About That Low Road

The NY Times bemoans the negativity in the primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in an editorial today. They claim:

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work.

But voters turned out in Pennsylvania in droves yesterday, as they have across the country in every contest:

At 52 per cent, the turnout was estimated at double the previous high for Pennsylvania, helped by the fact that its role in the nomination process was unusually relevant and that the state’s Democratic party has pulled in tens of thousands of newly registered voters in the past three months.

Forget the fact that Obama out spent Clinton in Pennsylvania with his own negative ads against her, the NY Times editorial board sees through blinders claiming “Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.”

I’m no expert, but when you’re outspent like Clinton was in Pennsylvania, you could come off as the nicest presidential candidate to ever campaign in the U.S., and still take a hit in your lead in the polls.

Although the editorial “bitterly” places the onus on Clinton, they’re not entirely blind to Obama’s part in this year’s epic battle for the Democratic nomination (emphasis mine):

Mr. Obama is not blameless when it comes to the negative and vapid nature of this campaign. He is increasingly rising to Mrs. Clinton’s bait, undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more inclusive form of politics. When she criticized his comments about “bitter” voters, Mr. Obama mocked her as an Annie Oakley wannabe. All that does is remind Americans who are on the fence about his relative youth and inexperience.

And it’s that inexperience in Obama, that seems to drive many voters in their support for Clinton. Hillary is simply a tougher, more experienced candidate. There’s no doubt that voters want to hear “how each candidate will combat terrorism, protect civil liberties, address the housing crisis and end the war in Iraq,” but the NY Yimes call for the Superdelegates to “settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box,” undercuts just that.

So, please let’s stop the calls for the Superdelegates to make their intentions clear and let’s let the voters decide, because as Melissa points out on Shakesville today, “some of us, out here in flyover country, haven’t had our chance to vote yet.” And she points out that many voters are “stoked that we’ve got a chance to participate in a primary that might actually matter for the first time in a generation.” Melissa says:

Let the primary run its course. Let us vote. And shut the fuck up about it.

She’s right. As the right wing leaning blog The Corner points out:

It is clear that Obama can’t win the Reagan Democrats — for reasons that are cultural rather than specifically racial. […]

What is astonishing is that Hillary Clinton can win them.[…]

Perhaps the sheer fact of having to get out there day after day to meet Americans, has humanized her, and helped her learn how to relate to citizens from different demographic swathes than her own narrow one. She may have learned a thing or two from them along the way, about their deeper values. (Barak surely has learned nothing of that.) For all of her stumbles, she looks pretty staunch, sounds competent and confident, and has lost much of the arrogance. Whatever the reality, she comes off like a leader these days. That is why blue-collar mid-westerners can embrace her.

This race isn’t over. The voters deserve to have their say. The media needs to stop interceding and trying to put an end to this race.

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8 Responses to About That Low Road

  1. Gilbert Martinez says:

    Are Reagan Democrats still registered as Democrats? I’m not sure I buy that “Reagan Democrats” line. Obama just can’t win Democrats period. In very few places has Obama actually won the majority of registered Democrats.

    Also, the 20 point lead? Bogus.

  2. Gilbert

    I think there’s a lot of Reagan Democrats. Obama can win a sector of Democrats, just as Hillary has shown she has. The question is who can carry the country – the battleground states better.

  3. Steve Cohn says:

    So forget about the hi road, the low road, the editorials, media and all of us with opinions for a minute. …..Yes, let everyone vote. But if we end up in the same place, what happens?

    How does this end? Fast forward a few months…no clear “winner” with regards to the magic 2025 number. What happens? The superdelgates decide? Doesn’t that nullify the entire primary process?

    Florida & Michigan back in the mix? What if both candidates cross the 2025 line at the same time? Is that even possible (I don’t know)? Or what if Michigan goes 55/45 and all the new, young voters, the future lifeblood of the party and this country, feel the democratic presidential candidate was decided by an older voting population? What effect would that have on the future of the party? (realizing that feeling isn’t correct, but there are ramifications as the spotlight would be on Florida unfairly at that point).

    In other words, are we in a lose-lose situation right now? Reminds me of that saying, Democrates love thier candidates; Republicans elect thiers.

    Thoughts?

  4. Steve Cohn

    FYI it’s not the youth of the party deciding this contest it’s the voters over 50:

    Released from SHAARP Session blog headquarters on the Pennsylvania Democratic primary:

    As we have seen across the nation, voters 50 plus are a key part of tonight’s Democratic race in Pennsylvania. According to exit polls from CNN, 59 percent of those who showed up at the polls were 50 or older. At nearly every state that has held primaries, approximately half of the voters were 50 plus.

    http://blog.aarp.org/shaarpsession/2008/04/still_big_still_mighty.html

    I guess if it comes down to no clear frontrunner than Obama should step out – don’t you think? I mean hey, you know… I get that you are an Obama supporter and probably would like Hillary to get out of the way — but what is fair — is fair.

  5. Peace Out For Unity says:

    The people of America are more engaged than ever in politics and voting ! Go Clinton !

  6. Peace Out For Unity says:

    Carville vs Richardson on CNN ! I’m with Carville,let the people vote !

  7. Peace Out For Unity says:

    When is the next debate ? Let’s go Obama and stay in the saddle now ! Take it easy Clinton and if you punch him up to badly, he won’t debate you anymore ! Poor Obama and I do feel for his team cause it’s not fun to lose. Thank-God we got Penn. and every state is critical ! Good job to the Obama team ! Batter up,NC !

  8. Steve Cohn says:

    ..not sure why Obama would step down but I’ll let that one go.

    I think the real question is who will be best to win over McCain (no reply needed..I know how you feel). I hope this is settled quickly after the last primary as Democrats will have TWO battles to fight. The first one will be to win over the other camp (Obama or Clinton fans) and the next will be to beat McCain. If we don’t do it in that order McCain will win.