My Primary Picks -- "The Road Goes On Forever" Edition

[ Posted Monday, May 5th, 2008 – 12:29 UTC ]

"The road goes on forever and the party never ends."
--Robert Earl Keen


Tomorrow is yet another primary day in the Democratic presidential nomination race, between Hillary Clinton and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

What's that? Wright is not running, you say?

Oh, that's right -- the actual candidate is Barack Obama. I apologize. After watching the blathering on yesterday's Sunday morning news shows, I don't know how I could have forgotten that and gotten the two mixed up. After all, the whole point of public opinion shows are to keep us informed of the serious issues of the day, right?


Seriously, though, here we sit waiting for yet another set of primary returns to come in. Could anyone have predicted at the beginning of the campaign that this is where we would be -- in May, 2008 -- still not knowing who one of the major candidates was going to be? Well... um... you decide. Here is what I wrote almost a year ago, on May 23rd (the full article is worth a read, especially for the long excerpt from H.L. Mencken at the end of it -- first-person reporting from the "open" Democratic convention of 1932):

Wouldn't it be fun to have real national party conventions next year?

By "real" I mean, of course, presidential nominating conventions that actually do the work of nominating a party candidate, instead of wasting four days of America's time to certify an already-foregone conclusion. Some may call me crazy for saying so, but I think there is truly a possibility we could have at least one up-for-grabs convention next year.

. . .

The new primary calendar (which is still changing almost weekly, it seems) will be heavily front-loaded into January and the first week in February. Conventional wisdom has it that this is going to favor a single, strong candidate from each party, who will win the nomination in a landslide on February 5th. However, this conventional wisdom may be completely wrong.

The way the old primary calendar was structured, New Hampshire, Iowa, and a few other states who voted extremely early would narrow the field down to three or (at the most) four candidates. The minor candidates would (at this point) run out of money due to lack of donations (nobody likes to bet on a sure loser), and either gracefully drop out or continue running a "shadow" campaign in the hopes of being a "kingmaker" later in the contest by being courted by one of the frontrunners.

The second, middle phase of the campaign would be a bruising fight between the three or four frontrunners. Usually what would happen at this point is that one of them would start to generate "momentum" and start to be seen as the inevitable nominee. As more and more states voted in their primaries, the field would dwindle until only one remained. Then at some point, the single remaining frontrunner would get the magic number of delegates to the convention (50% plus one) and be the unofficial nominee. Any state which voted after this point would be completely irrelevant to the process.

Problem was, states got tired of being irrelevant. So they moved their primaries up to the front of the line. In 2008, as many as half the states could vote on the same day (Feb. 5th). But what if this precludes any kind of "momentum" for the frontrunner candidates? Four or five states will vote before 2/5, but what if the results are mixed? What if each candidate wins one state, places second in one other state, and third (or worse) in the rest? There would be no clear frontrunner going into 2/5.

This is the point where most pundits somehow assume that on 2/5, everyone in twenty or more states is going to speak with one voice, and the primary campaign will be over. I'm not so sure about this. What if we came out of 2/5 with results all over the map? What if two or three candidates appear to be splitting the delegates fairly evenly?

This would (ironically enough) mean that the states at the back of the line suddenly become the crucial battleground states for the nomination. The only place left to get that "momentum" would be in the states which voted in the middle or at the end of the schedule. But even that's not assured. And if no candidate is the clear nominee by convention time, then we would have a real convention for a change. All the delegates' votes in the first round would go for the candidates they are pledged to vote for; but then in subsequent rounds of voting, we would have absolute pandemonium.

So here we are, examining the "crucial" battleground states for the nomination... nearing the "back of the line" of the primary calendar. While I did lay out the possibility of an open convention in that article, I also shied away from making an actual prediction that it would happen. I'm still not ready to do that, as I still think there is a good chance the race will be over this Wednesday morning. Now (to prove I highlight my mistakes as well), I think this is something like the fourth or fifth time I have predicted "it's going to be over in a matter of days." To date, I've been wrong every single time. Nobody's perfect.

But there are only four possible outcomes for tomorrow night (without getting into the relative size of the victories, just on win-versus-lose). We'll take these in order, from "least likely to occur" up to "most likely," and then I'll pick the one I think is going to happen.


Hillary Clinton wins North Carolina. Barack Obama wins Indiana.

Wow, this would set the chattering classes on their collective ear if it happened! It might be fun to watch for that reason alone -- kind of like the media train wreck that was New Hampshire, earlier in the race.

But don't bet the farm on this one, as it is just not going to happen. This is the exact opposite of what the polling averages in each state have shown, and would be a double upset. Like I said, if it happens, it'll be fun to see some media egos deflated as a result, but otherwise it's not going to change the outcome of the contest much.

Result: Hillary stays in the race until the end. Obama eventually wins.


Hillary wins North Carolina and Indiana.

A Clinton two-state sweep! This, obviously, is the preferred result over in the Clinton camp, because it would allow them to claim she's got "momentum" and Obama is faltering badly. This is the only argument that has a chance of winning over enough superdelegates for Hillary to have a prayer of actually winning the nomination.

Voters may like being pandered to (what a concept!), and Hillary's gas tax holiday may be doing more good for her than the polls are registering. Political commentary from the inside-the-Beltway crowd usually misses an enormous point: most people don't pay a lot of attention to politics, until it impacts their own lives in a personal way -- and virtually everybody uses gasoline. This is why gas prices are an almost one-to-one predictor of the government's popularity among the public at large. So maybe people are buying McCain and Clinton's gas tax holiday after all.

Hillary is polling slightly ahead in Indiana, but Barack is still polling further ahead in North Carolina. This is why this option is less likely to happen than the next two possibilities. Hillary is favored to win two out of the next three contests (West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oregon), so she could make a good "momentum" case. Unfortunately for her, it's a wee bit late in the game for such momentum to do her much good at this point, in terms of actual delegates in the bank.

Outcome: Hillary stays in it all the way to the convention. Pandemonium in Denver!


Barack wins North Carolina and Indiana.

This is more likely to happen because he's not as far behind in Indiana as she is in North Carolina. Perhaps voters saw through the gas tax holiday pandering after all. Voters are not as dumb as many politicians (and virtually everyone in the mainstream media) think they are. Look for some media types to discover this astounding fact if Obama sweeps these two states.

At this point, I don't see how Hillary Clinton stays in the race. If Obama wins by double-digits in North Carolina and only a few points in Indiana, the math is just going to overwhelm Clinton. I don't believe that Clinton will stay in the race if there is no rational path to her victory -- I think she will know that it's over, and bow out.

Upshot: Hillary holds a press conference Wednesday morning and quits the race.


Hillary wins Indiana, Barack wins North Carolina.

If you bet the outcome determined by the polls, this is where to put your money. Hillary has been ahead in Indiana for a while, and while Obama made it a tighter race there than she may have expected, she edges him out for the Hoosier title. Obama, on the other hand, takes the Tar Heel State by a comfortable margin.

If this is the result tomorrow night, then watch the pledged delegate count. North Carolina has more delegates, and if Obama wins bigger there than she does in Indiana, then he will likely gain in his pledged delegate overall lead by a handful (five to ten, maybe). If the races are closer than expected, it may be a wash, with neither side picking up more than a delegate or three (at the most).

Resolution: Hillary claims she's won the "tiebreaker" state (counting Pennsylvania with these two), and continues her pitch to the superdelegates that Obama can't win in the Rust Belt, and can't win big states. Obama counters with: "North Carolina is bigger than Indiana, and only 25 delegates smaller than Ohio." The race goes on.

And on. And on. Robert Earl Keen is right. The road goes on forever....


My picks

Well, I just barely called Guam right last Friday, but I kind of blew the "point spread" since I predicted a big Obama win, and he apparently won by only seven votes. But seven votes is seven votes, so I'm chalking that one up in the win column. Which brings us to tomorrow's predictions.

I'm going to have to go all safe and "conventional wisdom-ey" on this one. Hillary squeaks out a win in Indiana, Barack wins comfortably in North Carolina.

My gut feeling (Chris' gut to Chris' brain: "Please, somebody, make it STOP!!!") is telling me to predict an Obama sweep. Plus, I could win our "predict the outcome of the Democratic race" betting pool, as my guess was Hillary calls a press conference at 10:00 A.M. (Eastern) on Wednesday morning and gives her swan-song concession speech, during which she announces she'll be campaigning for Obama from this point out.

But now that we're here, I have less and less certainty in my previous prediction.

I strongly believe Obama is going to win in North Carolina. The North Carolinians I know tell me it's a lock -- Obama will take the state, no problem. The polls seem to agree. A Hillary upset here could indeed change the dynamics of the entire race, but I just don't think it's going to happen.

Indiana is the real toss-up, though. There are many factors in play in Indiana. Something the mainstream media hasn't really put together yet is that the recent Supreme Court ruling on Voter ID laws was in the state of Indiana. This means that everyone has to show a photo ID to vote. This may suppress minority voting. But to counter that, there's a lot of minority votes in certain regions of the state that are largely being ignored by the media. And one of these regions is Gary and the whole northwestern corner of the state, which is really a giant extension of Chicago. This whole region of the state is actually part of the Chicago television market, meaning they have been getting "local" news about Obama for years now. Obama is a known quantity here, and needs no "introduction" to these voters.

Plus, Obama plays an excellent game of basketball. Unlike his bowling, he's "got game" with his hoops. And, much like Texas and high school football, non-Hoosiers just "don't get it" about how important basketball is in the state. So maybe that'll give Barack a needed edge here, who knows?

The polls have been up, down, and all over the map in the past few months in Indiana. This instability in the polling numbers means that pollsters really don't know what is truly going on in the electorate. Meaning an Obama upset is entirely possible. Or Clinton could surprise everyone and gain a victory margin here as big as she got in Ohio (10%) and Pennsylvania (9%).

But while my gut screams at me to call an upset here, I have to say I think Clinton's going to pull it out in the end.

So, my prediction is: Clinton wins Indiana, by four to six points. Obama wins North Carolina, by ten points or more. Everybody sing along:

The road goes on forever and the party never ends!


Those are my picks, what are yours?

Total correct Democratic picks so far: 36 for 52 -- 69%
Total correct 2008 Republican picks: 37 for 50 -- 74%
Total overall correct picks: 73 for 102 -- 72%.

[Previous states' picks:]

[AK] [AL] [AR] [AZ] [CA] [CO] [CT] [DE] [FL (R)] [GA] [HI (D)] [IA] [ID (D)] [IL] [KS (D)] [KS (R)] [LA] [MA] [MD] [ME (D)] [MI (R)] [MN] [MO] [MS (D)] [MT (R)] [ND] [NE (D)] [NH] [NJ] [NM (D)] [NV] [NY] [OH] [OK] [PA (D)] [RI] [SC (D)] [SC (R)] [TN] [TX] [UT] [VA] [VT] [WA] [WI] [WV (R)] [WY (D)] [Guam (D)] [Virgin Islands (D)] [Washington, D.C.]


Cross-posted at The Huffington Post


-- Chris Weigant


22 Comments on “My Primary Picks -- "The Road Goes On Forever" Edition”

  1. [1] 
    fstanley wrote:

    I agree that Sen. Clinton will take Indiana but by 10 points. Sen. Obama will take N. Carolina but by less than 10 points.

    And then we shall see what we shall see.......


  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Stan -

    Aha! A Hillary supporter, eh? You may be right, as Hillary has shown an impressive ability to close in these races. Over and over again, she picks up like five points in the last few days, too late for any of the polls to register it. This may indeed happen in both IN and NC, in which case you may have called it right!

    We shall indeed see what we shall see. I'm not counting my quatloos yet, but I still see that Wednesday press conference as a distinct possibility.

    But then, I've been wrong before....


  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm placing my bets on the 'pandemonium in Denver' option...just because I think there's been all together too little pandemonium in this election campaign...well, besides the fiasco in Iowa...which I'm still trying desperately to get over.

    And, that would be the most exciting outcome for anyone planning to attend, also.

  4. [4] 
    Thatcher wrote:

    What fiasco in Iowa? I live in Iowa - I don't remember any fiasco.

    Hey Chris -

    Though I initially predicted an Obama win for Indiana in a previous column - I'm tempering that to Clinton/Obama tying in the delegates for Indiana. Keeping my same prediction for North Carolina, though - Obama 66-49.

    As for percentages:

    Clinton 50.1
    Obama 49.9

    North Carolina:
    Obama 57
    Clinton 43

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hey, Thatcher!

    We may have to keep our distance, so to speak, or you may risk suffering the wrath of Elizabeth...consider yourself forewarned.

    The 'fiasco in Iowa', as I not so affectionately refer to it, was a political earthquake of immense proportions for me but I am not at all surprised that it never even registered on the political richter scale - for people who actually live in Iowa or not!

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Thatcher -

    Loose prediction for delegates --

    IN - Hillary picks up 6.

    NC - Barack picks up 15.

    Net: Barack up by 9.

    And while I'm not entirely sure what Elizabeth is talking about in Iowa, I'm guessing from previous comments that it has to do with Joe Biden. Maybe it was the first debate where they limited it to just Clinton, Edwards, and Obama? I forget whether that happened before Iowa or after, but I do know it enraged a lot of Biden and Dodd supporters. Not to mention the Kucinich and Gravel folks....

    Elizabeth, do tell, was that the fiasco to which you refer?


  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Ah...(insert very long sigh here)...the fiasco in Iowa...where and how should I begin to explain?...

    Suffice to say that I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the candidate most qualified and best equipped to meet the serious challenges facing America, at home but especially abroad, was forced out of the race before the last caucus wrapped up in Iowa. This travesty was a direct result of a conscious effort and choice made by the vast majority of the media and blogosphere to ignore, and otherwise dismiss, the campaign of Senator Joe Biden - the leader among Democrats on foreign policy, national security, and constitutional issues whose impeccable and unimpeachable credentials were wholly unmatched by any of his presidential rivals, of either party.

    And, in so doing, the media and blogosphere, clearly worked to deprive the electorate (not that the electorate is absolved of any personal responsibility here, not by a long shot!) of the opportunity for an honest and informed assessment of the capacity for real leadership that a Biden presidency could have provided to meet the complex and unprecedented challenges of what promises to be a very difficult decade.

    I don’t mean to put ALL of the blame for the fiasco on the good people of Iowa. But, the voters in this great state did squander the opportunity that they were given, in my not so humble opinion, to make a sound and well-informed judgement about who their next President should be.

    And, so...we are left with a farcical caricature of a presidential campaign that is...well, less than presidential. Essentially, we are now bearing witness to a battle for mediocrity. I would like to know when it was that Americans became so willing and content to set their sights so much lower than the stars and settle for so much less than the very best.

    Maybe you guys can shed some light on that for me as I try to understand and recover from the fiasco in Iowa.

  8. [8] 
    Thatcher wrote:

    Elizabeth -

    Actually I would agree with you that several good candidates were ignored, actually if you look at media coverage of the candidates and the results in Iowa, NH, SC, Nevada - I think you will find that the media coverage and the final percentages garnered were very similar.

    My first choice was Bill Richardson (I caucused for him and we shut out Hillary in our precinct). And here is where I would part with you ... Bill Richardson is heads above the rest. He has the foreign experience, the diplomatic experience, the executive power experience. Both in and out of the Beltway. Biden was a second choice for me.

    However, I moved on when Richardson stepped out. I moved to Obama before Super Tuesday. Iowa was 4 months and 3 days ago - I've moved on.

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I would make two points. One, Senator Biden is the undisputed leader among Democrats on foreign policy, national security, and constitutional issues which was made crystal clear during the debates. We could have a lot of fun - presumptuous of me, I'll admit - comparing the records of Biden and Richardson. I hope we will do that sometime!

    Secondly, Governor Richardson was and still is, I guess, extremely misguided on how to end the civil war in Iraq. He had no strategy to do that and relied instead on tactics only ie. pull all of the troops out now, full stop. I found him to be particularly pandering on this, the #1 issue.

    Frankly, I found his lack of foreign policy judgement to be quite surprising. I had expected much better from him, considering his foreign policy and diplomatic experience that you correctly point out.

    Similarly, Senator Obama has been, it could be argued, the most disingenuous candidate on the issue of Iraq, especially when he purports to be the only one among his rivals to have been against this war from the start. And, he continues to misrepresent a vote in favor of the October 2002 resolution authorizing the use of US military force in Iraq as being the equivalent of a "vote for war". However, he has used this Iraq mantra extremely successfully in a clear attempt to compensate for his paucity of foreign policy judgement and experience.

    If Senator Obama actually believes his own rhetoric on this critical issue, then he is not competent to be the next POTUS. In fact, the three remaining presidential pretenders, have no business occupying the White House because none of them understand the first thing about how to end the civil war in Iraq.

    Of course, my incessant comments on the ‘fiasco in Iowa’ are intended to be tongue-in-cheek. Although, the repercussions of not electing the most qualified and best equipped person to be the next POTUS - especially at this crucial moment in US history - may mean that it will be exceedingly difficult to “move on” from this particular election cycle...if you know what I mean.

  10. [10] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Since we're all friends here, I will publicly admit for the first time (it doesn't seem to matter much anymore, especially after NC's voted) -- I personally supported Edwards, but didn't get a chance to vote for him on Super Tuesday because he had already dropped out.

    Make of it what you will.


  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, Chris...John Edwards didn't have a plan to end the civil war in Iraq, either, my friend. In my book, that alone disqualified him, and all the other yahoos, from even putting themselves in this race.

    Call me stuck on stupid but I'd like know what posessess these presidential pretenders to make them think that they have any business assuming the duties of Commander-in-chief when they so obviously don't understand the first thing about what will be required to end the civil war in Iraq and withdraw US troops without leaving a failed state in their wake with serious and long-term consequences for the US for a very, very long time.

  12. [12] 
    Thatcher wrote:

    Elizabeth -

    I already know I won't be able to convince you in the arguments ... (I've learned that from debating another commenter to this site). My bottom line is - in my opinion - as long as we keep a force there - we are only continuing bloodshed.

  13. [13] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Thatcher -

    I don't know yet about your delegate counts, but whoever wins the popular vote in Indiana tonight (as of this writing, 91% precincts reported, no winner yet), you get the "Most Accurate Prediction" award, hands down. You were off by one point in NC (with 98% counted, it's 56/42 right now), and (at most) you'll be only a half a point off in IN, no matter who wins.

    Pretty good! I'm impressed....


  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:



    Actually, you will learn that I really can be swayed by good and valid arguments. But, I admit, I do have my moments! And, as Chris said...we're all friends here!

    You know, I think we can agree that absent a serious effort to promote a political solution in Iraq that would bring an end to the civil war, there is no good reason to keep US forces in Iraq...none whatsoever. And that was my problem with the Gov...he did not have a viable strategy for a political solution.

  15. [15] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Elizabeth -

    Yeah, but unlike many I truly believed that John Edwards was the closest to what I call "neo-populism," which is why I was for him. Both Hillary and Barack toss a few populist bones now and again, but Edwards' whole campaign was about it. And if you want to talk fiasco in Iowa, we can talk about how Edwards, after getting second place, was just completely shut out of the media afterwards. He didn't stand a chance when he couldn't get his message out. The MSM didn't like his message, so they froze his campaign solid.

    I saw another commentary somewhere tonight that said "isn't it ironic that the Dems have annointed the good-ol'-boy vote as the most crucial, when they tossed aside their very own good-ol'-boy candidate."

    But this is why I didn't publicly say anything until now, because I'm supposed to be impartial. I thought I did a pretty fair job of showing the good and the bad of both campaigns up to this point, myself, without any bias towards one or the other. Not all of my readers may agree with that statement, though!


  16. [16] 
    Thatcher wrote:

    Chris -

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Just seems that my clock broke at the right time.

    Elizabeth -

    I feel he did have a viable strategy. And he was a man who has walked into hostile countries by himself, with no overt threats or security/military presence with him, and gained the release of American hostages.

    Any man that can accidentally show the sole of his shoe to Saddam Hussein (a severe insult) at the beginning of talks and then by the end get our people home is the kind of person who can help Iraq heal without our forces there. He has a master's degree in International Affairs from Tufts.

    And the vote for the use of military force in Iraq was to me at the time a vote of war. Just like the vote on September 18, 2001 - Joint Congressional Resolution 107-40 authorizing the use of military force "to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States." was a vote of war. We went to Afghanistan on the 2001 vote (to war) and so the precedent was set for the subsequent Iraq vote.

  17. [17] 
    Thatcher wrote:

    Chris - based upon data on the NC elections website (LINK):

    Using the vote totals by congressional district there to determine the delegate count:

    Obama 66
    Clinton 49

    Though, the congressional district totals almost 200,000 votes less than the statewide at this time on their site - so the CD totals aren't completely up to date.

    For Indiana - it's estimated between a 4 to 6 gain for Clinton (depending on who you use) ...

    So, Obama +17, Clinton +6 (best case in both) ... Obama +11 net for the day and when you add in Pennsylvania & Guam - Clinton ends up net +1. That's after 4 contests.

    When you look at the popular vote (for those who WISH to do that) ...

    Clinton was +214,115 in Penn
    And so far is +22,412 in Indiana

    Obama was +7 in Guam
    And so far +236,270 in NC

    Result: Clinton +250 for the 4 contests - so far.

  18. [18] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Thatcher -

    Guess we're all up late tonight...

    Ah, but you failed to mention that once again your prediction was stunningly accurate. Broken clock, my foot!

    With 99% of the vote in, Indiana's result:

    Clinton 50.9%
    Obama 49.1%

    Perhaps you mistyped the tenths, I don't know. But even if you didn't, you were still eight-tenths of a point from another perfect prediction.

    That sound I hear is the national polling organizations ringing your phone to ask you how you do it!

    heh heh.


  19. [19] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Forgot to mention --

    Looks like my final percentages will work out to:

    Total correct 2008 Democratic picks: 38 for 54 — 70%
    Total correct 2008 Republican picks: 37 for 50 — 74%
    Total overall 2008 correct picks: 75 for 104 — 72%.

    Not too shabby, better than 7 in 10 average for everything! That's a lot better than 50/50 you'd get just flipping a coin...


  20. [20] 
    Thatcher wrote:

    Chris -

    eh ... I'll only count my projections if Obama rolls out 19 to 20 supers more than Clinton does over the next 6 days.

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hey, Thatcher!

    ...just a few thoughts on the viability of political solutions for the political problem that is Iraq...your comments on the October 2002 Iraq Resolution deserve a separate post!

    If the Gov had a viable strategy for a political solution to end the civil war in Iraq, he was never able to articulate it. He was offering extremely simplistic, pie-in-the-sky platitudes that were just not practical, let alone viable. Like the other candidates, Governor Richardson rhetoric on this issue was about tactics as opposed to strategy. He talked about a complete and total withdrawal - “no residual troops” - before any diplomatic surge could begin. He was being awfully naive - or pandering to the lowest common denominator - with respect to the timetable for this withdrawal which, to his credit, he did adjust. But the bottom line is this - whether or not such an absolute withdrawal would have been possible or would have made conditions on the ground in Iraq worse, it most certainly would have done NOTHING to end the civil war.

    There was only one candidate, of either party, who had spent the better part of the last three years developing, fine-tuning and laying the groundwork for a comprehensive strategy to promote and facilitate a sustainable political settlement based on principles of federalism and Iraq’s constitution. This strategy has already won the support of an overwhelming and unprecedented majority of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, with an absolutely incredible vote margin of 75-23 in the Senate! The Biden strategy has also been unofficially endorsed by the permanent members of the UN Security Council. And, most importantly, many of Iraq’s sectarian leaders are on board with what Senator Biden is proposing should be US policy in Iraq.

    The Biden strategy, in a nutshell, would provide a process whereby the warring Iraqi factions would be brought together to the negotiating table to hammer out a political accommodation that they could all live with. The regional and major powers would be involved in an effort to support and secure whatever power-sharing arrangement the Iraqis were able to achieve. This process would occur under the auspices of the United Nations but US leadership would be a critical ingredient.

    And, so...that is why I say that, when it comes to political solutions in Iraq, Senator Biden remains head and shoulders above the rest. In fact, Senator Biden remains the only person on the face of the planet who has offered up a viable strategy to end the civil war in Iraq which would allow for the withdrawal of US forces without leaving a failed state in their wake or the need for another generation of US troops to return.

    And, so...when it comes to political solutions in Iraq, Senator Biden was, and continues to be, head and shoulders above all the rest!

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Okay, so...about the AUMF in Iraq...

    First off, I feel like I’m hijacking this thread and so...Sorry about that! Really!

    I’m not so sure that it is possible to compare the 2001 and 2002 votes and to say that one set the precedent for the other. I mean, the mission to Afghanistan was pretty much a no-brainer. And, President Bush did all the right things, especially in building a strong and deep coalition - even Canada was on board, for God’s sake!

    The October 2002 resolution was a whole other can of worms and meant to deal with an entirely different set of problems, regardless of how it is interpreted by the masses today. Most people do not seem to understand much about the context within which the debate surrounding this resolution took place. The debate raging at the time was how to put enough pressure on the UN to tighten up the sanctions on Iraq and keep weapons inspectors on the ground there.

    A vote for this resolution was an effort to give the President the clout he needed to go to the UN and force them to act to compel Saddam to comply with any number of critical UN resolutions that he had signed onto at the end of the Gulf war. The President could say to the UN that if you don’t act I already have the authority to force Saddam into compliance.

    The Iraq resolution of October 2002, authorized the use of US military force as a last resort and under certain and clearly defined conditions that this President chose not to meet. In other words, sometimes you have to read well beyond the title to understand the intent behind a resolution!

    This resolution was surrounded by a very complicated debate...made more so by some of the very ill-informed comments made by some of the senators debating it. I would urge you to take a very close look at the debate in the senate on this resolution. I would focus on the senators who actually knew what they were talking about and pay careful attention to the statements made by Senator Biden.

    Here is a great link for the transcript of most, if not all, of the senate debate on this resolution. Enjoy!

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