South Carolina in the Bag?

by: Matt Stoller

Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 12:31


So I've been canvassing in Charleston for much of the day with a group of gay activists, including a retired Rear Admiral, Ellen Greene of Pushing Daisies and Daniel O'Donnell, who is Rosie's brother and a really cool representative in the New York State Assembly.  They are wonderful people.  It's something of an open secret that gay networks are incredibly important in politics, bringing together across all races, genders, political parties, and geographies people with a shared cultural identity who can then do business with one another.

All are strong Hillary supporters, and I went around a mixed middle class neighborhood with them in this extremely beautiful Palmetto laden city full of courtly elderly black men in three piece suits and canes, frattish college students who jello wrestle at nightclubs, and charming restaurants and cafes that are closer to genuine Parisian cafes than I've ever seen in America.  I'd never been Charleston, so I didn't know what to expect, but it just feels like the place where the aristocracy live, so lovely that it is something of a national capital for weddings.  While canvassing, I ran into a gay wealthyish Republican, who was deciding between Giuliani and McCain and who jokingly told me that Lindsay Graham is the President of their closeted Republican club.  He gave us a ride a couple of blocks to the next street on our map, and I went along and canvassed the various extraordinarily friendly black families living there.

My Espresso MartiniA smart friend I was with explained the strong attraction in the gay activist community to Clinton, even though she is probably the least progressive on gay issues of the bunch.  He told me that the gender barrier is very significant, and that's why Clinton is loved on a tribal level.  Obviously it differs depending on who you are, but I have not heard a more persuasive explanation for why the gay activist core is often with Clinton.

I obviously have no larger perspective, but the operation here seems somewhat low energy, much more similar to pre-election day in Iowa than Nevada.  There's no sense of urgency, and I get the sense that there's an acceptance that Obama has this one in the bag.  I was supposed to attend a student speech for Clinton, and the speech just didn't happen because the organizers bailed.  And the Clinton literature is inferior to the Obama lit, with the Obama literature both more attractive and more useful in that it had personalized polling place stickers on it.


Say what you will about organization, it's little touches like this that do in fact matter.  With no data and based on just a few conversations with low information, I get the sense that white voters here perceive a high amount of bickering between Obama and Clinton, and are using it as a reason to vote for Edwards and/or not vote.  So no, it's not just the blogosphere or the news media, people are paying attention and reciting memes about electability, bickering, partisanship, etc.

And yes, that's my chocolate martini.  If you'd like to see more pictures of Spanish moss and campaign lit, I put a flickr set here.  I'm going to a Hillary rally tonight, so more soon.

... All 9 pollsters working South Carolina have Obama ahead by 6-20 points.  If Obama loses South Carolina to Clinton, the nomination fight is over and the polling community is in some serious trouble.

Matt Stoller :: South Carolina in the Bag?

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Also bully pulpit speech by Edwards (0.00 / 0)
at the College of Charleston, tonight, I believe.

I wanted to see a pic of one of those Parisian-like cafes!!! (0.00 / 0)

I've never been to Charleston before, either and people tell me that the only two places in the South charming enough to visit are Charleston and Savannah.

For some reason, it seems that Obama has some pathological and deep-seated psychological need for Republicans to like him.  Seriously.  It's weird.

There are others (4.00 / 1)
I would certainly add Asheville, NC (and the surrounding area) to your list, in addition to many other places (Beaufort, SC; New Orleans; and Wilmington, NC, to name a few).

Of course, I happen to love the south (despite some obvious flaws) and am a sucker for its charms.

[ Parent ]
This is definitely not in the bag for Obama (4.00 / 3)
A number of polls have shown the race tightening, with Obama shedding support amongst white voters and older black women.  There is a lot of room for movement, based on the high number of undecideds.

I'm an Obama supporter, and I am very nervous about tomorrow. 

Gay Voters (0.00 / 0)
Matt, an awful lot of gay people are still very offended at Obama and the McClurkin debacle. The whole thing was handled very poorly and doesn't give us the impression that Obama is very sensitive to our issues and needs. Hillary, on the other hand, has been very reliable. We know where she stands.

I would agree with that. We are a little uncomfortable with the "faith" talk (0.00 / 0)
as well.  Clinton seems more secular.  And never ever underestimate the "unreligiosity" of gays.

But McClurkin was the big deal for me.  I am still for Obama because I don't like centrists, but Obama's not my favorite.  In fact, for gays in particular, this election cycle didn't show too many people who we'd wholeheartedly support.

Personally, I think our field is shitty.  I really don't like any of the big three that much.  But I am rolling the dice on Obama.

For some reason, it seems that Obama has some pathological and deep-seated psychological need for Republicans to like him.  Seriously.  It's weird.

[ Parent ]
Centrist (0.00 / 0)
How is Obama less of a centrist than Clinton in terms of domestic policy?  Seriously.  If anything not only are his policies less progressive, but he has this nasty habit of dividing the left.

[ Parent ]
Clinton is more secular? (0.00 / 0)
Obama has had to emphasize his Christian faith, in large part in response to the Muslim rumors about him. Many who have read his books seriously doubt that he is at all religious. If I'm not mistaking, both his parents were atheists and he himself only became a Christian in Chicago as an adult, and was really raised atheist.

HRC has touted her faith for a long time and many believe it is genuine. She regularly wears a cross and has a priest who's her confidant.

[ Parent ]
Most of the LGBT people I know (0.00 / 0)
DO know where Hillary stands, and that she is reliable alright, she will throw us under the bus as soon as she gets the nomination.

[ Parent ]
I don't doubt you, but what's your reasoning? (0.00 / 0)
I know Hillary was for the DOMA before she was against it, and the first Clinton administration was so progressive with Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but can you give some other specifics here?

[ Parent ]
Heh (4.00 / 1)
A friend of mine designed that lit, a campaign staffer, not an overpriced mail firm.  Did a better job of it than whoever did the Nevada door hangers.  Here is the pic I snapped of it.  Can anyone spot the error? (hint it has to do with the dates)

I guess that is an excuse for all of those rich white gay guys to like her.  She has had them in the bag for a long time, particularly those who go to all of the fancy Human Rights Campaign black tie dinners.

Here is the Hillary (4.00 / 1)
water from the caucus.  Did they go to Sams Club for all of the water or was a volunteer simply not thinking when they bought Walmart water?

[ Parent ]
And the reason this gay guy (0.00 / 0)
doesn't give to the human rights campaign anymore. They endorsed LIEberman, and Joe Salmonese has been a Clinton shill , since before he became the head. When confronted with the fact that Hillary will NOT get rid of DOMA, they have no answer, they are just caught up in the whole Hillary glitz. They don't have a clue, that is why I give my money to Lambda legal these days. There is a constituency of those guys though who align themselves with the Geffen crowd who will never vote for a Clinton again, and have said if she is the nominee, they will be away on vacation in November.

[ Parent ]
I want a chocolate martini (0.00 / 0)
I wish I could have that martini you were drinking.  I have a head cold and it would be great to drink one about now.

Check out the historic unitarian church in downtown (0.00 / 0)
That being said I don't think clinton is worse than edwards on gay issues.

My guess is that it is a matter of the fact that clinton defies the normal sterotype for a woman and most gay democrats do the same for their gender.

"most gay democrats do the same for their gender" (0.00 / 0)

For some reason, it seems that Obama has some pathological and deep-seated psychological need for Republicans to like him.  Seriously.  It's weird.

[ Parent ]
they defy the sterotypes of their gender (0.00 / 0)
of course lots of those stereotypes are specficially designed around not being gay

[ Parent ]
door hangers (4.00 / 1)
I handed out those (Obama) door hangers all day today in Charleston--upper peninsula. Welcome to town.

reason (0.00 / 0)
white voters here perceive a high amount of bickering between Obama and Clinton, and are using it as a reason to vote for Edwards

Or, maybe, they aren't "using" it as a reason as much as it "is" a reason to vote for Edwards. 

Boiled Peanuts (0.00 / 0)
Be sure to try some local flavors before you leave--namely, boiled peanuts, she-crab soup, and shrimp & grits.

Clinton's shameless tactics, and those who fall for them (0.00 / 0)
Those of you who were out canvassing for the Clinton campaign, perhaps you should stop and ask yourself why your candidate isn't campaigning in South Carolina, why she decided to go off campaigning in other states long before the South Carolina primary.  Do you know why she's not there in South Carolina with you working for her own campaign? Don't you wonder about that? 

It's a calculated move, she's decided to write off South Carolina and all of you, so that she can turn around and say (through her husband) the people in South Carolina are voting along racial lines, emphasis on racial, in a subtle message to all the White folks of America.  So that when she loses, she can say it wasn't because the people of South Carolina prefer Barack Obama, it's because the people of South Carolina are Black, and they're voting to support a Black candidate, not the best candidate. We all know how those Black folks are.*wink wink* 

This is the kind of campaign she's running, one of division, deception, mischaracterization and race baiting.  Clinton has no shame, no credibility, and no integrity.  She wants to win this election at any cost, any cost to you and me and this country, as long as it gets her, Bill in the White House.  Take a look at the person you're supporting, I urge you to look closely and think objectively

This post is a perfect example of the voters Hillary is counting on to win her this election, selfish people, self-centered people, who put their own personal interests before the best interests of the country, just as Hillary herself has quite obviously done. It's now become a campaign of payoffs for Hillary Clinton, vote for me and I'll put money in your pocket vote for me and I'll be a populist who will bring jobs and prosperity, vote for me because I tell you what you want to hear.  Forget about everyone else, just think about yourself, and vote for me.  That's the real unstated slogan of the Clinton campaign.


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