Thursday, May 8, 2008

Reaction from IN and NC

So Hillary got fairly pasted in North Carolina, where she'd hoped to narrow the lead. And she barely won in Indiana, a state that she was expected to win fairly well by many (including me). Granted, the shenanigans in Obama's home base of Gary were eyebrow-raising...heck, they were outright suspicious of a Daley-type flavor. But that doesn't change the net result of Tuesday.

I think that short of an Obama meltdown, the Senator from Illinois will become the Democratic nominee. While I have thoughts about the likely consequence for the party and country, I won't get into that here. But here are some simple thoughts for now:

  • Obama is most likely the nominee, as is apparent to most who follow politics closely. This includes superdelegates. I don't think anyone who can be convinced disagrees. Note that doesn't include Clinton die-hards.
  • There is frankly nothing that Clinton can do to change the dynamics of the race...nothing that will grievously drive his numbers below Clinton's. If there were, she'd have done it by now. All Clinton can do is remain alive in case Obama completely implodes.
  • Given that Obama will almost definitely win the nomination, and Clinton pretty much can't win, there's little point to destructive attacks. Peddling Jeremiah Wright, or Bill's marital infidelities, hurts the Democratic Party far more than it helps change anything. This wasn't true in March -- a fluid race meant a possible 5 point swing when the race could turn on that, which would mean many delegates. Plus, America would have 8 months to forget.
  • That said, authentic disagreements on policy issues -- such as education -- still belong in this discussion.
  • Also, over 40 states have participated in a meaningful primary season. It would be disastrous to cut short this process for the sake of some nebulous early start on McCain, especially when doing so would leave out swing states such as Oregon and West Virginia. At this point, it would seem grossly preferential to void the quality and gravity of the late voting states' choice for...what? "Healing"?

From now until June 4th, I would like to see a respectful policy-based campaign, mentioning differences yet aiming squarely at McCain where he stands against the Democratic Party and the American people.

And while that last statement may seem Pollyanish in the wake of this campaign season, the thing that I maintain is that at this point, there's nothing to be gained from anything else. Sure, in a fluid race there is something to be won from driving candidates up and down. But at this point, the numbers won't be moved enough to change much.

(Granted, where this turns into a grey area is a scenario where something bad does come out about Obama, and he truly struggles. How much does Hillary help? If her campaign has learned anything from the campaign so far, the answer is: don't bother.)

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