Wherein I Express Displeasure With Lou Dobbs

I’m going to say something I don’t say often enough:
Lou Dobbs is an idiot.*

I’m watching CNN, and Dobbs is pushing the Obama-Clinton ticket. The Democrats on the show (Carville and Donna Brazile, primarily) are resisting. And here’s one of Dobbs’ arguments, paraphrased:
The Obama campaign already has detailed knowledge of everywhere Clinton is strong, due to primary results and exit polls. There is no other VP candidate we can say the same about. And, Clinton is strong everywhere Obama is weak.

Dear Lou Dobbs: Strength is relative. We know where Clinton is strong against Obama. In elections, voters make choices between the options available. We know which states and amongst which subgroups of voters Clinton was chosen over Obama. So we know where she is strong against him, and vice versa. We have no idea where she is strong against McCain (except the tiny bit from state by state general election polls, but polls do not equal election results). Furthermore, the Democratic primaries were just that – Democratic primaries. How one performs in a primary is not necessarily a predictor of success in the general – Clinton may have been popular amongst whtie men in West Virginia, as compared to Obama, but we simply do not know against McCain. Also, performance at the bottom of a ticket is different than at the top.

But most importantly, Mr. Dobbs, your argument that Clinton compliments Obama because she does well wherever he does poorly is idiotic: There were only two choices in the majority of states, so of course Clinton did well when Obama did poorly. Votes for Clinton + Votes for Obama = 100 (approximately, at least in the last few months). If one goes up, the other goes down. It’s called an inverse relationship.** Yes, Clinton did better among women in most states than Obama did. Does this mean Obama is weak among women, as compared to McCain? We do not yet know, but my bet would be “no”. Democrats traditionally do well among women (as the West Wing quips, if only men voted, Democrats would never win elected office). Additionally, McCain has a bit of a history with women and anger that should upset both men and women.

So, in summary, Lou Dobbs is an idiot. Clinton might be an excellent VP choice, she might not. But arguing that primary results show us that Clinton perfectly complements Obama is just plain wrong.

* I first came to dislike Lou Dobbs when I was studying immigration. To say that Dobbs is wrong on immigration is to understate the issue in a roughly comparable way to saying that China is slightly larger than Guam.
** Dobbs and the CNN talking heads liked to say that “the math [was] hard” for Clinton (hooray sexism!). Apparently, the math (or, more importantly, the underlying logic of math) is actually hard for Dobbs.


1 Comment

  1. Beth

     /  June 3, 2008

    I cannot watch Dobbs anymore. It becomes an exercise in self-restraint. And I’m not good at restraining from throwing things spontaneously.

    Where in the world isJohn McCain‘s brain on this one?

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