Local Presidential Results a Microcosm of the Debate About to Sweep The Nation Regarding the Role of Superdelegates

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In a year where the Democratic Presidential Nomination is coming down to the wire, it is interesting to look at how things have transpired locally for the Democratic Race.

Davis and most of Yolo County are represented by Congressman Mike Thompson in the First Congressional District. When Thompson first became Congressman, the first district was a swing district, it had been held at times by Republicans, most notably by Frank Riggs who was elected in 1990 but lost in 1992, then won again in the tumultuous 1994 election and held it for two terms.

However after the districts were redrawn, Congressman Thompson’s district was given an inland intrusion to include liberal areas such as Yolo County to make it a safe seat.

Two weeks ago, the first Congressional District of California went to Barack Obama by 450 votes. Barack Obama won Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Yolo Counties. While Hillary won Del Norte, Napa and Lake.

It was Yolo County’s razor thin 900 vote win that put Obama over the top. It was Davis’ 3400 vote landslide where Obama took all but one precinct that put Obama over-the-top on election night.

But now the battle turns to the Superdelegates. This is a system that has really not been tested. It is rooted in the McGovern-Fraser reforms. In many ways this was result of the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention, really the last time there was a contested Democratic nomination.

The commission examined rules and recommended broadening participation. Part of that included an opening of the delegate selection procedures where party leaders could no longer simply secretly handpick the convention delegates and these delegates were to be propportional to the population of the state.

The result was that most states went to a primary election in order to select convention delegates.

The system has been in place since 1972, really to great controversy. Most believe that for instance George McGovern who was among the namesake for the commission would never have won the Democratic Nomination under the old rules. And some have wondered if the people do the best job of picking the nominees.

However for the purposes of our discussion, one of the factors that is coming to light is that this system has never been put to a test. We have not had a contested nomination in the true sense where the winner was unclear under this system.

So now you have a large number of Superdelegates, most of whom are simply elected officials and the margins of the committed delegates are such those Superdelegates–i.e. in many respects party insiders, will become the swing votes.

The question is, what would happen if one candidate won the majority of the vote and committed delegates but the other candidate won due to the Superdelegates? Would this create a Florida style controversy in the Democratic Party that would tear it apart, much as the 1968 Convention would tear it apart literally. There have been nine presidential elections since 1968, the Democrats have won just three of them.

Some have suggested that Superdelegates should be mindful of the choices their electorates have made and follow their lead to determine who they ought to vote for.

That brings us to our own mini-controversy if you will. Congressman Mike Thompson lives in a district that voted narrowly for Barack Obama. However, he is a Hillary Clinton endorser.

The same city of Davis that makes this a safe Democratic seat is the same city that gave Barack Obama this congressional district.

On the other hand, as narrow a vote as it was district wide, it is difficult for the voters to demand that he follow their narrow will rather than his own conscience. However, it is a factor that should at least be taken into account.

For the first time 40 years the Democrats appear to have a tightly contested nomination. Perhaps one in nine is not a reason to revisit the rules. Perhaps it is.

Regardless, it is likely that people like Congressman Thompson will play a large role in determining whether the party tears itself apart or whether they can forge out a consensus so that we can all come together and win in November which is the real battle–not with each other but with the Republicans–to decide who gets to determine the course of the nation for the next four years.

A close election battle is a good thing for the most part but if it ends in controversy, if it drags until the convention, then it will be tough to regroup in time to win come November. The first step on that road is the determination of Superdelegates as to how they should vote. And one factor there ought to be the direction that their district went.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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40 thoughts on “Local Presidential Results a Microcosm of the Debate About to Sweep The Nation Regarding the Role of Superdelegates”

  1. slowpitch

    How is the vote from Davis and Yolo County any more significant than any of the other counties and municipalities that voted for Obama in this Congressional district?

  2. slowpitch

    How is the vote from Davis and Yolo County any more significant than any of the other counties and municipalities that voted for Obama in this Congressional district?

  3. slowpitch

    How is the vote from Davis and Yolo County any more significant than any of the other counties and municipalities that voted for Obama in this Congressional district?

  4. slowpitch

    How is the vote from Davis and Yolo County any more significant than any of the other counties and municipalities that voted for Obama in this Congressional district?

  5. Rich Rifkin

    Obama is going to win the Democratic nomination. I have no doubt about that.

    While the conventional wisdom is that Hillary would be an easier opponent for the Republicans to beat in November — presumably because the right-wingers will be more motivated to work for her defeat — I have long doubted this. Among the doubts I now have about Obama is that his greatest asset as a candidate — his oratory skill — may come to hurt him down the road. I don’t base that on his plagiarism — that didn’t strike me as too big of a deal — but on the fact that his “great speeches” are all style and no substance.

    If you don’t believe me, Google “obama speech transcript,” where you can read his major campaign speeches. He says absolutely nothing in them. They’re entirely fluff. He is great at making saying nothing sound great, but at some point this summer that is going to catch up with him. Not just Hillary, but all of America is going to ask, “Where’s the beef?”

    I had heard that for his real policy program, I had to look at his website: the “blueprint for change.” I did just that, and it was amazingly vapid or vague, much like his “lofty” speeches.

    Here are a few examples of Obama’s positions from barackobama.com:

    EDUCATION
    Throughout America’s history, education has been the vehicle for social and economic mobility, giving hope and opportunity to millions of young people. Our schools must prepare students not only to meet the demands of the global economy, but also help students take their place as committed and engaged citizens. It must ensure that all students have a quality education regardless of race, class, or background.

    ETHICS
    Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has been a leader in fighting for open and honest government. As a U.S. Senator, he has spearheaded the effort to clean up Washington in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal. In a politically charged election year, Obama acknowledged that corruption was a problem that plagued both political parties.

    FAMILY
    Strong families raise successful children and keep communities together. While Senator Obama does not believe that we can simply legislate healthy families, good parenting skills or economic success, he does believe we can eliminate roadblocks that parents face and provide tools to help them succeed. A husband and father of two, Senator Obama has promoted strong families in the Senate.

    ECONOMY
    As president, Barack Obama will implement a 21st century economic agenda to help ensure that America can compete in a global economy, and ensure the middle class is thriving and growing. He will increase investments in infrastructure, energy independence, education, and research and development; modernize and simplify our tax code so it provides greater opportunity and relief to more Americans; and implement trade policies that benefit American workers and increase the export of American goods.

    That may be the emptiest platform program I’ve ever read for a student not running for class president in junior high school. Tracy Flick in Election had a more substantial platform.

  6. Rich Rifkin

    Obama is going to win the Democratic nomination. I have no doubt about that.

    While the conventional wisdom is that Hillary would be an easier opponent for the Republicans to beat in November — presumably because the right-wingers will be more motivated to work for her defeat — I have long doubted this. Among the doubts I now have about Obama is that his greatest asset as a candidate — his oratory skill — may come to hurt him down the road. I don’t base that on his plagiarism — that didn’t strike me as too big of a deal — but on the fact that his “great speeches” are all style and no substance.

    If you don’t believe me, Google “obama speech transcript,” where you can read his major campaign speeches. He says absolutely nothing in them. They’re entirely fluff. He is great at making saying nothing sound great, but at some point this summer that is going to catch up with him. Not just Hillary, but all of America is going to ask, “Where’s the beef?”

    I had heard that for his real policy program, I had to look at his website: the “blueprint for change.” I did just that, and it was amazingly vapid or vague, much like his “lofty” speeches.

    Here are a few examples of Obama’s positions from barackobama.com:

    EDUCATION
    Throughout America’s history, education has been the vehicle for social and economic mobility, giving hope and opportunity to millions of young people. Our schools must prepare students not only to meet the demands of the global economy, but also help students take their place as committed and engaged citizens. It must ensure that all students have a quality education regardless of race, class, or background.

    ETHICS
    Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has been a leader in fighting for open and honest government. As a U.S. Senator, he has spearheaded the effort to clean up Washington in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal. In a politically charged election year, Obama acknowledged that corruption was a problem that plagued both political parties.

    FAMILY
    Strong families raise successful children and keep communities together. While Senator Obama does not believe that we can simply legislate healthy families, good parenting skills or economic success, he does believe we can eliminate roadblocks that parents face and provide tools to help them succeed. A husband and father of two, Senator Obama has promoted strong families in the Senate.

    ECONOMY
    As president, Barack Obama will implement a 21st century economic agenda to help ensure that America can compete in a global economy, and ensure the middle class is thriving and growing. He will increase investments in infrastructure, energy independence, education, and research and development; modernize and simplify our tax code so it provides greater opportunity and relief to more Americans; and implement trade policies that benefit American workers and increase the export of American goods.

    That may be the emptiest platform program I’ve ever read for a student not running for class president in junior high school. Tracy Flick in Election had a more substantial platform.

  7. Rich Rifkin

    Obama is going to win the Democratic nomination. I have no doubt about that.

    While the conventional wisdom is that Hillary would be an easier opponent for the Republicans to beat in November — presumably because the right-wingers will be more motivated to work for her defeat — I have long doubted this. Among the doubts I now have about Obama is that his greatest asset as a candidate — his oratory skill — may come to hurt him down the road. I don’t base that on his plagiarism — that didn’t strike me as too big of a deal — but on the fact that his “great speeches” are all style and no substance.

    If you don’t believe me, Google “obama speech transcript,” where you can read his major campaign speeches. He says absolutely nothing in them. They’re entirely fluff. He is great at making saying nothing sound great, but at some point this summer that is going to catch up with him. Not just Hillary, but all of America is going to ask, “Where’s the beef?”

    I had heard that for his real policy program, I had to look at his website: the “blueprint for change.” I did just that, and it was amazingly vapid or vague, much like his “lofty” speeches.

    Here are a few examples of Obama’s positions from barackobama.com:

    EDUCATION
    Throughout America’s history, education has been the vehicle for social and economic mobility, giving hope and opportunity to millions of young people. Our schools must prepare students not only to meet the demands of the global economy, but also help students take their place as committed and engaged citizens. It must ensure that all students have a quality education regardless of race, class, or background.

    ETHICS
    Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has been a leader in fighting for open and honest government. As a U.S. Senator, he has spearheaded the effort to clean up Washington in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal. In a politically charged election year, Obama acknowledged that corruption was a problem that plagued both political parties.

    FAMILY
    Strong families raise successful children and keep communities together. While Senator Obama does not believe that we can simply legislate healthy families, good parenting skills or economic success, he does believe we can eliminate roadblocks that parents face and provide tools to help them succeed. A husband and father of two, Senator Obama has promoted strong families in the Senate.

    ECONOMY
    As president, Barack Obama will implement a 21st century economic agenda to help ensure that America can compete in a global economy, and ensure the middle class is thriving and growing. He will increase investments in infrastructure, energy independence, education, and research and development; modernize and simplify our tax code so it provides greater opportunity and relief to more Americans; and implement trade policies that benefit American workers and increase the export of American goods.

    That may be the emptiest platform program I’ve ever read for a student not running for class president in junior high school. Tracy Flick in Election had a more substantial platform.

  8. Rich Rifkin

    Obama is going to win the Democratic nomination. I have no doubt about that.

    While the conventional wisdom is that Hillary would be an easier opponent for the Republicans to beat in November — presumably because the right-wingers will be more motivated to work for her defeat — I have long doubted this. Among the doubts I now have about Obama is that his greatest asset as a candidate — his oratory skill — may come to hurt him down the road. I don’t base that on his plagiarism — that didn’t strike me as too big of a deal — but on the fact that his “great speeches” are all style and no substance.

    If you don’t believe me, Google “obama speech transcript,” where you can read his major campaign speeches. He says absolutely nothing in them. They’re entirely fluff. He is great at making saying nothing sound great, but at some point this summer that is going to catch up with him. Not just Hillary, but all of America is going to ask, “Where’s the beef?”

    I had heard that for his real policy program, I had to look at his website: the “blueprint for change.” I did just that, and it was amazingly vapid or vague, much like his “lofty” speeches.

    Here are a few examples of Obama’s positions from barackobama.com:

    EDUCATION
    Throughout America’s history, education has been the vehicle for social and economic mobility, giving hope and opportunity to millions of young people. Our schools must prepare students not only to meet the demands of the global economy, but also help students take their place as committed and engaged citizens. It must ensure that all students have a quality education regardless of race, class, or background.

    ETHICS
    Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has been a leader in fighting for open and honest government. As a U.S. Senator, he has spearheaded the effort to clean up Washington in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal. In a politically charged election year, Obama acknowledged that corruption was a problem that plagued both political parties.

    FAMILY
    Strong families raise successful children and keep communities together. While Senator Obama does not believe that we can simply legislate healthy families, good parenting skills or economic success, he does believe we can eliminate roadblocks that parents face and provide tools to help them succeed. A husband and father of two, Senator Obama has promoted strong families in the Senate.

    ECONOMY
    As president, Barack Obama will implement a 21st century economic agenda to help ensure that America can compete in a global economy, and ensure the middle class is thriving and growing. He will increase investments in infrastructure, energy independence, education, and research and development; modernize and simplify our tax code so it provides greater opportunity and relief to more Americans; and implement trade policies that benefit American workers and increase the export of American goods.

    That may be the emptiest platform program I’ve ever read for a student not running for class president in junior high school. Tracy Flick in Election had a more substantial platform.

  9. Rich Rifkin

    CORRECTION: After I read through the front page on “issues” of barackobama.com, I posted “That may be the emptiest platform program I’ve ever read” above. However, I’ve since taken the time to read through more links on Obama’s site and see that there is detail on his platform program. As such, my previous criticism, about the website, is misplaced.

    That said, even in the detailed issues discussions, it seemed to me that there is a lot of fluff included. But it is not all fluff, and if you make it all the way through, there is a lot of substance to consider.

  10. Rich Rifkin

    CORRECTION: After I read through the front page on “issues” of barackobama.com, I posted “That may be the emptiest platform program I’ve ever read” above. However, I’ve since taken the time to read through more links on Obama’s site and see that there is detail on his platform program. As such, my previous criticism, about the website, is misplaced.

    That said, even in the detailed issues discussions, it seemed to me that there is a lot of fluff included. But it is not all fluff, and if you make it all the way through, there is a lot of substance to consider.

  11. Rich Rifkin

    CORRECTION: After I read through the front page on “issues” of barackobama.com, I posted “That may be the emptiest platform program I’ve ever read” above. However, I’ve since taken the time to read through more links on Obama’s site and see that there is detail on his platform program. As such, my previous criticism, about the website, is misplaced.

    That said, even in the detailed issues discussions, it seemed to me that there is a lot of fluff included. But it is not all fluff, and if you make it all the way through, there is a lot of substance to consider.

  12. Rich Rifkin

    CORRECTION: After I read through the front page on “issues” of barackobama.com, I posted “That may be the emptiest platform program I’ve ever read” above. However, I’ve since taken the time to read through more links on Obama’s site and see that there is detail on his platform program. As such, my previous criticism, about the website, is misplaced.

    That said, even in the detailed issues discussions, it seemed to me that there is a lot of fluff included. But it is not all fluff, and if you make it all the way through, there is a lot of substance to consider.

  13. Doug Paul Davis

    He gave a heavily policy-laden speech tonight.

    I disagree btw the on the “fluff factor”

    If you look at the “Yes WE can” speech from New Hampshire, structurally it was very similar to King’s “I have a Dream Speech.”

    King ties black’s struggle to the promises of the US Declaration of Independence and the American Dream.

    Obama reprises some of that theme by tying hope to the unlikely history of the US. ANd showing the constant refrain throughout time in the advancement of the US frontier with the advancement of the recognition of civil rights. I thought it was an extraordinary speech that really had a lot of substance to it. I think some of it probably actually had too much substance presented in to much of a literary style that got lost of people trying to score political points.

  14. Doug Paul Davis

    He gave a heavily policy-laden speech tonight.

    I disagree btw the on the “fluff factor”

    If you look at the “Yes WE can” speech from New Hampshire, structurally it was very similar to King’s “I have a Dream Speech.”

    King ties black’s struggle to the promises of the US Declaration of Independence and the American Dream.

    Obama reprises some of that theme by tying hope to the unlikely history of the US. ANd showing the constant refrain throughout time in the advancement of the US frontier with the advancement of the recognition of civil rights. I thought it was an extraordinary speech that really had a lot of substance to it. I think some of it probably actually had too much substance presented in to much of a literary style that got lost of people trying to score political points.

  15. Doug Paul Davis

    He gave a heavily policy-laden speech tonight.

    I disagree btw the on the “fluff factor”

    If you look at the “Yes WE can” speech from New Hampshire, structurally it was very similar to King’s “I have a Dream Speech.”

    King ties black’s struggle to the promises of the US Declaration of Independence and the American Dream.

    Obama reprises some of that theme by tying hope to the unlikely history of the US. ANd showing the constant refrain throughout time in the advancement of the US frontier with the advancement of the recognition of civil rights. I thought it was an extraordinary speech that really had a lot of substance to it. I think some of it probably actually had too much substance presented in to much of a literary style that got lost of people trying to score political points.

  16. Doug Paul Davis

    He gave a heavily policy-laden speech tonight.

    I disagree btw the on the “fluff factor”

    If you look at the “Yes WE can” speech from New Hampshire, structurally it was very similar to King’s “I have a Dream Speech.”

    King ties black’s struggle to the promises of the US Declaration of Independence and the American Dream.

    Obama reprises some of that theme by tying hope to the unlikely history of the US. ANd showing the constant refrain throughout time in the advancement of the US frontier with the advancement of the recognition of civil rights. I thought it was an extraordinary speech that really had a lot of substance to it. I think some of it probably actually had too much substance presented in to much of a literary style that got lost of people trying to score political points.

  17. Just want an experience, qualified candidate

    the momentum will likely be turning soon for Obama, as he begins to face a general elections. David Brooks, in the NYT, wrote an opinion piece that many voters will come to understand.

  18. Just want an experience, quali

    the momentum will likely be turning soon for Obama, as he begins to face a general elections. David Brooks, in the NYT, wrote an opinion piece that many voters will come to understand.

  19. Just want an experience, quali

    the momentum will likely be turning soon for Obama, as he begins to face a general elections. David Brooks, in the NYT, wrote an opinion piece that many voters will come to understand.

  20. Just want an experience, quali

    the momentum will likely be turning soon for Obama, as he begins to face a general elections. David Brooks, in the NYT, wrote an opinion piece that many voters will come to understand.

  21. Don Gibson

    I would not worry too much about the superdelegate issue. Congressman Thompson told members of Davis College Democrats Tuesday that the Democratic Party would not shoot itself in the foot by having superdelegates decide the nominee against a majority of Americans. I believe him and the vast majority of the superdelegates who have commented along those lines.

  22. Don Gibson

    I would not worry too much about the superdelegate issue. Congressman Thompson told members of Davis College Democrats Tuesday that the Democratic Party would not shoot itself in the foot by having superdelegates decide the nominee against a majority of Americans. I believe him and the vast majority of the superdelegates who have commented along those lines.

  23. Don Gibson

    I would not worry too much about the superdelegate issue. Congressman Thompson told members of Davis College Democrats Tuesday that the Democratic Party would not shoot itself in the foot by having superdelegates decide the nominee against a majority of Americans. I believe him and the vast majority of the superdelegates who have commented along those lines.

  24. Don Gibson

    I would not worry too much about the superdelegate issue. Congressman Thompson told members of Davis College Democrats Tuesday that the Democratic Party would not shoot itself in the foot by having superdelegates decide the nominee against a majority of Americans. I believe him and the vast majority of the superdelegates who have commented along those lines.

  25. Rich Rifkin

    “I disagree btw the on the ‘fluff factor.’ If you look at the ‘Yes WE can’ speech from New Hampshire, structurally it was very similar to King’s ‘I have a Dream Speech.'”

    I don’t disagree with that his speeking style is in the King tradition. Obama uses that pulpit-style of oratory. And like King, he is inspirational. But in my opinion, being inspirational, and having a great oratorial style, are not necessarily substantive.

    I don’t blame him for not being substantial in this particuar (NH)setting. His attempt was to inspire his supporters and others to work for his election victory. He wasn’t trying to lay out a specific prescription.

    In a few instances in the NH speech, he did imply the direction he’d like to go. However, if you examine that — for example, where he says, “We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness by giving them more pay and more support.” — it’s basically the same message as all other Democrats in Congress. In other words, his policy preference direction is not unique or original. He’s just saying, he’s a liberal Democrat.

    If you think there is more to it than that, let me know which lines prove your point. I’ve copied the full transcript of the NH speech below:

    BARACK OBAMA: Thank you, New Hampshire. I love you back. Thank you. Thank you.

    Well, thank you so much. I am still fired up and ready to go. (APPLAUSE)

    Thank you. Thank you.

    Well, first of all, I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire. She did an outstanding job. Give her a big round of applause.

    (APPLAUSE)

    You know, a few weeks ago, no one imagined that we’d have accomplished what we did here tonight in New Hampshire. No one could have imagined it.

    For most of this campaign, we were far behind. We always knew our climb would be steep. But in record numbers, you came out, and you spoke up for change.

    And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment, in this election, there is something happening in America.

    (APPLAUSE)

    There is something happening when men and women in Des Moines and Davenport, in Lebanon and Concord, come out in the snows of January to wait in lines that stretch block after block because they believe in what this country can be.

    There is something happening. There’s something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit, who’ve never participated in politics before, turn out in numbers we have never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.

    There’s something happening when people vote not just for party that they belong to, but the hopes that they hold in common.

    And whether we are rich or poor, black or white, Latino or Asian, whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction.

    That’s what’s happening in America right now; change is what’s happening in America.

    You, all of you who are here tonight, all who put so much heart and soul and work into this campaign, you can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long political darkness.

    Democrats, independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington, who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable, who understand that, if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence that stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there is no problem we cannot solve, there is no destiny that we cannot fulfill. Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable, unavailable health care in our time. We can bring doctors and patients, workers and businesses, Democrats and Republicans together, and we can tell the drug and insurance industry that, while they get a seat at the table, they don’t get to buy every chair, not this time, not now.

    (APPLAUSE)

    Our new majority can end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut in the pockets of working Americans who deserve it.

    We can stop sending our children to schools with corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success.

    We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness by giving them more pay and more support. We can do this with our new majority.

    We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists, citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our planet from a point of no return.

    And when I am president of the United States, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home.

    (APPLAUSE)

    We will end this war in Iraq. We will bring our troops home. We will finish the job — we will finish the job against Al Qaida in Afghanistan. We will care for our veterans. We will restore our moral standing in the world.

    And we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election. It is a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease.

    All of the candidates in this race share these goals. All of the candidates in this race have good ideas and all are patriots who serve this country honorably.

    (APPLAUSE)

    But the reason our campaign has always been different, the reason we began this improbable journey almost a year ago is because it’s not just about what I will do as president. It is also about what you, the people who love this country, the citizens of the United States of America, can do to change it.

    That’s what this election is all about.

    That’s why tonight belongs to you. It belongs to the organizers, and the volunteers, and the staff who believed in this journey and rallied so many others to join the cause.

    We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

    We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. And they will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks and months to come.

    We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

    (APPLAUSE)

    For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we’ve been told we’re not ready or that we shouldn’t try or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

    It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.

    It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.

    It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can.

    It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes, we can, to justice and equality.

    Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can.

    And so, tomorrow, as we take the campaign south and west, as we learn that the struggles of the textile workers in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas, that the hopes of the little girl who goes to the crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of L.A., we will remember that there is something happening in America, that we are not as divided as our politics suggest, that we are one people, we are one nation.

    And, together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story, with three words that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea: Yes, we can.

    Thank you, New Hampshire. Thank you. Thank you.

    ———–

    By the way, the refrain, “Yes We Can,” reminds me more of Jesse Jackson’s 1984 “Keep Hope Alive” rhetoric in San Francisco than MLK’s “I have a dream” speech in Washington.

  26. Rich Rifkin

    “I disagree btw the on the ‘fluff factor.’ If you look at the ‘Yes WE can’ speech from New Hampshire, structurally it was very similar to King’s ‘I have a Dream Speech.'”

    I don’t disagree with that his speeking style is in the King tradition. Obama uses that pulpit-style of oratory. And like King, he is inspirational. But in my opinion, being inspirational, and having a great oratorial style, are not necessarily substantive.

    I don’t blame him for not being substantial in this particuar (NH)setting. His attempt was to inspire his supporters and others to work for his election victory. He wasn’t trying to lay out a specific prescription.

    In a few instances in the NH speech, he did imply the direction he’d like to go. However, if you examine that — for example, where he says, “We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness by giving them more pay and more support.” — it’s basically the same message as all other Democrats in Congress. In other words, his policy preference direction is not unique or original. He’s just saying, he’s a liberal Democrat.

    If you think there is more to it than that, let me know which lines prove your point. I’ve copied the full transcript of the NH speech below:

    BARACK OBAMA: Thank you, New Hampshire. I love you back. Thank you. Thank you.

    Well, thank you so much. I am still fired up and ready to go. (APPLAUSE)

    Thank you. Thank you.

    Well, first of all, I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire. She did an outstanding job. Give her a big round of applause.

    (APPLAUSE)

    You know, a few weeks ago, no one imagined that we’d have accomplished what we did here tonight in New Hampshire. No one could have imagined it.

    For most of this campaign, we were far behind. We always knew our climb would be steep. But in record numbers, you came out, and you spoke up for change.

    And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment, in this election, there is something happening in America.

    (APPLAUSE)

    There is something happening when men and women in Des Moines and Davenport, in Lebanon and Concord, come out in the snows of January to wait in lines that stretch block after block because they believe in what this country can be.

    There is something happening. There’s something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit, who’ve never participated in politics before, turn out in numbers we have never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.

    There’s something happening when people vote not just for party that they belong to, but the hopes that they hold in common.

    And whether we are rich or poor, black or white, Latino or Asian, whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction.

    That’s what’s happening in America right now; change is what’s happening in America.

    You, all of you who are here tonight, all who put so much heart and soul and work into this campaign, you can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long political darkness.

    Democrats, independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington, who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable, who understand that, if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence that stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there is no problem we cannot solve, there is no destiny that we cannot fulfill. Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable, unavailable health care in our time. We can bring doctors and patients, workers and businesses, Democrats and Republicans together, and we can tell the drug and insurance industry that, while they get a seat at the table, they don’t get to buy every chair, not this time, not now.

    (APPLAUSE)

    Our new majority can end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut in the pockets of working Americans who deserve it.

    We can stop sending our children to schools with corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success.

    We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness by giving them more pay and more support. We can do this with our new majority.

    We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists, citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our planet from a point of no return.

    And when I am president of the United States, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home.

    (APPLAUSE)

    We will end this war in Iraq. We will bring our troops home. We will finish the job — we will finish the job against Al Qaida in Afghanistan. We will care for our veterans. We will restore our moral standing in the world.

    And we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election. It is a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease.

    All of the candidates in this race share these goals. All of the candidates in this race have good ideas and all are patriots who serve this country honorably.

    (APPLAUSE)

    But the reason our campaign has always been different, the reason we began this improbable journey almost a year ago is because it’s not just about what I will do as president. It is also about what you, the people who love this country, the citizens of the United States of America, can do to change it.

    That’s what this election is all about.

    That’s why tonight belongs to you. It belongs to the organizers, and the volunteers, and the staff who believed in this journey and rallied so many others to join the cause.

    We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

    We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. And they will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks and months to come.

    We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

    (APPLAUSE)

    For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we’ve been told we’re not ready or that we shouldn’t try or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

    It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.

    It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.

    It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can.

    It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes, we can, to justice and equality.

    Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can.

    And so, tomorrow, as we take the campaign south and west, as we learn that the struggles of the textile workers in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas, that the hopes of the little girl who goes to the crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of L.A., we will remember that there is something happening in America, that we are not as divided as our politics suggest, that we are one people, we are one nation.

    And, together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story, with three words that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea: Yes, we can.

    Thank you, New Hampshire. Thank you. Thank you.

    ———–

    By the way, the refrain, “Yes We Can,” reminds me more of Jesse Jackson’s 1984 “Keep Hope Alive” rhetoric in San Francisco than MLK’s “I have a dream” speech in Washington.

  27. Rich Rifkin

    “I disagree btw the on the ‘fluff factor.’ If you look at the ‘Yes WE can’ speech from New Hampshire, structurally it was very similar to King’s ‘I have a Dream Speech.'”

    I don’t disagree with that his speeking style is in the King tradition. Obama uses that pulpit-style of oratory. And like King, he is inspirational. But in my opinion, being inspirational, and having a great oratorial style, are not necessarily substantive.

    I don’t blame him for not being substantial in this particuar (NH)setting. His attempt was to inspire his supporters and others to work for his election victory. He wasn’t trying to lay out a specific prescription.

    In a few instances in the NH speech, he did imply the direction he’d like to go. However, if you examine that — for example, where he says, “We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness by giving them more pay and more support.” — it’s basically the same message as all other Democrats in Congress. In other words, his policy preference direction is not unique or original. He’s just saying, he’s a liberal Democrat.

    If you think there is more to it than that, let me know which lines prove your point. I’ve copied the full transcript of the NH speech below:

    BARACK OBAMA: Thank you, New Hampshire. I love you back. Thank you. Thank you.

    Well, thank you so much. I am still fired up and ready to go. (APPLAUSE)

    Thank you. Thank you.

    Well, first of all, I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire. She did an outstanding job. Give her a big round of applause.

    (APPLAUSE)

    You know, a few weeks ago, no one imagined that we’d have accomplished what we did here tonight in New Hampshire. No one could have imagined it.

    For most of this campaign, we were far behind. We always knew our climb would be steep. But in record numbers, you came out, and you spoke up for change.

    And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment, in this election, there is something happening in America.

    (APPLAUSE)

    There is something happening when men and women in Des Moines and Davenport, in Lebanon and Concord, come out in the snows of January to wait in lines that stretch block after block because they believe in what this country can be.

    There is something happening. There’s something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit, who’ve never participated in politics before, turn out in numbers we have never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.

    There’s something happening when people vote not just for party that they belong to, but the hopes that they hold in common.

    And whether we are rich or poor, black or white, Latino or Asian, whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction.

    That’s what’s happening in America right now; change is what’s happening in America.

    You, all of you who are here tonight, all who put so much heart and soul and work into this campaign, you can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long political darkness.

    Democrats, independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington, who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable, who understand that, if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence that stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there is no problem we cannot solve, there is no destiny that we cannot fulfill. Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable, unavailable health care in our time. We can bring doctors and patients, workers and businesses, Democrats and Republicans together, and we can tell the drug and insurance industry that, while they get a seat at the table, they don’t get to buy every chair, not this time, not now.

    (APPLAUSE)

    Our new majority can end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut in the pockets of working Americans who deserve it.

    We can stop sending our children to schools with corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success.

    We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness by giving them more pay and more support. We can do this with our new majority.

    We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists, citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our planet from a point of no return.

    And when I am president of the United States, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home.

    (APPLAUSE)

    We will end this war in Iraq. We will bring our troops home. We will finish the job — we will finish the job against Al Qaida in Afghanistan. We will care for our veterans. We will restore our moral standing in the world.

    And we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election. It is a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease.

    All of the candidates in this race share these goals. All of the candidates in this race have good ideas and all are patriots who serve this country honorably.

    (APPLAUSE)

    But the reason our campaign has always been different, the reason we began this improbable journey almost a year ago is because it’s not just about what I will do as president. It is also about what you, the people who love this country, the citizens of the United States of America, can do to change it.

    That’s what this election is all about.

    That’s why tonight belongs to you. It belongs to the organizers, and the volunteers, and the staff who believed in this journey and rallied so many others to join the cause.

    We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

    We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. And they will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks and months to come.

    We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

    (APPLAUSE)

    For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we’ve been told we’re not ready or that we shouldn’t try or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

    It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.

    It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.

    It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can.

    It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes, we can, to justice and equality.

    Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can.

    And so, tomorrow, as we take the campaign south and west, as we learn that the struggles of the textile workers in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas, that the hopes of the little girl who goes to the crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of L.A., we will remember that there is something happening in America, that we are not as divided as our politics suggest, that we are one people, we are one nation.

    And, together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story, with three words that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea: Yes, we can.

    Thank you, New Hampshire. Thank you. Thank you.

    ———–

    By the way, the refrain, “Yes We Can,” reminds me more of Jesse Jackson’s 1984 “Keep Hope Alive” rhetoric in San Francisco than MLK’s “I have a dream” speech in Washington.

  28. Rich Rifkin

    “I disagree btw the on the ‘fluff factor.’ If you look at the ‘Yes WE can’ speech from New Hampshire, structurally it was very similar to King’s ‘I have a Dream Speech.'”

    I don’t disagree with that his speeking style is in the King tradition. Obama uses that pulpit-style of oratory. And like King, he is inspirational. But in my opinion, being inspirational, and having a great oratorial style, are not necessarily substantive.

    I don’t blame him for not being substantial in this particuar (NH)setting. His attempt was to inspire his supporters and others to work for his election victory. He wasn’t trying to lay out a specific prescription.

    In a few instances in the NH speech, he did imply the direction he’d like to go. However, if you examine that — for example, where he says, “We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness by giving them more pay and more support.” — it’s basically the same message as all other Democrats in Congress. In other words, his policy preference direction is not unique or original. He’s just saying, he’s a liberal Democrat.

    If you think there is more to it than that, let me know which lines prove your point. I’ve copied the full transcript of the NH speech below:

    BARACK OBAMA: Thank you, New Hampshire. I love you back. Thank you. Thank you.

    Well, thank you so much. I am still fired up and ready to go. (APPLAUSE)

    Thank you. Thank you.

    Well, first of all, I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire. She did an outstanding job. Give her a big round of applause.

    (APPLAUSE)

    You know, a few weeks ago, no one imagined that we’d have accomplished what we did here tonight in New Hampshire. No one could have imagined it.

    For most of this campaign, we were far behind. We always knew our climb would be steep. But in record numbers, you came out, and you spoke up for change.

    And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment, in this election, there is something happening in America.

    (APPLAUSE)

    There is something happening when men and women in Des Moines and Davenport, in Lebanon and Concord, come out in the snows of January to wait in lines that stretch block after block because they believe in what this country can be.

    There is something happening. There’s something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit, who’ve never participated in politics before, turn out in numbers we have never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.

    There’s something happening when people vote not just for party that they belong to, but the hopes that they hold in common.

    And whether we are rich or poor, black or white, Latino or Asian, whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction.

    That’s what’s happening in America right now; change is what’s happening in America.

    You, all of you who are here tonight, all who put so much heart and soul and work into this campaign, you can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long political darkness.

    Democrats, independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington, who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable, who understand that, if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence that stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there is no problem we cannot solve, there is no destiny that we cannot fulfill. Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable, unavailable health care in our time. We can bring doctors and patients, workers and businesses, Democrats and Republicans together, and we can tell the drug and insurance industry that, while they get a seat at the table, they don’t get to buy every chair, not this time, not now.

    (APPLAUSE)

    Our new majority can end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut in the pockets of working Americans who deserve it.

    We can stop sending our children to schools with corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success.

    We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness by giving them more pay and more support. We can do this with our new majority.

    We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists, citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our planet from a point of no return.

    And when I am president of the United States, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home.

    (APPLAUSE)

    We will end this war in Iraq. We will bring our troops home. We will finish the job — we will finish the job against Al Qaida in Afghanistan. We will care for our veterans. We will restore our moral standing in the world.

    And we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election. It is a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease.

    All of the candidates in this race share these goals. All of the candidates in this race have good ideas and all are patriots who serve this country honorably.

    (APPLAUSE)

    But the reason our campaign has always been different, the reason we began this improbable journey almost a year ago is because it’s not just about what I will do as president. It is also about what you, the people who love this country, the citizens of the United States of America, can do to change it.

    That’s what this election is all about.

    That’s why tonight belongs to you. It belongs to the organizers, and the volunteers, and the staff who believed in this journey and rallied so many others to join the cause.

    We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

    We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. And they will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks and months to come.

    We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

    (APPLAUSE)

    For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we’ve been told we’re not ready or that we shouldn’t try or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

    It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.

    It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.

    It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can.

    It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes, we can, to justice and equality.

    Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can.

    And so, tomorrow, as we take the campaign south and west, as we learn that the struggles of the textile workers in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas, that the hopes of the little girl who goes to the crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of L.A., we will remember that there is something happening in America, that we are not as divided as our politics suggest, that we are one people, we are one nation.

    And, together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story, with three words that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea: Yes, we can.

    Thank you, New Hampshire. Thank you. Thank you.

    ———–

    By the way, the refrain, “Yes We Can,” reminds me more of Jesse Jackson’s 1984 “Keep Hope Alive” rhetoric in San Francisco than MLK’s “I have a dream” speech in Washington.

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