Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Random notes and quotations from the Pennsylvania coverage

--- It was great to hear Terry McAuliffe refer to Fox News as "fair and balanced Fox" and congratulate Fox for being the first network to call the Pennsylvania primary for Sen. Clinton. Can we quote you on that, Mr. McAuliffe?

--- Looking at the exit polling, it is clear that the numbers of people who say they voted for Obama but actually voted for Clinton is rising with each primary that passes. The cool thing is still to say you voted for Obama -- but in the privacy of the voting booth, some of those same people are voting for the less cool candidate. Republicans have always had to count on that phenomenon, since we rarely have the cool candidates. There is a little cognitive dissonance seeing a Clinton be the uncool choice.

--- Conventional wisdom is that since it is virtually impossible for Sen. Clinton to erase Obama's delegate lead, the superdelegates will not give the election to Clinton. But it was interesting to hear former Democratic pollster and Fox News commentator Pat Caddell interrupt Ari Fleischer while Fleischer was repeating that conventional wisdom:

"No! This is a process, not a suicide pact."

To hear a Democrat speak of nominating Obama as being a potential suicide pact was truly remarkable. But it is the sort of thing that has to be crossing the minds of more and more Democratic leaders. Keep in mind that superdelegates came into existence to allow Democratic leaders to save the Democratic party from itself -- from nominating someone who can make party activists go weak in the knees (and even faint) but who can't win the general election when it comes right down to it.

--- Last year, Montana Headlines on a number of occasions questioned the conventional Republican wisdom that Clinton would be the easiest candidate to defeat on the Democratic side, making instead the argument that Clinton would be a formidable candidate. For the first time, we are starting to hear Republican leaders hoping that Obama doesn't stumble, since they are starting to see chinks in his armor.

--- A big difference that has to have Democratic leaders worried was noted by Byron York. In his interviews, a high percentage of Clinton supporters in Pennsylvania said that they will strongly consider voting for McCain if Obama gets the nomination -- whereas Obama supporters said that they would vote for Clinton. What this means is that Obama is winning the true Democratic believers, whereas Clinton is actually the one who is drawing the swing voters -- contrary to the popular image of Obama as the king of crossover voting.

--- Watching Sen. Obama give his speech in Indiana, it is truly remarkable how long and how eloquently Obama is able to orate without actually saying anything. Amazing. But then, the guy can pack out arenas better than Elton John, so maybe it's a bit churlish to point out that his speeches have less content than Bernie Taupin's lyrics.

--- Hillary killed Obama in the Catholic vote in Pennsylvania, in spite of Sen. Casey promising to deliver for the latter. Why a supposedly pro-life Democrat would endorse someone who disagrees with him on late-term abortions and partial-birth abortions -- and then specifically promise to deliver the Catholic vote, is a bit of a mystery.

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