Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Now I'm a Believer

h, I've certainly believed in Obama's smarts, and eloquence and political acumen. And I've believed that some day he would be a great president. And I've believed that he could be a transformative political figure. And I've believed all along that nominating Hillary could be a disaster come November.

But until last night, I haven't really believed that Obama could actually get the nomination.

Partly I haven't believed because his inexperience genuinely is a negative, and early on in the race it showed. His Houston speech last night dramatized how much he's grown just in the short (by human standards, not by campaign standards) time he's been running.

Partly also, I haven't believed because my guy never wins. Literally, since I've been following politics, my choice even among the last two standing has not gotten to the November ballot. And my first pick over all? Forget about it. Starting with Mo Udall in 1976, I've had an unerring talent in rooting for the also-ran.1 While I was late-ish coming around to Obama2, I'm sufficiently excited about his campaign that it seemed likely the Pho Curse would victimize him as well.

And then there were the Texas and Ohio poll results. While Hillary's firewall strategy is now immolating around her, it was based on some sound ideas at the time. If she can sweep Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania, she can pull something close to even with Obama in delegates. As the establishment favorite, Hillary is essentially the House. And if you've ever played blackjack you know ties go to the House.

So I haven't been optimistic.

Last night's 17-point drubbing was the low point in a Hillary Clinton campaign that has already seen deep lows and shows no sign of slowing its descent. She campaigned in Wisconsin, getting poll results showing that she was closing and prompted speculation that her latest charge -- Barack the plagiarizer -- might have traction.

All for naught. She got crushed by the Cheeseheads. The commentariat view last night was that Ohio is "just like Wisconsin" -- i.e. Midwestern and blue collar. That's not entirely true -- Northern Ohio is, but nothing in Wisconsin is like southern Ohio. Still, the exit polling showed Obama with some nice-looking demographics. The Wisconsin win came on the heels of a SUSA poll showing a decline in Hillary's support. That decline is within the MOE, but still, that's the sort of trend that Barack needs if he is to close Hillary's considerable lead here.

And if he does, it's over. If Hillary cannot close here, she's done. Plenty are saying she's done anyway, but she can't lose here where she has the support of the popular Governor and much of the rest of the establishment, where she has been campaigning hard while Barack was keeping fires stoked in the Potomac states, then Wisconsin, and where the demographics are as favorable to her as they will ever be. Even if she lets Obama close the gap, she has a tough time maintaining the argument that she's the stronger candidate to take on McCain.

1 In case you're interested, Gary Hart in '84 (yeah, I know), either Paul Tsongas or Paul Simon in '88, Bob Kerry in '92, Bill Bradley in '00.

2I really liked Bill "The Resume" Richardson before he started pandering on Iraq. If I could waive a magic wand, Joe Biden would be the nominee. Problem was, with three good guys (those two plus Dodd) in the second tier, none had a chance at the sort of close fourth that might have made for an interesting run.


Joseph said...

I was just thinking the same thing today: my favorite candidate never wins the nomination.

I'm all ready for Clinton to win- because she isn't my favorite. I already have all of my excuses ready...

But what if Obama actually wins??

Annie said...

I'm shaking my head and wrinkling my forehead at you.

redhorse said...

couple of things:

First, welcome to Obama train. I left a seat open for you.

Second, Paul Simon, yea!

Third, I disagree about Ohio compared to Wisconsin. That swath of central-west Wisky is much like Appalachian Ohio minus the hills. I saw a post today comparing Ohio v. Wisconsin on demos like college grads, blue collar works, % white, % college degreed, and the numbers were almost identical. The only real difference? We have twice the black population they do.

Given that he has two weeks to focus here and the other March 4 events, I feel real good about Ohio today. Call me in a week and I'll be a basketcase, but today I'm positive.

Stolen Elections said...

Elections aren't determined by how many votes are cast and for whom they are cast.

Instead, elections are determined based on WHO counts the vote.

Let's see who Redfern's Ohio Democratic Party and his pals are supporting. It's no surprise to me. How about you?

This together with Ted Strickland's open support should seal the deal for the Hillbag. But, who really cares anyway? The best have already left the race (Edwards, Biden, Richardson, Dodd)

McCain will be our next president. The powers that be want it that way and they still control enough of the electronic voting machines across the country to make it happen.

Pho said...


Re: Wisconsin, I get the demographic comparisons. But you and I know, there is only one Appalachia. It's a demographic unto itself. Southern Ohio minus the hills is like the Upper Midwest minus Lutherans.


Wow. I had no idea Blackwell wanted Strickland to beat him for Governor. These people are diabolical.

Stolen Elections said...

During 2006, there was about a 6 percent unjustified advantage for Republican candidates. Thus, Dem candidates who could not eek out a 6 percent margin of victory ended up losing (ie - Bev Campbell and others).

Strickland beat Blackwell by so much that the election thieves couldn't swing the vote to make it look even somewhat reasonable to place Blackwell as a false winner.

Regardless of what you and yours wrongly believe:

Pennsylvania 2008 = Ohio 2004 = Florida 2000

McCain will be taking the oath. Clinton and Obama will return to the Senate (Just like Kerry did due to Ohio in 2004)

redhorse said...

You're right, Appalachian is a demo unto itself culturally. Still, I see strong similarities in the areas mentioned based on demos only.

At dinner tonight, we discussed this and decided his best effort in SE OH was to merely mitigate damage, while of course turning out the urban and other areas favorable to him.