Thursday, February 14, 2008


A couple of Valentines are in the works for Barack Obama, giving the love big time. From the NY Times: The Service Employees International Union, widely seen as the nation’s most politically potent union, is likely to endorse Senate Barack Obama on Thursday evening, a top union official said...Also today, the United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents 1.1 million workers in the United States, announced this afternoon that its board had endorsed Mr. Obama."

The SEIU and UFCW will be of special help in Texas among Latino workers.

Obama also got the love from Lincoln Chafee, longtime Republican Senator from Rhode Island who lost his bid for reelection over his opposition to the Iraq war. He announced he's at least temporarily changing his registration to Democrat in order to vote for Barack Obama in the R.I. primary.

Speaking of defections, two of Hillary's principal black supporters and super-delegates have declared now for Obama. According to the NY Times: Representative John Lewis, an elder statesman from the civil rights era and one of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most prominent black supporters, said Thursday night that he planned to cast his vote as a superdelegate for Senator Barack Obama in hopes of preventing a fight at the Democratic convention." An earlier AP report says Rep. David Scott, also of Georgia, said he was switching to Obama to better reflect the will of his constituents.

And word is that legendary Texas progressive populist Jim Hightower is getting set to campaign for Obama.

Any nervousness about Ohio has to be tempered by the news that Obama's best campaign team is already operating in the state, led by the guy who organized the Iowa caucus. The Clinton campaign also has a top operative there, and much of the political establishment as well as a lead in the polls--though that's been cut in half already. Obama's ground operation is getting in place, with 50 events scheduled across the state in the next week, while the Clintonians have two.

I've learned to pay attention to the accounts of local activists on Kos--they don't always indicate victory but they measure enthusiasm and effort. One account in Texas said that the number of people showing up for an organizing event got the response from the Obama field people that it was the biggest group anywhere for such an event. Similar accounts are coming in from Ohio--enthusiasm does translate into effort. So that even three weeks out, it now looks possible that Obama could actually win Texas and come close in Ohio.

Obama gets a Valentine from leftish feminist and excellent writer Barbara Ehrenreich in a column entitled Unstoppable Obama which begins:

When did you begin to think that Obama might be unstoppable? Was it when your grown feminist daughter started weeping inconsolably over his defeat in New Hampshire? Or was it when he triumphed in Virginia, a state still littered with Confederate monuments and memorabilia? For me, it was on Tuesday night when two Republican Virginians in a row called C-SPAN radio to report that they'd just voted for Ron Paul, but, in the general election, would vote for... Obama.

Ehrenreich, like Hightower, has to like the economic proposals Obama made yesterday, which are widely reviewed as populist and aimed at blue collar Americans, although there are proposals on credit card company transparency and bankruptcy that should appeal strongly to middle class professionals as well.

She's also the first I've seen to use the phrase I wrote for the Kerry campaign:

We, perhaps white people especially, look to him for atonement and redemption. All of us, of whatever race, want a fresh start. That's what "change" means right now: Get us out of here!

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