Wednesday, May 07, 2008

And all the king's horses and all the king's men...

In late February, I wrote that Clinton still had a clear path to the nomination, as long as the Clinton "story" was intact:
"As long as she wins the popular vote The Story stays intact. The Story is all that matters to her campaign now. The Story that Clinton wins all the big states except Illinois. The Story that momentum has shifted. The Story that Hillary Clinton is the new "comeback kid". That story is all that is needed to provide political cover for the superdelegates to vote for Clinton at the convention. Even a 200 elected delegate lead for Obama is the equivalent of a dead even tie, as long as The Story is intact."
The Story indeed remained intact after the Ohio and Texas primary. The Story remained intact after the Pennsylvania primary. Last night, in North Carolina and Indiana, The Story turned into Humpty Dumpty, and came tumbling down. Although she finished with a narrow victory in Indiana, her momentum was broken, and more importantly, the popular vote plurality is now out of reach. Obama's big popular vote victory in North Carolina, combined with her razor thin margin of victory in Indiana, means that the Michigan and Florida totals no longer matter.

Even if Clinton includes Michigan and Florida in her totals, Obama will finish with a popular vote plurality. The Obama campaign can now be magnanimous, agree to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations, count the votes, and it still does not matter. With no momentum and no popular vote plurality, there is no story. With no story, there is nothing to keep the superdelegates from declaring for Obama. Humpty Dumpty is not getting put back together.

In that same February post, we quoted Mary Matlin on Meet the Press with this refinement to the The Story:
"If she wins both states, even fractionally, she can say he [Obama] can't close the deal." - Mary Matlin
He didn't close the deal in Ohio, Texas, and the media began asking the same question first posed by Mary Matlin. He didn't close the deal in Pennsylvania despite outspending Clinton three to one, and more questions were asked. Last night, Obama closed the deal. No more questions. We have a presumptive Democratic Party nominee.

A few additional thoughts on last night's results ...
"She's got one thing working for her, that is the near death experience phenomena this year - every time it looks like the perils of Pauline., the trains coming, she has a rescue." - Mike Murphy
In Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania the Clintons explicitly stated that if they did not win, the race was over. The voters chose to continue the contest. In Indiana and North Carolina, Clinton told the voters that they could "change the game" and give her the nomination. The voters chose to end the contest in Obama's favor.
  • Finally, we learned that in 2008, Rush Limbaugh using his radio pulpit to rally his audience in support any Presidential candidate, whether Republican or Democrat, is the kiss of death. He called for his "dittoheads" to support Romney over McCain, and failed. Strike one. He called for his "dittoheads" to vote for Clinton over Obama to extend the nomination process, and failed. Strike two.

McCain can only hope and pray that that Rush Limbaugh keeps his word that he will support the Democratic nominee over McCain in the general election.


Jeremy Spalt, staff writer said...

Clinton's edge in Indiana is now just over 14,000, and may drop a bit more. To Limbaugh's credit, that margin is small enough that his Operation Chaos may have won the state for HRC.

mw said...

When an election is that close, every and any marginal impact can take credit for the victory. It was simply the fact that it was close that was meaningful and that alone was a defeat for Clinton. She lost any plausible claim to the popular vote, and that was the mortal blow. Winning by 7,000 vs 14,000 was not meaningful, and no one attributes more of a Limbaugh impact than that.

I doubt he even had that much effect. Some Republicans wanted to vote in a meaningful primary, so they voted Dem. The fact that 48% of Republicans voting in Indiana still voted for Obama argues that Rush was not the reason.

Does anyone really believe that a plurality of Indiana Republicans would not prefer Clinton to Obama? Why would white Republicans be more likely to vote for Obama than white Democrats in Indiana? The ratios were similar - Where is the Limbaugh effect?

It is in the interest of Obama supporters to give Limbaugh credit, and so they do. They are a bit of a conspiratorial paranoid lot anyway, much like Ron Paul supporters in that regard, and would far prefer to believe conspiracy theories rather than the notion that anyone would prefer Clinton over Obama.

I find it astonishing that anyone would give Limbaugh any credit here when he demonstrated such a complete failure to move his base in his own base against McCain in a Republican primary.

He found an angle to get all kinds of free promotion for his radio show, and the media and Obama supporters are happy to play along.

His latest bit is truly laughable, saying that he may now "instruct" Dem Delegates to vote for Obama. WTF? How stupid is that? Like in Indiana, he is just looking at which way the wind is blowing and trying to get ahead of it in order to create an illusion that he has some impact that he does not have.

What's next? A Limbaugh "Operation Chaos" instruction that the sun should rise in the morning and the tides should ebb and flow on schedule? I suppose the media will give him credit for that also.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and thanks for the comment.

SanFranLefty said...

Rush is a moron.
Meanwhile, per today's NYT Caucus Room, Hillbot is touting her "white support" as the reason the superdelegates should pick her. Ugly, man.
Missed seeing you around the Cynics' Party, BTW.

mw said...

Hey Lefty,
Yeah I've been afraid to check in because because commenting there is too addictive. I need to put all my blogging activities on a bit of a hiatus as I'll be doing a lot of traveling between now and the fourth of July. Ab diving in Mendocino this weekend, then family fishing trip in Michigan for the rest of May. Maybe visiting friends in the South of France in June. I'll check in next week.

BTW - You Obamites need to get off of Clinton's case. The race is over, she knows it, and she is likely working on an exit strategy now. Her campaign is probably working in concert with the Obama campaign, so she can get her campaign debt paid off, and finish in a position of strength. It is in Obama and the Dems interest to continue a Kabuki Theater primary season to drive registrations and organization.

The biggest risk to Obama winning in the fall is the continuous carping about Clinton by Obama supporters driving Clinton supporters away. Obamites need to decide whether it is more important for Clintonians to support Obama, or whether it is really required they despise Clinton as much as the Obamaites.

Anonymous said...

Do you think she will demand the vice-presidency? I think she will.


Jeremy Spalt, staff writer said...

Rush may no longer have the pull he once had, but the GOP primary may not be a fair test. He tried to rally his fans against McCain, but where was the alternative readily acceptable to "Rush Republicans"? Was it the mormon who decided he didn't like abortion yesterday, or the (perceived) economic liberal?

Romney would have been a good nominee (and probably a decent president), but the Right base doesn't like people from Taxassachusetts or Kolob.

"Why would white Republicans be more likely to vote for Obama than white Democrats in Indiana?"

Because Obama wasn't the absurdly vilified "co-president" of the 90's? We're not talking about the GOP mainstream here, we're talking about Republican primary voters- in a primary that's been over two months. They hate the Clintons.

I'm not saying this is accurate, but it's within the realm of plausibility to me.

I've only taken a cursory glance at the numbers, (and when I posted earlier, the margin wasn't final, I figured Lake County would have shrunk Clinton's lead more than it did), so if they don't pan out, they don't pan out. It's probably a stretch to wonder if Rush may have gotten Republican Obama voters to sit out the primary, so his effect was likely small to nil.