Wednesday, March 05, 2008


ANOTHER NOTE on the matter of Pennsylvania.

I DID NOT MEAN TO SUGGEST that Clinton's victories last night were hollow by calling them "symbolic."

SYMBOLIC VICTORIES are extremely important. Even if she hasn't changed the math, she has fundamentally changed the tenor of the conversation, which is absolutely what she had to do. Her win in Texas, as of this writing, is only by three percent; but had it gone only 3 percent to Obama, an argument could have been credibly mounted that she did not meet her own expectations and should now step aside.

BUT SHE WON THAT MARGIN and now people are asking Obama if he would settle for VP.

(NO ONE SHOULD SETTLE AT THE MOMENT, though any combination of those two would be a ticket I would probably vote for, either as a Dem or Ind, depending.)

BUT IN THE SAME VEIN, Pennsylvania shapes up not only as a necessary MATH victory for Obama, but a crucial SYMBOLIC one.

Even though he might lose PA by a small amount and STILL come out ahead in pledged delegates; and even though the general election relies less on core Democratic support than it does on the candidate's ability to attract independents and swing voters (where I believe Obama has a significant advantage)...

Even though all of this, Clinton's SYMBOLIC victory in Ohio suggests that the post-industrial OLD-LINE DEMOCRATIC VOTERS are still not sold on him. That is to say, the working class white men and women whom he had been attracting in Wisconsin, but lost ground with in Ohio.

HE NEEDS TO PROVE THAT HE CAN WIN THEM OVER, decisively. And he needs to win them in primaries, not caucuses, in order to beat back the Clintonian myth that he can only win in caucuses because they are stacked with LATTE-DRINKERS AND COLLEGE PROFS AND ACTIVISTS.

Pennsylvania is not only a big state, it is a post-industrial state conveniently full of old-line Democrats with a Democratic-only primary. From a MATH point of view, it's a "would be nice to win" state.

But from a SYMBOLIC point of view, it's a MUST TO WIN state if Obama is to have any hope of convincing the party elders (ie, superdelegates) that he's earned the full backing of the party he seeks to represent.

ALL PREVIOUS EVIDENCE suggests that the longer voters are exposed to Obama, the more they like him. So my feeling is: he has seven weeks before Pennsylvania: HE SHOULD GO LIVE THERE NOW.

I GAVE YESTERDAY, and I will wait to give again until I see evidence of a clear, powerful Pennsylvania strategy. And when I do, I will not only give, I WILL GO VOLUNTEER.

(PS: hey, matching donor Mark F, where are you?)

ON ANOTHER NOTE, it looks like Scott Adams is one of COULTON'S 1000 TRUE FANS.

That is all.


Jeffrey McManus said...

Why should Obama settle for VP when he has an unassailable lead?

Unknown said...

On another election note, just posted how Russians creatively (and not so creatively) decorated their ballots in their recent election.

Sadly, no hobo signs.

Thomas Burchfield said...

I wish this to end peacefully. If Senator Obama remains ahead, Senator Clinton should *gracefully* step aside and then throw the kitchen sinks and everything the Democrats have against Senator McCain and the Repubs in the fall. Too much more of this and I'm afraid it's another four years of George Bush Republicanism, even with a heavy democratic Congress.

rob! said...

Hillary would sooner pick Cheney as her VP than Obama.

by saying she'd consider it, she seems generous and big-hearted, and hopes to fool undecideds into voting for her, thinking they might get Clinton and Obama both by voting for Clinton.

if Obama won't make the same gesture, then he looks petulant and divisive.

it's dishonest and conniving, but it'll probably work.

Brent Diggs said...

Thank you for turning me on to Coulton and the 1000 fan concept.

gloryoski said...

Moi aussi. I would even do the volunteering in a different state part if I were unspeakably wealthy, as you are. In any case, I can phone bank, which I hate, but not as much as I hate dirty tricks.

BenDitz said...

hodg-man and others, so who wants to come down to Philly and campaign in Pennsylvania? I've got a spare bedroom.

Unknown said...

i volunteer answering the national hotline a couple of times a week, and last night we were inundated with calls from supporters encouraging obama to take the gloves off.

it seems that the campaign is indeed following this strategy. i worry about this. a lot. while obama's campaign has quickly and forcefully responded to attacks to attacks (they're not repeating kerry's '04 mistake of "rising above" scurrilous charges with silence), i think a campaign of negativity against clinton (while there's certainly plenty of fodder for it) undermines the central rationale of his campaign (that voters are ready for a different kind of politics) and blurs the distinction between the candidates.

what do you think? is negativity necessary in order to win? or ultimately self-destructive?

Andrew said...

Why have all the chardonnay drinkers suddenly become latte drinkers? Has there been a power shift from NoCal to Seattle?

I demand an explanation.

ben said...

Under no conditions should Obama accept such a position. He is young, can raise money like no one else, can go back to be Governor in IL if he wants executive experience, and will unquestionably end up as the "guy we should have picked." Tying himself to Team Clinton would completely blunt his message as a "change" candidate.