Mopping Up: The night belongs to Hillary Clinton.
It looks like Clinton pulled off a
10 point9 point lead, which is better than people expected these past few days, but not nearly as much as she was supposed to win by a few weeks ago. What this appears to mean is: no change. The groundhog has seen its shadow; at least another two weeks of Democratic infighting.
She did look very good in her victory speech: gracious and confident. And poor. She's obviously bleeding cash after fighting to keep up with Bitter O'Moneypants.
Speaking of which, I've never been so bored by transcendent hope. For a guy who's fantastic at delivering speeches, Barack Obama needs to work on his speechifying.
Oh, and Pat Buchanan is a brain dead idiot.
Read the complete liveblog after the jump.
11:43 - 94% reporting. No change.
11:28 - 90% reporting. 55% to 45%, Clinton.
11: 17 - Laura Ingraham over at Fox…
"Greta, first of all, I thought it was the Texas primary tonight. Is it really the Penn- (laughs) All I can say is, 'Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow'."
11:12 - 86% reporting. 55% to 45%, Clinton.
11:11 - While things are winding down around here and out there, here's a bizarre attempt to, "fuse the entire Beatles library of music into the political landscape before the 2088 election," whatever that means — courtesy of one of our commentors.
11:05 - As LK points out, it looks like Abercrombie & Fitch bought advertising space on the chests of the guys sitting behind Obama.
11:01 - From the comments…
"Maybe it was just CNN's cameras, but the cut-out letters in Obama's crowd just read "INDIA" for a really long time… right when Obama was talking about American jobs." (LK)
10:57 - Oh, the hope-manity!
However, on another more interesting channel, in a convenient piece of allegory, with 66% reporting in, the New York Yankees are maintaining a 6-3 advantage over the Chicago White Sox.
However, the bottoms of the 7th, 8th and 9th innings, typically Chicago strongholds, have yet to release any results.
10:53 - Zzzzzzzzzzzz… Hope. Zzzzzzzzzzzz…
10:50 - He said "tit." Heh.
10:49 - The crowd started booing when he congratulated Clinton. He had to shut them up before they made him look like an asshole.
10:47 - "I wanna thank John Mellencamp"?
10:44 - Here comes the loser!
10:37 - Nice gloves.
10:36 - From the comments:
"Confetti? Isn't it Earth Day?" (Joe)
10:32 - Just ended her speech. Not a whole lot of interest to talk about.
But she sounded good and positive, and she didn't knock Obama down too much. Came off sounding strong, if not financially stable.
10:29 - She said "Nutter." Heh.
10:23 - She's using her victory speech to ask people for money. "I hope you'll go to HillaryClinton.com and show your support."
It might be working. Sure is hard to load the page.
According to HuffPo, she's raised $500,000 tonight.
10:17 - "It's a long road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and it runs right through the heart of Pennsylvania."
10:16 - Tom Petty, "I Won't Back Down."
10:15 - Here she comes!
10:07 - No… fucking… way!
Hannity and Colmes over on Fox have Rick Santorum and Ari Fleischer!
Oh, I almost want to subject myself to Sean Hannity to see what they have to say.
10:00 - Via Matt Yglesias…
My read of the pre-results spinning is that both sides seem to be anticipating a Clinton win in the high one digits. If true, that'll mean a continuation of the status quo — Clinton hopelessly behind, and yet no particular reason (except the good of the party) for her not to stay in the race and hope Obama dies in a freak accident or something.
I think this is a bit reductive and definitely unfair to the Clinton campaign. The longer Clinton stays in the race, the longer McCain stays on vacation. And as any pundit worth his salt will tell you, a tan John McCain will be much easier to beat than a pale John McCain in November.
9:58 - From the comments…
"Did Pat Buchanan just called Rachel Maddow a Marxist?"
Actually, yes. I saw that too. I believe he said something like, "Stop your Marxist dialect," whatever that means.
9:53 - 45% reporting. 54% to 46%, Clinton.
9:45 - A few years ago, the Free State Project, a Libertarian group, kicked off a campaign to have all of its members move to New Hampshire in order to turn the state into a model of sober, (hehe) Libertarian (hehehehehe) governance (laugh redacted).
Clearly, as with all plans made by Libertarians, it didn't work. The train derailed, and they went missing, only to turn up, apparently, in Armstrong County, PA, where Ron Paul is currently leading with a whopping 71% of the vote.
Let this be a lesson to all of us, then. If moving to a backwoods county in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania in order to have approximately zero impact on a national election campaign isn't worth it, then our names might as well be Ayn Rand III.
(That last joke courtesy of the jokemeisters at the National Libertarian Party — where wholesale deregulation of jokes is our mission!)
From an earlier post today… "Because there are such profound regional differences in the way that Pennsylvania polls, the results will be almost entirely a function of where the numbers are coming in from. "Odds are that rural areas will report their results before the cities, which means that the early numbers should favor Clinton (this may actually be a nontrivial advantage to her in terms of media narrative; the race could very easily be called for her when the ticker shows Clinton ahead by 14, but things could close to within 8 points once all votes were counted)."
Apparently, this is totally wrong. The cities reported faster than rural areas this time.
So, it's likely that Clinton's lead will widen, not shrink.
9:37 - I'm beginning to think that Pat Buchanan is either one of the stupidest or most disingenuous people on television.
You can make all the arguments you like for why Hillary Clinton is a better candidate for president, but it's idiot logic to say that because Obama can't beat Clinton in Pennsylvania (when everybody knew he wasn't going to win) he's likely to lose his superdelegates.
Does he read newspapers? Is he not aware of the differences in each of their demographics or how many huge endorsements she has in PA? Is he saying that if Obama can't beat Clinton in every single state, it amounts to an overall loss for him?
Or is he just lying to be on TV?
9:30 - 18% reporting. 54% to 46%, Clinton.
9:25 - Chris Wallace reports that Karl Rove is happy because the Secretary of State's website is working again.
Good for him.
9:20 - On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are in a tight race for second place. One of our only two commentors provides a bit of trenchant analysis:
I wonder if Ron Paul will perhaps have a big night in Pennsylvania. My theory is that there will low turnout for the Republicans because no one cares about them anymore, but all the fanatic Ron Paul supporters will still come out to vote for him and he'd get maybe fifteen or twenty percent or something like that.
Or perhaps I'm sinking deeper into insanity. Yeah, that's probably it.
Well, you and the 6,000+ poor souls who came out to vote for their meaningless candidate on the night of a meaningless primary, that's it.
9:17 - Watching MSNBC, and even I'm shocked at how stupid these talking heads make themselves look in front of the world. I don't know if they're assigned roles or something, but they all sound like my drunk uncles fighting over Thanksgiving dinner.
Alright, I am a person who is paid to write about politics. But I'm not paid to be smart about it. I'm paid to be not particularly funny about it. Can it really be that I understand politics better than Pat Buchanan, Joe Scarborough and Harold Ford?
9:13 - Terry McAuliffe — chairman of the Clinton campaign — was just on MSNBC celebrating Hillary's victory. He said that Senator Clinton should be out in about a half-hour.
9:03 - Fox News' Major Garrett reports that the Clinton campaign still doesn't know they've won. Because they're watching a different network.
Yeah, she's probably watching one of the news networks.
8:55 - My cat just changed the channel to NY1. I think this is boring her. She's a Libertarian.
8:53 - CNN probably calls it for Clinton too. But we aren't watching CNN. We're just assuming.
They probably called it at -3%.
8:51 - Chris Matthews thinks Tom Brokaw's name is "Tim."
8:49 – One percent of the vote in. 60% to 40% in favor of Clinton.
And MSNBC calls it for Clinton.
Wow! They were surprisingly conservative.
8:46 – Fox News' Major Garrett reports that Clinton campaign is unaware that Fox News has called the race for Clinton.
8:45 - Fox News calls it for Hillary Clinton!
8:41 - With zero of precincts reporting in, Fox News confirms that Elizabeth Hurley does not enjoy bikini modeling.
For evidence that she nonetheless has been doing this, they have painstakingly researched and prepared a photo essay that explicates this theory.
8:39 - Zero percent reporting.
What is 67% of zero?
8:36 - Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann on MSNBC just spent seven minutes describing the difference between "too close to call" and "too early to call."
The upshot? Hillary is officially leading according to the numbers.
8:32 – On Fox News, consultant Karl Rove is getting all persnickety because the Pennsylvania Secretary of State website is down, so he can't get any news.
If only there were a major news gathering organization he had access to…
8:28 - According to CNN.com, if Hillary wins, it will be lunch bucket Democrats who carry her to victory.
An Obama victory, on the other hand, would require a last minute push from Pennsylvania's lunch solid gold tureen Democrats.
The state's lunch delicious sourdough bowl Democrats remain a crucial swing block.
8:24 – Also according those exit polls, brand new Democrats who haven't been beaten down by the realities of life favor Obama, and voters who couldn't decide which socks to wear to the polls until the last minute favor Clinton.
8:21 - According to exit polls, nearly 2/3 of Pennsylvania Democrats think Hillary Clinton has been unfairly attacking Barack Obama. Which should cost her. Being mean never got anyone anywhere in politics.
8:19 - Richard Nixon's daughter is endorsing Obama, for whatever that's worth.
8:10 - What I've learned from CNN.com's live election coverage so far:
1. Pennsylvania voters voted today.
2. Some Pennsylvania voters voted for Hillary Clinton. Others voted for Barack Obama.
3. CNN employs and pays the salaries of an entire news team in order to make Wolf Blitzer look like a credible journalist.
8:06 - According to Fox, no news is breaking news:
8:02 - Well, the polls are closed. And with no polling stations reporting, we're gonna go ahead and call Pennsylvania for Hillary Clinton.
7:58 - "The Democratic Party will depend very much on the deportment of these two candidates and what they do with each other and to each other at the convention in Denver." -Tom Brokaw on MSNBC.
Oh, could we even hope for such an exciting convention?
7:52 - According to HuffPo, the untrustworthy and useless exit polls show Clinton beating Obama by a mere four fictional points…
The first round of the (notoriously unreliable) Pennsylvania exit polls show Hillary Clinton leading Barack Obama by 52-48. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is expecting an enormous 52 percent turnout tonight, compared to 26 percent in 2004.
Once again, exit polls are splitting on gender lines:
Women: Clinton 55; Obama 44
Men: Clinton 47; Obama 53
This would all be very exciting if it was any reflection on reality whatsoever.
7:30 – Watching MSNBC and Chris Matthews just said "The polls are closed in Pennsylvania, it's 8:00…" Yes, I rewound my DVR to make sure I heard that right. Well, you heard it here first: Chris Matthews can't read a clock. (Update: Watch it here.)
Tags: Barack Obama, Chris Matthews, Fox, Goin' Dutch, Hillary Clinton, Liveblog, MSNBC, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Here are some exit poll results for you to ignore…
Early exit polls suggest that 550 out of 1000 voters have polled in favor of Clinton as against 450 in Obama's favor. This would mean a major victor for the Clinton campaign in the white dominated state.
Even if exit polls actually counted as news, I don't think this information would actually count as news.
Tags: Barack Obama, Goin' Dutch, Hillary Clinton, Pennsylvania
FiveThirtyEight.com lays out some things that you should completely ignore the shit out of while following tonight's primary returns…
(1) Leaked exit polls, which have been way off this cycle, and been slanted an average of 7 points in Obama's direction. A substantial Clinton lead in the exit polls might be taken modestly more seriously than, say, something that showed Obama three points ahead, but these things aren't designed for what you think they're designed for — just ignore them.
(2) Very early returns, such as in the first hour after polls close. Because there are such profound regional differences in the way that Pennsylvania polls, the results will be almost entirely a function of where the numbers are coming in from. Odds are that rural areas will report their results before the cities, which means that the early numbers should favor Clinton (this may actually be a nontrivial advantage to her in terms of media narrative; the race could very easily be called for her when the ticker shows Clinton ahead by 14, but things could close to within 8 points once all votes were counted).
I'd like to add, if I may…
(3) Wolf Blitzer. Just because.
And don't forget that we'll be liveblogging the whole fiasco tonight, starting when the polls close at 8.
(via Daily Kos)
Tags: Barack Obama, Goin' Dutch, Hillary Clinton, Pennsylvania
As the nation slices itself thin, covers itself with Cheese Whiz, settles into its soggy roll and turns toward the Keystone State today, we can't help but think about the important role Pennsylvanians have played in the topsy-turvy world of politics. With that in mind, we present the three most notorious PA pols:
#3: James Buchanan
The only American president ever to hail from Pennsylvania, Buchanan was born in a log cabin, a fact which, when discovered two centuries later, discredited once and for all the born-in-a-log cabin theory of presidential greatness, or even competence (see Lincoln, Abraham).
Buchanan became president in 1857 and served only one term, citing "look at all those northerly pointing muskets!" as his primary motivation for not seeking re-election. For the next 240 years, Buchanan was regarded by historians of all political stripes to be America's worst-ever Commander-in-Chief. Nonetheless, a certain amount of credit must be lavished upon a president who helped (secretly) author the Dred Scott decision, regarded slavery as "happily, a matter of but little importance" and, when news of the South's secession broke, insisted the erstwhile states, "may as well just go," adding, "happy trails!"
He was dubbed a "doughface" by his political opponents because, as biographer Randolph T. Schmidt later put it, "His face was made of dough."
Major blunders: Argued for the westward expansion of slavery, temporarily destroyed the Democratic Party and facilitated the greatest period of intractable bloodshed in American history.
Major accomplishment: Declared war on Utah and won.
#2: Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum, American Conservative Magazine's "Whataguy" 2003, became Pennsylvania's junior senator in 1994 and America's most hated senator by the time of his crushing defeat in 2006. So hated, in fact, that there is a popular Facebook group devoted to viciously mocking his children for crying during his 2006 concession speech.
A poster boy for everything Al Franken whines about, Santorum tried to amend No Child Left Behind to force the teaching of intelligent design, campaigned vigorously against removing Terry Schaivo's feeding tube, and blamed Hurricane Katrina on the poor residents of New Orleans for not getting out in time while seeking to impose "tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out… There are consequences to not leaving." Though many of his critics would argue that most of the people who stayed did so because they lacked the means to get out, Santorum insisted they "probably wouldn't have gotten out anyway if they did," adding, "Those people just love wind."
Perhaps the most famous incident in Santorum's political career was his April 2003 interview with the Associated Press in which he compared homosexual sex to "man on child" and "man on dog" sex. His defenders still claim that these comments were misinterpreted, as Santorum was simply implying that all three were "very relaxing."
Major blunders: Promoted a whacked-out ultra-right wing social program in a moderate state. Lost his Senate seat in a landslide to the mildly interesting son of a former governor.
Major accomplishment: Has an anal sex byproduct named after him.
#1: R. Budd Dwyer
Pennsylvania state treasurer for most of the go-go 80s, R. Budd Dwyer is less famous for what he did in office than for what he didn't do. Which is live, after shooting himself in the mouth during a televised press conference.
After being indicted for and convicted of involvement in a tax refund contract bribery scheme in real life, and most definitely in a realistic fictional universe by Sam Waterston, Dwyer called a press conference in which he affirmed his innocence, denounced the trial judge for his "medieval sentences" and likened himself to a modern-day Job (who, according to several early drafts of the Bible, also took bribes). He then proceeded to remove a .357 Magnum revolver from an envelope while calmly instructing his audience to "please leave the room," if the image of a man committing suicide in front of them might be at all troubling. Historians have speculated that Dwyer shot himself fearing "what they do in prison to guys who inappropriately award data processing contracts to their political allies."
Thankfully for his friends and family, the final moments of Dwyer's life can still be viewed on endless loop for free on YouTube. Toward the end of the video, an audience member can clearly be heard shouting, "Budd, don't!" Unfortunately, Dwyer shot himself only moments later and history will likely never know what that man didn't want R. Budd Dwyer to do.
Major blunders: Accepted bribes, convicted of receiving $300,000 in kickbacks in a tax refund scam.
Major accomplishment: Successfully killed himself. On television.
Tags: Goin' Dutch, Pennsylvania
As practically everybody understands by this point, neither PA frontrunner Hillary Clinton nor national frontrunner Barack Obama is going to collect enough pledged delegates to reach the magic 2025 number needed to secure the nomination.
So, when you really think about it, why the fuck does anybody really give a shit about tonight's primary? If Obama wins Pennsylvania (which is not going to happen), it still doesn't make it any more likely that he'll reach 2025. And even if Hillary wins by a huge margin (we're talking 25%) that'll just be a blip on closing Obama's lead. Why is everybody treating it like it's the moon landing?
Well, for one thing, media people get paid for reporting on media-type events. And I think they get a bonus for making people stupider.
And, for another thing, the candidates aren't really fighting for pledged delegates at this point. They're trying to make the superdelegates believe that they have the momentum on their respective side.
About 300 of the superdelegates are still uncommitted, including [superdelegate former Colorado Gov. Roy] Romer, and many of them will pore over the finer details of today's results to gauge how each candidate might fare in the fall and, as a result, which one deserves the nomination.
"I keep absorbing information," Romer said.
Because, if there's one thing we haven't gotten these past four months, it's information. These superdelegates are just starving for information. Somebody, please, write a story about the election! Just a quick profile or something so we can have some idea, any idea of who these mysterious candidates are and whether or not they've ever made friends with an America hater.
So, what kind of information are these superdelegates looking for?
The spread: Clinton needs to win by at least 10 percentage points — the margin she posted over Obama in Ohio's March 4 primary — to show that she has not lost her touch in the industrial Rust Belt, several uncommitted superdelegates said.
The demographics: A loss by a narrow margin would help Obama argue that he had overcome the two biggest setbacks of his candidacy: the controversies over his pastor's racially explosive sermons and his own remarks that economically "bitter" voters in small towns "cling" to guns, religion and anti-immigrant sentiment.
The electability question: After a grueling, six-week campaign, Pennsylvania voters have the unusual job of picking between two bruised candidates.
Let's not forget…
The more time please question: The longer the race drags on, the more likely it is that other superdelegates will weigh in and make the nomination a fait accompli, thus saving all the rest of the superdelegates the need to make a bold choice and possibly piss off their constituent voters by endorsing a loser.
Tags: Barack Obama, Goin' Dutch, Hillary Clinton, Pennsylvania