Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Random politics thoughts

You know, before Edwards pushed it out of the TV news cycle, I was really enjoying the few hours everyone spent asking "Gee, why is a black candidate failing so badly in West Virginia and Kentucky?"

Yes, it sure does defy rational thought that those two states might not welcome black leaders. I mean, what could possibly explain it? Kentucky -- which never seceded from the Union -- likes to teach its schoolkids about its "Confederate Heritage", and let's not even talk about West Virginia.

Actually, Josh Marshall has a really interesting take on Obama's "Appalachian Problem". When Obama's winning white-bread states like Iowa and the entirety of the black working class, Obama's "weakness" among primary voters basically boils down to not winning the Deliverance vote. Which, btw, doesn't vote Democrat. (WV may have to be abandoned by the Dems -- so long as any Democrat is serious about climate change, the heart of coal country is going to be tough going. Ross Gelbspan has written intriguingly about Big Coal's role in handing WV to Bush in 2000.)

Anyway, in other primary news this interview Clinton did with Wolf Blitzer made me feel much, much better about her. I think she's struggling to find a way to stay in the race until the end without lashing out at a rival candidate who's ended a dream of hers -- I can't say I blame her for the occasional slip up, even if rhetorically linking "white" with "hard-working" has a bad, bad history. Still, if you can catch the video I'd recommend watching it.

The explanation as to why Clinton is staying in the race that I buy -- that I choose to believe, given the evidence -- is that she believes she's got a historic role as the first female candidate to make it this far, and she'd like every woman in America who wants to vote for her to have the opportunity to do so. She's got to raise some money, too, but if that was all it was I've got to believe she'd still leave. It's been a year and a half of campaigning, so 3 more weeks makes no difference.

That's right, it's been a year and a half. And for about 75% of that time, Clinton has been the prohibitive favourite to win the nomination. She had the money, she had the vast majority of endorsements, and she had a lot of the party aparatus lined up in her corner. People who (still!) say Obama is unelectable need to answer a basic question: if Clinton got beat by Obama, with all of her inherent advantages in the primary, how can she win against McCain, against whom she'll have no similar leg up?

I wonder what the reaction of her supporters will be when she strides up to a podium to endorse her party's nominee?

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