Daily Archives: March 5, 2008

Bestest New Camera

25420_d40_left_dI took the plunge a little earlier this afternoon and bought a digital SLR. Went with the Nikon D40. I thought long and hard about the Canon Digital Rebel, since it’s the bestselling DSLR at Amazon, or the Pentax K100D, since I love my old manual K1000 and have two lenses that theoretically should fit the digital. But in the end I figured that if I’m committing myself to one flavor lens for the next couple decades, if I’m spending this much money, I really should go with the Nikon lenses.

18-135mmBut I didn’t just go for the standard 50mm lens, choosing instead the 18-135mm zoom. I could have gotten an 18-55mm and a 55-200mm set for less money, but I didn’t want to have to swap out lenses. The SLR is going to be bulky enough, especially taking it to Ireland for our bike tour. One lens is enough trouble. Plus it’s a better lens than either of the two. Better optics.

In the cold light of day

Andrew Sullivan points to the flip side of the Clinton surge:

Obama supporters should not be dismayed.

Obama has a tougher, nastier opponent in the Clintons than he does in McCain. If he wins this by a long, grueling struggle, he will be more immune to the lazy, stupid criticism that he is some kind of flash in the pan, he has more opportunity to prove that there is a great deal of substance behind the oratory, he has more of a chance to meet and talk with the electorate he will need to win in the fall.

I think the argument for Obama is easily strong enough to withstand the egos of the Clintons. The more people see that her case is almost entirely a fear-based one and his is almost entirely a positive one, the more he will win the moral victory as well as the delegate count. In the cold light of day, the bruising news that the Clintons are not yet dead seems less onerous.

Know hope.

Earlier I mused that if Obama isn’t able to withstand Clinton, then it necessarily follows that he never would have been able to withstand McCain in November. Sullivan makes an interesting reverse negative jujitsu flip of that. Being a conservative, however singular his particular example may be, he sorta kinda likes McCain, and he utterly loathes the Clintons. So he thinks this primary fight now is worse than the race with McCain will be in the fall.

I’m still not so sure, but it’s an interesting viewpoint. I still think the Limbaugh/Coulter wing will eventually come around, if not by St. Paul in September, then certainly by November. What do you think they’ll be throwing at the Democratic nominee?

Pleading for time

John Dickerson has this today in Slate:

We’ll see in the coming days if hundreds of superdelegates allow the primary process to continue without continuing to move toward Obama. Clinton is pleading for time, arguing that voters should be allowed to have their say in future contests. But even in this she comes up against a contradiction posted by Obama’s lead. Because she must rely on the superdelegates to beat back Obama’s likely lead in the popular vote and among pledged delegates, she is essentially asking those superdelegates to listen to the people—but only long enough to be persuaded to vote for her. Then she expects them to undo the will of the people by voting against Obama in Denver.

The idea that struck me, the pleading for time part, makes me think that yesterday was Clinton’s surge. Sure, the violence is down in Baghdad, and Obama’s winning streak is ended at twelve. But what now? How does that change the fundamental strategic position of the two situations?

That’s how campaigns work

Spent quite the sleepless night last night, first following the primary results back and forth between MSNBC and the Web,1 then lying in bed sleepless and sick over the results. Then out of bed at the computer checking further returns (hoping that Sandusky and Cuyahoga, where the polls stayed open later, would break bigger for Obama when those later returns came in) and analysis. Then more lying in bed sleepless. Then surfing specifically non-political Internet trying to get my mind off things.

I had figured Clinton would win Ohio, having heard day before yesterday that Obama was pulling out to finish campaigning in Texas. He had pretty good pollsters, turns out. But I sure was hoping he’d win Texas.

Feel positively hung over this morning. Can’t change what happened, though. Only thing is going forward. Main thing I’ve come up with is that while Clinton has gone very negative, she hasn’t yet received anything in the way of negative campaigning.

And here’s what Josh had to say as his final thoughts, at 2:21 a.m.:

A lot’s getting said tonight. And a lot of it is baseless speculation. But the one thing that rings true to me is this: The Clinton campaign got rough and nasty over the last week-plus. And they got results. That may disgust you or it may inspire you with confidence in Hillary’s abilities as a fighter. But wherever you come down on that question is secondary to the fact that that’s how campaign’s work. Opponents get nasty. And what we’ve seen over the last week is nothing compared to what Barack Obama would face this fall if he hangs on and wins the nomination.

So I think the big question is, can he fight back? Can he take this back to Hillary Clinton, demonstrate his ability to take punches and punch back? By this I don’t mean that he’s got to go ballistic on her or go after Bill’s business deals or whatever else her vulnerabilities might be. Candidates fight in different ways and if they’re good candidates in ways that play to their strengths and cohere with their broader message. But he’s got to show he can take this back to Hillary and not get bloodied and battered when an opponent decides to lower the boom.

I’m not sure how the man with the hope and the pretty speeches (who totally makes me cry sometimes; doesn’t he make you cry sometimes?) can remain the man with the hope and the pretty speeches while hitting back and bloodying She Who Is Was Inevitable. But he’s got to do it. And if he can do that, hit back and bloody and still remain Man/Hope/Pretty Speeches, then I can’t see any stopping him on his way through Denver in August and then on to November.2 If he can’t, then he wouldn’t have had a chance in November anyway.

So this is his chance. We know hope. Now we need tough hope.

1 A necessary component of this is the headphone extension cord that I recently bought. So now I can watch TV after Dawn goes to bed.

2 But then again I’m an utterly hopeless political prognosticator, going all the way back to 1980, when I was certain that Reagan would pick Phil Crane to be his running mate. I’ve always been this total dork that you see before you.