Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Clinton hints at stealing pledged delegates

I'm actually pretty surprised at this. I'm really not one of those "Hillary will do ANYTHING to get back in the White House!!!" people, and aside from the occasional hypocrisy I haven't found either campaign to be particularly dirty, so I thought this was an ethical line that Hillary wouldn't cross. Maybe she still won't, now that she's seen a bit of the reaction.

In other election news, since you read this Hillary's VP candidate waterboarded her in another western state with 60% of the vote. But it's just a caucus so it doesn't really matter. And in another southern state. The Magnolia State, however, is a red state, so it doesn't really matter, either. To channel Howard Dean, apparently they don't have congressional seats in red states and caucus states.

Speaking of states that matter, you might be surprised to hear that, after the dust settled last week following Obama's "surprising" loss of 3 states consisting almost entirely of Clinton's base, he actually gained ground on Hillary. You live by the supers, you die by the supers. Obama also won Mississippi and Wyoming so crushingly that he erased Hillary's pledged delegate gains from Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island. It's Super Duper Tuesday all over again.

We've reached the point in the campaign where the math is definitively on Obama's side. Obama is virtually assured to enter the convention with more delegates, more states, more money, and a bigger chunk of the popular vote than Clinton. At this point, all Clinton can reasonably hope for is that Obama destroys himself, or that she figures out how to knife him without herself getting tainted by the blood. Meanwhile, Jonathan Chait notes the trouble with Clinton remaining in the fray if she doesn't have a decent shot at the nomination:
...Clinton's kamikaze mission is likely to be unusually damaging. Not only is the opportunity cost--to wrap up the nomination, and spend John McCain into the ground for four months--uniquely high, but the venue could not be less convenient. Pennsylvania is a swing state that Democrats will almost certainly need to win in November, and Clinton will spend seven weeks and millions of dollars there making the case that Obama is unfit to set foot in the White House. You couldn't create a more damaging scenario if you tried.

Imagine in 2000, or 2004, that George W. Bush faced a primary fight that came down to Florida (his November must-win state). Imagine his opponent decided to spend seven weeks pounding home the theme that Bush had a dangerous plan to privatize Social Security. Would this have improved Bush's chances of defeating the Democrats? Would his party have stood for it?

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