by wasder, Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 04:59:24 AM EDT
Last night conformed pretty closely to what both sides in this Democratic nominating battle expected to happen. It was a substantial but not overwhelming victory for Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania.
The Clinton supporters use this as more evidence that Obama can't win the big swing states (conveniently forgetting the home of their own campaign headquarters Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri etc). Obama supporters, invoking "the math" retort that last night was the last chance for her to dent his lead and she didn't win big enough (conveniently forgetting that a 10 point loss is not a win). In other words nothing has changed at all following 6 weeks of a campaign that seemed to last forever and revolved around a series of non-issues that sullied both candidates.
As someone who fervently hopes that Obama wins but who has voted twice for Hillary Clinton in the senate, I feel compelled to point out that whoever wins this nominating contest will win the presidency and we have only ourselves to blame if somehow we should blow it. The energy, activity and passion on the Democratic side so far outweighs the Republican side that we need only get out of our own way to trounce them in November.
But we really need to figure out how to wrap this nominating contest up in a way that doesn't fatally wound whoever wins. Last night's analysis was full of "negative campaigning worked for Clinton" statements that made me feel ill. The NYTimes editorial this morning is a good reminder that the party, and therefore the candidates, must be mindful of the message and image that they are putting out in front of the country in this moment when all eyes are on us.
We can argue about who did what first or who made the most incendiary statements about the other but the fact of the matter is it was an unpleasant, pointless, nasty battle in PA that didn't speak to the issues of the Pennsylvania electorate and therefore not something anyone should be proud of, win or lose.
I really hope that the message that the Clinton campaign takes out of this is not lets do more of the same in Indiana. At the same time I hope that the Obama campaign doesn't take the message that they need to fight back harder and nastier. I would like Obama to pivot towards the General Election for the most part and stop getting in the mud with Clinton. He needs to get back to doing what captivated the country in the first place and he will be OK. In other words lets hope as a party that the remainder of the campaign represents us better than PA did.
It looks like now Indiana is the line in the sand for the continuation of the contest. NC should deliver a win for Obama of considerably greater margin than PA, so a win in Indiana is absolutely a must for Clinton. This should be interesting, given that the Chicago media market gives Obama a platform to over come the inherent demographic advantages that Clinton enjoys in the rural parts of the state. But also, given the way this campaign has played out nobody should be surprised if this next line in the sand is deferred just the way all the others have been.
I have given money to the Obama campaign and done some blogging in support of Barack. I will continue to do these things in the hopes that he gets the nomination. But more than anything I am just sick of this contest now, sick of seeing Democrats sliming each other and fighting amongst ourselves. We need our nominee and fast. I think Obama, given the chance to fully engage McCain rather than having to battle a two-pronged war, is easily the stronger candidate for our side. But if Clinton wins the nomination I will be here too, because I know how important this is. As I said earlier, there is too much momentum, energy and activity on the Democratic side to be denied because of infighting.
How many people can say they will support the nominee no matter what?