Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sometimes Entourage Nails It...

Well, the March 4th firewall has come and past. Hillary Clinton has succeeded in placing doubt in the hearts of people in Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas (Vermont, as per usual, comes out as the bedrock of New England! Big ups Catamounts!)

So the news is treating this like a wide open horse race to the finish line. It reminds me of a scene from Entourage where Johnny Drama gives up and begins reading his reviews in the Hollywood press. The result is ugly...

E: “What's up Drama?”
Drama: “I got every paper in the country.”
Vince: “How's it looking?”
Drama: “It's a bloodbath, bro.”

My advice to the Obama Campaign, and contrary to popular belief I am not on the payroll, is to ignore the press today. Get in a room, slap each other around a bit and fire yourselves up for the second (or third, or fourth) half. They need to write yet another kick ass speech. That speech needs to address readiness to lead, judgment, concrete examples of leading on issues, and true tests overcome. Obama has never run against a credible opponent before. He has to show that he can take one on the chin and fight back. He cannot under any circumstances play the game the way they want him too. He needs to talk about a united Democratic Party. He needs to talk about how great it is to be a Democrat, how all the candidates this year have added to the great Democratic dialogue. Obama needs to be very complimentary toward Clinton, talking about her honorable service, but pointing out how she can NEVER be an agent of change. She and her husband are not responsible for the rancorous tone of politics, but they played a starring role in the escalation of the war of words.

For people who want this to be over, this is a definite buzzkill.

- Did going negative help the Clinton campaign? Yes.
- Did they raise doubts? Yes.
- Is this going to go on way past the point of being fun? Yes.
- Will Clinton try to get Florida and Michigan in on terms that will give her the lead? Yes.
- Is this going to get ugly before it gets better? Yes.

You have to respect the way Republicans approach nominations. Nothing quite like the bloodsport of all or nothing delegate apportionment. It is like having your head taken in one clean swing of the axe, Braveheart style vs. being killed by a million paper cuts. You don't know you are in trouble until it is over. The Democrats can see the plane crashing into the mountain but can't, or won't, do anything about it.

If this was about ideas and a difference of leadership styles, it would be a great way to keep them on the front page and limit the damage done. But Democrats never miss a chance to miss a chance. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory like they are the political equivalent of the Chicago Cubs! (Sorry George Will, ya' bastard!)

So, what comes next?

Here is the calendar:

March 8
Wyoming caucus
Pledged Delegates – 12, Superdelegates – 6

March 11
Mississippi primary
Pledged Delegates – 33, Superdelegates – 7

April 22
Pennsylvania primary
Pledged Delegates – 158, Superdelegates – 30

May 3
Guam caucus
Pledged Delegates – 4, Superdelegates – 5

May 6
Indiana primary
Pledged Delegates – 72, Superdelegates – 12

North Carolina primary
Pledged Delegates – 115, Superdelegates – 19

May 13
West Virginia primary
Pledged Delegates – 28, Superdelegates – 39

May 20
Kentucky primary
Pledged Delegates – 51, Superdelegates – 9

Oregon primary
Pledged Delegates – 52, Superdelegates – 13

June 3
Montana primary
Pledged Delegates – 16, Superdelegates – 8

South Dakota primary
Pledged Delegates – 15, Superdelegates – 23

June 7
Puerto Rico caucus
Pledged Delegates – 55, Superdelegates – 8

Who does the calendar favor? The best analogy I have heard thus far is this is like the story of the tortoise and the hare only the tortoise is a few steps behind and then the hare tears off, only to stop for a little while and let the tortoise get close again.

My feeling is that this result only delays the inevitable. I can only hope that my suspicions are wrong about HillBill. I suspect that salvaging the Clinton myth is more important to them than the Party. If Hillary Clinton loses, it tarnishes their legacy. I fear that they are willing to throw the Party under the bus to protect it.

Clinton can't pass Obama without the Michigan and Florida delegates. That is where the fighting goes. In a poll on this blog, readers (a biased sample) were not in favor of rewarding the rule breakers in these two arguably crucial states.

Enter the superdelegate strategy stage right.

Make no doubt about it; this is nothing less than a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party between the Clinton faction and the progressive/populist wing. I wish Paul Wellstone was still around.

And the saga continues...

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