Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Their Struggle

When the talking heads, many of whom are in employ of various candidates, start shooting their mouths off on the news channels, I usually tune out (though I loved the McLaughlin Group back in its heyday).

But I'll pay attention to Sharon Cobb. Why? Because Ariedana recommended her post, placing it in her Google Reader feed. (Or I think it was Ariedana. I don't think it was Robert Scoble or Chris Brogan.)

This is (part of) what Sharon said.

[W]hat did Hillary do right? For starters, she got rid of Bill. Instead of Bill going on the attack and then bringing his speeches back to his accomplishments, someone managed to do the impossible and muzzle him and get him to play the adoring spouse and talk about Hillary.

In a way, I feel Bill's pain. When you've spent your life being outgoing, it must be hard to force yourself to shut up. Perhaps the handlers provided enough cheeseburgers to muzzle him for the moment.

Second, Hillary jumped on the NAFTA gaffe from Obama. This is quite extraordinary, given Hillary supported NAFTA while her husband was President, and, on her own as the junior Senator from New York.

I agree with Sharon Cobb on the extraordinary nature of this. McCain's gonna have a field day with the Democratic nominee's two-sided approach to NAFTA, even in the Rust Belt, because on this issue he's probably going to consistently push free trade no matter what the consequences.

Third, she talked blue collar workers in Ohio into believing she is the best person to fix the economy and help them get jobs. She has no real experience in this area to back this up, but they believed her.

Actually, this could work. Even if you value honesty above all else, would you prefer to vote for the person who tells a pleasing lie, or the person who tells the uncomfortable truth that you're in deep mud? You'll go for the pleasant one.

Fourth, she went negative. Her numbers went up with that red phone commercial, which of course, is a page right out of the Karl Rove and George Bush play book. Scare them. They've seen for 8 years sheep/Americans will give up their constitutional rights to leaders who say they will protect them from the evil doers. Hillary Clinton is doing the same, and shame on those of you who bought that bull.

Frankly, I think that 3am is pretty mild compared to the girl with the daisies or Willie Horton, and it's interesting to note that YouTube people preferred Obama's 3am video to Clinton's. However, the whole Ron Paul thingie has clearly demonstrated that online occupiers are not necessarily representative of the broader population.

So Kinda Super Tuesday is over. Does it matter? No:

At this point he still has the delegates, and Joanathan Alter from Newsweek said, "No matter how you cut it, Obama will almost certainly end the primaries with a pledged-delegate lead, courtesy of all those landslides in February. Hillary would then have to convince the uncommitted superdelegates to reverse the will of the people. Even coming off a big Hillary winning streak, few if any superdelegates will be inclined to do so. For politicians to upend what the voters have decided might be a tad, well, suicidal."

I'm not so sure. Earlier I was wrong when I thought the Democratic nominee would be decided in early February, and perhaps I'll be wrong now if I assert that the Democratic nominee will be chosen at the convention (see Democrats in 1980 and Republicans in 1976), but there are two things that Cobb didn't account for:

  • For a while, we've thought that the superdelegates wouldn't violate the will of the people by going for Clinton instead of Obama. But what if Clinton stays neck and neck with Obama over the next few months? In a "what have you done for me lately" scenario, the early votes for Obama could be dismissed as a youthful mistake, in which people voted for Obama without really knowing about him. If that is the case, would the superdelegates be violating the will of the people by choosing yesterday's Obama over today's Clinton?

  • If the race continues to be relatively close, Florida and Michigan could come into play again, and it could get very messy - messy enough for Howard Dean to start screaming in pain if he is forced to deal with it (and alienate one or the other of the candidates).

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