Bloggers on the Texas and Ohio primaries.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
March 5 2008 3:38 PM

Stalemate

Hillary Clinton defeated front-runner Barack Obama in both Ohio and Texas last night, while John McCain sealed his nomination as the Republican candidate. Some bloggers toss around recommendations and recriminations while others pass the popcorn.

What can history teach us? Dismissing Obama's claim that he has overwhelmingly more delegates on his side, the Huffington Post's Stephen Schlesinger references three instructive Democratic conventions:  "A lead in pledged delegates is not enough. You still have to convince your party that you are the best nominee. That is what the next stage of this election is all about." Political Animal Kevin Drum trots out the hyper-dramatic 1968 Democratic primary season as proof that intraparty sparring won't damage the Dems. "Like a lot of people, I'm not very happy about the direction the Democratic campaign has taken, but the idea that it's going to wreck the eventual winner's chances in the fall seems pretty far fetched. … By keeping Dems in the spotlight, it might even help them." Suggesting that Hillary rivals her husband for the title of Comeback Kid, SheKnows' Joel Damos writes, "Never count a Clinton out."

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"If I were Obama, I'd stop arguing it's over and say, 'Okay, let's keep this discussion going,' recommendsPortolio'sMatt Cooper. "The more people see Obama the more they'll probably like him. So roll with it." Obama fan Andrew Sullivan concurs: "Obama must not let the Clintons into his head. He has to make this campaign about his positive ideas again. Their goal is to destroy his inspiration, to make this election about who you're most familiar with in a world of nasty Republicans and nasty Islamists. His goal must be to swamp them, as he has already, with his talent, his reason, and his optimism."

Looking ahead to Pennsylvania, the next big battle ground, liberal Matt Yglesias posts a bar graph comparing that state's demographics to Ohio's. He conjectures: "The good news for Obama is that given how Clinton-friendly the state and, and the fact that Clinton can't overtake him in the delegate lead anyway, if he does manage to beat her here she'll have no excuses left to stay in the race." But on Pam's Coffee Conversation, Pamela Lyn, an African-American woman, slams the media for demographic pigeon-holing and asks, "[H]ow do they explain that every time that they pronounce that it's time for Hillary to just fade away, a large group of the American people say 'Hillary Stay!' " On National Review Online's Corner, Ramesh Ponnoru adds, "The default option in our culture is skepticism, even delegitimization. It's cool to believe in Obama now, but it may become cool to see through him by the fall."

Does Rush Limbaugh deserve credit for Hillary's big wins? Some conservatives think so. "Now anyone who knows me personally knows I can't stand the evil political machine that is the Clintons. But this strategic move by Republican voters in Texas and Ohio has forced a near draw that will have Clinton and Obama clawing each others eyes out for the next 6 months and force the Super-Delegates to pick who will be their candidate and not the will of the people directly," crows Alaskan Grizzly at In God We Trust. Below the Beltway's Doug Mataconis demurs: "I'm sure that Rush, being Rush, will take credit for the win but the numbers just don't add up. … Strategic voting like this usually never works and more often comes back to bite you in the end. I think that's what will happen to Republicans for Hillary." Hot Air's AllahPundit agrees that Rush wasn't a factor "for the simple reason that a man who couldn't sway enough conservatives to tip close primaries from John McCain to Mitt Romney probably isn't capable of getting them excited about Hillary Clinton." And at Reason's Hit & Run, David Weigel has another take. He marshals stats indicating that Limbaugh may indeed have had something to do with Hillary's victory and writes, "Every joke that's ever been told about how the right needs the Clintons to survive is true. Hillary Hatred is the gas, the ethanol, and the rocket fuel of the staggering GOP."

Pointing out that Clinton's attacks on Obama haven't necessarily helped her, Daily Kos diarist Draylogan credits the negativity for John McCain's recent lead over Obama. "There is something extremely powerful about a candidate from the same party saying that the other candidate is dishonest and lacks integrity. It's just something that wouldn't be as powerful coming from the RNC, and would cause a backlash of negativity from minorities and Democrats, and even Independents."

Others wonder about the possibility of a Clinton/Obama—or Obama/Clinton—ticket. "If Clinton's going to ask Obama to be her VP, or he's going to ask her, why not now, soon? ... In order to win, Obama and Clinton will have to spend time and money exposing even more of each other's weaknesses. John McCain will be happy to use that same ammunition against the eventual Dem nominee," notes independent Chris Tucker of Muse Machine. Politico's Mike Allen observes, "Obama might be reluctant to join, figuring that if Clinton lost, he'd be able to run for the top job four years later. But he might accept her invitation at the behest of the party."

Now that McCain has corralled the Republican nomination, the Washington Note's Steve Clemons speculates about whether New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg will be McCain's VP: "Bloomberg could give McCain some much needed sizzle on the GOP ticket. Of course, Bloomberg would have to rejoin the Republican Party." And at Power Line, John Hinderaker points out the lessons that can be learned from McCain's comeback, including that "we're reminded that most voters don't pick candidates by reviewing a checklist of issues. Most voters try to size up the candidate's character, temperament and stature, and are willing to vote for candidates across what we ideologues would consider a broad philosophical range."

Read more about last night's primaries. Slate's John Dickerson analyzes the Clinton comeback.

Bidisha Banerjee is the San Francisco-based co-author of a forthcoming Yale Climate and Energy Institute/Centre for International Governance Innovation report on scenario planning for solar radiation management. She is collaborating on a geoengineering game and has written about geoengineering governance for Slate and the Stanford Journal of Law, Science, and Policy.

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