Things have not gone great for Obama this month, although the press is doing their best to push the narrative that his speech has healed all wounds,
In his appearance on The View today he again addressed the Wright affair, falsely claiming Wright apologized, so maybe Barry does know how badly the thing has cut into his credibility, even though his enablers in the media are doing their best to airbrush Wright’s comments and leftwingnut blogs are claiming the scandal is behind him.
Michael Barone shows otherwise, and reminds us that we elect presidents by state, not nationally (just ask President Gore) and shows how Obama’s national numbers have suffered:
Awarding McCain the electoral votes where he is ahead, even by statistically insignificant margins (admittedly, a dicey proposition), he ends up with 324 electoral votes, with an additional 14 tied.
Not a commanding position, to be sure (too many statistically insignificant results). But one which, I think, tends to undercut the arguments of the Obama campaign that he would be a substantially stronger candidate in the general election than Clinton. And evidence that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has taken the luster off Obama and made him a weaker candidate against McCain than he was two week ago. The Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, who is officially neutral in the race, has argued that it’s impossible to know which Democrat would be stronger in November against McCain.
I think Mellman is quite right on this. But if the argument for Obama has been that he has a larger upside potential than Clinton, these numbers tend to suggest that upside potential is not so great; and if the argument against Obama is that he has a larger downside potential than Clinton, these numbers suggest that negative potential is more likely to be realized. And of course if you’re a Democratic candidate, or a party official, in states where Obama is running dangerously behind Clinton (West Virginia, for example) or where Obama’s possibility of running way ahead of Clinton seems endangered (in the Pacific Northwest), you may want to respond to local conditions.
Bottom line: These numbers make the Democratic superdelegates’ decisions tougher than ever.
All this is true, but there’s a change in the wind for Hillary. I think the Bosnian thing has freed people up to attack her, which they want to do anyway because they think she’s damaging the party’s hopes for November now, with her ambition:
That’s one way to make sense of the unrelenting, unforgiving, 24/7 news coverage of Mrs. Clinton’s fictional telling of Bosnian sniper fire and the subsequent debunking of her every word. In a nasty primary battle that has already featured racial slurs and Chicago slum lords, missing tax documents, and a “monster,” you might expect this slip-up to have been yet another blip in the media cycle.
But that would have been to deny the press, the pundits, Democrats, and even Barack Obama, the catharsis of finally — finally! — getting a chance to confront the Clintons’ questionable mores. Hillary’s and Bill’s scandals have been the elephant in the primary room ever since she first signaled a run. Yet up to now everyone has been too scared, or too loyal, or too weary to touch the ugly past. Her Bosnia misspeak is now serving as proxy for all the truths about the Clintons’ non-truths, allowing even liberals to break free from their Clinton dependence.
And how liberating it is! The video of Mrs. Clinton’s speech about Bosnian sniper fire, twinned with real footage of calmly strolling down the Tuzla tarmac, has been running on one continuous TV loop. Reporters have dug up every last person who accompanied her on the sedate trip to pour a little more salt in the wound. “The Audacity of Hoax,” yelled a blog posting in the liberal Nation magazine, which innocently asked: “What else is she fibbing about?”
Bill Burton, Barack Obama’s spokesman, gleefully noted that Mrs. Clinton’s recent attacks on his candidate were designed to deflect attention away from her “made up” Bosnia story. Heavy emphasis on the “made up” part. No need to mention Vince Foster, Red Bone, Marc Rich or Webster Hubbell. All this will do.
After Pennsylvania comes Waterloo in North Carolina. The expectations game has already discounted PN, so a big win there will be her last hurrah- people not in the bag for her are looking to get her out, not look for rationales to keep her in.
The tide of stories after North Carolina pointing up how the numbers don’t favor her are going to start convincing even her supporters that staying in will hurt them in defeating McCain, and that will be more important to many Hillary fans than a last ditch scorched earth fight to the death campaign strategy.
Latest numbers have her down 10pts. to Obama now. If Hillary waits too long, she will start getting a lot of public pressure to bow out, and then her numbers will really start to tank as people begin to look at her as a spoiler. Then she’ll be humiliated when she has to drop out due to being completely defeated in the polls and in the last primaries.
The leftwingnut blogs are already solidly against Hillary, and will keep up a loud and insistent drumbeat for her to drop out, and it would look really weak to appear to cave to the nutroots. Its bad enough eunuchs like Chris Dodd are yapping at her heels.
If she wants a future in the party, and to be able to claim she left the race for the good of the party and not because she was getting her ass handed to her, she needs to get out sooner rather than later. North Carolina would be my guess, but her people are claiming she’s in it until the last primary, and they seem to mean it.
That would be a big mistake, but Clinton is not beyond making huge mistakes, especially where her ego is concerned. A deal for VP or some other concession would soften the blow, the question is whether Obama feels he needs to do anything for her, and that will get worse as she weakens. Now she’s as strong as she is ever going to be, in has the most leverage.
Personally, I think she’ll stick it out until things really start to slide; its just the Clinton character not to face facts and try to brazen it out- hell, its always worked before.
But leaving after her win in Pennsylvania would be a masterstroke, especially if she can get a eal of some kind with Obama. VP, cabinet post for her or ambassadorship for Bill, who knows.
But waiting too long will damage her brand and if she is totally humiliated with really low national numbers and resounding defeats in the last primaries, she can kiss her presidential aspirations good bye forever. Leaving sooner rather than later will set her up for ’12, which is a smart move because there is no way in hell Obama is going to beat McCain, unless God brings the old man home before November, you can count on that.
Most Dems aren’t even behind the guy. The Wright thing is like the Bosnian thing in that its something people who don’t like the candidate anyway were waiting for so they could justify their gut feelings. Obama doesn’t seem to realize what a big deal the Wright fiasco was.
Its a fatal blow to the slim chance he ever had of getting elected. Americans are ready for a black president, they just aren’t ready for a black demagogue president.