Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Progressive Update--04/23/2008--Pennsylvania Results

Nomination Math—With 99% of precincts reporting, Hillary took 54.7% of the vote to Barack’s 45.3%, a 9% margin. Despite the spin, it was not a double-digit victory. She captured 6 more PA delegates than Obama, cutting his total delegate advantage to 127. Hmmm, six more delegates won by Hillary than Barack in PA. All Hillary needs to close that delegate gap are similar victories in 21 more states like PA. Oh that’s right, there aren’t another 21 states like PA left. There are only 7 states left, none with as many as PA’s 187 delegates. Actually, only one has more than 100 delegates, North Carolina, where Obama is polling 15% ahead of Clinton. Yesterday’s minimal gain by Hillary will be lost by her in two weeks.

I would like to mention two websites that I regularly visit: is wonderful, and is updated daily. Real Clear Politics has many pages-- presents the current Democratic delegate race. Neither site appears to favor either Democratic candidate.

In PA Obama closed the gap with Clinton from 20% to 9%. He did this by outspending her, which he could do as he is supported by his much larger base of donors. He had to outspend her to close the gap, for she began with so much more name recognition, both due to her years as first lady, and for her time serving in the senate for neighboring state New York. Obama did exactly what he needed to do, close the gap, and keep the delegate loss to an insignificant level.

What are the superdelegates waiting for? The party needs to come together behind one candidate. The party decides its nominee by delegates, and Hillary Clinton can not close that gap. It is time for the superdelegates to confirm the primary results, the delegate math, and to pledge their votes to Barack Obama, so that we can get to the job of beating John McCain, and ending the eight year debacle of a Republican White House.

Dream Ticket?—A friend raised this issue with me this morning, of Hillary running as VP to Barack as President. I consider this much more of a nightmare ticket. For Hillary to be an asset on that ticket, she needs to stop, today, in her negative ads, and the negative words she and her surrogates aim at Obama (no problem directing them at McCain, of course). Without that drastic change, she is showing Obama and Democrats that she is putting herself above the party, and that is a trait that a VP can not have. Furthermore, she needs to really put a muzzle on Bill—perhaps she can get him to campaign for her in Guam.

And now the view of Villanova Political Science professor Matthew Kerbel on the PA primary:

Two word take: nothing changes. This is about what I expected (I predicted an 8 point win and the final numbers are going to put it close to 9). She will spin that the superdelegates are starting to wonder about Obama, and there is a serious doubt about his ability to win blue collar ethnics in the rust belt, but that's not a new concern. She will most likely net in the range of 8-15 delegates out of yesterday, which doesn't put her any closer to the nomination. And the clock is running out.

The main issue for Democratic superdelegates today, as it was before Pennsylvania, is to find a way to bring this to a close without alienating her constituencies by making it appear she is being forced out. The calendar has conspired against this happening, providing a yawning seven week gap with no contests sandwiched between a pair of states (Ohio and Pennsylvania) with strongly favorable Hillary demographics, giving no cover to those superdelegates who would like to unite behind Obama. Their next chance comes with North Carolina, which Obama is certain to win just as Pennsylvania was always going to be Hillary's to win.

This is and has long been a race between two different coalitions, where outcomes have been decided by who had the most voters in a given state, not by who could change the most minds. That's why it has been shaped more by the calendar than by momentum. Obama prevailed in that race by being better organized in caucus states and campaigning hard in small states that Hillary ignored. But he can't close it out against an equally strong coalition until the calendar lets him. That, too, was the case before Pennsylvania. So nothing has changed.

Paul S Baumbach

Friday, April 11, 2008

04/11/2008--Windmills and Windbags

Wind Power Tug of War—Two big events occurred this week. House Concurrent Resolution 38 passed the house (go to to see how your Rep voted—Terry Schooley voted in favor of this important legislation that directs the Controller General to stop stone-walling the contract which was approved by all three state agencies that studied the bids and the contract.

With 25 Reps voting for it, and with six Senators co-sponsoring it, more than a majority of the General Assembly supports this, so why is the Controller General continuing to stall? Tom Noyes runs a great blog, with special attention to the wind power issue, at

Delmarva’s marionette puppet Senator Harris McDowell’s sham hearings have, surprise, surprise, this week led to a report (seemingly penned by Delmarva) that argues for buying land-based wind power (without any price protection, and without bringing any jobs to Delaware). Anyone willing to bet that the report wasn’t written before the first sham hearing? House Bill 6 was passed two years ago to bring control to the price of power to Delaware. Bluewater Wind (BWW) won the bidding process fair and square, by meeting the requirements. Delmarva (and therefore McDowell) didn’t like the results, and so they are working hard to scuttle it. To bring jobs and clean off-shore wind power to Delaware, ask your state senator to vote in favor of HCR 38, recommending that the Controller General approve the BWW contract.

Discrimination Update—Senate Bill 141 (SB 141) would make it illegal to discriminate against someone in Delaware based on sexual orientation. Let’s join Maryland and New Jersey and 18 other states (and DC) and get this passed now. The bill is stalled in committee by Senators Still, Copeland, and Cook. Sponsoring senator David Sokola is passing a petition to bring the bill to the senate floor. Please contact your own senator and ask them to sign onto the petition for SB 141, to put an end to this discrimination in Delaware.

If you live in Senator McDowell’s district (Senate District 1 in north Wilmington), please give him a call at 302-744-4147 or 302-577-8744 and ask him to stand up against discrimination, and sign Senator Sokola’s petition. (You should probably not mention that I think that he is Delmarva’s lap dog.) THANKS!!!

Spaghetti Dinner/Auction Update—Tonight is the night. Bring family and friends to tonights spaghetti dinner and auction for the 23rd RD Democratic committee, at the Newark UU church ( for directions). The cost is $10, and the dinner starts at 6pm. Chris Coons is a terrific auctioneer, and most Democratic candidates will be there. Will you?

State Democratic Party Convention Update—I was not selected to go to Denver as an Obama delegate. I posted some information on my blog about the state convention on Saturday April 5th. The process is quite involved, and I did not go into all of it. I described it to some as sausage—the result is great but you don’t want to see what goes into it. The delegation selected to go to the national convention in Denver is wonderful, and will do a great job in representing the state. However, it was painful for many who really wanted to go and did not understand the Byzantine system, especially in selecting ‘add-on’ delegates. Also, state party chairman John Daniello’s behavior during the selection of delegation chair was atrocious.

Presidential Primary Update—There are only 11 more days until the primary in Pennsylvania, only two more weekends to volunteer to help your candidate get more votes. Each candidate has a good website, where you can find out how you can volunteer (and donate). I continue to really enjoy going to daily to get updates on election issues, including polls. It notes that Obama has 130 or more delegates more than Clinton, and this gap is insurmountable. There are some great tables of data at , including the 2008 Democratic Popular Vote (with and without Florida, Michigan, and caucus states IA, NV, ME, and WA). I see zero chance of Clinton receiving more popular votes, states, or delegates than Obama. When can we move onto challenging John McCain?

I’m a financial planner, and a reporter asked me this week what I thought about the 3 candidates’ views on estate tax reform. John McCain wants there to be no estate taxes until a couple has $10 million, and then cut the tax rate from 45% to 15%. Both Hillary and Barack want to freeze the levels at $6 million per couple. McCain’s position is not too surprising, given that his wife is worth about $100 million. I simply don’t get how Republicans can continue to say, with a straight face, that they are fiscally responsible, and at the same time talk about drastically cutting tax revenues from families with more than $6 million. That kind of fiscal responsibility got us into the current financial mess. How can we cut taxes for zillionaires when we need money for schools, health care, and infrastructure? I just don’t get it! We need to get a Democrat into the White House in November!

Governor/Lieutenant Governor Race—I serve on the Progressive Democrats of Delaware’s ( endorsement committee. We examined the candidates for Delaware governor and lt. governor last month, and this month we endorsed Jack Markell for governor and Matt Denn for lt. governor. Please realize that the other two candidates (John Carney and Ted Blunt) are good people, and good candidates, however we felt that Jack and Matt are the best.

Good Government—We are asking the Newark City Council to join New Castle, Elsmere, Smyrna, Ocean View, Felton, Farmington, Lewes, Wyoming, and Odessa, and the League of Local Governments, to urge the General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 4, to remove the General Assembly’s exemption from abiding by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Likely this will come up at a council meeting in the next month. Let me know if you’d like to attend and support this resolution.

If you live in the city of Newark, please contact your councilperson (and the mayor) and express your support for this resolution. You can go to to find your council person, click on their picture, and bring up a page with their email address. Be prepared for comments such as ‘city council likes to stay out of partisan issues’ (response—good government isn’t partisan, and this bill will help Newark better see how its interests are being handled in Dover—no more closed-door sessions), or ‘other folks are addressing this’ (response—shouldn’t Newark stand up and be counted along with the others who wish to improve our state government).

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Paul's Path to Denver Ends--04/06/2008

Well, I gave it my best. I spent many, many hours in Dover today, at the state Democratic delegate convention, but was not selected to represent Barack Obama in Denver. I end this post with an article from the Wilmington News Journal on who was selected.

The good--some great delegates were selected to represent Obama, people who have worked a tremendous amount for the campaign. The Obama campaign is very pleased with the makeup of the state delegation, and this is terrific! It was good to see such a full set of great candidates. A big weakness of the Democratic Party these days is having too many good choices from which to choose!

The bad--I was amazed at the autocratic style of state party chair John Daniello. Late in the day he nominated himself to lead the delegation in Denver, from the podium, and then proceeded to run the meeting even though the order of business was his nomination. Daniello follows the style of Senate Pro Tempore Thurman Adams (who freely uses his desk drawer veto, and who obstructs the passage of Senate Bill 4, which would have the general assembly fall under FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act). Daniello appears to consider himself, also, above the rules--that the rules are made for others. Clearly we progressives have some work cut out for ourselves here in the First State, to make the Democratic Party, well, democratic.

On the topic of bad form, I didn't appreciate having to listen to well over an hour of state leaders speaking--Daniello, Minner, Carper, and Biden. There were some good messages, but not even close to worth taking up so much time of hundreds of Democratic activists. Biden admitted that even he found his own talk boring!

I'm very disappointed with not making it to Denver, but this will fade. What won't fade is my desire to help Barack Obama seal the nomination--he already leads in delegates, popular vote, and states, and there is no question, he will continue to lead in August. The next stage of the campaign is the Pennsylvania primary on April 22nd.

The article >>> DOVER -- Several hundred Democrats met at the Dover Sheraton today to sort out who will represent Delaware at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.

It took almost a full day, but they got it done, electing 16 delegates from around the state, including nine pledged to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, six pledged to N.Y. Sen. Hillary Clinton and one unpledged delegate. They will join the state’s seven so-called “super delegates,” who have slots on the Delaware team by virtue of their elected office (governor, member of Congress, state party chairman).

Before getting down to business, delegates heard speeches from four of those super delegates -- Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden and Tom Carper, and Democratic State Chairman John Daniello.

Then they elected the following delegates:

Kent County: Joe Dillon (Clinton), Elisa Vassas (Obama), Peter Couming, alternate (Obama)

New Castle County: Robin Whitaker (Obama), Bernard Pepukayi (Obama), Betsy Maron (Clinton), Ken Woods (Clinton), Saundra Ross Johnson, alternate (Obama)

Sussex County: Kay Ryan (Clinton), Tim Willard (Obama), Ardeth Savage, alternate (Clinton)
Wilmington: Stephanie Bolden (Obama), Darius Brown (Obama)

At-large: Dr. Spencer Epps (Obama), Samuel Lathem (Obama), Crystal Barnett (Clinton), Bill Skogen, alternate (Obama)

Pledged party leader and elected official delegates: Wilmington City Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz (Obama), state Rep. Helene Keeley (Clinton)

Unpledged add-on: Rob Carver