Hillary’s Pennsylvania Win Has Media Snivelling

Last night’s Democratic primary in Pennsylvania is worth commenting on. A 10-point margin of victory against a candidate who spent three times more in the state is obviously significant.

Why can’t Barack Obama – the candidate of sweeping hope and change – close Hillary Clinton out? It’s a question being taken up by more and more pundits. Obama threw the kitchen sink at Clinton – spending-wise – and ended up with a double-digit loss in a major state. The 200,000 vote margin in Pennsylvania also gives Hillary Clinton a legitimate claim to boast that she has obtained the nationwide popular vote.

Back in 2000, the Democrats mantra was “Every vote should count!” But here we are completely excluding the votes in Florida and Michigan? It’s just part of the self-serving pretzel-logic of the Democratic Party.

Obama has now lost 7 of the 10 biggest states in the country, including all 4 of the major battleground states that could go either Red or Blue in November.

As it stands, there is no no way either candidate can win enough delegates to take the nomination outright. Whoever wins will win because the super delegates hand the election to one or the other. In this race, neither candidate genuinely has the right to claim that the super delegates “owe” their vote to one or the other, precisely because the super delegates aren’t beholden to any specific “rule” that tells them how to vote one way or the other.

The conventional wisdom holds that the super delegates will crown the candidate that has the best chance of winning in November. But who is that? Obama has won twice as many states. But many of those states were awarded by caucuses – a byzantine process very nearly as un-democratic as the super delegate rule itself. Hillary Clinton has won more large states. She won Florida, won California, won Texas, won Ohio, won Pennsylvania. And she has certainly had the recent momentum in the last few major states – but how much of that recent momentum has been her own, and how much was handed to her by Obama’s stumbles? Finally, both candidates are nailing down their respective bases, but both would need to hold on to the other’s base in November in order to have any chance of winning the general election.

And it appears to me, at least, that if either candidate is “snubbed” by the super delegates, well, to coin a movie title, “There Will Be Blood.”

My own sense is that the super delegates will award the nomination to Barack Obama simply because elite liberals, the ideological “Moveon.org”-types, and blacks would raise more of a tantrum than the working-class whites, the seniors, and the women in Hillary’s camp.

In other words, the barometer will ultimately be “PC,” rather than the calculus of “electibility,” that determines the nominee. If I am correct in my assesment, this bodes ill for Democrats: because PC guarantees that the side that gets snubbed will have hard feelings, just as it always has against everyone else on whom it’s been played. There will be lifelong Democrats who will vote for McCain, or simply not vote at all, mark my words.

At times, MSNBC’s Hardball coverage of the election revealed some genuine bitterness over Clinton’s victory.

Keith Olbermann quoted Donna Brazile as saying, There is a group around Senator Clinton that really wants to take the fight to the convention. They don’t care about the party. It scares me, and that’s what scares a lot of superdelegates.

Chris Matthews – on the very same night that Hillary Clinton wins a 10 point victory in a major state – analogizes the Hillary Clinton campaign to the Titanic, and points out that “The iceberg’s name is Barack Obama.”

Tom Brokaw all but wrote Hillary’s campaign obituary, saying she’d go as far as she could before she finally hit the wall.

There was one exchange that I found especially revealing in its “journalistic implications”:

Christ Matthews: It’s not just the Clinton forces continue to change the score sheet and the scoreboard itself, they reserve the right to do it again and again and again.

Tim Russert: Yes. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Terry McAuliffe have one thing they want: Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee. And they’ll use any path that’s available to get there….That’s what it is all about — those are the rules according to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Terry McAuliffe.

Chris Matthews: Mulligan after mulligan after mulligan.

Keith Olbermann: And yes, it really is not just a moving goalpost but the proverbial movable feast of goalposts. You put it anywhere you want. And remember – and the other thing about is, as much as we might look at it with astonishment or you know, amazement maybe that especially in that — that core group of women supporters, that group we mentioned earlier, that is so adherent to Hillary Clinton, this particular action of moving the goalpost, the actual act of redefining the game as it goes along, is perceived as one of her greatest strengths.

Republicans, of course, could have told everyone 16 years ago that the Clintons didn’t care about anybody but the Clintons; that they would deceive, distort, mischaracterize, and use deceptive media tactics that could have come right from the mafia in order to win. But the liberals who loved Clintonian tactics when they were successfully employed against Republicans are suddenly finding that they have no stomach whatever for them when they are employed against someone they like.

Keith Olbermann underscored the media’s fidgeting over the prospect of Democrats mud-wrestling themselves right out of viability, saying, “Yes, I really like the image of superdelegates moving quickly, because, so far, they have been glacier-like, in any respect, in any direction.” Most any other time, of course, journalists love the idea of dirty laundry being constantly hung out for them to sniff. Most of the time, they wouldn’t want anybody to step in and end this endless twisting in the wind. But this fight is clearly different for them.

One writer pointed out on 24 March 2008, “And prominent pundits are saying so. Last Friday, just about an hour after the Richardson endorsement event, two top writers for the Politico, an influential website, posted a news article-cum-editorial arguing, accurately, that Clinton has almost no numerical case to make. Another uber-pundit and conventional-wisdom shaper, this one at Time, posted 14 reasons why Clinton should consider withdrawing. And so it was that the week that began with Obama on the ropes ended with Clinton being urged out of the ring.”

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek offered the objective title, “Hillary Should Get Out Now.”

I particularly like the New York Times editorial for 23 April 2008, “The Low Road to Victory.” Laura Ingraham – rightly – points out that these New York Times people couldn’t get enough dirty laundry out of the Catholic Church, that the continued to demand one mea culpa after another. And they certainly didn’t mind throwing a clearly dirty mud ball at John McCain by all but accusing him of a sexual affair in addition to other illegitimate behavior with a female lobbyist. But now they don’t have the stomach for any more negative news to damage Democratic candidates. They are clearly sorry they endorsed Clinton at this point. They didn’t know who the liberal darling would turn out to be.

The editorial begins, “The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.”

Another inconclusive result?” A 10 point victory? These people have clearly become unhinged over the Democratic campaign. And they couldn’t show their bias much more nakedly.

And it ends: “It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.”

In other words, PLEASE, OH PLEASE PLEASE, WON’T SOMEBODY STOP THIS UNDERMINING OF OUR BELOVED DEMOCRATS? WE OBJECTIVE JOURNALISTS JUST CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE!”

But I close with the extremely relevant question of MSNBC anchor, Joe Scarborough, who said on last night’s Hardball: “Hey, Harold [Ford], let’s pretend we’re in the Democratic cloakroom. We are two uncommitted superdelegates and we just found out Barack Obama lost Pennsylvania. We are talking and I say to you hey, man, I’m concerned about this guy. He’s been in Pennsylvania for seven weeks. He has had $9 million, he’s crushed Hillary Clinton as far as the ad wars go. But he can’t close the deal. He can win now, and we are in a Democratic cloakroom, I would then say those Republican bastards are going to kill him in the fall. What do we do?

Indeed.

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One Response to “Hillary’s Pennsylvania Win Has Media Snivelling”

  1. Pettiness and Visciousness Over Tony Snow’s Passing: The Left Should Be Ashamed « Start Thinking Right Says:

    […] Hillary’s Pennsylvania Win Has Media Snivelling […]

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