8.31.2008

Obama Outwits the Bloviators

Frank Rich lays out the reasons why the Obama campaign is a beast that this country has never seen before.

...The New York Times/CBS News poll conducted on the eve of the convention found that the Democrats were no more divided than the G.O.P: In both parties, 79 percent of voters supported their respective nominees. The simultaneous Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll also found that 79 percent of Democrats support Obama — which, as Amy Walter of National Journal alone noticed, is slightly higher than either John Kerry and Al Gore fared on that same question (77 percent) in that same poll just before their conventions.

But empirical evidence can’t compete with a favorite golden oldie like the Clinton soap opera. So when Hillary Clinton said a month ago that her delegates needed a “catharsis,” surely she had to be laying the groundwork for convention mischief. But it was never in either Clinton’s interest to sabotage Obama. Hillary Clinton’s Tuesday speech, arguably the best of her career, was as much about her own desire to reconcile with the alienated Obama Democrats she might need someday as it was about releasing her supporters to Obama. The Clintons never do stop thinking about tomorrow.

The latest good luck for the Democrats is that the McCain campaign was just as bamboozled as the press by the false Hillary narrative. McCain was obviously itching to choose his pal Joe Lieberman as his running mate. A onetime Democrat who breaks with the G.O.P. by supporting abortion rights might have rebooted his lost maverick cred more forcefully than Palin, who is cracking this particular glass ceiling nearly a quarter-century after the Democrats got there first. Lieberman might have even been of some use in roiling the Obama-Hillary-Bill juggernaut that will now storm through South Florida.

[snip]

The main reason McCain knuckled under to the religious right by picking Palin is that he actually believes there’s a large army of embittered Hillary loyalists who will vote for a hard-line conservative simply because she’s a woman. That’s what happens when you listen to the TV news echo chamber. Not only is the whole premise ludicrous, but it is every bit as sexist as the crude joke McCain notoriously told about Janet Reno, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

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