Commentary Magazine


No Kidding

Hillary Clinton adviser and superdelegate wrangler Harold Ickes revealed to TPM Election Central (h/t The Page) that he’s talking to superdelegates about Reverend Wright. Shocked? To liberal pundits who think the Wright episode is a nothingburger it may be a surprise. But Democratic insiders–who by and large have real constiutents–do care, at least according to Ickes. The report tells us:

“Super delegates have to take into account the strengths and weakness of both candidates and decide who would make the strongest candidate against what will undoubtedly be ferocious Republican attacks,” Ickes continued. “I’ve had super delegates tell me that the Wright issue is a real issue for them.” In a reference to Wright’s controversial views, Ickes continued: “Nobody thinks that Barack Obama harbors those thoughts. But that’s not the issue. The issue is what Republicans [will do with them]…I think they’re going to give him a very tough time.” Asked whether he was specifically bringing up Wright to super-delegates, Ickes said: “I’ve said what I’ve said . . . I tell people that they need to look at what they think Republicans may use against him. Wright comes up in the conversations.”

There is good reason for Democrats to be concerned, despite the assurances they are getting from the Obama-enablers. This poll shows Clinton leading by 9 points in Indiana, and by 21 points among white voters. Even more telling, this report (worth reading in its entirety for the priceless quotes from actual voters) suggests that, despite what some voters are telling national pollsters, Indiana Democrats are bothered about Wright:

Interviews with dozens of Democrats in this overwhelmingly white region — where voters will go to the polls in the May 6 primary — suggest residual concerns over the controversy involving Obama’s former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. . . Still, there are stirrings of unease among white voters, including those who fear the issue will hurt Obama in a general election. Pew also found that 39 percent of all white voters who had heard of the controversy, including Republicans and independents, said it made them less favorable toward Obama.

Well, there’s the rub. What some national polls and liberal media tell us conflicts with private conversations among Democratic insiders and voter reaction in a battleground state. Which do you think is more reliable?

The Democrats better be very sure this is a non-issue not only with primary voters, but with non-primary voting Democrats and independent voters (whose preferences only really are known on Election Day in November). Lots of material for Ickes and those superdelegates to talk about, it would seem.