Archive for the ‘Nick Bogert’ Category

Demos Pick Delegates– To go or for show?
February 29, 2008

Democrats across Florida will meet tomorrow. 25 meetings in the state’s 25 Congressional districts, to select delegates to next summer’s convention in Denver.
It promises to be colorful political pageantry. Would-be delegates will bring scads of their (D)-registered pals to vote for them. There’ll be lots of placards and politico back-scratching, and some string emotion; imagine being an African-American delegate who may get a chance to help nominte the first-ever major-party candidate of color.
But the fact remains– it could all be an empty exercise. So far, the Democratic National Committee continues to say– rules is rules, and Florida broke party rules by moving its primary up, before 2/5. The penalty– no delegates, unless FL holds a hugely expensive and logistically nightmarish re-vote or caucus, something Florida party leaders say wouyld disenfranchise 1.7 million Democrats who voted in the 1/29 primary.
Hillary Clinton is in favor of bending those rules in Florida’s favor. No surprise there– she won our primary. But the odds are now, that the Clinton camp won’t be in control of the convention, and Barack Obama has shown no inclination to seat FL delegates who would favor his opponent, 105-67.
So– is all this delegate selection all for show? Well, there’s a lawsuit aiming to seat the FL delegates that could change things.
And party leaders say– even if Obama’s the nominee, Florida will have a delegation in Denver.
Here, according to Broward D Chair Mitch Ceasar, is why– Democrats can’t afford to alienate voters in FL and– perhaps even more so– Michigan, which has also been stripped of delegates for moving its primary up.
Michigan’s an even-bigger mess– only Hillary Clinton’s name was on the ballot there. And Michigan’s an even-bigger must-win for the Democrats in the fall, so Ceasar figures the party will have to mend fences somehow with those two mega-states.

Hillary Will Win FL–Will the US Notice?
January 29, 2008

The Clintonistas are out on the talk-show rounds, arguing that her expected FL win will be a big story. Cong. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) contended on MSNBC that Florida will be the first big and diverse state to weigh in on the Democratic contest, and therefore, its verdict carries weight.
Fair enough–IO, NH, NV, and SC are small. Michigan has voted, but only Hillary’s name was on the ballot there.
In Florida, she’ll almost certainly roll up a lopsided win. All the latest polls show her up 20 points. None of them were taken after Barack Obama’s big SC win, or after the big names in the Kennedy clan proclaimed the Illinois Senator the rightful heir to JFK’s New Frontier legacy.
But Monday’s Quinnipiac poll makes it appear the Clinton votes in FL are pretty firm. 82% of her supporters here say there’s little or no chance they’ll change their minds. Only 69% of Obama’s FL backers are similarly firmed up.
Certainly, the announcement that Clinton will hold her primary-night party at the Signature Grand in Davie is a clear sign she expects to win, and wants to focus attention on Florida, after 4-1/2 months of avoiding public appearances here like the plague.
She’s after a coast-to-coast platform to proclaim her win, to proclaim FL’s long-neglected Democratic votes now have real significance. Will pundits and headline-writers across the country be impressed?
It seems unlikely. Almost all the pre-primary coverage of Florida focusses on the incredibly tight race between John McCain and Mitt Romney. When I asked NBC’s Tim Russert about the significance of a Hillary win (we had Russert on a Sunday-morning special on the primary), he repeated the prevailing pundit wisdom on the subject– that FL’s Dems are taking part in a meaningless “beauty contest” that will give the Clinton campaign no boost, heading into the 22 primaries on caucuses on February 5th.
Indeed, the only way the Democratic result here might get major media attention is if Obama comes within 10-points of Clinton. An unexpectedly close tally might lead to a spate of “momentum” stories about the Obama campaign.
Clearly, the Clinton folks think that’s a remote prospect, so she’ll be here to claim her moment in the FL sun.

And now, a message from—WHO?
January 15, 2008

  I heard my first honest-to-goodness campaign ad on South FL airwaves this morning, and it was another reminder of how deliciously unpredictable this campaign is.  Darned if it wasn’t an announcer extolling the virtues of Ron Paul on WIOD radio.  Ron Paul!  If you’d asked me six months ago which candidate would be the first to reach out to me on the airwaves, Ron Paul might have been my 10th guess.  Maybe my 12th.

  Overall, the ’08 campaign has been a huge disappointment to local media sales managers like my buddy at NBC 6, Larry Olevitch.  Larry was hoping for a bonanza when Florida moved its primary up to January.  Those old March timetables didn’t do much for broadcasters’ bottom lines, since presidential races were often decided by the time FL voted (hey, John Edwards dropped out the week before our primary, in ’04).
  But January– that would be different.  Larry had hopes of politicians and retail giants fighting for air time during the Christmas holiday season, if well-financed campaigns got cranked up early.  
  Then–Democratic candidates agreed to The Pledge, agreed not to campaign or advertise in Florida to punish us for throwing their primary/caucus timetable into disarray.  Those Democrats, hugely fearful of offending voters in Iowa, NH, South Carolina and Nevada, stuck religiously to The Pledge (see my October blogs about Barack Obama’s visit to Tampa).  
  Among GOP candidates, Mitt Romney did air some early “Get to know me” ads in FL, but they were either upstate (where advertising dollars buy more Republican eyes and ears than in the expensive Miami/Ft. Laud. market) or in Spanish, the first language of so many South FL Republicans.  Mitt’s pulled his media money out of the Sunshine State for now, pouring it all into Michigan.
  Rudy Giuliani’s on the air in Florida now, though–again– not on south Florida English-language stations.  Rudy’s desperate to win our votes, but his campaign appears a little frayed financially, and air time’s awfully expensive down here.
  McCain and Huckabee and Thompson are focussed elsewhere.  So that leaves Ron Paul.
  The libertarian Republican has plenty of dough– his internet fund-raising is one of the big “inside baseball” political stories of the year (maybe not so inside baseball– two people to whom I mentioned the Ron Paul ad immediately responded “Hey, he raised $19-million last quarter!”).  
  My friend Larry and South FL political junkies may be sad not to have seen and heard more political advertising, but many South Floridians may be relieved. Remember the ad fatigue so many complained of in October ’04?  
  
  

People Perplex Pundits– Again
January 9, 2008

For the 2nd week in a row, I’m enjoying watching electoral results roll in (about 38% of NH’s vote has been counted as I write this), and enjoying the surprises they bring.
Last week, the big news was the victories Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee, both of whom surged late.
In the 5 days since, pundits aided by near-perpetual polling have come close to declaring Hillary Clinton politically dead, and close to declaring Barack Obama the Nominee, perhaps the presumptive President. They couldn’t stop talking about Obama’s overflow crowds in NH. Brian Williams showed us the Senator’s reaction to seeing his face on the cover of Newsweek.
Pundits– particularly on Fox News Channel– interpreted joking remarks by Bill Clinton (“I can’t make her younger or taller”) as an attempt to alibi a coming double-digit rout. They declared that Sen. Clinton’s choke-up in a Portsmouth coffee shop was a sign she foresaw devastating defeat, and that many voters would be turned off by her unexected display of emotion.
Cable TV, as always, was quickest to render judgment– 24 hours a day of news/comment certainly gives pundits plenty of rhetorical rope to work with. But consider this clever but suddenly hollow-sounding lead in the Times of London dispatch– “As she watches her support melt away, the horror on the face of Hillary Clinton sometimes resembles that of C.S. Lewis’s Snow Queen on seeing summer return to Narnia. ” Artful prose, but NH may have brought winter back.
Wow– on the tube, with 47% of the vote in, Chris Matthews just admitted he’d been premature in burying Hillary Clinton. MSNBC’s exit polling is showing that NH voters who decided in the last couple of days were evenly-split between Obama and Clinton. The same exit-polling shows, unlike in Iowa, Sen. Clinton got the lion’s share of women’s votes.
It makes me think that a lot of women might have responded like Joy Behar, one of the hosts of “The View”. When I saw the Portsmouth diner scene being replayed on that show this morning, I turned the sound up to hear Behar bemoaning media savaging of Hillary and her campaign, and heard her call for a “woman’s backlash” against such ganging up.
I asked my wife about it– she’s kind of a Hillary fan, but has no truck with her near-tears episode in New Hampshire. “I’m not opposed to women showing emotion”, she said, “but it’s not what I want to see in my leaders.”
But Sally may not be typical– with 56% of the vote in, NBC’s Political Director Chuck Todd is now saying the choke-up in the diner might well have driven lots of women voters back in the Hillary camp.
Well, you’d think the whole point of this posting is– only a fool would hazard any guesses about what’s to come. That said, I would draw some conclusions, based on what we’ve seen so far.
For the second contest in a row, Democratic turnout has dwarfed Republican. “Change” is everyone’s theme. Obama– “Change we can believe in”. Clinton– “An agent for change.” McCain talks about how he’s long advocated change in Iraq strategy, while Romney claims nobody from inside Washington can “turn Washington inside-out”.
In a fall campaign, all of this would seem to point to a Democratic year.
Also– though he can rightly claim “two silver medals and a gold” (the former Olympics organizer’s way of describing second-place finishes in Iowa and NH and a little-noticed win in Wyoming’s caucuses), Mitt Romney is not looking good, coming out of NH.
Massachusetts pols OWN that primary. Mass. Sen. John Kerry won last time around, as did Mass. Sen. Paul Tsongas in 1992, and Mass. Gov. Michael Dukakis four years earlier. Hey, even Amb. Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts took NH as a write-in candidate in 1964, though the moderate Brahmin was quickly buried by the conservative Goldwater revolution.
Apparently, Romney’s the first Mass. pol to ever not win in NH. Maybe his name will be enough to carry Michigan next week (Mitt’s father George was governor there), but it sure looks like the quick-start, big-buck Romney strategy is going nowhere fast.
The good news– no one’s pulling away in the Republican field, and it looks like Florida will be really interesting– Giuliani, Huckabee, Romney, and McCain could still be in serious contention.
OK– NBC’s just declared Hillary the winner. Time to log off, with the usual advice– “Stay tuned.”

Bogert’s Blog Gets A Facelift
September 14, 2007

Watch for new postings from NBC 6 Political reporter Nick Bogert. For an archive of his previous postings,
click here.