Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fired Up, Ready to Go (but...)

We’ve brought up this point in almost every single conversation with many a politically-inclined friend, but it’s the first time we’ve seen it in print or online. John Heilemann writes in the current New York magazine:
In a year when more than 80 percent of voters think the country is on the wrong track, when Democratic registration is surging and the Republican brand is in the crapper, when McCain is on the wrong side of the public on the war and the economy, his senior moments occurring with staggering regularity—in a year like this, why is the race so close? Why isn’t Obama creaming his rival? Why is he, at best, just a few points ahead, and stubbornly stalled below 50 percent in every national poll?

Obama…isn’t having trouble with African-American voters or Hispanic voters or young voters. Where he’s lagging is among white voters, and with older ones in particular. Call me crazy, but isn’t it possible, just possible, that Obama’s lead is being inhibited by the fact that he is, you know, black? “Of course it is,” says [a] prominent Republican operative. “It’s the thing that nobody wants to talk about, but it’s obviously a huge factor.”

It’s gotta make you wonder…

Meanwhile, if you think the Clintons aren’t taking notes and ready to push their 'See, he’s unelectable' premise, you are so wrong. Maureen Dowd in yesterday’s New York Times:
Hillary’s orchestrating a play within the play in Denver. Just as Hamlet used the device to show that his stepfather murdered his father, Hillary will try to show the Democrats they chose the wrong savior.

Her former aide Howard Wolfson fanned the divisive flames Monday on
ABC News, arguing that Hillary would have beaten Obama in Iowa and become the nominee if John Edwards’s affair had come out last year —an assertion contradicted by a University of Iowa survey showing that far more Edwards supporters had Obama as their second choice.

Hillary feels no guilt about encouraging her supporters to mess up Obama’s big moment, thus undermining his odds of beating John McCain and improving her odds of being the nominee in 2012.

She’s obviously relishing Hillaryworld’s plans to have multiple rallies in Denver, to take out TV and print ads and to hold up signs in the hall that read “Denounce Nobama’s Coronation.” In a video of a closed California fund-raiser on July 31 that surfaced on
YouTube, Hillary was clearly receptive to having her name put in nomination and a roll-call vote.
By the way, Wolfson has joined Fox News as a political talking head, so HRC's professed love for the Nuisance Channel wasn't just talk, it seems. And yes, her supporters are quitetly but decisively preparing for what they percieve as a clear and unequivocal upset. (So much for party unity.) These are some of the choice gems found in recent newsletters being sent out by Clinton supporters:
While I personally grieve for Elizabeth Edwards, that does not change my opinion that she owes Hillary, big, [?!] and could still redeem Edwards' perfidy by endorsing Hillary and urging John's supporters to back Hillary at the convention.

Only the frightened, frantic leaders of the DNC and die-hard supporters of BO and Chicago politics can still believe that BO should be nominated in Denver. With the total corruption of the process, from the caucus fraud to the bizarre endorsement by John Edwards, something is very roten
in the land of the DNC and Obamaland.

Pledged (elected) delegates, At-Large delegates and Super Delegates, please sign the historic petition to nominate Senator Clinton in Denver. Write to… for your petition form and instructions. GO GO GO!!!
Nice, huh? And then there’s the unholy trinity that no one wants to wants to bring up, except the hardcore Clintonites, who are very clear as to its significance with like-minded Democrats:
1. Senator Clinton has only suspended her campaign. She has not conceded and never offered a statement of concession which is traditional when someone is no longer a candidate. She did not officially end her candidacy which she could have chosen to do. She is still technically a candidate.

2. Senator Clinton has not released her delegates. Releasing or asking her delegates to support Senator Obama is also something she could have done. She has not. All of Senator Clinton's delegates won during the primary season are still committed to her and can cast their votes for her at the convention as long as her name is on the ballot.

3. Super delegates public declarations do not count. They can change their minds (as some did during the primary). They are not committed to any of their public declarations. Nothing counts until they cast their votes in Denver on August 27th.
Maybe I’m being naïve, but I think much of this would be swiftly put to bed if Obama and his campaign were coming across as forcefully as they should be. Readers of this humble blog are probably tired of me seemingly repeating myself endlessly on this point. Fine. Here’s what an actual political operative had to say about it, Chris Kofinis, former communications director for the John Edwards campaign, on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown earlier this week [Emphasis mine]:

"Listen, the McCain campaign…not only have changed their position not to question the patriotism of Senator Obama or any candidate, but they‘ve chosen to go down this road whether judging or critiquing Senator Obama‘s supposed not American enough.

I mean, this is a very dangerous line of attack…And, I think, what you‘re going to see from the Obama campaign, at least my advice to them is to hit back and hit back ferociously. I mean, this is unacceptable, I think, in any political race and it really, I think, shows a desperation…The blowback, in my perspective, should be fierce and pretty strong. It‘s unacceptable

We can only hope they heed this advice. (Um, wait—they didn’t.) Before it’s too late.

Happy Juneteenth!