Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Clinton's Last Gleaming

The Political Brief
The Democractic D-Day, McCain Charges to the Finish

Tonight, when you tuck yourselves into bed and pretend the covers are a fort because you can't go to sleep, will you also be thinking about the Democratic and Republican nominees for President, decided earlier in the evening? The contests in Ohio and Texas, nevermind Rhode Island and Vermont, will decide who goes to bat for the Dems come this fall. We know McCain has a lock on the (R) nomination, but Clinton still battles Obama tooth-and-nail to make her own sort of history.

The odds are not in her favor.

Support for Obama sprung fully formed from the hardscrabble Texas plains, urged on by a surprisingly small campaign staff. His cut into double-digit Clinton leads across the state, shored up his demographic, got the undecideds and then started in on Clinton's own base. According to virtually all major polls, they are in a dead heat. What matters is not that it appears to be a tight horse race, but that Obama has bullied through the Clinton machine (though set up late in the state, still present) and hasn't shown signs of stopping.

Second to that, however, is another little bit of polling trivia: he has yet to take a statistical lead, meaning, breaking enough points ahead to take into account the statistical margin of error all polls have. He can win the popular vote, a slim majority of delegates, but lose Ohio and the delegate totals for the night. His overall lead will remain, and I don't think anyone expects Hillarious to do more than pull even, but he needs to show that big states like him as much as smaller, less important caucus states.

Because let's face it: Iowa, despite its "heartland" appeal, or Washington or Nevada or so many other states Obama's won through caucuses, isn't really a state that shapes national agendas. Texas, California, Illinois, New York, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania - these are key national policy states, and he won in IL in large part because he's from there. Winning even by a vote in OH and TX means he can claim Big State Support, which until now he doesn't really have. Clinton is the big-state candidate, the old school democrat who rallies better in primaries, who plays better on the national stage and therefore those "national" states.

Clinton holds a lead, though only a few points, on Ohio. This is down from as much as an 18 point spread going into the first half of February. Barring a radical shift at the voting box, she'll win there. Obama has Vermont, she has Rhode Island so call those matched out. I know I'll be flipping to CNN in between garish American Idol performances, much to the chagrin of the lovely Mrs. McFinney.


McCain has nothing to worry about in any state voting today. He just might get that delegate lock tonight and Huckabee's concession speech. If not...oooOOOO!! Fight! Fight! Fight! Schism!!!


Michelle Obama still lingers in the news for her comments about only recently being proud of her country. Poor word choice, because how could a 40+-yr-old woman not be proud for so long in her life? Wouldn't you leave if you felt no warmth towards your native land? Again, poor word choice that bit her back, and hard. Also makes her look a bit snooty.


On the issue side, I cannot speak until we have two defined candidates and get these popularity contests over and done with. I know you can't wait to hear what each nominee has to say about NAFTA or abortion, gun control, same-sex marriage, Iraq and Iran, military bases in foreign lands, etc. I cannot talk explicitly about all areas of the economy, but I can quote others on their stances.

Thank you as always for reading. I look forward to the hoosgow going down tonight.

Let's light this monkey!



Anonymous said...

Absolutely incredible writing! I love the updates, the information, and most of all that fact that you put some humor to it! Keep it coming!!

Adam said...

I keep hearing comments that, should Hillary lose both states tonight, she should fight for the VP spot. This seems like a sure-fire way to sink the Dems, in my opinion. Clinton and Obama are too polarizing on their own to support that ticket. In short, they'll cancel each other out.

I was talking with Hooper about it, and he said he could see a Clinton/Obama ticket, but not the other way around. As VP, she would be, in his words, "a rabid dog on his heels," too eager to assume command. And frankly, I don't see how they could co-exist on a ticket in the first place. If last week's Ohio debate is any indication, they hate each other with a fiery passion. Or at least Hillary does. If Obama feels the same animosity towards her as she does towards him, he's much better at hiding it. I half-expected her to go Temple of Doom on him on national television.

Hillary: Kali-ma!
Brian Williams: Obama, cover your heart! Cover your heart!
Hillary: KALI-MA!!!!


Looking forward to seeing how everything plays out tonight. Though given Ohio's past couple of elections, we probably won't have a definite result for weeks. Cuyahoga County is the new Florida when it comes to major elections.