March 8, 2008


Clinton Has Only One Plausible Path to the Nomination (Michael Barone, 3/08/08, Real Clear Politics)

McCain takes questions until the last reporter runs out of things to ask. Obama terminated a probing press conference last week after eight questions with the lame excuse that he was running late. Obama's oratory has been compared to John Kennedy's. But he doesn't have Kennedy's gift for gracefully parrying hostile questions.

The March 4 results suggest Obama may not turn out to be as strong a candidate against McCain this November as he is in current polls. Clinton's "red phone" ad asked which candidate you would want to rely on to respond to a crisis at 3 o'clock in the morning. Obama's campaign said this was a Republican tactic.

Yes -- but Walter Mondale ran a similar ad against Gary Hart in 1984. It worked then, and it worked now. In Texas, where the ad ran, Clinton got a 60 percent to 39 percent margin among those who made up their minds in the last three days. That single ad may have made the difference in a contest she had to win to continue in the race.

In contrast, Obama's demagoguery on trade failed to attract white working-class voters: He ran far behind Clinton in Mahoning County (Youngstown) and the west side of Cuyahoga County (Cleveland). In southeast Ohio, settled originally by Virginians and still Southern-accented today, Clinton carried all-white counties with 70 percent to 80 percent of the vote -- more than she was carrying nearly all-white counties in central Texas. That raises doubts that Obama could run well in these counties, which provided critical votes in Bill Clinton's wins in Ohio in the 1990s and Jimmy Carter's narrow win there in 1976.

But Clinton is still about 100 delegates behind, and the Democrats' proportional representation rules make it impossible for her to close the gap in the remaining primaries.

The GOP has, once again, been served quite well by the quadrennial dynamic that sees it always pick the next in line while the Democrats opt for the flavor of the month.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 8, 2008 7:19 AM

Who do you want to answer that phone when Kipling's World calls?

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 8, 2008 8:32 AM

The above account sets forth how totally biffed (oj's word. Personally, I prefer, "effed.") the Democrats are if Effendi Obama gets the nomination.

This is why Pennsylvania Republicans need to switch over and raid the primary. If the Effendi doesn't make it, we at least want it to be close enough to have that crowd really p.o.'d.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 8, 2008 6:32 PM