Clinton was a formidable candidate, but then again she really wasn't...
by 79blondini, Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 10:57:41 AM EDT
Okay, I just want to vent about a little pet peeve of mine that appeared in the FP story. What does it really mean when Clinton supporters, along with the "pro-Obama media" say things like
But around the same time that Clinton started shining, Obama started faltering, and I don't think he's fully recovered from it yet.
In the last two months of the primaries, the Appalachian states came up big for Hillary, and they faught to a virtual draw in Texas. In those Appalachian primaries Hillary scored two huge victories (Kentucky, West Virgina), two states with demographics that favored her heavily. We saw this Appalachian trend early on when Clinton carried Tennessee, and when she dominated the western counties in Virginia and the northern counties in Maryland. For whatever reason, voters in Appalachia identified with her message. And there were many who knew this all along. Remember how everybody said she just had to score big in Texas and Ohio because Appalachia was going to pull through for her?
But it's not as though she took the rest of the Appalachian states as decisively as KY and WV. She won Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana each by less than 10 points. Solid, but unless you are just counting "wins" these were not the kind of clobberings that many expected.
Outside of Appalachia, how did Obama do? He won Oregon, North Carolina, and Montana by a margin of 55 delegates, more than Hillary's delegate margins from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, West Virginia, and the Texas primary combined (with 9 more to spare).
So to say Obama faltered is not exactly true and is borderline disingenuous. Did he come up short of the media's expectations? Certainly. But he most certainly beat the expectations of many Hillary supporters, who declared repeatedly (do I need to link all the diaries?) that Obama was finished and that with her momentum from Ohio and Texas she had turned the tide and would pull even. And in fact the more Obama actually exceded expectations the more we saw the "popular vote" meme foisted upon the media.
But that's not my point.
My point is, Obama was not running against a patsy. Obama was running against one of the greatest fundraisers the party has ever seen (second only to himself). He was running against a candidate who had been a household name for 16 years and who, at least in the democratic party, was considered very favorably. He was running against a senator from the country's second most populous state and who had a huge core of devoted followers. If it were not for Obama, Hillary Clinton would have easily run away with this primary and would likely be our next president.
To suggest that Obama "faltered" is to suggest that Obama should have dominated in every demographic and that he was running against a second-rate candidate who, due to his own shortcomings rather than the strength of his opposition, he couldn't put away. That is simply not the case, and to promote this thinking is to suggest that the once-formidable Hillary Clinton was really not very formidable at all.