This same pattern is playing out now, except the disease is consumerism, turning participating citizens into permanent tourists in their own country. The collective American goal is to live in a gated community.

Cows live in gated communities. They're called corrals, pastures, and pens.

Nine out of ten American citizens is missing in action. Gone shopping. There are very few free range Americans remaining.

The Upper East Side Liberation Army isn't displacing any citizens. We're herding cattle.

Someone will be at the front of the whole herd by November. What ought to concern the average cow is why they're in a herd at all, being led to slaughter -- not which cowboy is on the white horse out in front of them.

Posted by: UESLA | Feb 11 2008 19:13 utc | 7

Goddamn, if I see one more Hillary Clinton or Obomba POST I'M GOING TO PUKE...Not here of course, but around the net. It's as if there is nothing else to talk about, as if nothing else matters but who said what and when about who...

God forbid, anyone talk about, the Pentagon seeking the death penalty for guys they tortured into confession...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 11 2008 19:21 utc | 8


the Pentagon seeking the death penalty for guys they tortured into confession...

Indeed, this turd blossomed in the news here in the Happy Little Kingdom, with no comment, just two days after news about secret flights landing in Denmark with "rendered" passengers and admission by CIA that "only" three prisoners had been aquaplaned.

[Note to self: remember to replenish stock of barf bags.]

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Feb 11 2008 19:52 utc | 9

UESLA...Yup, used to think that the cows had a little sway in the grand theater, but no more. With the e-voting in place, and the delagate system as is, it's plain to see for those that give a flying fuck, it's rigged for the elites to decide. Sad but true.

Posted by: Ben | Feb 11 2008 20:06 utc | 10

Some great posts - esp. Ben & UESLA. I would just say to b- etc., that there is a difference btw. primaries, wherein anyone registered can drop off/mail in a ballot (to be counted thru some probably rigged mechanism or the other); & the caucuses, where you have to drop by in person during specific hours. If you can't, or don't wish to, you have no "vote". Then it's a process of discussion, horse-trading etc. Obamination has "won" most of the caucuses, whereas Marg. Thatcher Clinton has carried most of the primaries in the big impt. states. Annie explained why he carried the caucuses - his sheep showed up & convinced HRC sheep that since the Gross Old Perverts Party hates her - fear & hatred of women & greed are what unites them - nominating her will just guarantee months of smearing her & hence a Nov. "loss". This is what is called an "Obamination Victory" - as distinct from anyone actually agreeing w/his policies, which are even more right wing-extremist than HRC's - though they're both so far out there as to require a telescope to find these Bobsey Twins from the Far-Right Lagoon. Anyone who isn't onboard w/the Screw Americans, Screw America, The Predators are God agenda of the Elites isn't considered a "serious" contender for the shit-besmirched WH - maybe we should just rename the WH the Shithouse, or Outhouse, as that is where you lead the chorus in shitting on the Republic.

Posted by: jj | Feb 11 2008 20:45 utc | 11

2 More thoughts:

I'm really disappointed that Kucinich supporters didn't just say Hell No - Neither of these candidates represent us & hold sit down strikes @the Caucuses. Listening to endless streams of "people" saying - well, I was a Kucinich supporter, but.... I'm so apppalled & disappointed that people just carried on, as if there was some relationship between supporting Kucinich who vowed to represent us & the others, who are hell-bent on destroying us...Jesus, people wake the hell up...

Beyond that, the one thing I find fascinating going forward & wonder if anyone else around here does, is the question of whether vote rigging in the electronic age, is something to which both "parties" have equal access - or will they be fighting behind the scenes on who gets to rig the vote. Or will each rig in differing me that's the only thing of enduring curiosity.

Posted by: jj | Feb 11 2008 20:51 utc | 12

One small correction to UESLA's superb post - The Really Big Potatoes Endorsement, arguably isn't Edwards, but Gore's. Obamination is working like hell to get that. (Exc. article by Robin Morgan that I prev. linked to discussed how he locked up the black vote, the foundation for any success - he told local blacks of influence that there were "race traitors" if they didn't support him; while his Ted Sorenson trained speech writers made damn sure to keep any racial language that might offend whites out of his public spewances.)

Posted by: jj | Feb 11 2008 20:59 utc | 13

Thought Barkeep might enjoy some more info on the chap who shut down voting in Washington State Caucuses. To advance in Repug circles, you must as a youth start out working hard to suppress the vote. This was bad enough, til Rehnquist became Chief Justice of x-Supreme Court w/such beginnings. Now it's become widely known & de rigeur. So, meet Luke Esser, now GOP Party chairman for Wash. State, who merely followed in Rehnquist's boyhood steps.

Like any sport worth its salt, in politics you have adversaries, opponents, enemies. Our enemies are loudmouth leftists and shiftless deadbeats. To win the election, we have to keep as many of these people away from the polls as possible. Early Beginnings of Guy who Stopped Wash. Caucus Vote Counts

Posted by: jj | Feb 11 2008 22:35 utc | 14

@jj #12, vote rigging is behind scenes, doesn't seem likely there's much fighting over it or rigging endangered, as a play would be spoilt if players squabble unintended.

rgiap- Angel Heart, yes.

Posted by: | Feb 11 2008 22:48 utc | 15

sorry, #15 me.

Posted by: plushtown | Feb 11 2008 22:49 utc | 16

I can't believe the Clintons want to get back into the "Vast rightwing conspiracy" smear machine again.
Anyway, Obama would probably be immune to the same kind of treatment unless the Repugs don't mind competely losing the black vote.

Does anyone seriously think that McCain will be the Repug candidate on election day?

Posted by: pb | Feb 11 2008 23:23 utc | 17

@plushtown, yes, that's obvious, but I'm wondering how they avoid tripping over each other - behind the scenes..

@pb - of course, McCain will be Repug nominee. Wall St. might be even opening an eye to the monster they've created - ie. he's the only non-Theocrat who stepped forward to run. They have not choice, but to jam him into first place by any means necessary.
No, Clintons do not want to end up in right-wing smear machine again. That's why they put the kibosh on Impeaching Bush (among other reasons) & kissed up to Unca Rupie so fervently.
Repugs have virtually none of the black vote anyway. But they could radically cut into # of whites who vote for Obamination by letting it be known that he built up his black base by telling local blacks that they'd be "race traitors" if they didn't support him. That'd almost assuredly give election to McCain, although he's crazy, 71 & had cancer in '93 & 2000.

Posted by: jj | Feb 12 2008 2:16 utc | 18

Nice post. However, this country was never meant to be a democracy. The voters have much more say than at the beginning of the republic. Early on the presidential candidate always was the insider, even more than now. Insiders believed they deserved it just like the Clintons. Jackson, who was kind of crazy, was an outsider and he never did warm to Washington.

Senators were picked by state legislatures. Actually, when senators were picked by states, states had better representation. After at large elections for senators, money became involved, senators became loyal to Washington, not the state they represent. We are not a democracy per say, but we are more democratic than when the country was founded. Then, only land owners could vote, no women, no blacks, and in some states you had to have a certain amount of wealth to vote.

I would actually like us to go to proportional representation.
This is more democratic, having the minor parties involved.

This election will make some changes. My grandfather always said, when republicans are in office, money drys up, when democrats are in office money flows. That money flows to the states. Now it isn't, its flowing to Iraq.

Posted by: jdp | Feb 12 2008 3:06 utc | 19

More News About Democrats
by hilzoy

(1) As everyone already knows, Barack Obama won Maine in a landslide. By my calculations (based on these results), with 99% of precincts reporting, Obama has won 59.47% of the delegates to Clinton's 39.93%. (OK, I like decimal points: so sue me.) In a state that a lot of people thought might go for Clinton, that's huge. But this is almost as important:

""Around the country we've seen high Democratic turnout and Maine has joined the chorus of other voices across the nation calling for change," said Arden Manning, Executive Director of the Maine Democratic Party. "The numbers tell a story here. Earlier this month, 5,000 Republicans gathered around the state to caucus for their nominee. Today, close to 45,000 Mainers attended the Democratic caucus. The message is clear: Mainers have seen what 8 years of Republican control looks like and they are ready for a change."

Sunday's Democratic turnout exceeded the previous record, set in 2004, by almost 28,000 votes."

To repeat what I said in comments: nine times as many Democrats as Republicans caucused, and they more than doubled the previous turnout record. That's astonishing.

(2) As everyone probably also knows, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, has been replaced. There are a couple of interesting things buried in the coverage of this. First, several stories about Doyle's departure say things like this:

"The mother of two young children, Solis Doyle is like many in the campaign who had expected the nomination fight to have been wrapped up one way or another by Feb. 5, Super Tuesday, and are exhausted and somewhat demoralized to think this struggle might last weeks or even months longer."


"As I write, Hillary is on a campaign crisis conference call to spell out what she’s going to do to stop Obama’s momentum. But the fact is the Clintons are making it up as they go along now – they never expected anything beyond Super Tuesday to matter.

The Obama campaign, by contrast, forsaw a war of attrition and invested heavily in states like red states Nebraska – where his big win last night netted him a lot of delegates."

That the Clinton campaign wasn't planning on having to go on past Super Tuesday is supported by their bizarre explanation of Obama's victories last night:

"The Obama campaign has dramatically outspent our campaign in these three states, saturating the airwaves with 30 and 60 second ads. The Obama campaign has spent $300,000 more in Louisiana on television ads, $190,000 more in Nebraska and $175,000 more in Nebraska."

If they hadn't assumed the campaign would be over by the time they got to those states, why on earth didn't they contest them more seriously? Now it's conventional wisdom that Obama wins heartland caucus states, but this wasn't at all obvious back when the campaigns should have been making decisions about building organizations, making ad buys, and so forth.

This is just bizarre. The Clinton campaign should never have assumed that the campaign would be over after Super Tuesday. It was obvious at the 2004 convention that Obama had extraordinary political talent, and simply assuming that someone like him would not catch on -- assuming that in the way you'd have to do to base your strategy on that thought -- is a big mistake. But it's just incomprehensible if anyone in the Clinton campaign assumed that the primary campaign would be over on Super Tuesday after, say, mid-November, when it became clear that Obama was catching on. Mid-November was several months ago. The Clinton campaign has had time to adjust its strategy, and its staffers have had time to adjust their expectations. And yet none of the coverage sounds as though they have done so; nor can I see any obvious reason for them to be saying this if it isn't true.

The Clinton campaign has always struck me as strangely overconfident. They were, of course, way ahead in the polls about three months ago. But it doesn't take much political experience to learn that a lot can change in a few months, and that a lead that far out is nothing to count on. (Parenthetical note: this is why media coverage of the horserace months in advance is completely and utterly pointless, and stories about the supposed inevitability of any candidate written before a single vote has been cast are (to me) a sign that I do not have to pay attention to anything the person who writes them says in future.) They also had a candidate with strong negatives in significant chunks of the population, and one who (to my mind) has always lacked a credible story about why, exactly, she is running. There were, in addition, plenty of warning signs, like the Obama campaign's success in fundraising.

Moreover, the Obama campaign arguably had more reason than the Clinton campaign to focus on the earliest contests and slight the later ones. Obama, after all, was coming from behind. He had to win some of the early contests. If he had lost every state through Super Tuesday, it would have been all over for him. He therefore had a pretty strong reason to put everything he had into those states, and hope that whatever momentum he got would carry him through in places like Maine and Nebraska. Clinton, by contrast, only had to anticipate that Obama might win enough states to keep going to know that she had to focus on the post-Super Tuesday states. She has a lot less excuse for making this misjudgment than Obama did. But she made it, and he did not. That tells me something.

I also found this account fascinating:

"Initially, Clinton's former White House chief of staff, Maggie Williams, was brought in to run the campaign even though Solis Doyle was still there. The result was confusion and awkwardness for the staff, who weren't sure who was really in charge.

But even more problematic was the campaign's money crunch. Over the last seven years, Clinton had raised $175 million for her reelection and her presidential campaign. But Solis Doyle didn't tell Clinton that there was next to no cash on hand until after the New Hampshire primary.

"We were lying about money," a source said. "The cash on hand was nothing."

In turn, Clinton didn't tell Solis Doyle that she was lending her own money to keep the campaign afloat. Solis Doyle found out third-hand. And when she asked Clinton about it, the senator told her she couldn't understand how the campaign had gotten to such a point."

Did they actually burn through all that money? Without creating strong organizations in post-Super Tuesday states? And did they lie about it? How, and when? I'd love to see some more reporting on this.

I'm also struck by how dysfunctional the Clinton campaign sounds. When a campaign organization is set up well, a campaign manager does not discover that the candidate is making multi-million dollar loans to the campaign third hand, nor does that campaign manager fail to tell the candidate that they have serious money problems. You certainly don't have staffers not being sure who's in charge. And you probably don't have what sounds like a whole lot of people on the inside talking off the record about the various strains and divisions that led up to the firing either.

All very interesting. Stay tuned.

Posted by: susan | Feb 12 2008 3:33 utc | 20

Nice post Susan, good to see you at the bar.

Do you have an opinion on Obama's potential governance vis-a-vis Clinton? I have a pretty good idea she won't have much to offer on the anti-war, anti-poverty, anti-globalization front, but what do we have to expect from him?

Not to mention that any new president inherits an economy that is in bad shape and needs fixing, not to mention a big war, a small war, and Pakistan.

Inquiring minds would like to know ...

Posted by: jonku | Feb 12 2008 3:50 utc | 21

Okay,,,I'll ask another stupid question.

If only one party had a nominee on *election day* could the election still be held or could it be postponed? And if the peeps got all huffy about it, could martial law be declared?

Posted by: pb | Feb 12 2008 4:14 utc | 22

You can't go through this 2008 election believing that all contenders stand evenly as demons. You'll lose your fucking mind if you believe that. Yes, we're floating on a sea of corruption. If McCain becomes president, and the vicious republican inside-wiring gets hooked up for four more years, we will simply get it in the neck. Just inflate the police State and gird your loins for war across the globe.

It's my belief that the last seven years have resulted in psychological casualties among our own ranks. The assault against conscience takes a toll over time; and anxiety, if never relieved, can undermine our thought processes. There are times when I feel awash in a flood of doomsday prognostications. And I wonder if I have gone mad.

Sure, there may be deals cut at the convention. Deals are always cut. Maybe Edwards wants to be cut in as VP. Maybe he still has a chance to steer the process. Most of the people who arrive as delegates at the Democratic convention are from a humble class--more humble at least--compared to GOP delegates. It might be good if neither Clinton or Obama turns up with enough votes to prevail. If you look to Conventions over time, one solution has been to break the deadlock on the floor. This is called an open convention; and the poor shmucks who have tilled the vineyard in the precincts actually get to have an input.

I'm a little worried (to say the least) about the bitterness and bile that has evidenced itself between the Obama and Clinton camps. If embittered, deadlocked camps meet at a convention, it is possible for a third candidate to emerge--one who will truly heal the political rift and unite the party.

Posted by: Copeland | Feb 12 2008 4:48 utc | 23

"Do you have an opinion on Obama's potential governance vis-a-vis Clinton?"

Personally, I don't know; however, this article may offer some insight. (It was published in Business Week).

Obama vs. Clinton: Leadership Styles

His approach of visionary leadership is appealing but risky. Her health-care reform managerialism already has been proven ineffective
by James O'Toole

The virtual dead heat in the Super Tuesday Democratic primary is being attributed by the punditocracy to the absence of any significant policy differences separating candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The two nonetheless have drawn clear distinctions between the ways in which they each propose to govern the nation, and those differences sound a lot like a rehashing of past debates about opposing styles of corporate leadership.

Senator Clinton (D-N.Y.) argues that the role of the President is not only to provide visionary leadership outward from the Oval Office to the nation and the world but also to control and direct the federal bureaucracy downward to ensure that policies are carried out faithfully and effectively.

In sharp contrast, Senator Obama (D-Ill.) declares he will do the chief executive's job by focusing completely on providing leadership vision, judgment, and inspiration. As for controlling the agencies that would report to him, he says he will delegate that responsibility. He pledges to stay above the managerial fray and, instead, hold agency heads fully accountable for the performance of the bureaucracies in their charge.

On one level, these visions seem to reflect a Carteresque tendency to micromanage (Clinton) and a Reaganesque organizational nonchalance (Obama). But each candidate is actually putting forth a well-reasoned philosophy of leadership, and their distinct approaches have implications for their respective abilities to deliver on the changes the majority of the nation seems to desire. From the vantage point of a business school professor, what is particularly striking is that the two candidates clearly articulate competing theories of leadership that have been the focus of much scholarly research over the last several decades; what I'll refer to as the "managerial" and "transformational" approaches.

Textbook Exercise
As Clinton reminds us, she has actual experience in the practice of the former. As head of the health-care reform initiative during her husband's first Administration, she conducted a near-textbook exercise in managerialism. She closeted for months in the White House with an impressive team of technocrats who thoroughly reviewed all the relevant data about the U.S. health-care system, analyzing various and opposing views about what should be done to improve its performance, and bringing forth a highly detailed national health-care plan. In assembling that complex plan, the technocrats included ideas from numerous, conflicting ideological and professional camps, assuming what they each would need to have in the plan in order to support it.

But instead of building a consensus for change, this exercise actually created deep dissatisfaction among all the relevant constituencies needed to enact the proposed legislation. By deciding what these players required without involving them in the process, the technocrats built resistance to the very changes they proposed. The result: gridlock and, subsequently, a dozen years of a worsening health-care crisis.

It is noteworthy that while claiming the mantle of experience, Clinton has not spelled out what lessons she learned from this lost opportunity. Based on the detailed policy positions the wonks on her campaign staff have put forward on every conceivable national issue, it would appear that she is still of the managerialist persuasion.

That's not surprising. After all, managerialism was, until relatively recently, the dominant school of thought in the corporate world as well. Influenced heavily by the quantitative techniques developed by Robert McNamara's Whiz Kids at the Pentagon and Ford Motor (F), it was promulgated at the nation's leading B-schools and, in the 1970s and '80s, led not only to the wide-scale practice of management science in business organizations but also to the creation of large, centralized planning staffs and the top-down leadership methods known collectively as "change management."

Micromanagement Misfires
As attractive as it once may have seemed to put the best and brightest technocrats in the corporate driver's seat, managerialist approaches seldom worked well in practice. In particular, top-down efforts to micromanage corporate change have proved almost totally ineffective. An impressive body of research and well-documented case studies of large corporations reveal few instances in which a CEO successfully transformed an organization by preparing detailed blueprints for change and then directing the implementation of those plans downward through the ranks.

Instead, when successful transformations have occurred, it has almost always been the result of leaders who offer inspiring visions and values, identify clear goals, and then provide the context and opportunity for those below them to participate in the design and implementation of the actual business of change. That's why, in general, leaders of large corporations have moved away from top-down "planned change," and, instead, adopted a values-based, decentralized approach to organizational transformation.

And that brings us to the kind of President that candidate Obama proposes to be. As a student of U.S. Constitutional history, the senator's philosophy seems to have been influenced by some of the few words the founders ever wrote with specific regard to leadership. Significantly, they confined their remarks to the task of visionary leadership and were silent on the issue of management.

In The Federalist, James Madison wrote that the nation's leaders need to listen intently to the expressed desires of the public, but should not be prisoners to the public's literal demands. Instead, leaders in a democracy should "discern the true interests" and common needs of the people and then "refine the public view" in a way that transcends the surface noise of pettiness, contradiction, and self-interest.

Common Values
To appreciate what that means in practice, it is worth reading Theodore Roosevelt's 1910 "New Nationalism" speech. Delivered in a Kansas cornfield, T.R. addressed the specific and legitimate interests and needs of industrialists, farmers, financiers, laborers, small business owners, and conservationists, showing equal respect for each of their competing values and claims.

But he didn't stop there. Roosevelt then elevated the discussion by offering a transcendent vision of a good society that encompassed those conflicting values in a way that each group alone was unable to articulate from their narrower perspectives. He thus showed the nation the way forward by identifying the overarching values the disparate, warring special interests had in common, creating a compelling vision of a better future than one that could be achieved by continuing conflict.

What Roosevelt did not do is spell out the particulars of how that would be done. Instead, he outlined the basic conditions under which it could be done. He realized the key to implementation was the involvement and participation of all the relevant constituencies. This values-based approach to leadership is particularly appropriate when followers are deeply divided by ideology, religion, and ethnic backgrounds, as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Vaclav Havel each demonstrated in complex situations during troubled times in their respective homelands. Corporate leaders have also discovered that this approach is the most effective way to lead complex organizations in turbulent environments.

What kind of national leadership does the U.S. need in the next four years? That is what voters must ultimately decide in the remaining primaries and in the final test in November. On the one hand, Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that she has experience using the managerialist approach. On the other, it is uncertain whether Barack Obama is capable of transformational leadership because it is not something that can be practiced in a deliberative body like the Senate. And all history tells us is that occupants of the Oval Office either rise to the challenge or they don't. It is never known in advance if an untested President will turn out to be a Roosevelt or a Harding.

Hence, betting on a candidate's ability to provide transformational leadership entails an element of risk. Yet, judging from what we've seen in both the national and corporate arenas, there's a relatively high degree of certainty that managerialist leadership is unlikely to achieve the deep changes for which the nation's voters are calling.

James O'Toole is Distinguished Professor at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver, and author of Leading Change and The Executive's Compass. He was formerly executive director of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California, and executive vice-president of the Aspen Institute.

Posted by: susan | Feb 12 2008 5:01 utc | 24

You would go mad trying to understand the US political system, created solely to
prevent, at all costs, demos kratos. As Copeland pointed out, a deal is always cut.

M2c, Clinton was a foregone conclusion. She was gonna
Clinton is the union bosses. Clinton is the aldermen. Clinton is the cosa nostra.
I can remember a time when your choices were grease their palms, or go wash cars.
Yes, the Democrats reward a few "workers" at the disadvantage of the many bosses.
It's still power politics. It's still retrograde. In today's world, it's suicide.

So Gingrich, as former Repug Speaker, came up with the brilliant strategy of saying
(when he claimed he was running, but really was just pimping his book) that the two
Democrats he'd most fear running against were Clinton, since she will, and Obama.
This, the "Brer Rabbit" strategy, from a Georgian folktale, how Brer Fox, trickster
in Cherokee legend (Newt), taunted Brer Rabbit (Hillary) into fighting the tar baby
(Obama), to which Brer Rabbit became helplessly stuck (those shameful debates).

Of course, the story has a happy ending. Brer Rabbit plays a trick of her own and
gets free, making nice to everyone, shedding crocodile tears, HRC's whole schtick.
Briefly it appeared to work, she was way out ahead, and hard-wired in, especially
after Kerry, then Kennedy, gave Obama the East Coast Liberal swift kiss of death.

It was always supposed to be Clinton versus McCain, that's clear beyond certainty.
Clinton because she's gonna run anyway, and because she could be easily defeated.
No other human on the planet, outside of OBL running naked down Pennsylvania Ave,
could mobilize the entire Republican white male southern Pentacostal voter base.

Neo-Zi's WANT Clinton to run! It completes the democracy cosmology. And if Obama
pushes her aside, though that's far from certain with chicanery in the electoral
college, Obama will serve the same antiwar purpose Eugene McCarthy did in 1968.

All the disgruntled and dysfunctional voters hanging on Obama's coattails would
get their little boost of freude, 'viva la MLKJr' and all that, 'end the war now',
'hell no, we won't go', then at the polls in November, after the landslide loss
to McCain and the southern GOB's, Democrat voters would get their schadenfreude
letdown, because of all things, America is, and was founded upon, guilt and shame.
Guilt that you backed the wrong champion, and shame you were played for a sucker.

Don't believe me? What happened to the $10T Wall Street stole from US in dot.con?
Where are all those SEC and IRS investigation Y2K electronic backup archives now?
Nobody has gone to jail, no broker, no banker, except the most egregious corporate
perps. Everyone who lost their life savings is buying up gold now, sheepish, and
shamed, lining up to get clipped again, if real economists are right. Aww shucks.
BushCo steals $179B for "undisclosed purposes", then lends US $168B from our SSTF.
Our own money, lent back to us. Guilt...and shame. Bad dog! Bad!! Aww shucks, dad.

It's a survival trick, 'aww shucks', old Tennessee 'fool me once, fool me twice't,
but this time, the Neo-Zi's are using it against US. Clinton because she will, and
Obama, because he cannot. The Republicans say McCain doesn't represent their base,
but when Politburo elevates him in Minneapolis, party faithful will fall in line.
As Obama, or Hillary, stands on that platform, brother, the South shall rise again!
That Great White Father, casting down the Aboriginal and (unclean) Woman triptych.

January we'll all feel a little bit sheepish, our hero looking like a bad date after
a blowout drunken debauche, and we'll all howl mute, watching the Neo-Zi Wehrmacht
march in swastika pinwheels down Pennsylvania Ave, as McCain announces war on Iran.
After that, it won't matter what in the Hell anybody thinks. We'll have achieved It.
It-ness. Cowboys v. Indians. The...Golum...Run...Amok.

Posted by: Swift Creek | Feb 12 2008 7:22 utc | 25

jj@13 and jj@18 on race-traitors

so good he told it twice.

not to forget Obama wears his pant backwards.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Feb 12 2008 8:07 utc | 26

Thanks Susan.

Posted by: beq | Feb 12 2008 12:09 utc | 27

Democrat voters?

You lost me at this point, Swift Creek.

Posted by: susan | Feb 12 2008 16:02 utc | 28

I'll be interested to see if Obama can stay ahead of expectations and drop the vague change talk, and substitute some more substantive ideas. That would impress me - someone who can change the message before it gets tired. I did notice he stopped saying "Look.." before every statement, right about the time it became tiresome. Clinton, otoh, keeps saying "ya know.." before every statement. No, I don't know.

Posted by: ducoriletter | Feb 13 2008 2:39 utc | 29

Horserace or dog and pony show? I always thought races were supposed to go somewhere.

What's the problem with the GOP?

"When a political party abandons its ideals in the pursuit of bald-faced opportunism, it not only loses its soul, but loses its voters, too."

Oh, okay. So that's clear. They're self-serving, opportunistic, corporate whores.

So what's the problem with the DNC?

"If you're looking for a good way to anger voters, here's the best. Have them send you to Congress to address a host of their urgent concerns. Let them invest their full faith in you to rescue them from all the effects of a country gone completely off the rails. Let them believe and let them hope. Then do nothing."

Oh, okay. So that's clear. They're self-serving, opportunistic, corporate whore enablers.

Seriously, are you absolutely married to this duocracy thing or can we finally, seriously, start discussing third parties and genuine alternatives now? 'Cos I don't see this getting any better by supporting one tentacle of the same beast.

Call me jaded, but I don't get excited anymore by hearing smart-sounding, optimistic stump speeches or find glimmers of hope in the possibility that one monster might lean a little more to the human side than another. Let's stop analyzing what they have said and look at what they have done. Is that reasonable?

Senator Barack Obama's voting record by issue

Senator Hillary Rodham CLinton's voting record by issue

Posted by: Monolycus | Feb 13 2008 4:07 utc | 30

"self-serving, opportunistic, corporate whores"

You mean like most citizens?

"Call me jaded, but I don't get excited anymore by hearing smart-sounding, optimistic stump speeches"

If you're not jaded, you're not paying attention.

I'm going to share a little story. I was raised libertarian. Home from college, I attended a family christmas party, hosted by my aunt. My family was, to my mind, quite disfunctional, in that we really didn't spend much time together. That is, some relatives, like this aunt, I rarely saw. I guess my parents were sort of anti-social. The result being I was only vaguely aware that she was an elected official of some sort, like a town supervisor or something. To this day I don't really know. Anyway, for whatever reason in the middle of a conversation, I maintained that all politicians were crooks. Now, as a middle aged man, I can see how offensive that was. Although I am more careful what I say, I still think it's true (see your links). So I enjoy watching Hillary lose, and I do have some hope for Obama, based on two things. 1. I watched a talk on Youtube where he attended a Google hosted lecture last year, and he seemed quite intelligent, and able to speak easily with Eric Schmidt etc.. 2. It can't hurt our image in the world having someone who can say peace with a straight face, multicultural and all that.

So I'm not sure if you were responding to me Mono, but I guarantee I'm *more* jaded than you. :)

Posted by: ducoriletter | Feb 14 2008 4:28 utc | 31

No, no, ducoriletter, I wasn't responding to you specifically. And I have done my share of offending people on these here very boards with my pessimistic appraisals. I censor myself plenty these days, but I doubt many folk will believe that.

We'll be jaded together.

Posted by: Monolycus | Feb 14 2008 6:17 utc | 32

Fuck censoring yourself Monolycus, say it loud and proud. I got your back ;o)

And if some people can't handle the diopsifusion, then it's an effect of each person's true bipolar

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 14 2008 7:27 utc | 33

Besides, no one here is as existentialistically jaded or as existentialistically depressed as myself, I quite sure...

Of course whether one is jaded or depressed depends on how one sees through the parallax view !#+#!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 14 2008 7:35 utc | 34


Get some sleep, we need you in the long run.

jonku takes own advice, zzzzz

Posted by: jonku | Feb 14 2008 8:50 utc | 35

I don't understand why people are even debating the Obama Clinton thing especially on the thin ice of race, since HRC spent a good deal of effort trying to paint her opponent into a Jessie Jackson type candidate for african americans only. The stereotyping was led by Cigar Bill of course and the only thing it appeared to achieve was to swing away black voters disenchanted by the spectacle of the "first black prez" showing his true colors. The bullshit flowed from both sides which is to be expected.

We know this, just as any thinker knows that a person capable of winning the nomination from either party, dem or rethug is a guaranteed enemy of ordinary humans inside and outside amerika who is going to continue the policies of amerikan imperialism plugged-in, that GWB introduced.

There is only one tiny chink of light showing anywhere in this. It seems likely that as Susan articulated so well earlier, the Clinton dynasty has screwed the pooch badly.
The dynasty is going to have to fight dirty (well dirtier), to secure their 'rightful gig'. Even the dynasty's number one supporter, the NYT conceeds that here:

With every delegate precious, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers also made it clear that they were prepared to take a number of potentially incendiary steps to build up Mrs. Clinton’s count. Top among these, her aides said, is pressing for Democrats to seat the disputed delegations from Florida and Michigan, who held their primaries in January in defiance of Democratic Party rules.

Of course the ClintonPlc syndicate will be up to much sleazier stunts than that little piece of duplicity. The Clintons are so determined to secure 'their' place in the White House that are blind the fact that most of Obama's support comes from people who probably won't just sigh and mutter "politics as usual" before pulling the handle for Hilary, the way that most of her supporters would if that happened to their candidate.

ClintonPlc have shown the depth of their ignorance and hubris admirably so far, particularly in the way they conducted the primary. They are quite capable of a blatant super delegate buy-off redolent with pork barrels, blackmail and bribery right at the convention. That winning in this way could back-fire badly especially in the long term won't occur to them. Future-schmuture. Remember Hillary was a dedicated rethug until Cigar Bill recognised her potential as a number cruncher and hard-headed win-at-all-costs organizer and persuaded her she could find even more fame and fortune in the dem party.

If a convention floor shonky happens, it could spell doom for that favourite plaything of the elites, the democrat party.

Best case for ClintonPlc worst case for humanity is that the Obaminites will go home after swearing off participatory politics for life.

There are a number of other alternatives not least of which would be a big chunk of the democrat support base actively fighting against the outcome and splitting from the party.

Many african-amerikans including many of those who loathe Obama and his policies would see a super delegate slink off as the ultimate betrayal after decades of african american support for the party.

An event such as this could provide the momentum for something which dems have always consoled themselves with as being an impossibility. Consoling themselves as they cynically encourage corrupt afrikan american pols ahead of the legions of capable and honest ones, while they cynically destroy New Orleans as a home for african amerikans of all income levels, while they allow policies which aid thefts of assets and cynically remove any hope of african amerikans of owning a home.

That so-called impossibility is a complete breakaway and the formation of a new party dedicated to aiding the interests of all unwhite amerikans.

I realise that many readers have been gulled into believing the mainstream analysis which holds that this would be impossible to succeed at, but success is not an impossibility. The last straw will break the camel's back eventually.

But more than that could happen to the dems. The legions of young bourgois voters will be turned off too many of them for good and they may choose to look elsewhere in future.

This is dangerous stuff for the dems because the only really firm demographic HRC has is amongst older dem voters and of course they are a dying breed.

Now the death of the dems, isn't an instant fix, but it would be a start to turning around the mess that is amerikan politics and governance.

The rethugs need the dems as much as the dems need the dems. Remember the farce is kept running by both sides agreeing to concentrate on the issues where tiny details separate them, and then blow that up into a major stoush. The emasculation of the pseudo-left party would mean there was no longer a system to agree on the issues up for debate.

People may start debating empire, war, or, heaven forfend, the cult of ownership. Why do property rights transcend all other rights? Maybe the emphasis could shift a bit. . . ?

There can be no change in Amerika until the dem rethug farce is deemed irrelevant. Wouldn't it be ironic if the ultimate political whores - HRC and Cigar Bill - were the catalysts for that to occur?

Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 14 2008 9:17 utc | 36

Good one Debs. I've been thinking/hoping that this is no ordinary election. Not young, not black, not terribly white, or pink even but I'd sign up for that party.

Posted by: beq | Feb 14 2008 17:55 utc | 37

Clinton's public bid to shmooze the super-delegates is particularly odeious, given the current atmosphere of USSA politburo Democrat/Republican collusion on torture and FISA. She can't win by popular majority, so she turns to the inside traders to buy the nomination, and then she brags about it. That ought'a go over like a lead balloon, and drive those not yet convinced of her business as usual credentials right into the arms of Presto-Changeo Man. Yet another example of the veil of democracy slipping enough to reveal the salivating nameless power lust lurking beneath.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 14 2008 19:53 utc | 38

Great post Debs, front page material.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Feb 14 2008 20:16 utc | 39

for all intents & purposes the processus of the american elections is really just a more modern form of the ancient death cults

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 15 2008 1:28 utc | 40

Yes, R'Giap, Presidential Elections are nown a game of Choose Your Executioner.

Posted by: jj | Feb 15 2008 20:08 utc | 41



Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 16 2008 9:36 utc | 42

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