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Posted by on Mar 5, 2008 in At TMV | 30 comments

Sorry Hillary, But It’s Over Bar the Shouting

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Despite her primary wins yesterday, Hillary Clinton faces insurmountable odds against having enough convention delegates to win the nomination unless she resorts to destructive backroom arm twisting and dirty dealing to try to get over the top.

While Clinton is right to declare that it’s not over until it’s over, she did recapture some of her base in yesterday’s contests and her showing in Ohio was impressive, it is indeed over. The sooner that she can fashion a graceful exit the better that she, the Democratic Party and those of us already asking hard questions about a Barack Obama-John McCain showdown will be.

That means no more negative ads or funny photos of her opponent wearing native garb. No more moving the goalposts. No more whining about the news media being unfair. No more making excuses for a sclerotic campaign management that thought grassroots organizing was for sissies and seemed to be the last to realize that this was not the year to run like an incumbent.

The turning point in Clinton’s campaign was in the run-up to the South Carolina primary on January 19 when her husband and other race-baiting surrogates unleashed a backlash that reverberated far beyond that state, vividly contrasting the campaigns of a dirty-dealing Washington insider and a fresh-faced outsider.

Clinton cannot afford to stay above the fray now that she has taken away some of Obama’s momentum and we can expect the insider and her helpmate husband to arm twist and dirty deal — which of course is such a big part of what the Bush administration has been all about — in the coming weeks as she tries to stay alive through to the big Pennsylvania primary on April 22. Maybe if things get really ugly the Supreme Court (cough, cough) can decide the nomination.

As it it was, yesterday’s four primaries (and the wacko add-on caucus in Texas) were somewhat anticlimactic because Clinton needed to win big everywhere and did not.

Obama entered the day with 1,378 delegates and pledged superdelegates for a 152 delegate lead over Clinton, and when the sun came up this morning he had 1,477 delegates and pledged superdelegates for an 86 delegate lead, according to The Associated Press, and that lead may grow when all the Texas caucus results are in. In fact, some number crunchers are predicting that Clinton’s net gain for the day may be as few as 10 delegates.

Clinton’s victories in Ohio and Texas would seem to further cement her argument that she can win the big states, but the Democratic nominee has the inside track on doing that in November anyway.

Whether you use the Slate Delegate Calculator or throw the I Ching, Clinton will have to win the 16 remaining contests, including the biggie in Pennsylvania, by whopping margins. That would be a turnaround very hard to imagine at this late date even if the news media is finally turning its guns on Obama.

As it is, Obama can again widen his delegate lead after the next two stops on the campaign trail — Wyoming (18 delegates), where he has a superior grassroots organization that will flood that state’s caucuses on Saturday, and Mississippi (44 delegates) next Tuesday with a predominately black electorate. And delegate allocation rules in Pennsylvania (188 delegates), where Clinton doesn’t even have a full slate of delegates, favor Obama.

Meanwhile, congrats to John McCain.

Take the time to enjoy the glow of victory, because it is improbable that you will have that feeling in November unless the Democrats beat themselves to a pulp.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, Sarabeth at 1115.org poses an interesting question: What if Clinton wins the aggregate popular vote total, which Obama leads by less than a million votes after yesterday’s contests?

This could have substantial bearing on who the superdelegates should and would support.

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • cosmoetica

    I tend to agree, Shaun. Of the Big 3 states- Texas will go Mccain, and Calif & NY go Dem. Obama has shown that he has crossover appeal and can likely win a few western states: New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, plus Oregon & Washington. New England- even NH, will likely go Dem while McCain will win most of the South. But Obama may pluck Va. & Mississippi in the fall.

    Hillary cannot win in the south, and won’t do as well in the West. Looking at the data, she can only do well in the traditional Dem states, and even there her wins have been razor thing, whereas Obama is winning big in the smaller states, which says the West & South are ahead of the curve for a new form of politics, whereas the old Liberal standbys have yet to get the message. I’ve read that Hillary netted a 20-25 delegate gain, but is still down a 100, and that big wins in Miss & Wyoming will basically put him back to the lead he had yesterday. And all of this has come only with the screeching nastiness of the Clinton machine at its worst, w barely a response from Obama.

    Let’s say Hill wins Pa. by 5 points, and gains 10-20 delegates more, Obama will likely only widen his lead by cleaning up in the smaller states.

    Contrary to what Hill Shillers say, this race has proven that Clinton can ONLY win those states any Dem could in the fall, and has shown no power outside. What sayeth you, Shaun?

  • shaun

    Cosmo:

    An equivocal “amen.”

    I equivocate only because this has been such an extraordinary year with so many twists and turns on and off the campaign trail, and stuff could happen in the fall that changes your equation.

  • Macan

    Shaun ignores the one number that is central to Clinton’s hopes:

    $625,000. The amount Antonin Rezko’s wife paid to buy the lot next to Obama’s house, to help Obama buy his house.

    Why was Rezko…being pursued by creditors for millions at the time…willing to pay out over a half-mill. to help Obama?

    Obamaniacs respond: That is an outrageous and possibly racist question. It was all legal on Obama’s side. No story here. Move on. Move on.

    Shaun despises McCain…who withstood question after question on his supposed affair with a lobbyist two weeks back…and asked for more at the end.

    Shaun loves Obama…who had a hissy-fit, and stormed off after 8 (count them!) impertinent questions from the Chicago press corps about Rezko.

    I don’t like Clinton…but I respect her strength under fire. Obama wilts under fire.

    Clinton can beat McCain. If the press corps is even remotely balanced in November, there is no way Obama can do the same.

  • cosmoetica

    Macan: I wish Obama responded more, but ‘wilt.’

    In fact, I think he has Reagan-like Teflon. It does not faze him, and if Rezko is the worst Scandal- compared to Whitewater and Keating, I don’t think anyone’s gonna raise ethics issues.

    Either can beat McCain, but only Hillary can lose to McCain, because she and he are in the same pro-war boat.

  • Macan

    Cosmo…

    I am sure GOP surrogates will raise ethics issues. It is a big weakness for Obama.

    I think Rezko could override Obama’s Teflon as it is a comparatively simply story (provided a quid pro quo can be drawn between Obama’s house and the Rezko land). People understand the Politics of Personal Corruption.

    I never understood Whitewater. I am sure it was corrupt somehow, but Hillary is too Nixon-like in her Byzantine dealings for anyone to make sense of it (I suspect the Nixon-smell is one reason Shaun – unreconstructed hippie – has a visceral distaste for her). Keating was too long ago. Maybe the new lobbyist thing can stick, but then that blew up on the NYT.

    My main point, I suppose, is that Hillary is placing a lot of hope on Obama’s Teflon cracking from his Chicago past. His performance the other day — the first tough questioning he has faced — was not a good sign. NAFTA was another blunder.

    I don’t think Hillary is doing Shaun’s math. Her math is how the superdelegates will read the uncertain performance of Obama (who is now totally hiding from hard media questions in the Obama Bubble)…and the possibility of a meltdown in Chicago.

  • mwp

    One thing I think is sure — the Democrats cannot afford to nominate someone who does not have the lead in pledged delegates going into the convention. Whatever arguments the Clinton camp might use, the memory of Bush/Gore is too strong to risk having it look like the popular will has been overturned by back room good old boy political buffaloes. I know the pledged delegates aren’t really the popular vote, I know that caucuses are anti-democratic, but that’s the way it will look. All those people Obama has brought into the process will throw up their hands in disgust and leave the room saying the nomination was stolen from them by the Old People and the Old Ways. Then the traditional liberals will vote Clinton, Republicans will vote McCain (since they about 100% hate Clinton), and independents will break for McCain, because there are so many excuses not to vote for Clinton (even fans of her husband can’t really be looking forward to the daily soap opera of his big ego as the fifth wheel in the White House for 8 years, for example). If Clinton gets the pledged delegate lead before the convention, fine; if not, then nominating her will assure a McCain presidency imo.

  • Macan

    Hmmm…re: ethics…is Cosmoetica reading David Axelrod’s mind:

    “”If Sen. Clinton wants to take the debate to various places, we’ll join that debate. We’ll do it on our terms and in our own way but if she wants to make issues like ethics and disclosure and law firms and real estate deals and all that stuff issues, as I’ve said before I don’t know why they’d want to go there, but I guess that’s where they’ll take the race.”

    Ah…Shaun’s closing qualifier: “…unless the Democrats beat themselves to a pulp.”

  • cosmoetica

    Macan: In order for a quid pro quo to be established, Rezko would have to be linked to direct profit on Obama’s part. Nothing like that’s been raised.

    Whitewater was a land deal on very similar terms, ans Hillary had Travelgate, and a dozen other little things she got her hands into.

    And the biggest scandal by all three is still the S&L Keating BS.

    MWP’s right. If Hill tries to beat Obama w/o a vote or delegate lead, the Obamacans will rightly say that Hillary is as corrupt as Bush was. Ain’t gonna happen, and I see no way Hill can take the lead.

    She is an old party machine dinosaur, and Pa. the only dinosaur state left. I think O will take at least 12 of the remaining 16 states, and end up 150 delegates or so ahead.

    If Hill did steal the nom, the O people would not vote, go elsewhere, and Indies like me would drift as well, w many going Big Mac’s way- not me, he’s too insane on the war. As I said, Only Hill cd lose to Mac, and if she steals the nom- the only way now she can get it, she will likely do so.

    Plus, she’d be a pariah to blacks and Dems, and she’d never advance in the Senate- Majority Leader Clinton?

    She’s too selfish to not realize that.

  • Macan

    Cosmo…I think the core flaw in your argument is that you are thinking rationally.

    The Clintons are gamblers…Bill went for the Brass Ring in ’92 when all of his seniors in the party “wisely” ducked out. I remember VERY clearly a Newsweek Conventional Wisdom comment about Bush 1 stratospheric ratings – to the effect of Democrats having the sense to forget November 1992!

    The Clintons have never been big believers in Common Sense. This is Clinton’s one and only chance at the Brass Ring. Everything we know about her suggests she could never live with herself if she did not go for it…after suffering the humiliation of Bill’s philanderings for years…this is the Prize! And no one in American politics today plays the Politics of Attrition like the Clintons.

    You or I would walk away with our winnings – thanking God we did not mortage the house – not Hillary Clinton!

  • You’re grasping for straws if the best thing you can come up with is the Rezko connection. Obama has already admitted that the land deal was a boneheaded move on his part.

    If Obama weren’t running this campaign “above the fray” could you imagine the dirt he could fling at the Clintons?

  • cosmoetica

    Bill is a gambler. I don’t think HIll is.

    After all, she folded her tent w ease on the 93 healthcare initiative. Why? Because she realized she could not get it as she wanted it. It was all or nothing, and she wd not gamble.

    In 03 she voted for the war because the country was for it, but hedged her bets w a speech stating she hoped W did not abuse this authority- in essence, playing both sides against the middle.

    Bill- ‘Fellatio in the Oval Office’ is a gambler, and reckless, but Hill? I think she’s the ultimate pragmatist, and eventually her ego is gonna give way to that.

  • cosmoetica

    ‘If Obama weren’t running this campaign “above the fray” could you imagine the dirt he could fling at the Clintons?’

    Yes, and outside of the big party machine states, that approach is producing landslides.

  • DLS

    Macan — some of them are still not realizing what happened yesterday, or they just refuse to accept it: This race isn’t over.

    You are right about the Clinton gamble in 1992. Clinton was one of the dwarfs that year and all the way up to the 1992 Dem convention Mario Cuomo was the one everyone wanted to come to the rescue, and who would have been made the nominee even if he waited until during the convention to express an interest in the Presidency.

  • cosmoetica

    ‘Mario Cuomo was the one everyone wanted to come to the rescue, and who would have been made the nominee even if he waited until during the convention to express an interest in the Presidency.’

    Not even on this planet. Cuomo would have been the Rudy of ’92, or the D’s Mitt. He was all style and no substance.

    And of course the race isn’t over. No one suggested it, but you. But O can only lose it in the backrooms, and with 2000 still fresh in dem’s minds, they’re not gonna pull a W.

  • EEllis

    I also wonder about Florida and Michigan. It goes without saying that Clinton will be trying to get them seated. In a close primary how can you not? I know it was a dirty trick saying that you wouldn’t campaign and then doing so, but now what? After all the talk a disfranchised voters how do you ignore 2 states? Because deal or no that’s what you would be doing. How would the voters in those states respond during the general election if Dems decide now their votes don’t matter? Very interesting campaign season.

  • Davebo

    After all the talk a disfranchised voters how do you ignore 2 states? Because deal or no that’s what you would be doing. How would the voters in those states respond during the general election if Dems decide now their votes don’t matter?

    What? You do of course realize that it was the voters of FL and MI that decided their votes shouldn’t matter.

    They had a choice and made it. If they want a mulligan I’d say they’ll have to wait 4 years, repeal the bill they passed, and try again.

    • EEllis

      Whatever you say, but do you really think that’s how it will be spun? Did anyone think that there would be this level of competition? Most of the time it’s figured out long before the convention so if it goes to the convention undecided wanna bet that a big deal will be made? Do you think the regular voter who showed up is going to be as complacent as you? OK, sure.

  • Macan

    ChrisWWW said: ” You’re grasping for straws if the best thing you can come up with is the Rezko connection. Obama has already admitted that the land deal was a boneheaded move on his part.”

    Chris…”boneheaded” is charitable spin. In the real world, NO ONE spends a half million to help someone else buy property w/o expectation of return.

    This is not a lobbyist scandal. This is direct personal advantage and gain for Obama. He would not have gotten the house w/o Rezko. Why would Rezko have done this, at the same time as he was pursued by creditors? Out of the kindness of his heart???

    This is what Hillary is waiting for…Patrick Fitzgerald ain’t brilliant, but he is relentless. Rezko’s team knows this. If Rezko turns, the whole game is over for Obama.

    I agree fully with you, Clinton has graveyards of skeletons to Obama’s closets…but no one has taken her down after years of trying. She is cold and hard. Obama had a hissy-fit after 8 questions.

    Cosmo…you split-take on the Clintons is interesting. Time will tell, I suppose.

    I see ambition as her main driving force, though. She will not let go while there is a chance…and as long as Rezko is hanging fire, there is the likelihood of a Chicago meltdown.

    What is it about Democrats and Chicago that yields such lovely Democratic miracles…as the graveyard resurrections of 1960…and the landslide Democratic win of 1968?

  • Macan,
    If there is any proof you have of wrongdoing on the part of Obama, then please, present the evidence. All you have is innuendo.

    Basically, you should lay off until you have something substantive to say about Obama and Rezko.

  • casualobserver

    “and the landslide Democratic win of 1968?”

    Appreciating your sarcasm, there is rumor of today’s far left contingent making plans for a “Recreate ’68” festival in Denver.

    As to Rezko, while the quid pro quo question is tantamount, I also believe that if starts wrapping in questions about connection with William Ayers, Rashid Khalidi and Samantha Brooke’s questionable strategy of a US police presence in Gaza, just the “guilt by association” misdemeanors will start to feel like an aggregate felony to a lot of plain folk.

  • Macan

    ChrisWWW… Elections have been lost and won on far far less than Rezko.

    Recall the Friday before the election in 2000, the Maine Democrat mass faxing the revelation of Bush’s DUI from 25 years before. 25 YEARS! His admitted intent was to hurt Bush with the evangelicals at the last minute…and it worked. Bush fell 5 points almost overnight – lost millions of evangelicals – making Gore competitive for the first time in the campaign.

    You can’t imagine the Clinton team are not all over Rezko. Chicago politics are notoriously corrupt (the former governor – a GOP – is currently in prison for six years I believe).

    I don’t know how Rezko will play out…but neither do you.

    One thing is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN: Rezko is an important part of Clinton’s plotting in the weeks ahead.

  • Macan,
    The efficacy of negative campaigning, guilt by association and smear tactics in general is not the point.

    You have a choice. You can spread the thus far empty smears and innuendo and let them effect your politics, or not.

  • Kanzeon

    This is ridiculous. NEITHER Clinton nor Obama can clinch the nomination without the superdelegates (or possibly Michigan and Florida). No one has any idea what the math will be at the end of the process. Obama’s troubles with the press might escalate, and he will lose ground. Or he might come back punching to a commanding lead again. Or we might be exactly where we are now. It does make a difference, whether it appears that Obama is losing momentum going into the nomination, or whether Clinton is gaining momentum, and how big the delegate spread is – it will to most people, including the superdelegates.

    Regardless of your own personal prejudice, the ultimate effect on the Democrat party from the superdelegates deciding the race, one way or another, is as unknown as everything else.

    I have no idea why so many Obama supporters are so incredibly nasty. Basically 50% of the party backs each candidate. They are both acceptable candidates, with positives and negatives, and good people supporting each. The campaign has been incredibly civil. I don’t expect either candidate to give in until the end, and neither should anyone else.

    The bitterness is overwhelming, and disgusting.

  • Kanzeon,
    The bitterness is a result of this extremely long election process and the steady decent into the gutter by the Clinton campaign.

  • cosmoetica

    The bitterness of the Obama candidates?

    It seems Hill herself has been in panic smear mode for several weeks and there’s no Obamacan like thi sTaylor Marsh twit.

    As for Rezko- totally A ball stuff w no proof. Again, Keating and Whitewater dwarf this nonsense, and as I led this thread off, Obama will end up w more delegates, forcing the D’s to overturn to will of the people, and show they are as cynical and crooked as Bushco in 2000, or go w O. Hill will lose to McCain in that instance.

  • cosmoetica

    The Obama supporters, I meant.

  • StockBoySF

    Kanzeon is right. To get the nomination both Obama and Hillary will need the support of the super delegates. If Obama has a 100 delegate lead over Hillary, she has a reasonable expectation that she can still win the nomination. It wouldn’t surprise me if Hillary is able to get FL and MI delegates seated. If a judge stepped in I think the judge would rule in favor of Clinton (whether the judge was appointed by Bill or by a Bush- the Bush people would prefer to run their candidate against Hillary who doesn’t have the cross-over appeal that Obama and McCain have).

    As far as Sarabeth’s question about Clinton having more popular votes and Obama having the support of more delegates… how do the superdelegates vote? I’ll use the same idea that I use when talking about delegates chosen by vote in the primaries/caucuses and how the supers should vote.

    I think that if the popular vote is clearly in favor of one candidate over the other (I posited 55%/45% as a possible guideline) then I think the superdelegates should clearly go with the popular vote. Not all superdelegates, there will be some who will want to support the candidate with the lower number. If there were such a scenario (let’s say Obama had 55% of the popular vote and Clinton had 45%) and the superdelegates threw the race to Clinton, then voters would have every right to feel cheated.

    But I think if there were a narrow lead (say Obama had 52% and Clinton had 48%), then the superdelegates can step in and make decisions based on their own judgement, taking into consideration such things as electabilty, ability to get things done, etc. If the superdelegates decide to go with HIllary in such a scenario, then so be it.

    I only put those percentages out there as an example. I’m not advocating them.

  • cosmoetica

    Pre-2000 they’d be able to get away with that, Stockboy, but recall that Gore won the 2000 race by popular vote and was cheated. Even a 2 or 4% margin would effectively nullify several million people’s votes. It would be hari-kiri, and I don’t think the Dems will do it because they know Obama’s the better candidate, electorally.

  • StockBoySF

    Cosmo- thanks- I don’t know what the percentages should be but from what I understand the purpose of the superdelegates is to use their judgement in selecting a candidate. This is a primary where the Dems choose their candidate- so the rules, as we all know, are different and somewhat less democratic than the general election.

  • cosmoetica

    Rules, schmules. This is a superficial nation where appearance matters. If it looks like the black man who is ahead is getting it up the wazoo, there will be Rodney King-like repercussions on the streets and halls of power.

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