Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's finally over

As a preface and caveat, I will support Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination. My only two issues with her are 1) she voted for this war and 2) It really seems undemocratic to have a whole generation of young people who have only known a Bush or Clinton in the White House. On the other hand, the country was going in the right direction under the first Clinton Administration.

Well it’s all over here in the Keystone State and (from R&R’s perspective) the good guys lost, not that we were looking for an outright win. Senator Clinton did indeed win Pennsylvania by about 10 points. More about that later, but here’s the current delegate counts from CNN.

Instead, let’s start with the Pa.-05 Congressional District race. If you recall, we had nine Republicans and three Democrats running for the seat being vacated by John Peterson. Pa.-05 is one of the Reddest districts in the state and historically, the token resistance has been an unknown Democrat or a Libertarian. The current GOP backlash opened the door to the loyal opposition here. In reality, come this fall, the Republicans will probably take the district, but it is refreshing to know that the opposition will be mounting a challenge.

The Centre Daily Times is reporting that the Democrats nominated Clearfield County Commissioner Mark McCracken, who only spent $8,800 on his campaign. I was not particularly enamored with McCracken, but other than the foreign policy weakness his positions on the issues are generally in line with what I can support.

On the other side, the GOP nominated Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, who picked up Peterson’s endorsement a less than two weeks ago. Despite my policy differences with Peterson, he has been just fine for the district. Thompson spent about $20,000 on his campaign, which was a real value for him. By contrast, Matt Shaner spent $1.2 million (seemingly largely on television ads showing his wholesome family making pancakes while disparaging illegal immigrants); Derek Walker spent $800,000 to snag a third place victory (while also dealing with criminal charges filed less than a week before the election); and Jeff Stroehmann (another candidate who ran far to the right) dropped $300,000.

After checking Thompson’s website, he offers a reasonable compromise on immigration. He says send ‘em home, but make legal immigration easier. He is also a pro-lifer, but that is to be expected from the GOP. Most importantly, though, he is a health care professional and should be on board for reforms that will allow all Americans to afford health care.

If there is any lesson to take from this, it is that money cannot always buy a seat in congress. The winners spent less than $30,000 while the GOP numbers two to four spent a combined $2.3 million.

As for the presidential race, I did manage to make it to a bar and spent way too much money in the process. (Where’s Shaner when you can really use him?) The music was great, but the returns were another story. The first set of returns that we saw from CNN showed Clinton leading 67% to 33% (with 0% reporting, of course). As more precincts came in, the tallies started to more accurately reflect the final outcome. At around 9:20 p.m., Obama had cut the lead to 52-48. By 9:45 p.m., the numbers were 54-46 in favor of Clinton.

The Obama camp did not expect to win in Pa., but knew they could not lose a landslide. Ten points is a significant margin, but the net gain for Clinton was only about nine pledged delegates. He may very well make that up in North Carolina and Indiana in two weeks. More importantly, Obama was trailing Clinton in Pennsylvania by as much as 19 points in March and managed to cut that deficit in half. A loss is a loss, but Clinton probably needed to win Pennsylvania by a bit larger margin. A lot of the early speculation was that even a six to eight point win by Clinton would make the superdelegates wonder about her “electability” in large, industrial states.

Here’s my rant against the very idea of superdelegates, just so we are clear on R&R’s stand on that peculiar particular institution.

But when it was all said and done, it doesn’t seem like Pennsylvania settled anything at all.

As for the polls, I can report that my alma mater, Mansfield University, called Pennsylvania for Clinton by nine points, which is about as accurate as anyone lately. (I’m waiting for a link to the survey.)

Locally, I did glance at the returns and Mansfield Borough went for Obama, but I don’t have the exact numbers. Thanks to Heidi we do have a very detailed breakdown of the voting trends in Blossburg Borough and the rest of Tioga County. Overall, the county overall voted for Clinton by a margin a little over three to two.

To conclude, check out this video because “Everybody knows that the good guys lost.”

Yes, it is Concrete Blonde’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s song. Enjoy.


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