Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Power Play: Hillary's identity-based organizing

Is straight outta sight. Her reach and depth in Nevada's Asian American community is tremendous. These folks are real leaders in the community who know how to organize, and her support here cuts across pan Asian lines - Chinese, Filipino, Pacific Islander, Korean, South Asian, Southeast Asian. This is before Edwards or Obama have a single APIA staffer in Nevada, and she's rightfully crowing about her support in the state. She's got a Nevada African American leadership group, and a Nevada Latino leadership group as well, and well, these folks are public supporters waaaaay early.

Indeed, she seems to be investing significant resources in Nevada, which shows me that she's taking APIAs seriously and playing a smart game, since it's the main "First Four" primary/caucus state with a large APIA population. Moreover, Edwards and Obama haven't really staffed up and seem to treat Nevada as flyover country.

If I were a staffer for the Obama or Edwards camps, I'd be worried about her skilled staff sucking all the air out of the room. She is a formidable opponent (to use Colbert's phrasing) and her campaign is being run well enough that she will win the primary at this rate. To some degree, her press release announcing NV APIA support and even quoting the nonprofit APIA Vote is a signal to Obama's camp that they are taking our community seriously, especially after his "Senator Clinton (D-Punjab)" gaffe.

It's true that the Clinton campaign had been very standoffish, very "you're lucky to be paying $23,000 to attend this fundraiser" with donors, but Obama's 1st quarter sprint scared the bejesus out of them. Since then, they've been very polite and they haven't been taking any money or votes for granted. They've been working all the angles and digging deep into constituencies. It's impressive, and she has the gravitas (carrot) and stick (control of old school Dem party machinery) to accomplish it. She's going hard after donors who had previously sworn allegiance to Obama like Spielberg and financial wizard Warren Buffet and turning her enemies into allies. She's done it all before (Example A: Newt Gingrinch.)

Plus she's been doing well in debates, and at the Howard debate she came out strong, but promising nothing. Full of sound and fury, and yet when push comes to shove, I suspect there is no single issue that she holds dearer than winning. She's the whole package - a smart, talented, successful woman who can do whatever she puts her mind to. But she's the package without a soul, which is why I can't bring myself to support her fully, though I admire her political prowess. Doesn't mean she wouldn't make a great president - she's buckets and oceans smarter than the current plankton-in-chief. But she would have to get past the general, and her unfavorable poll numbers on both the Dem and Republican sides are no joke - it's reality. And if she got past the general, I can't trust her not to throw [pick your interest] under a Mack truck. Right now I'm looking closely at Gore (if...), Obama and Edwards. That's my trifecta.

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