Sunday, February 17, 2008

On Wisconsin

Joey LaMotta: You win, you win. And if you, lose, you still win.
Jake LaMotta: I lose, I still win?
Joey LaMotta: Yeah.

From Raging Bull, written by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin.

Conventional wisdom – usually far more conventional than wise – has Barack Obama’s momentum rolling through Wisconsin en route to a showdown with Clinton in Texas and Ohio, both of which will be must-win states for her. Today, the Clinton campaign announced that the candidate wouldn’t even be staying in the state through Tuesday, further fueling assumptions that she has no chance of winning there.
The problem is that there is no reason why she shouldn’t be able to win there. I haven’t seen a poll that shows her more than five points behind – there is an ARG poll today with her actually ahead. Basically, the Clinton camp, aided by the media, have played the expectations game perfectly. If she wins, she wins – it will be hailed as a huge comeback, a momentum-stopper, and put immense pressure on Obama to win in either Texas or Ohio. If she loses close, that will also be called a win, as polls will undoubtedly show her winning among Democrats, with independents and Republicans giving Obama the win. If Obama wins by less than ten, it will excite nobody, since people are expecting a victory for him. Only a double-digit win by Obama will impress the punditocracy, and that will still merely be a prelude to March 4th.
The close victory by Obama, which, if the polls are to be believed (I know, given how crappy they’ve been, no real reason to believe them), is the most likely outcome, would be fueled by votes by non-Democrats. Which brings to mind the question of why the Clinton campaign hasn’t created an alternate primary universe, based on exit polls, consisting only of Democrats, reallocating the delegates and recomputing the popular vote totals. Doesn’t it seem like an obvious thing to do? Make the battle cry that Hillary is the candidate that Democrats want to represent them. I’m from the school that thinks primaries should be closed, although the point could be made that winning in the Fall will require independent voters. I think appeal to independent voters is something Democrats can, and should, take into account when voting for their candidate, but that the choice should be within the party. It’s not how the rules are, though, so what I (and the Clintons) would prefer is irrelevant. Still, you’d think it would be a selling point worth pursuing in the battle for Super Delegates.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home