Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Nothing is Over...Until We Decide It Is

For the third straight Primary Day, the press (and to some extent the Obama campaign), are buying into the construct: "If he can just win ________ [Ohio/Pennsylvania/Indiana/West Virginia] then this race will be over."

Unfortunately, such wishful thinking has prevented the Campaign from thinking strategically over the past six weeks (since Ohio/Texas on March 4th).

Obama's campaign needs to confront the unstated truth: Hillary is likely to stay in until the only vote that matters -- the one in Denver at the DNC (traditionally, in 'uncontested' conventions, this vote would be choreographed for Wednesday night; this year, with both candidates likely to arrive in Denver looking for the nomination.)

If the Clintons want to fight past June 3rd -- and don't forget, Bill Clinton popularized the concept of fighting "until the last dog dies" -- who's going to stop them? DNC Chair Howard Dean? Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Leader Harry Reid?

And what if Hillary listens politely and say, "No"?

Then what?

But if you assume she's in until August 28th -- the last day of the DNC Convention -- and work backwards, you might make different choices than spending a day in Altoona bowling a 37.

Meanwhile, John McCain -- despite the difficulties that any Republican would have in being elected at a time when the two-term incumbent's popularity is in the low 30s -- has open field in front of him as he tacks to the center.

Former DNC Chair Joe Andrews -- an erstwhile Hillary supporter -- wrote last week as he announced his switch from Hillary to Obama:
I ask the leaders of our Party to come together after this Tuesday's primary to heal wounds and unite us around a single nominee. While I was hopeful that a long, contested primary season would invigorate our Party, the polls show that the tone and temperature of the race is now hurting us. John McCain, without doing much of anything, is now competitive against both of our remaining candidates. We are doing his work for him and distracting Americans from the issues that really affect all of our lives.
How does the process end?

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