by Jerome Armstrong, Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:50:42 AM EST
46, or whatever, days until Pennsylvania. I agree with Bowers that Obama has to win in PA, but I don't think he will. It's also true that Clinton has to win in PA, and she probably will.
The wildcard is how Obama looks going negative. I doubt it wears well on him, especially the petty tax return stuff, which sounds like Republican talking points to most Democrats. Terry Madonna tries to find some sort of path to victory in PA for Obama, but among Democrats that have voted in nearly all the previous states, Obama trails heavily, and that's all whom are going to be voting in PA.
Following PA, a winning streak for Clinton seems much more plausible, especially with a firehouse primary (registered Dems) in Michigan and a Florida primary, than it does for Obama.
The story of this election thus far has had three parts, and they've all played out about the same.
First act: Obama won a maverick-like victory in Iowa, upsetting both Clinton and Edwards. He went on the national covers, and lept to the lead in NH polls. Nevertheless, Clinton came back and won convincingly in NH.
Second act: Obama won a huge blowout in SC, and rode out of the state being declared the next JFK for Dems, with all the Kennedy & Oprah hoopla you could imagine, leading up to the Feb 5th states, especially the California primary. The polls and press said that Obama would win it all that day. Nevertheless, Clinton won the bigger contests, including the pivotal CA contest by 10 percent.
Third act: Obama had the best February past the 5th imaginable, winning every single contest, many by blowouts. He took the lead nationally against Clinton, and outraised her 2:1. Riding into the OH and TX contests, he only needed a victory, and with the help of outside forces, outspent Clinton by a 3 or 4:1 margin in OH & TX. Nevertheless, Clinton won, in Texas by 4 percent, and in Ohio by 10 percent.
Yes, there is a pattern.
It's pretty rare that an upstart candidate gets a shot at beating an establishment candidate even once, and yet, Obama's had three swings and missed each time. He's not going to have another shot at putting away Clinton with everything going from him, as he did his first three chances.
The problem for Obama is that he's run out of chances to put Clinton away. Now, with the next big contest looming in PA, she's the one favored and riding the momentum. I'm sure that Clinton will raised $20-30M, more than enough, to win, even if Obama does raise $50M in March. The national poll numbers have already swung back to favor Clinton. With the potential of having FL & MI contests, it'll be up to Obama to upset the equation, starting in Pennsylvania. Are super-delegates are going to be swayed to vote for a candidate that loses the trifecta of PA/MI/FL, but points to a delegate lead due to wins in Republican states like a caucus like WY and a primary in MS? I doubt it.
I should add that neither Obama or Clinton has, or can possibly have within reason, the number of delegates needed to win this outright. A rule of thumb I have for recognizing the campaign that's 'losing' at the moment is to listen to which one is making their argument based on 'the math' or 'the numbers' of the delegates that are nevertheless not enough-- this won't be won on a technicality.