Matt Towery of Southern Political Report says that Senator Obama’s North Carolina win was bigger than expected because he picked up most of the last-minute deciders. This tells us something about momentum, maybe.

Of Indiana, Michael Tomasky writes,

The narrow Indiana margin was a stunner and is worth dwelling on. How did that happen? It’d be lovely to think that substance may actually have had something to do with it. That is, it may have proved that Clinton’s pander on the repeal of the federal gas tax really didn’t work that well, and that Obama’s willingness to stand up and call it clever politics but bad policy actually persuaded a large number of voters. Maybe it proved that Obama finally found a way to minimise the pastor problem (for the time being – it will persist into November). Whatever it was, Clinton expected and needed a lot more.

This morning, most reports I’ve seen suggest she’s not quitting yet. The vanity campaign will continue. However, Todd Beeton writes,

This is-it-over or isn’t-it division echoes the mixed messages we’ve gotten from Hillary Clinton herself tonight. First there was her speech, which, I have to agree with Timmeh, was at once a rallying cry and a valedictory; in it, Clinton made an awkward and blatant plea for funds, yet the post-primary fund solicitation e-mail her campaign sent out this evening was more “thanks” than “please;” and finally we have the news that Hillary Clinton will hold no public events tomorrow, yet we also get word from Andrea Mitchell that her meeting with superdelegates set for the morning is purely routine and she intends to be back on the campaign trail by Thursday after a fundraiser tomorrow night. What all of this accomplishes, of course, is to keep both options on the table so that they can see how the fundraising goes and how the media spins tonight before deciding whether to stay in or to drop out. There is a third option as well, which I believe was proposed on MSNBC earlier, which would be to do a sort of combination of both, i.e. campaign strongly over the next two weeks but more as an ally of Obama’s than as a foe until May 20th when they both will likely once again end up winning a state and use his likely majority of pledged delegate status as the tipping point to bow out gracefully.

We’ll see. If Senator Clinton continues to run a scorched-earth, negative campaign against Obama, we’ll know she’s completely unglued.

There’s also speculation that the undeclared superdelegates will declare for Obama in the next few days. This could put an end to the nomination fight before June. Let’s hope.

Update: Dylan Loewe writes at Huffington Post,

Obama cut into Clinton’s base dramatically. Hillary only won voters making less than $50,000 by a four point margin in Indiana. She also saw an eleven point drop in support among Catholics from Pennsylvania to Indiana. Additionally, as Tim Russert noted, Hillary’s slide among black voters continued to worsen. With 92% of African Americans voting for Obama in Indiana, one wonders which states Hillary thinks are winnable without the most loyal bloc of Democratic voters.

All eyes turned to Indiana and North Carolina to see what impact the Reverend Wright story would have on the race. Exit polls showed that, in both states, 48% of voters saw the issue as at least somewhat important to their decision. But that number fails to tell the whole story. Among blacks in Indiana, 44% viewed the Wright story as important. And yet, more than nine in ten black voters chose Obama. With voters citing Wright as important, but still voting for Obama, it would appear that, in fact, Obama’s response to the Wright crisis played as important a role in voter decisions as the initial controversy itself. Given his success, he clearly responded well.

Indiana voters trusted Hillary on the economy, but by a far narrower margin than previous primaries. In North Carolina, Obama won that category handily, suggesting that the fight over Clinton’s gas-tax gimmick ultimately favored Obama – and honesty. At almost every turn, voters rejected the politics of Hillary Clinton. By a twenty point gap, voters believed Hillary unfairly attacked Obama in Indiana, a reality that has no doubt contributed to the widening divide within the party.

C’mon, superdelegates, declare for Obama and put an end to this farce.

12 thoughts on “Encouraged

  1. maha,
    They will – only slowly… To save face for Hill and Bill, they’ll come over in drib’s and drab’s. I, too, wish for a torrent, but that drip, drip drip you hear is the death knell of Hillary’s campaign.

    In another time, I would have been her biggest supporter. But Obama’s is a movement based on hope, not politic’s as usual (the gas tax issue worked well for him). An emotional and heartfelt cry to salvage what we once (in our dreams) held dear in this country.

    McSame and his thug’s will try to tear that down with every dirty trick and lie they can come up with. This will be the ugliest campaign in recent memeory – if not of all time. But, I think the people are starting to see that Republican’s have no more wizard’s to perform for the people, only old men behind curtains trying to hold on to their illusory power.
    YES WE CAN!!!
    Peace! Out…

  2. I keep thinking that someone close to Clinton must have the sense and the ‘nads to give her The Talk make it stick. ‘Cause, otherwise, if she’s that isolated already….

    But my gut tells me Clinton’s extreme sense of entitlement is insurmountable. Never mind the groundhog, we’re in for six more weeks of suicidal infighting.


  3. Hillary may be unglued – her behavior would indicate such – but I suspect she’ll stick out her campaigning in hopes of recouping some of the roughly $12 million of her own money she’s sunk into it. Off the stage, the already diminshing donations to her campaign by her supporters will come to a dead stop.

  4. I think she is indeed somewhat unglued. But I’ve been listening around this morning to what party insiders are (allegedly!) saying and what emerges is a narrative that makes sense, the one put forth by Todd Beeton, Larry O’Donnell, and others. The party doesn’t want Hillary to get tossed out right after she’s been behaving so badly, thus ruining a potentially useful political career. They also don’t want her out right now and then win in WVa (which she almost certainly will), leaving Obama politically somewhat weakened. They want her to play nice for a week or so, emphasize unity, and then skedaddle as gracefully as possible after Obama’s Oregon etc. wins, after graciously declaring him a winner, etc.

    Others are saying she will be more tenacious, hold on to hope that she could persuade the super d’s to move her way. That’s beginning to look extremely unlikely, being as how four have already moved to Obama since last night and up to a dozen are expected to follow shortly.

    Or she and Bill will try to corrupt the Rules Committee into doing their bidding.

    Others are adding that it’s very difficult to suddenly put an end to a huge campaign organization full of loyalists many of whom are having a hard time facing reality. Therefore, stringing it out a bit gives her chance to dismantle the thing in a slow and kindly way.

  5. Although it would have been better for Mrs. Clinton to retire gracefully into the past First Lady role it is not too late. The children still need a village and she could lead a significant world wide attempt to alleviate the suffering and even stimulate healthy growth of millions of world children. She has not added qualitatively to world culture in the political role she chose, but has vast potential for contributing to a better world by leading an NGO for children.

  6. This morning during Washington Journal a woman from Montana called and said that it was very important to her to once before she died to get to vote for a woman for President of the United States. I was touched by this and imagined that the symbolism of such a vote would be a very important validation for her.

    It is unfortunate that Hillary is the woman candidate this time, but I surely do hope that a woman is elected in my lifetime.

  7. I fail to see how Clinton can lay any claim to understanding economics if she can’t count. Heres the numbers as I read them from CNN. First Indiana:

    She won by 13,000 votes and picked up 4 more delegates

    North Carolina:

    He won by 223,000 votes and picked up 16 more delegates.

    Today Obama picked up 3 superdelegates; Clinton picked up 1.

    Overall, he won more states, more elections, more caucuses,more delegates. His lead in the popular vote is insurmountable. His lead in the delegate count is also beyond her wildest hope to catch up. Even if you give her FL & MI, she does not catch up in delegate or popular vote. Hellooooooo?

    Her ‘claim’ to the nomination rests in the argument she might do better against McCain. That suggests that superdelegates (most of who are elected officials – and will have to run again someday – )can give the finger to their constituants, go against the primary process entirely – and rip the nomination from the man who earned the prize – and give it to the candidate with better connections.

    The argument also presumes that black voters, who make up the largest, most reliable block of the democratic party, will line up behind Hilary after this travesty with no resentment or hurt feelings. True, there is a block of ‘bubba’ voters in the party who will not vote for a black man, but there’s a much BIGGER block of black voters who will sit out this election entirely if they feel Obama is diched by the party elders after he earned the nod fair & square. IMO, most of those black folks would line up behind Clinton if she earns it – but not if she steals it.

  8. I don’t think Hillary is unglued. She knows it’s over, and she’s just dragging it out to maximize her political advantage and future earnings. Hillary is all about Hillary and how she can best feather her nest. Why move aside for the good of the party or the nation when there’s plenty to still be grabbed for the self? The poor little dear and her hubby were only able to scrape together a measly 105 million bucks over the past 7 years. How’s a girl to live on such a paltry income in these difficult economic times if she doesn’t lookout for her self?

    The bottom line is that Hillary is a cunning and vicious political animal who is engrossed in her own ambitions, and she’s not capable of getting outside of herself to serve the American people. I’m glad so many people can recognize that truth and cast their vote to Obama.

  9. hi Maha,
    re the superdelegates– did you hear about McGovern? He’d previously endorsed HRC, but today(Weds) he said he’s backing Obama. That has to hurt her, possibly influencing others.

    I also heard she just announced she’s lending her campaign another 6 million– I’m curious what the election laws say about something like that– is it a bad-faith loan if it’s demonstrable that she knows she can’t win at this point, as per the “reasonable person” test?

    If so, and she writes it off on her income taxes, would that be illegal?

  10. Glad to hear “Israel in Egypt” was a triumph. Some of my fondest memories are singing in a very large college choir and doing two big pieces–Mendelsohnn’s “Elijah” and Faure’s “Requiem.” Even now, I get thrilled thinking about those two works of art. Since I am already way off topic, just wanted to say I retire on May 30. I can hardly wait. I will also be moving back to my home in the great Pacific Northwest, Tacoma, Washington, on June 30. While I vow to sleep for six months, I promise to check the Mahablog during my moments of consciousness.

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