When the media fan club, sensing danger to their favorite son, wants to protect him from the perils of voters and have superdelegates “end it” one might conclude that he’s not up to the fight. Whom does this help? Is Obama a newborn fawn that needs protection from the ravages of Democratic primary elections? It seems this only helps his opponent. That was, after all, Hillary’s message tonight: I’m a fighter.
Posts For: April 22, 2008
I just heard William Schneider of CNN say, as he looked at Hillary closing in on a 200,000-vote margin in Pennsylvania and winning blue-collar white voters by a margin of 70-30, that the “bitter” comments really didn’t matter because Hillary won neighboring New Jersey by 10 points and Ohio by 9 and it looks like she’ll win Pennsylvania by 10.
Welcome to the Land of Delusion. Obama outspent Hillary 3-to-1 in Pennsylvania because he thought he could win it. Instead, he lost it. He lost it. He said rural Pennsylvanians cling to their religion and their guns because they’re bitter and they told him to go jump in the nearest vat of Scrapple. People like Bill Schneider are doing their beloved candidate no favors with their refusal to acknowledge how badly he’s been doing lately.
Matthew Yglesias, the leftist blogger, cries to the heavens: “I have to say that I’m getting really tired of this. All the superdelegates should just say who they’re voting for and bring this to the end.” The New York Times is, I hear, going to call on them to do the same immediately.
Yes. Sure. Because politicians with the most valuable votes in America are just going to choose up sides and not spend three months being courted and feted and promised. They are going to forswear having their feet kissed, their backs massaged, their views requested, their wants fulfilled, their needs anticipated. They are going to throw their vote away rather than milk it for all it’s worth.
It’s time for people like Yglesias and other Democrats to grow up and get this straight. The point here is: A thousand or so people are going to decide this primary. It behooves those people to have this go on as long as possible, because that is how they are going to get the most goodies. Maybe this is what Hillary truly understands.
But with over 80% of the vote he’s losing by 10%. And although he talks about uniting America and the party, his vote totals today don’t reflect an ever-expanding base of diverse support. He demographics are getting more and more restricted; his rhetoric tonight more angry. The Agent of Change has been knocked off message.
Obama just described himself, with 12 years as an elected official, as having performed two decades of public service. Maybe he took math lessons from education professor Bill Ayers.
As he speaks in Indiana, Obama has his usual rally audience behind him. Only the difference here, as Noah Pollak just pointed out to me in an e-mail, is that there are eight white men in the camera shot with him, and several of them are acting as a visual advertisement for Abercombie and Fitch. Even weirder: one of them looks exactly like Larry David.
So his speech is largely a rant against John McCain. He no doubt is happy to be in the Midwest, as he said. But the problem remains that he still has to climb past Hillary Clinton who did a remarkable thing: she gave a better speech. She was at least positive and engaging; he seems angry – at President Bush, at McCain and no doubt at the results tonight. Could he be bitter?
He never smiles. He never, ever smiles.
Not “yes we can”. Finally, a distinct policy difference between Clinton and Obama. And a telling one. There’s a difference between “can” and “will”. “Can” describes Obama’s position in regard to the nomination; “will” is predictive. Moreover, “will” is what it takes, and Hillary has it in abundance.
Hillary tonight: “I might stumble and I might fall down, but as long as you’re with me, I’ll get right back up.” Once again I am reminded of the detail in John Harris’s book The Survivor (as recounted by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times):
Do you know who I am?” Bill Clinton asked his adversary Newt Gingrich during the government shutdown of 1995-96. He answered the question himself: “I’m the big rubber clown doll you had as a kid, and every time you hit it, it bounces back.” The harder you hit me, he added, “the faster I come back up.”
I think everybody, including me, may have misread the Bill-Hillary relationship. Her evocation of this Clinton anecdote, and her indefatigable conduct in this primary, mark her not as Bill’s equal or as his conscience or as his power-sharer. It marks her as his acolyte.
The key message: “The tide is turning.” She gets in the old ladies, the young ladies, and the little girls. She’s riding the gender wave now. More importantly, she’s riding the wave of downscale Democrats and using her own comeback to identify with those voters. But her true problem comes through loud and clear: money. She’s banking on lots of people clicking and calling to give her enough money to keep her going. She’s not a great speaker but she was on message and on her game tonight.
Jennifer, Obama’s camp can’t be thrilled with CNN, Fox, or any other news outlets tonight. Not so hidden in all this speculation about Hillary’s superdelegate argument is the media’s disenchantment with Obama and his charms.
So far, Hillary is ahead by 8 to 10 percentage points, and her win is being talked about in reverential terms reminiscent of her coronation 6 months ago. Hugh Hewitt is calling this Hillary’s “second comeback”. Hillary had supposedly needed to win by a huge margin in order to go forward, yet Campbell Brown is now saying, “a win is a win”. The pendulum has swung back.
then the Obama camp better not tune into Fox. Karl Rove also just went through the state’s county-by-county returns. Obama is losing by huge margins in rural areas, winning but not overwhelmingly in Philadelphia and barely squeaking by in the Philly suburbs. More importantly, as Rove noted, if only 75-80% of those Clinton voters threatening to defect to McCain actually do so in the general election, that is still a whole lot of voters. No wonder the Obama folks want to “stop the drama.” I think they really mean “stop the bleeding.”
CNN just did a sophisticated county-by-county Pennsylvania voting analysis of the past 20 years. Dukakis was the last Democratic nominee to lose Pennsylvania–he had a poor showing in blue collar neighborhoods. The ultimate implication was that Obama could be another Dukakis. No wonder Hillary’s campaign is tuned to CNN tonight.
I know Pennsylvania is not moveon.org and Code Pink territory, but this is still a Democratic primary and if “Reverend Wright is not behind us” among those voters, wait until the entire electorate has its say.
Based on minimal returns and whatever exit polling they have, Fox calls it for Hillary Clinton. But that is the beginning, not the end, of the spin wars. Juan Williams, looking at the exit polls showing Obama lost the white vote 60-40%, says, “Reverend Wright is not behind us.” Clearly, there will be room for Clinton to make her argument that Obama is not moving in the right direction to consolidate the party and present a challenge to John McCain. So far those key Reagan Democrats don’t seem to have been sold on Obama. And one other note: commentators note that Clinton is doing extremely well in Montgomery County with a large Jewish population. Could it be they care about Reverend Wright, Iran and Hamas? Who would have thought?
But we knew that. The margin is what it’s all about. Such an early call doesn’t mean it won’t be a late night . . .
Given the absence of any actual returns, Abe, I’ll play along. Hillary Clinton apparently has a big edge with women (55-44%), seniors (61-38%), union members (58-42%) and those without college education (57-43%). For Barack Obama, he has 92% of the African American vote and a 58-42% lead with young voters. So if the question is “Did Obama expand beyond his core base of support?” the albeit iffy exit polls say “no.”
Jennifer, even though exit polls are useless, let’s pretend they’re not for just a second. This just came up on Fox News: 77 percent of Democrats said a candidate’s gender didn’t matter and 79 percent said a candidate’s race didn’t matter. So, 20-plus percent of the post-gender, post-racial party’s voters are admittedly weighing sex and race in determining the best candidate.
The exit polling, both on the Democratic and Republican races, this primary season has been awful. There is plenty of it buzzing around tonight which is contradictory and which seems to bear no resemblance to demographic data. In a word: useless. So in about a half hour we will simply have to watch the returns.
Far more reliable seems to be the t-shirts worn by the Obama team which plead to ”Stop the drama, Vote Obama.” Not exactly a sign of confidence nor a warm and fuzzy message to those voters in upcoming states, but perhaps it is an indication that Obama’s camp recognizes that the Democratic in-fighting is helping only John McCain.