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Tell Me I'm Crazy — My Questions About Obama's Momentum

Tell Me I'm Crazy — My Questions About Obama's Momentum

Tons of you are die-hard Obama supporters, and you've been following the Democratic race for delegates uber-closely right along with us. I need all you "Go-bamians" to educate me. I'm mulling over and stuck on the following ... inconsistencies(?) about Obama's apparent momentum. Tell me these are red herrings:

  • Looking at the map of electoral wins in the 2004 election. With the exception of the northeast and its handful of electoral votes, all his victories so far are in states that are red, red, red. Is Hillary in a more comfortable lead in states that Democrats can actually take in the general election?

  • And then there's my caucus-conundrum. So of their respective wins, 10 of Obama's 18 victories, have been caucuses, while only 2 of Hillary's 13 victories were. With caucus rules being so different from primaries, and the voting done in the open with your neighbors, I'm curious why there's such a big discrepancy. Why is Hillary winning more of the primary (secret) balloting? Why do people seem more willing to support Obama in public?

I know you're dying to set me straight — and I have another question if you'll


  • Finally, a piece from David Brooks this weekend won't leave my head. In it, he interviews a retail-expert and asks how people "shop" for a candidate. The expert says this:

    "Did you hear the message of Clinton’s speech Tuesday night? It’s a rotten world out there. Regular folks are getting the shaft. They need someone who’ll fight tougher, work harder and put loyalty over independence.

    "Then did you see the Hopemeister’s speech? His schtick makes sense if you’ve got a basic level of security in your life, if you’re looking up, not down...Obama’s people are so taken with their messiah that soon they’ll be selling flowers at airports and arranging mass weddings. There’s a “Yes We Can” video floating around YouTube in which a bunch of celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and the guy from the Black Eyed Peas are singing the words to an Obama speech in escalating states of righteousness and ecstasy. If that video doesn’t creep out normal working-class voters, then nothing will."

    Is Obama the candidate for those who are already safe and secure? Those who can afford to "hope"? If that's the case, what happens when the contest moves to working-class states really pinched by the economy, Ohio and Pennsylvania? Will "hope" resonate there?"

I'm really curious, and I know a lot of you can provide me with some pretty passionate answers to these musings. Won't you?

Join The Conversation
mandy_frost mandy_frost 9 years
I'm a Hillary person. She has more experience. Though I was only ten when Bill was first elected President, I remember the t-shirts that joked she was President. Don't tell me eight years in the White House can't give experience. I agree with the NYTimes story. Barack is too hopeful. With an unwinnable war and the word recession on everyone's lips, it's not time for hope. It's time to get real and practical. We need real solutions, something Hillary has outlined while Obama has spent all his time talking pretty about hope. In terms of politics, wait until the general when Barack finally gets slammed by the media instead of getting preferential treatment. The man is WAY more liberal than Hillary. I'm all for voting for him... in eight years, but we need someone now who is experienced and has not only plans but back-up plans, someone like Hillary.
apinkpony apinkpony 9 years
I am a college students, so I'd like to just say a few things on my (our?) behalf. a) I'm not rich, but not poor. I'm decent and happy. b) I don't take "cues" from my teachers or MTV. I do listen to what they have to say, but I have my own opinion about things. c) Everyone I know is planning to vote. Most of us were too young to vote 4 years ago. We can't help that. I think (or hope) that people who were old enough will look back and realize that "hey we could have changed the world that day. we could have changed the direction of 4 whole years." live and learn, i guess!!! Anyway, I guess I may be one of those exceptions. I grew up in a capital city, and I go to a liberal arts college. We're very, political here. And there are a large number of conservatives. Back to the point, I will vote for Obama. I am not an idealist, but optimistic. He brings the most hope, for all people. Also, I must point out that I do not think Hillary would be respected very much in Muslim countries, and that does bring about problems. This doesn't really affect my opinion much, because I still have better reasons not to vote for her (she's just as corrupt as the rest of them). Ok. That's all. A small glimpse into a college students mind. I could say more, but honestly I don't have time =D
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"There is nothing wrong with changing the document, but there is something very wrong with just ignoring what the document says and that is our current state" That is such a good point, I had to post it again. ;) I agree that our Constitution's ability to change is one of the most brilliant aspects of it!
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Yes, the Constitution is amendable, but the problem is that Congress and The Supreme Court haven't been changing, they have just ignored or re-interpreted it, and that is not correct. There is nothing wrong with changing the document, but there is something very wrong with just ignoring what the document says and that is our current state.
bastille_75 bastille_75 9 years
Jillness great point about Mandela!!! Also, Steven Biko and all the others that fought against apartheid were also terrorist!!!! And, what a lot of people conveniently forget when talking about the Constitution (a document that I truly love) that it is not a perfect document just as the men who penned it were not perfect - but they understood change and progress and left the document amendable to grow with that change and progress - not stall or halt it!!!! Anyhow, I do agree that it has been interesting to read all the different perspectives and if nothing else this is evidence that we all take this topic seriously and we are not just voting out of blind devotion.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I don't think that simply talking is being a pacifist. You talk to them, tell them what you want, what you will give, and let them know that if they don't comply there will be severe consequences. The United States doesn't have enough power in the world to bully our way out of everything. I think being savy is more important than being forcefull but stupid. Plus, if we don't over extend our military, we can be pretty intimidating. Right now we wouldn't even be able to help our own citizens if there was an attack/disaster at home, and we can't tend to other global matters because we are stretched too thin. Don't think our enemies haven't noticed this.
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
Ah the Reagan Revolution.......
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Just wondering if someone could tell me who the "so called terrorists" are and who are the "real terrorists"? And Carter tried being a pacifist. Then four years later after one term, who was elected to office? Ronald Reagan. Reagan liked to talk, he liked to talk about bombing and what would happen if people did not comply. You know that that brought? The end of the Evil Empire.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"Don't forget, Nelson Mandela was once considered a terrorist too." Wow, that was a great point! There have been a lot of really great posts today, from all sides of the political spectrum. I have to say I really enjoy reading all of your thoughts, even the ones I am not in 100% agreement with.
JuliusCaesar JuliusCaesar 9 years
I think the correct term for those who want to get rid of all war is pacifist rather than idealist. Seeing as how America was first founded to create an 'ideal' society away from the corruption of the old world, I don't understand why it should be treated like a dirty word. Maybe it's due to my youth, but I think it could be better for everyone if there was more talk with (some) so-called terrorists. Don't forget, Nelson Mandela was once considered a terrorist too.
bethany21 bethany21 9 years
Oh, and the youth didn't show up in 2004 because Kerry was not an amazing candidate who could mobilize them. Who wants your first voting experience to be one of duty to your (or, in most cases, your parents') political party? I also think that maybe the reason younger voters are more likely to be Democrats has a lot to do with the increasing focus in the Republican party on socially (and not necessarily fiscally) conservative issues. Young people I would think would be a demographic particularly opposed to being told how to live their lives on such a personal level. My husband is trying to talk to me while I type, so I hope any of that made sense. lol
bethany21 bethany21 9 years
I believe mymellowman stated above that 2004 results are not really a great point of comparison here, and I agree. That was 4 years ago; a lot has changed, including voters' minds and what issues are most important to America at the moment. Also, (and I'd like some numbers on this...I really only know this because ::gasp:: the liberal media tells me) Dems are turning out in droves to vote in the primaries and caucuses, far more than Republicans. Jillness- thanks for all the specifics on the bills! I am so frustrated with uneducated voters. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one actually reading position papers and whatnot. :) Can we please drop the "who is more experienced" debate? It's been done so much, and at this point I would think it's clear: Obama has 11 years as an elected official. Clinton has 7. Let's move on to the real issues at hand!!!
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
I don't consider me of the very few who thinks "we can get rid of all war and just live together peacefully and share the wealth", but I do think as a country we can vastly change for the better in just about any area. If you don't believe in improvement then I don't see how you can be interested in politics. I'm not rich nor poor, but I do care a great deal about others well being and the state of our country, and I wouldn't stop doing that if I suddenly made heaps of money. A well balanced society will benefit all, cut crime and lower welfare participants, better foreign relations will relax the tension that creates terrorists and unnecessary wars. Do nothing and we all pay the price. Which we have, increasingly, over the last 7 years. What frustrates me the most is those in politics, and elsewhere, who points to the problems but never to the solutions. Fear mongering creates apathy and then the power over many stays in the hands of few.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
mymellowman - my husband always says that, "there's a little truth in every joke, thats what makes it funny!" jillness - too much pessimism is a bad thing, you're right. but what we need is realism, not idealism. but you're right, the term "terrorist" is thrown around too much.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"Idealists are the people who say we can "reason" with terrorists." I think too much pessimism keeps progress from occuring, especially when people are quick to lump all different kinds of people into one group and call them "terrorists". (not saying you, but many people do this).
potc-crazyy potc-crazyy 9 years
jenintx - Actually, as of 5:47 EST, Obama is leading by quite a bit... John McCain 22% Mike Huckabee 11% Hillary Clinton 24% Barack Obama 42%
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
"I certainly didn't mean to offend you, as I said, I was at least half kidding with that comment." - There's truth behind every joke. ;)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
kg - I certainly didn't mean to offend you, as I said, I was at least half kidding with that comment. :) I know many people under the age of 30 though who tell me flat out that they will vote democrat until they make over 100k a year, then they will be republican so they don't lose it all in taxes! And I think idealism is a bad thing. I'm not talking about optimism, optimism is essential. Idealism is harmful. Idealists are the people who say we can "reason" with terrorists. These are the people that think we can get rid of all war and just live together peacefully and share the wealth. I'm sorry, but it's not gonna happen. And I understand that many young people think we've had a terrible president for the last 8 years. OK fine, but did they show up in 2004 when they were supposedly so angry? No. And they probably won't show up again. And as many on this board display, a lot of their opinions/"facts" come from the likes of Jon Stewart and Colbert... so how is that not letting Hollywood shape your opinions and who you vote for?
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
Raciccarone summed it up perfectly:rotfl:
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Excellent questions and answers!
jenintx jenintx 9 years
kgtg, that's exactly why i feel people may be surprised when all the votes are counted. i know a lot of republicans who have said they would vote for obama (b/c of their disdain for mccain) but not hillary. and if it's true that obama is winning some of the "traditionally" red states, i would think that would be a good sign that he has the potential to win the election (b/c if the democratic states are rallying around the same democratic candidate that some of the red states are rallying around, that gives said candidate a better shot at victory). it should also be noted that had a poll up this morning asking who you would vote for out of the four remaining candidates and not only did obama have 44 percent for several hours (it may have since changed) but even mccain had a higher percentage that clinton. as jon stewart said (or was it cobert?) with the legacy that bush has left after these 8 years, it is the democrats' election to screw up.
jenintx jenintx 9 years
i'm not sure if tradition, as far as the red-state/blue-state business goes, is a good measure by which to predict how states will vote (look at how the exit polls have been wrong this year). i saw on cnn the other day that the current administration has turned a lot of people who previously identified with the republicans away from the party. a lot of 'conservatives' i know, or those who leaned that way, have become more independent in their political ideology. i've always considered myself independent and i'm whole-heartedly backing obama. imho, experience is only as good as the paper it's written on. look at the current administration! i feel like obama's inexperience could actually play to his favor in that sense. he may be a little too idealistic in his quest for 'hope' and change (so long as our government is so divisive in its partisanship, i can't imagine that it would be easy to accomplish anything), but i find hillary too calculated. nothing seems sincere with her. and i don't think her 'experience' and/or record can make up for that. but that's just one girl's opinion.
kgtg1 kgtg1 9 years
Cabaker, I kind of take offense to your comment. I am 22 and I make great money. I may be idealistic, but I don't think that is a bad thing. I certainly don't take my cues from Hollywood, and I vote in every election. I think that we are voting Democrat because we have had a terrible Republican president for most of our adult lives. Most of us are socially liberal, as well. I, for one, am socially very liberal and fiscally conservative. BUT, my social liberalism takes precedence over my fiscal conservatism at the moment for various reasons. Not all young people can be stereotyped so easily.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Jillness, I actually knew that about Obama, and find it very intriguing. I would LOVE to sit down with him and discuss what this country has done in regards to disregarding the Constitution. I do actually like Obama, I just don't like most or should say almost all of his policies. And yes, I have learned quite a bit about them thanks to you :). I would love to know, how someone who is as knowledgeable of the Constitution as he is said to be, how he is a Democrat and not at least a Libertarian or a Conservative Democrat. And I was speaking of the youth today not being taught the Constitution. Unless they pursue it either on their own or in College studies, very few know anything about it.
bastille_75 bastille_75 9 years
HeeHee raciccarone - you are sooooo rt!!!!!!!! P.S. Thank you Jillness for being an articulate and intelligent voice in this conversation!!!!
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