Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday link dump

Friday link dump

Woke up this morning -- isn't this race getting just about Soprano ugly? -- to the Bill Richardson Obama endorsement. (John Edwards was on Leno last night, but no endorsement. For a week with no primary, we're on info-overload: with Wright-gate and The Speech, Passport-gate, and Schedule Dump Gate. Hard to tell yet how any of it spins out or which has the most impact, but they all kind of bury Richardson. My guess is The Speech was decisive... but Bill, this would have meant SO much more before Super Tuesday, when HRC won your state by a razor-thin margin over BHO. Or even before Texas.

My actual stories are stalled so here's what I've been reading this week:

  • How Hillary's vacillating attitude on the caucus states hurt her:
    Hillary is genuinely, thoroughly distrustful of the caucus process. At the urging of her advisors, she swallowed her misgivings and campaigned in Iowa. Her defeat in Iowa left her feeling burned, and confirmed her doubts. She had, reports the Washington Post, "become allergic to caucuses, deeming them unfair." That aversion, as much as anything else, is the reason why Clinton now finds herself facing an all-but-insurmountable chasm among the convention delegates.

    Hillary was not willing to roil voters in those states when her nomination appeared inevitable by using her substantial clout on the DNC Rules Committee to eliminate caucuses, nor to mandate changes to their procedures, back when the primary rules were being debated and enacted. When she thought she could win in Iowa, she poured time and resources into the state, never uttering a word about her dislike for its process. In Nevada, she held her fire until the Culinary Workers endorsed her rival, and then focused her ire on the at-large caucus sites, which (somewhat ironically) were designed to remedy many of the inequities she decried. But it seems fairly clear that her distaste for the caucus system is genuine, and deeply rooted.

    My problem with Clinton's present approach is that she has crossed over from critiquing a system she dislikes to attempting to subvert it.

    Not strictly accurate: She was implicityly Iowa-bashing before the caucuses even met, probably in anticipation of the third place. As I liveblogged on Jan. 1: "You'll be standing up for those who can't be at their caucuses."  The troops can't be at the caucuses, she notes, shift workers can't be there. 

  • As Iowa City cracks down on panhandlers, a black guy asks for change.

  • If the race gets past Pennsylvania, here's how to win Indiana. "Avoid the following issues: the firing of Bobby Knight and daylight saving time."

  • A long read combining two of my favorite subjects: extreme geography and food crop biology. Learn about the Svalbard seed vault.
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