Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Rush Limbaugh Effect: A Never-Ending Season Of Destructive Politics

“Texas is open. And I want Hillary to stay in this, Laura. This is too good a soap opera. We need Barack Obama bloodied up politically, and it's obvious that the Republicans are not going to do it and don't have the stomach for it.” — Rush Limbaugh

Note to myself: Lay off the broccoli & dip for Sunday morning breakfast.

There’s a reason I made the above mental note. I was doing my Sunday morning sabbatical of watching the political shows – in this case “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” roundtable discussion with the pundits. I was munching my breakfast while listening to Donna Brazile making the case for the Obama campaign, while admitting that Clinton won big states: “she won Texas, and she won Ohio ….”

After hearing Texas, I damn near asphyxiated myself with my own breakfast (maybe this is why George Bush Sr. never liked broccoli!) After finally dislodging the broccoli, I got pissed off all over again.

Yesterday the entire state of Texas’ elected delegates to our second level – the State Senate Districts – spent our entire Saturday electing delegates to the Texas State Democratic convention. I am here now to dispel once and for all that Hillary Clinton DID NOT WIN THE MAJORITY OF DELEGATES IN TEXAS.

Word to Donna Brazile, the Clinton Campaign, the media at large: stop perpetuating this false report, please!

“I see that [the Clinton campaign are] threatening to sue in Texas over the selection process down there, delegate-wise, because you can vote twice with the caucuses and with the primaries.” — Rush Limbaugh

Yes, Texas does things differently. We have a vote and we have the media’s so-called “two-step caucuses” (what we call precinct conventions to elect our proportional-strength delegates). It seems confusing, except the wisdom of it is only coming out now. What this does is divvy the party’s national delegates on a proportionate value (via the “caucuses”) based upon traditional party vote in governor’s races. Senate districts all get at least two delegates for each party, but if they are strong GOP or strong Democrat districts, they can have as many as eight (and thus heavier precinct portions). My district’s close to equal Dem to GOP (slightly GOP), and we have five that will go to the national convention.

The reason it’s now become smarter than the “dumb” process people labeled it is the Rush Limbaugh effect. As Republican neo-con stalwarts are disappointed and bored with their race, the only thing they can find to do with themselves is start trouble elsewhere. If they can’t have what they want, they’ll simply trash the whole shebang and flip the bird to America. That’s what good patriotic conservatives like the ever-so-hypocritical Oxycontin-Head Rush Limbaugh are supposed to do.

“We have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs …. if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up …. too many whites are getting away with drug use.” — Rush Limbaugh

It turns out that party-switchers have had their effect. Recently there’s been a notable rise in party filing for the Democratic party in Pennsylvania. It could be candidates’ drawing power, though we’ll see how they vote down the ballot and whether it’s (as some have reported) GOP folks registering with the opposition party purely for creating chaos with the hated liberals.

This crossing the aisle, reaching across the aisle is fine and dandy, except it doesn't work. We always end up compromising our core principles to get anything done this way.

In Texas, we’ve already noted a lot of party switching. Large numbers of sudden Democratic voters arrived at sleepy rural county Dem primaries. It could be candidate interest. But it was also noted how frequently these same voters were voting for the president and no other candidate. It was also reported that some of our Texas primary voters were calling in to the conservative talk shows bragging of their renegade disruptions and even commenting they went home afterwards to pray for forgiveness.

Sure enough, as Rush had requested the votes for the conservative-despised Hillary of Clinton-land, Clinton pulled off victories in both Ohio and Texas on the popular votes. Besides Hillary’s expected support in latino strongholds (not surprising), she also carried virtually all rural counties where latinos are quite the minority. It gave her 100,000 votes more than Obama on election night, and that’s all the media reported – 65 delegates for Hillary, 61 for Obama. Hillary also has 11 superdelegates out of our 31, Obama 10. End of story?

“I want the Democrats to lose. They're in the midst of tearing themselves apart right now. It is fascinating to watch, and it's all going to stop if Hillary loses.” — Rush Limbaugh

Time to insert the Dikembe Mutombo finger (a Houston Rocket basketball shot-blocker extraordinaire) and add an emphatic “No, No, No! Not so fast!”

We “dumb Texans” don’t just apportion our delegate strength to all districts equally based upon the vote. Two-thirds of the available vote went based on popular vote when went 51-48 Clinton to Obama. That meant 65 delegates Clinton, 61 Obama. Superdelegates 31 votes will also balance to the overall vote, with two-thirds of them committing now: 11-10 with Clinton holding the slight lead.

But the last third is weighted to favor Dem strongholds – folks who traditionally vote (and would be presumed more knowledgeable) on our party candidates. This is where the major cities and strong Dem districts came out for Obama.

An unusual conglomeration developed that became Obama strengths beyond the African-American vote. The intellectual white crowd, the outsourced-and-offshored crowd, progressive college students, Arab-Americans, the aging hippie/biker set and transgender and trans-supportive gay and lesbian backers made a big and visible difference in this race for Obama. Clinton won over most of the white vote outside of intellectual and outsourced (esp. the establishment Dem set), most all non-black women, most latinos, virtually all Asian-American non-Arab, most all recent white Republican converts (esp. women) and most gay and lesbian voters that were not of the trans-supportive defections (read: the HRC set). Non-Arab Indian were pretty evenly divided.

The only surprises I noted were the Asian-Pacific bloc on Hillary’s side (even my next-door neighbor’s adamant support) and the white Republicans on Hillary’s side. I was led to believe they were more in support of Obama (and indeed I worked with one lady to convince her convert husband to switch from Hillary to Obama with her). As it played out in my precinct and others I noted, they all went Hillary – with one latino GOP couple in my precinct going for Obama. I don’t know what happened there.

“The problem I do have with it is that it appears that it's an appeal to the media and it's an appeal to the Democrats. It's a desire to please them. I would love for Senator McCain to start treating liberal Democrats the way he is treating conservative Republicans. I'd like to see him throw some of them under his bus.” — Rush Limbaugh

In my senate district, the reported apportioning based on delegates to our precinct conventions (caucuses) was 81 for Obama, 46 for Clinton. Even our precincts voted heavily Obama, 73 elected delegate from precincts to 20 for Clinton (the differences made up in at-large senate selections.). The reports have it that Obama ended up with 60% of the delegates statewide in the last third.

Using those calculations, with the 71 remaining delegates in our “caucuses”, Obama gets 43, Clinton gets 28 (60-40%). Add 43 to 61 (popular vote) and 10 superdelegates and you have 114 Obama delegates. Clinton gets 28 plus 65 (popular vote) and 11 superdelegates or 104.

That gives Barack Obama a ten vote advantage right now, with only ten more superdelegates undecided. Even if Hillary Clinton managed to rope in all 10 of those votes, that only ties her with Obama at best. Even if Obama picks up one more of those superdelegates, he wins the Texas primary.

As a post-script, all my blockwalking, campaigning and organizing paid off again. My precinct, though for the time chaired by a Clinton supporter, went for my candidate (21 Obama to 9 Clinton), and elected our two Obama delegates (those with votes) and left the alternates to Clinton. For the third straight presidential campaign, my precinct is sending a transgender – yours truly – to the Texas State convention, and hopefully to Denver. And my co-delegate, an African-American male attorney, and I have already worked very well as a team and I’m coaching him to take his first delegate trip all the way up there with me!

Note to Harold Ickes of the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign, and the Human Rights Campaign: in close elections, when you dismiss or take for granted a segment even as small as the transgender community, it can come back to bite you. We’re more than willing to repay like in kind …!

“If Senator McCain attempts to identify Obama as a liberal on a few things, we don't have time to list them here. Obama could retort, "Well, Senator, you supported our party. You supported us on that issue” ….” — Rush Limbaugh

“There’s no way in hell I could ever pull the lever for John McCain” — talkshow hostess, Laura Ingraham

“[McCain’s presidency is] going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it. A lot of people aren't going to vote. You watch”. — Rush Limbaugh

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