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How the GOP Intends to Defeat Obama

A powerpoint presentation at a Republican National Committee (RNC) donor event last Sunday morning provides a peak into the fronts on which Republicans will attack Barack Obama if he's successful in attaining the Democratic presidential nomination.

Focusing on Barack Obama's "inexperience" and "undisciplined messaging" are two ways to ensure that the senator from Illinois doesn't get to be president, according to honchos at the Republican National Committee.[...]

The RNC's "winter retreat" for major donors at Los Angeles' Beverly Wilshire Hotel featured such party stalwarts as Karl Rove, RNC chairman Robert Duncan, former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams, as well as some Hollywood types, including Dave Berg, a segment producer and "political director" for "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

RNC Chairman Duncan as well as Co-Chairman Jo Ann Davidson opened the Sunday session with a Power Point presentation outlining five main strategic attacks against the Obama candidacy. A Politico reporter witnessed the document, but not the presentation.

The first called for pointing out what the GOP views as a seeming incongruity between Obama and the mantle of commander in chief. The second point harkened back to Obama's days in the Illinois state Senate, noting how his "pattern of voting 'present' offers many openings to question his candidacy." The third offered hope to the GOP faithful that "we can be confident in a campaign about issues." A fourth bullet point relayed how "undisciplined messaging carries great risk," while the fifth and final attack point stressed, "His greatest weakness is inexperience. He is not ready to be commander in chief. He is not ready to be president."

It was further revealed that the RNC sees Health Care as a seminal issue which they must address, according to Karl Rove:

"Are we going to move towards socialized medicine or away from it? Because we can't move towards the middle."

A platform that maintains "status quo" on the health care issue won't cut it with the American public, so it'll be interesting to see in which direction the GOP moves on that plank. Since Obama's current plan leaves gaping holes in coverage, and leaves the system open to gaming and fraud, maybe the Republicans will just adopt it as their own, neutralizing the issue as an election "difference." It'll fail and eventually be scrapped anyway, so what's the harm?

But I strongly suspect Obama will rework his plan if he succeeds in getting the nomination -- he's just not honest enough to admit his error now.

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Comments (8)

Steve Crickmore:
Most of the weekend, however, the retreat gave the chance for donors who contributed $15,000 or more to bask in the 70-degree California sun, enjoy some golf or tennis at the L.A. Country Club

To borrow Letterman's line that the GOP candidates ( and almost all the RNC I might ad) look like....
"guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club."

A generational sea change has passed the GOP, the Grand Old White Male Party, and in response they decided to go with their oldest and grumpiest candidate. There are no black Republicans in the Senate or House. The GOP's strategy seems to mirrors the Clinton's losing strategy thus far, of emphasizing experience over the hope and change of Obama.

Bill Clinton tried to minimize Obama's victory in South Carolina comparing it to Jesse Jackson in 1988, but "Obama took 52% of Virginia's white vote. Jesse Jackson had 7-10% of the white vote in Virginia in 1988."

I don't this strategy of highlighting McCain's experience against Obama is going work any better for McCain than it has for Hillary. The grandees of the GOP expensive time at the retreat would have been better spent playing another round of golf rather than watching such a futile powerpoint presentation.

Lee Ward:

Steve, I know you and I disagree on several things, and I welcome your opinion - dissenting or not -- but I will ask that you keep your facts straight when you post comments on my posts.

Bill Clinton tried to minimize Obama's victory in South Carolina comparing it to Jesse Jackson in 1988, but "Obama took 52% of Virginia's white vote. Jesse Jackson had 7-10% of the white vote in Virginia in 1988."

Obama did not take 52% of the white vote in South Carolina (link). He got 52% of the non-black age 18-29 vote and that age and demographic group was only 5% of the total electorate, meaning that group comprised only 10% of the non-white vote.

In the non-white 30-44 group Obama only scored 25%, in the non-white 45-59 group Obama only scored 23% of the vote, and in the non-white age 6-+ group Obama only gathered 15% of the vote.

I understand the enthusiasm and fervor that Obama supporters are enjoying today, but if you're going to slime a former Democratic President in your enthusiasm, calling him a liar in the process, at least keep your facts straight.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Steve - If I did the math correctly, Obama's percentage of the non-black vote in South Carolina was 10.7%

What you said:

Bill Clinton tried to minimize Obama's victory in South Carolina comparing it to Jesse Jackson in 1988, but "Obama took 52% of Virginia's white vote. Jesse Jackson had 7-10% of the white vote in Virginia in 1988."

Obama had 10.7% of the white vote in South Carolina.

Not that facts matter when you're sliming Democrats - hell, just look at the folks on Wizbang and Wizbang Politics....


Neither of you guys know what you're talking about. First of all, Steve, you mixed Rich's quote up good:

"Even when winning five Southern states (Virginia included) on Super Tuesday in 1988, Mr. Jackson received only 7 to 10 percent of white votes, depending on the exit poll."

The WaPo put up the ABC exit poll numbers from 1988, and Rich is incorrect. Jackson's support from whites ranged from 5 - 14% in the south (5 - 16% nationwide) on Super Tuesday. Jackson got 14% in Virginia. I haven't found data on SC.

Second, Lee, you didn't read what Steve wrote. He said that Obama got 52% of the white vote in Virginia, not South Carolina, and he did. Compare that to Jackson's 14%.

Anyway, let's look at what you said. You did not do the math correctly, in fact you did it hilariously poorly.

Here's the numbers you linked to (Obama's numbers):

Non-Black 18-29 - 52%
Non-Black 30-44 - 25%
Non-Black 45-59 - 23%
Non-Black 60+ - 15%

So the lowest percentage Obama got from any non-black age group was 15%, and somehow you think his total support of non-blacks, ranging from 15-52% in different age groups, somehow totals 10.7% for all age groups? Didn't that raise a red flag with you?

What you did wrong was you calculated it based on the percentage of the overall vote those non-black age groups represent, but failed to take into account that is only a fraction of the overall vote. 10.7% of Obama's overall 55% was from non-black voters, the other 44.3% was from non-white voters.

I did your math again accounting for the fact that non-blacks only represent 45% of Democratic primary voters, and the votes for Obama come to 23.78% (and I did do my math correctly).

Keep in mind that Edwards beat both Clinton and Obama in South Carolina's white vote, and none of that has to do with how well he did with white Virginia voters.

Lee Ward:

First mistake first: Yeah, I see where I went wrong - I calculated the non-black vote as a percentage of the total electorate.

The non-black voters who voted for Obama comprised 10.7% of the total electorate. For every 100 voters, 10.7 of them were non-black voters who voted for Obama.

Only 45 out of every 100 voters who voted in the SC Dem primary were non-black.

10.7 is 23.7% of 45. Got it. I left out the last step. mea cupla!

2nd mistake: I found the 52% figure used by Steve when I looked at the top of the South Carolina non-black vote tallies, and I leaped to the assumption that he'd pulled that 52% number he quoted from the South Carolina non-black age 18-29 tallies, overlooking that Steve was using a Virgina vote percentage in the discussion about Bill Clinton's remarks vis a vis Obama's performance in South Carolina.

2nd (even bigger) Mea Culpa!

My apologies Steve, and thank you mantis for doing the work to set it straight.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, I realize I got you off the wrong foot by including Virginia stats in a comment about South Carolina..The figure I have here from Fox news is 24% percent of the overall white vote Democrat vote for Obama, 38% for Edwards and 38% for Clinton from South Carolina...Among white men, in South Carolina, Edwards (43 percent) and Clinton (29 percent) outperformed Obama (27 percent).

The point I was making was that when Bill Clinton (who was only trying to put the best possible face on his wife's loss) compared Obama's victory to (native Grenville S.C native son) Jesse Jackson's caucus victories in 1984 and 1988, he was hopeful that like Jackson, Obama's appeal would be limited to some special states and situations, but Obama's campaign has proved far wider than Jackson's 'rainbow coalition', than even Obama's most hopeful supporters might have believed and in Virginia, Old Dominion a traditional Southern state Obama won 52% of the white Democratic (and Independent) voters, which is amazing stat. How does Hillary or McCain compete with that?

It was just a few years ago that there was an unwritten rule that black college quarterbacks couldn't be drafted for the NFL and had to earn their living in the Canadian Football League like Warren Moon or the last Republican Congressman JC Watts, and now Obama is probaby the favorite to be the President.

Obama has the advantage he can finesse his mixed race with whites and the cultural war of the 60's and 70's which he was not part of as Jesse Jackson was, and still pick up like 85% of the vote of black vote..If only he was like Tiger Woods and had more Asian blood too...I am being facetious but this is how America has changed so much..and the GOP is stuck with a grumpy candidate born in 1936. Unfortunately for Hillary we have moved right past the glass ceiling for women and are taking on the more formidable one for race and Obama partly because of his pretty exotic background can(get an almost unanimous black vote) without being explicit about race in the election or losing his appeal to whites.

*footnote, mantis I lifted the 7 to 10% figure from the Frank Rich article in the New York TImes. He didn't specify whether it was 84 or 88 campign of Jesse Jackson. It just goes to show for perhaps the most esteemed paper in the world they can be pretty lax.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

The context in which Clinton made the comparison of Obama to Jackson was, I believe, right after the South Carolina primary and before the Virginia primary. Correct me if I'm wrong on that.

At that time, Obama's ability to rally the "white vote" was indeed in question given the results in South Carolina, where Obama led in black votes versus Clinton and Edwards, but lagged both Clinton and Edwards in the non-black vote in age 30 and up.

Subsequently, in Virginia, Obama did much better, but that was much later in time than the point where Clinton made the comparison.

I'm guessing your point was not that Bill Clinton's comparison was unfair at the time he made it, but that Obama evolved beyond it and where he had similar results to Jackson in South Carolina, he did much better than Jackson did in Virginia.

(Since I've had difficulty being clear with my own thoughts -- me deciding what you were thinking is even more dangerous.)

The Jackson/Obama comparison in Virginia may have more to do with Jackson's relevance and momentum at the time of the 1988 Virginia primary, but that would require far more analysis and math... and I'm not sure I'm up to the task.

English is a wonderful language, and I hope to learn it someday... *Wink.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, that's exactly what I was trying to say..Basically the South is much different than it was 20 years ago..but let's not tell the GOP...The GOP Grumpy old white male grandees, the restrictive de facto country club set, are basically planning their next largely negative campaign and on the past cultural wars and which are no longer very relevant to a more multiracial America.

Incidentally, McCain had the worse attendance record and voting record (he made something like only 58% of the votes) last year in the Senate except for midwest senator who was in coma and suffering from a stroke..and McCain is going to bring up Obama's pattern of 'present' votes in a Illinois state legislature.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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