So much for the coronation of the frontrunner, as Obama held his own and did what he had to do to take the fight into the later rounds, where his money, organization, and most importantly, momentum may very well help him close the show. While Clinton was favored in every state except Illinois, it was Obama who secured huge victories from coast to coast, Alaska to Connecticut, from Alabama to Idaho, and Utah to Minnesota. Clinton won the states she was supposed to win, but with the possible exception of Massachusetts, there were no real surprises. Obama caught and rode the wave that is still building. As Bob Herbert noted in the New York Times, people "are just fed up with the status quo, and they want change...Winds change. If you're sailing against the wind today, it may be different tomorrow. And there are few things more powerful than the winds of history"(2-5-08) What's really going on here is there is a generational war unfolding: Young people who have grown up in a world where race and gender are not huge considerations are flocking to Obama(he won nearly 60% of 18-29 group), while the older voters, especially those over 60(he lost nearly 60% of 60+ year-olds), are mired in the old vortex of racial assumptions that prevent them from transcending their own prejudices. Unfortunately, the results clearly support this assertion, so this is essentially a battle between past and present, and what this country has been and what it can be. As Obama succinctly conveyed, we are indeed the people who have arrived to try to prod, cajole, and help lead this country forward into the 21st century. "This must be the new world..."(John Doe,X)
With the Clinton name recognition and political machine, her campaign thought they were going to finish Obama off, but despite impressive but expected wins in New York and California, Clinton is running scared, today admitting that she and Bill loaned her campaign $5 million and asked staffers to work for free, a move that conjures the image of Romney and Huckabee, not the self-proclaimed inevitable nominee who assured her supporters at a December meeting in Sacramento that the race would be over on Feb 5th. In a humiliating bit of news late in the day it was reported that Obama had raised $5 million of his own since the polls closed on Feb 5, less than 24 hours. That's the reality of the situation; he raised $32 million to her $13 million in January because he has a much broader base of support that is building while hers is contracting. Clinton's spin experts were busy today claiming victory, but when she was forced to reluctantly admit her "investment," it exposed the obvious reality: Democrats are abandoning Billary at an astounding rate, as all but the deluded "core" see the writing on the wall: The calculated attempt to play the race card was a disaster that has left her core group as lower income and uneducated white and Hispanic women. Those are the facts, humbling as they may be, as the results indicated. Obama not only won educated, upper class voters and black voters: He won white males nationwide, a group that usually supports Republicans and an essential group for any Democrat who wants to be viable in a general election. Obama won nearly all the "red" states.
As I explained in an earlier post, Billary's "core" is not enough to get elected president. She is a highly divisive figure, whom one either loves or hates, and she has failed to expand her base. Indeed, it is Obama who is taking votes away from her base, while gaining ground everywhere. Look at the polls a month ago in the states Obama lost: He was down by 20-30% in every one of those states but ended up competing in ALL of them, while Clinton was crushed in many states: She only won 17% in Idaho, 31% in Georgia, 26% in Kansas, 25% in Alsaka, 32% in Colorado and Minnesota, 33% in Illinois, the state she grew up in! Obama had over 40% of the vote in EVERY state except Arkansas.
So who has a better chance to force Dead Man Walking(McCain) to spend time in red states trying to defend his base in a general election? For instance, Obama may lose Georgia but it's not a given. It will be a fight. His youthful energy and enthusiasm will provide a stark contrast to McCain's hackneyed rhetoric and combative demeanor. This is no country for John McCain, a relic of the past. The country is not clamoring for a leader born in the 1930s. The country expressed a desire for change last night and McCain is anything but change. He can't have it both ways of course, bragging he's "experienced" and innovative. He's neither. He's a grocery boy, come to collect his nomination.(Brando) If Billary wins the nomination, those states are safely McCain's and there are a lot of them. This is, after all, an electoral college election. Popular vote and a few big states will not cut it, yet that's all Billary can win, as they painfully demonstrated last night.
Super Tuesday was not so super for either candidate but made it clear that this battle could progress to the floor of the convention in Colorado, where the disturbing image of an all-out bloodbath becomes a distinct possibility, especially if the party insiders steal the nomination from Obama through their super delegate nonsense and the sleazy attempt to seat delegates from the uncontested "beauty contests" in Michigan and Florida, events that Obama did not contest because he is a man of his word. There was an agreement not to campaign in the states, yet now the Clintons want to claim victory? I now fully understand the people who have told me that the Clintons were slimy cutthroats. How low will these people sink? The Clintons should be thinking about a graceful exit from the campaign, not a way to consolidate insiders and rig the convention. Obama's loyal, passionate followers are likely to converge in Denver and make Chicago '68 look like a civil disagreement if he "loses" the nomination because of a few fraudulent super delegates or the seating of delegates from uncontested elections in Michigan and Florida. Howard Dean, as he indicated today, is terrified of this potential scenario. And he has good reason to hope it is over before the convention, but will it be? All the remaining states are ones that Obama can win. The momentum is with him, and he is not going to lose all those states, so what is the endgame? Believe me, the DNC is scared to death today...
So What About the Issues?
Obama has a strong argument on the following issues:
1. He was right about this war fiasco. People want us out. Period. He can declare victory and leave, as Bush should have done. It's not about giving up. We changed their leadership, remember "Mission Accomplished" Let them sort out their country now.
2. His health care plan is prudent but not as extreme as Billary's, which will be rejected once people fully understand that their wages will be garnished if they do not sign up. She reluctantly confirmed this last Sunday morning on "This Week..." Her plan makes it mandatory that everyone purchase it. Period. Good luck selling that.
He will cover basically anyone who really wants to be covered, which is good enough.
3. He's pro-choice. McCain is not. The U.S. population does not support the GOP platform's call for a constitutional amendment to ban ALL abortions. That's ridiculous.
4. He has a reasonable plan to deal with the illegal immigration issue(e.g. pathway to citizenship, pay fines, seal the border etc.) McCain shared this position until the agents of intolerance took over his campaign team. Obama made a BIG mistake supporting driver's licenses for illegals. It's a reasonable idea in public safety terms but a loser politically and did not help him with Hispanic voters, so why go there. It will cost him a lot of votes if he wins the nomination. He should back off now, as Clinton did.
5. Sound environmental record; McCain is generally sound here also, but his party is not. It's one of the reasons they hate him: He cares about the environment and doesn't hate Mexicans, which is a sin to conservatives.
6. Tax policy: McCain voted against Bush's idiotic cuts for people making over $250K(another reason the GOP hates him), but now he supports them. Obama wants to roll them back to pre-Bush levels to help balance the budget. That's the reasonable position. His economic stimulus package is reasonable, with a little extra money for old people and unemployed persons($250 each). May not help but won't hurt.
7. A good energy policy that invests in clean energy sources($150 billion over 10 years) and doubling fuel efficiency standards.
8. An education policy that wisely invests in Head Start and pre-school, where it all begins to go wrong for too many kids, and also supports $4000 college education tax credits. McCain supports vouchers for rich people to get tax credits to pay for their rich kids to go to rich private schools. That's a great use of our tax money: Wake up you middle class GOP fools: The Republican party laughs at you. They know you are idiots who will blindly support their efforts to finance tax breaks for millionaires at your expense.
Barack Obama is the only candidate left who has earned everything he has achieved. Let's face it, McCain is winning because he is running against some real losers--a Baptist preacher with 2 years of education at a Baptist school and a Mormon who is ONLY in it because he is rich. Period.
Hillary Clinton could not get elected to a school board if her last name was Jones. The "feminist" is in this race because of her man's accomplishments only, and she has hidden behind him every time the going has gotten tough. Oh, the irony of that...
Barack Obama has come out of nowhere to seize the momentum and leave the Clinton machine reeling and disoriented; now he needs to get out there and take it, for it won't be easy. He must get into all of the remaining states and do some real trench warfare: Fight for every vote. Make it happen. The country needs you.