9 days and counting
With Clinton and Obama splitting the first four contests, we head into Tsunami Tuesday in a Democratic nominating race that seems entirely up for grabs. From our vantage point, these are Clinton’s base states: CA, NY, NJ, AR, MA, and OK. Obama’s are: AK, ID, KS, MN, ND, GA, AL, and IL. The toss-ups appear to be: AZ, CT, CO, DE, MO, NM, TN, and UT. Among those toss-ups, AZ and CT might lean towards Clinton, since they’re closed to independents, and TN -- where Clinton is today -- probably leans her way, too. Of course, Obama will make plays in CA, MA, and NJ, and sources tell us that he is going up with ads in Philly (NJ) and New York City (NY, NJ, CT). Also, Edwards will go heavily after OK and TN.
[UPDATE: The Associated Press says "both campaigns consider Missouri and Tennessee major battlegrounds." Sweet! Maybe one or both of them will actually campaign in East Tennessee!]
Well I, for one, will be voting for Obama in TN. As I explained in a rambling comment last night, I'm at the point of being completely fed up with the Clintons and absolutely ready for something different. That doesn't mean I'd necessarily support Obama in the general election -- I'd be undecided between him and McCain -- but for heaven's sake, get the Clintons off the stage. Enough already. Or, as Mike's brother Matt put it:
Hilary and Obama are about equally likely to screw things up. But, at least in Obama's case, he'll be trying to do the right thing in the process. If he puts into place programs that turn out to be wrong, well, at least his heart was in the right place. Whereas Hillary's a coniving, self-aggrandizing carpetbagger who cares nothing whatsoever about the damage she does, as long as she makes herself look good in the process. So, even if we take the worst case, at least in Obama's case I won't be disgusted as things go wrong. I also think the potential upside of Obama's vastly higher. If things go well with him, and he receives good advise to help with his inexperience, he could help heal much of the divisions in this nation. On the other hand, Hillary has no such outcome. With her, we're certain to continue the pathological hatred both parties have for each other. As best as I can tell, there was actually a time when the elder statesmen types were widely respected, both in Congress and amongst the general public, regardless of party affiliation. Whereas now we have maybe Jimmy Carter in that position, and he gets it primarily by having done so little as President it's hard for Republicans to truly hate him. So, overall I'm pulling for Obama to be the Dem's candidate, even if I'm not sure I'd vote for him in November. At least I feel I could vote for him without hating myself for it.
Meanwhile, Ted Kennedy will endorse Obama tomorrow. That'll make him the second Kennedy to do so; Caroline Kennedy jumped on the Obama train with a New York Times op-ed today, saying he would be "A President Like My Father."
And more good news: Obama is taking the high road in response to Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackson comment. This is exactly what Obama -- and his surrogates -- need to do: let the Clintons' prevarication, triangulation and race-card-playing speak for itself. It does so loud and clear. Obama needs to rise above it and focus on the positive rationale for his candidacy, rather than fighting the Clintons on their turf. See also here:
“Do you think President Clinton was engaging in racial politics there?” George Stephanopoulos asked Obama on ABC’s “This Week.”
The Illinois senator, who won almost four out of five votes from African-Americans, didn’t rise to the bait. Instead, he talked about health care, college costs, the credit crunch and the subprime-mortgage mess. “As long as we were focused on those issues, we thought those would transcend the sort of racial divisions that we’ve seen in the past,” Obama said.