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.