Bloggers discuss the latest in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, condemn the archbishop of Canterbury's backing of sharia, and celebrate Amy Winehouse's performance at the Grammys.
Shake it up: With Barack Obama sweeping weekend primaries in Kansas and Louisiana, and Hillary Clinton replacing campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle (whom she once considered an "adopted daughter") with longtime aide Maggie Williams, bloggers are in a tizzy about the state of the Democratic race.
Boston Herald editor Jules Crittenden ponders if racial calculus could be behind the shakeup, as Latina Solis Doyle was replaced by African-American Williams. "Clinton is doing fine with Latinos, but facing a test of biblical proportions in the black community. I hate to ascribe base motives to anyone, but given the high degree of race consciousness, race pandering, race baiting in what has become an incredibly close race, you don't think it had anything to do with … couldn't be."
Marc Ambinder reports on the tension between Williams and Doyle behind the scenes. "The relationship between Maggie Williams and Patti Solis Doyle has been described as close but acrimonious, akin to two longtime friends who have the same goal in mind but argue about how to get there. They have argued in private, and increasingly, in public settings. Two sources said that Williams last week threatened to leave the campaign -- she had only been on a 30-day consignment -- unless the chain of command was clarified."
With the press corps again declaring Obama has regained his momentum, Christopher Beam laments the language's resurgence at Slate's Trailhead. "How quickly they forget. After the CW-busting reversals of New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and Feb. 5 itself, everyone is now talking about shmoshmentum (I can't in good conscience say the actual word) as if the last month never happened. I expected the press to declare a moratorium on that sort of language after New Hampshire. No such luck," Beam writes.
At the Stump, Noam Scheiber wonders if Hillary is momentum-proof. "The strange thing about Hillary is that while voters don't necessarily want her to win, they don't seem to want her to lose, either. Every time it looks like she might do that--New Hampshire, Super Tuesday, during her post-Super Tuesday financial crunch--voters have rallied to her side. I wonder if we'll see a similar story on March 4 or before if it starts to look like Obama's running away with this thing. Needless to say, voters' complex psychological relationships to Hillary makes her extremely difficult to run against ..."
At Publius Pundit, conservative Kim Zigfeld finds that Obama has lost Democratic contests in the states crucial to taking the general election–California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Michigan. "If Obama does somehow manage to become the nominee, the Democrats may well turn out to have pulled a Dukakis (Mondale, McGovern) once again. They'll be sending the candidate who lost in their primaries all the states they must win in the general election, and the one utterly without a resume, to do battle against the party that has dominated presidential election contests since World War II and a candidate who is a legitimate national hero."
Moderate Andrew Sullivan continues to stump for Obama. "He's winning it the old-fashioned way - state by state, argument by argument, debate by debate. Clinton should consider stepping aside if tomorrow's votes go the same way. If she couldn't put this thing away by now - with all her party clout, all her chits, all her husband's pull, all her big donors, and all her brand-name recognition - she's not going to do it in the end. All she will do is put her own party through an ordeal it need not experience. But I guess the Clintons have done that before, haven't they?"
Read more about the Democratic race.
Sharia or not: On Thursday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, advocated the establishment of sharia courts in Britain. Despite calls for his head, Williams has not backed away from his remarks.
Conservative American Tad Cronn is aghast. "There is nothing in sharia law that is compatible with Christianity or Western law, but that doesn't stop liberals like Williams from trying to give away Western culture to the followers of Mohammed. But like most liberals trying to promote the slow destruction of the West, Williams is reportedly 'shocked' at the outrage he has stirred up." Theologian Susan Easton is of the same mind at conservative Human Events. "His words have had quite an impact -- perhaps best compared to the effect of dropping a suitcase nuke into the room at high tea in Buckingham Palace. If there were any English still sleep walking through the destruction of their national identity, the ultimate wake up call just came."
British journalist and author Melanie Phillips also finds Britain's cultural identity under siege. "Astoundingly, he does not seem to understand that this country is being targeted by a pincer movement of terrorism and cultural takeover. He does not seem to understand Sharia. And he does not seem to understand the role of his own religion in underpinning British laws, culture and society."
Read more about the Archbishop's comments.
Live from London: Amy Winehouse cleaned up at the Grammy's, snagging five awards and rocking the ceremony via satellite from London after being denied a U.S. visa.
Much of the blogosphere gives her kudos for defying expectations with her coherent performance, includingHeckler Spray. "Amy could have - as she's appeared to do in the past - pulled drugs out of her beehive and ram them up her nose while singing. Or she could have done what she's done uniformly for the last year and turned in a lazy vocal that sounds like the Cloverfield monster trying to do a Chewbacca impression during a karaoke version of Baby Love. But no. What Amy Winehouse actually did was sing normally while looking vaguely healthy. We know, it was hard for us to take in, too."
New York's Vulture also applauds her performance. "Given that she's still, technically, in rehab, this probably should've been a disaster (and she does shout out her jailed husband and her favorite pub), but it's actually the best Grammy performance we can remember, pretty much ever."
Read more about Winehouse's performance.