Friday, February 01, 2008

Election News

MoveOn today endorsed Obama, after the organization's membership overwhelmingly chose him over Clinton:

In a resounding vote today, Political Action's members nationwide voted to endorse Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for President. The group, with 3.2 million members nationwide and over 1.7 million members in Super Tuesday states, will immediately begin to mobilize on behalf of Senator Obama. The vote favored Senator Obama to Senator Clinton by 70.4% to 29.6%.

Senator Obama accepted the endorsement stating:

"In just a few years, the members of MoveOn have once again demonstrated that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up. From their principled opposition to the Iraq war - a war I also opposed from the start - to their strong support for a number of progressive causes, MoveOn shows what Americans can achieve when we come together in a grassroots movement for change. I thank them for their support and look forward to working with their members in the weeks and months ahead."

The Nation quotes Eli Pariser, MoveOn's executive director:
"We've learned that the key to achieving change in Washington without compromising core values is having a galvanized electorate to back you up ... and Barack Obama has our members 'fired up and ready to go' on that front."

It makes sense that he would. Obama began his career as a community organizer.

Howie Klein was part of the 70.4%. I think he makes the essential point about Clinton with this comment: "As good a candidate [as] Hillary is, she still is very much a part of the Clinton Establishment which directly gave us the Bush Regime." Exactly.

Kyle Moore has mixed feelings about the MoveOn endorsement:
Like so many spoils up for grabs in the course of an election, this is a mixed bag. Against Obama is the fact that MoveOn doesn’t have the best image in the political world and especially during a general election will definitely be used against him to paint him as a “liberal”.

Yes, and there's something else to be said about that, too: Obama IS a liberal. That's not the kiss of death -- Michael Goldfarb certainty that it is, notwithstanding.

In fact, Steve Benen has noticed something interesting:
I’ve been thinking about some of the recent endorsements Obama has picked up.

From the more conservative side of the party:

* Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
* Former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian

From the more centrist side of the party:

* Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
* Gov. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
* Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.)

And from the more liberal side of the party:

* Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)
* Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)
* Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)

Put it this way: do members and Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska agree on much?

Ultimately, this may or may not amount to much. As I’ve said before, there’s little evidence that endorsements actually translate to votes. For that matter, Hillary Clinton has plenty of high-profile supporters of her own. Indeed, Maxine Waters’ backing helps show at least some support for Clinton from the liberal wing of the party.

But I heard a pitch from an Obama supporter a while back that stuck with me: He unites the left and divides the right, while Clinton divides the left and unites the right.

In light of the MoveOn endorsement, we can probably expect to hear this line quite a bit more. After all, I never quite expected to see a candidate successfully outflank Clinton from the left and the right.

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