Andrew Malcolm: A Steaming Pile of Stupid
In the past I’ve referred to the Los Angeles Times’ Andrew Malcolm as “one of the worst professional polibloggers,” but after today I’m just handing Laura Bush’s former press secretary the gold and calling it official. He is without a doubt the worst. Today Malcolm in the Muddle aimed his rapidly leaking brain pan in the direction of George Stephanopoulos’ post about John Edwards’ campaign staffers “doomsday” strategy and burped up the following:
One need not be a political novelist to imagine how history might differ had those suspicious aides acted immediately, allowing anti-Obama Democrats to coalesce behind Hillary Clinton before Barack Obama won the party’s Iowa caucuses. Clinton finished third there. Edwards was runner-up, his best showing. She went on to win New Hampshire, which would have given her considerable momentum moving on.
No, you wouldn’t have to be a political novelist to imagine that, just a blithering idiot. There isn’t a shred of evidence to support that argument unless you consider the fact-free mewling of delusional deadenders to be credible sources of information.
First let’s look at an Associated Press article from January 12, 2009:
Indeed, Edwards voters in Iowa favored Obama over Clinton as their second choice by a nearly two-to-one margin in caucus-night surveys. And Edwards supporters in New Hampshire reported they had a far more favorable impression of Obama than of Clinton, according election-night surveys there. [...]
A mid-December survey of voters nationally conducted for the AP and Yahoo News found that Edwards supporters split about evenly between Clinton and Obama when asked which candidate would be their second choice. Clinton and Obama each were the second choices of about 27 percent of Edwards supporters. Another 28 percent were unsure who would be their second choice, and the rest were thinly scattered among other candidates.
In light of the announcement by John Edwards that he had an affair in 2006 and lied about it, the Hillary Clinton forces are now suggesting that if Edwards had been forced out of the race before it really got going, she, not Barack Obama, would have won Iowa and thus (presumably) the nomination. Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s communication director during the campaign said as much to ABC News in a story released today. [...]
Finally, as a political scientist, I actually have some data that speaks directly to this and clearly argues against Wolfson’s claims. I carried out a project in cooperation with both the Republican and Democratic parties to place a survey in every precinct in Iowa – all 1784 of them. The Chair of each caucus was directed to give this pencil and paper survey to one randomly selected person just before the caucus began. Among many other things, we asked Democrats: “If the candidate you now support is not viable, what will you do?” In response 82% of Edwards supporters said they would support another candidate (18% said they would not; they would simply leave). When we asked which candidate they would then support, 32% said Clinton and 51% said Obama (the remainder picked other candidates).
Wolfson’s claim that two-thirds of Edwards supporters would have supported Clinton is just not supported in data collected directly from those who actually participated in the caucuses. Had Edwards not been running, and if nothing else had changed (despite what I just wrote above) my data suggest that Obama would have ended up even further ahead of Clinton than he was. Of the 1784 precincts that were to hand out the survey, I received back 81% of them, an incredibly high response rate, so I am quite confident in the data.
Edwards didn’t ruin it for Hillary in Iowa. Her incompetent campaign staff, including Wolfson, did. End of story. [Malcolm link via Wonkette]
RELATED: Joe Trippi is pretty angry about Stephanopoulos’ post. He left this comment there:
I said it yesterday and I just twittered a response again today: Complete BS — fantasyland — not true.
Posted by: Joe Trippi | May 11, 2009 3:08:14 PM
Sure enough, he did Twitter about it: