Obama’s Political eGFR…Calling Dr. Dean…

As most people know (or should know), there are all sorts of numbers that are indicators of a person’s health status. For example, as an indicator of cardiac health, if you have a cholesterol reading of 200-239 you are “borderline high” and may need treatment. Blood pressure has equally clear numbers in terms of what’s normal or what needs treatment.

But when it comes to the kidneys, things get murky, especially for general practitioners who look at the numbers and miss what’s really going on. In fact, kidney organizations have now raised a warning about how certain numbers which appear normal in routine blood tests, specifically serum creatinine levels, can mask a loss of 50% of kidney function!

In the last few years, a new number has appeared on basic blood test reports. It’s a computed figure based on other test results which turns out to give a very good estimate of kidney function. It’s called the eGFR (estimated Glomular Filtration Rate).

It turns out that many general and internal medicine practitioners don’t understand eGFR numbers. A level of 50 mL/min, which is only 10 units below the low end of the normal range level of 60 mL/min, is NOT OK. It’s not a “slight” difference, as one of my doctors commented to me. A level of 50 mL/min means that one’s kidneys are working at 50%…which translates into moderate kidney failure and needs watching and measures to be taken to preserve the function that is still left. Without proper care and diet modifications, a person with this level of function could wind up on dialysis or waiting for a kidney transplant as the percentage of kidney function drops.

How does this relate to Obama? Well, on the surface he looks in fine shape in terms of delegates pledged. He’s got the DNC helping him out by refusing to count the votes in FL and MI. He’s got lots of big names coming out to endorse him every time he loses a primary or flubs a debate. He certainly has the Mainstream Media pushing him along since they are loaded with pundits speaking out against Clinton and, and the same time, refusing to delve into Obama’s experience and relationships with any real seriousness. On the surface, it looks like his political serum creatinine is safely in the healthy range.

But all this masks what is really going on. Under the surface there is damage.

Prior to Super Tuesday on February 5, Obama was gaining support across all demographic groups according to this post dated January 20, 2008:

The truth is, of course, that these groups, who are disproportionately supporting Obama, are expected to constitute over 60% of Democratic voters according to a recent Diageo/Hotline poll. Of course, Clinton can win the nomination by doing extremely well among older white women (about a quarter of Democrats) and, it seems, Latinos (10%), at least on the West Coast, but that is not a more likely path to victory than Obama’s. Particularly since she may not be able to count on these women unconditionally, as Obama’s win among female voters in Iowa demonstrated.This dispiriting demographic segmentations obscure a more important fact: in every state that has voted so far, the more voters got to know Obama and focus on the race, the more votes he has received. So much has happened in the past month, politically, that it is hard to remember that he trailed Clinton by an (unweighted) average of 14% in CNN December polls in the early states. The result: he has won one state by 9%, and lost two by 3% and 6% (the latter, Nevada, possibly by less). These stunning gains have come about among all demographic groups surveyed, including older people.

But six weeks later, in late April, Obama had started losing voters. Paul Lukasiak’s analysis from April 24, 2008 ( Obama’s Sour “Apples to Apples”, Part Two )revealed that

In the last six weeks, Barack Obama has been losing support in virtually every key demographic category when matched against John McCain, while Hillary Clinton has gained support. Obama has lost support among men, women, White voters, “Independents”, and “Moderates”, while Clinton has gained support in all those categories.

Obama’s margins against McCain have fallen significantly in all of these categories, while Clinton is “holding her own” in these key categories as previously undecided voters make up their minds.

These conclusions are drawn from an “apples to apples” comparison of Survey USA polling done April 11-13 in nine states (California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin) with similar polling done in late February as part the SUSA 50 state poll (conducted Feb. 26-28).

After Pennsylvania, the picture became more stark. As discussed by Marie Cocco in a column entitled “Obama’s Demographic Loss in Pennsylvania” …:

The white, working-class voters now seem entrenched in their support for Clinton.

So, too, are African-Americans and affluent, educated whites mostly wedded to Obama.

In Pennsylvania and states like it — Ohio and Michigan come most easily to mind — this is not just a difficult hurdle for Obama to clear should he become the nominee. It is beginning to look insurmountable.

John Kerry barely took Pennsylvania in 2004, ending up with a margin over Bush of just 2.5 percentage points — down from a four-point victory that Al Gore had achieved in 2000. Even so, Kerry ran more strongly among the very demographic groups and in the very regions of Pennsylvania where Obama fared the worst on Tuesday. And that was in a general election, where vastly more voters cast ballots and those who do so are not necessarily strong partisans.

North Carolina continues the trend. In a Cox News Service story following the May 6 primaries, the coverage quotes a political scientist who commented:

Kerry Haynie, a Duke University political scientist, said Obama’s North Carolina win was impressive “and stopped the blood he has been bleeding for awhile.”

Exit polls in North Carolina showed the breadth of Obama’s win as he prevailed in many demographic groups in an electorate that was one-third black. Ninety-one percent of the black voters backed Obama. Fifty-nine percent of whites went for Clinton.

This comment makes it all sound great for Obama, but then Haynie mentions one of Obama’s biggest problems, although the reporter tries to make a big deal over Obama’s “improvement” with white voters in NC vs. PA. The writers opine that his 40% of the white male vote is “solid” for a candidate “trying to show the party” he can carry that vote in November. Note how the writers then tack on at the end the fact that “Exit polls taken in 30 contests so far showed Obama carrying the white vote in only seven, including his home state of Illinois.”

Haynie said Obama’s failure to carry white voters remains a concern as superdelegates shop for a November candidate.

It was a day that extended trends that have held for months, with Obama winning a significantly black southern state and Clinton prevailing in a heavily white midwestern state.

Clinton took 54 percent of the while male vote in North Carolina, but Obama’s 40 percent showing in that category was solid for a candidate trying to show the party that he can carry that segment in November.

Obama took only 38 percent of the white vote in Pennsylvania. Exit polls taken in 30 contests so far showed Obama carrying the white vote in only seven, including his home state of Illinois.

With about two-thirds of the voters in both North Carolina and Indiana citing the economy as the most important issues, these primaries also showed “the largest percentage yet to say so since the Democratic presidential voting began on Jan. 3 in wintry Iowa.” And this ties directly into white voters:

“When you peel back these numbers, it’s white middle-class voters,” said Lisa Caputo, a senior adviser to Clinton’s campaign.

In Indiana, two-thirds of working-class white voters backed Clinton, who is arguing to the party’s superdelegates that her popularity with this pivotal group will make her the stronger candidate in the general election against John McCain, the likely GOP nominee who won both Republican primaries on Tuesday.

The story continues:

And for Democrats, the ability to attract white voters could be the difference between winning and losing in November.

In 2000 and 2004, Democratic nominees Al Gore and John Kerry won about 40 percent of the white vote as each lost to George W. Bush (though Gore prevailed in the 2000 popular vote), who took 54 percent of the white vote in 2000 and 58 percent against Kerry in 2004.

So for all the hoopla and delegates supporting Obama, there is a HUGE problem being masked. While Obama’s political serum levels looks healthy enough, take a look beyond the obvious “test results” to a more detailed estimate of how healthy he will be in the general election. It doesn’t look like his political eGFR is functioning normally at this point. It looks like he’s well below that 60 mark which indicates he’ll have problems with any load put on his system.

And leave it to the Democratic Party to go right ahead and give the nomination to a man with these underlying issues. The party poobahs didn’t care to look into his background at the start of this and now they seem intent on hiding from the truth about his health (or lack of health) as a candidate.

Dr. Dean–please brush up on your medical training…I think you’re misreading Obama’s blood work results…Let’s not face political dialysis in November…

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