Alex Blaze

The presumptive Democratic nominee

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 08, 2008 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Indiana, North Carolina, pundits, Tim Russert

It's Barack Obama. I know because anyone who's anyone has already told me - Hillary, post Indiana and North Carolina - has no chance at winning.

Chris Bowers sums up what anyone who's been paying attention thinks about the media's recent shift in narrative:

I am finding myself resistant to the way this nomination campaign appears to be ending, mainly because there is no logic to it. All of the arguments that could be used by the punditry to declare the nomination campaign over could have been used really at any point since Wisconsin. For some reason, those arguments appear to be sticking tonight, whereas they weren't earlier. According to the logic that ends the campaign tonight, there was no reason to torture us for the past two months, except to damage Democrats for the sake of damaging Democrats. I guess I should have learned by now that that is reason enough.

timecover.jpgOver the past several days, there's been no shortage of mainstream media folks saying that Hillary just can't win anymore. George Stephanopolis says that the "nomination fight is over." Tim Russert was in full-form with whiteboards and markers explaining the math. Matt Lauer said it was over on Good Morning America. The AP ran a story saying that Democrats are telling Hillary it's over (as if they just started, or as if they're all doing it). The New Republicsays it's "over" because she didn't win Indiana decisively (even though that state's 72 delegates, had she won by 10%, would have only gotten her four or so more pledged delegates and Obama's lead is over a hundred. But whatever). The cover of Time magazine said... well, it's on the right for reference.

I definitely wasn't expecting this turn of events. Obama lost by a handful fewer delegates than projected in Indiana. He still isn't over the 2025 line, the math hasn't changed much in the last month or so, and Hillary hasn't dropped out. There's no reason none of this couldn't have been said last week, or, if they're waiting for more definitive proof that he's the presumptive nominee than mathematical projections that call for 90% Clinton wins in some states, then why aren't they waiting for Hillary herself to drop-out or the convention?

Digby thinks it's all some sort of Russert-led group-think; when Tim Russert says it's over, it's over. I suppose that this all has to do with the Kool Kidz not wanting to look like they've been left behind, like they're the ones who aren't in the Know once the narrative's started to shift.

And I know the effect this will have. My thoughts have been that even though Hillary can't really win absent an Obama melt-down (or death), she's trudging on anyway and that's great. Before Indiana/NC, that was generally met with disagreement, that we should let the states decide, that she has a chance because there are lots of people who believe (oh, lord, they believe!) that she has a chance, or just shrugs and I-dunno's, "I don't really follow politics, but I'll believe it when I see it." Now it's going to be all I hear from other Americans, I can already see.


The kind of power these pundits (especially air-headed ones like Stephanopoulos) wield is rather amazing, but I've seen it time and time before, like when in 2000 my friends, my progressive and Democratic friends, were calling for Gore to gracefully step out of the race because he was embarrassing the party.

Digby's in rare form on this one (same link as above):

So I hear that Village High Commissioner Tim Russert declared that we have a Democratic nominee. The Town Crier, Drudge, immediately followed with an official announcement The real leadership of our nation --- the punditocricy -- have handed down their decision. Hallelujah![...]

And there's nothing wrong with political junkies sitting around the virtual pot-bellied stove and saying the race is "over" or exhorting her to drop out. We're citizens and, in some cases, political players. There is, however, something unbelievably distasteful about a handful of powerful, millionaire, celebrity pundits "declaring" such a thing and having the paper of record breathlessly report it as if it was decisive and meaningful.

Who the fuck anointed Tim Russert as the final arbiter of anything? His job is to analyze the political landscape not declare the decision as if he were some kind of Roman Emperor giving a thumbs up or thumbs down. It's bad enough that these gasbags put those thumbs on the scale as hard as they do, but actually taking the initiative to say when the race is over is even worse. To coin a favorite Village phrase, "it's not their place."[...]

The idea floating around, even in the blogosphere, that once Tim Russert "says it" it's true is so galling that I can hardly keep from projectile vomiting. Giving him that power will come back to bite us hard down the road.


Hillary hasn't dropped out. Her winning is only slightly more impossible than it was last week. The convention hasn't happened. Obama hasn't reached 2025 delegates, pledged, super, or otherwise.

I just don't get this logic, but I wouldn't mind it so much if there wasn't so much group-think involved.

But then I didn't understand democracy-oriented arguments coming out of both camps this primary season ("Let all the states vote!" "Don't let the superdelegates overturn the will of the people!"), as if this process resembles a functioning democracy at all. This is just another part of how the will of the people just doesn't get enacted in the US - we let these doofuses tell us how to think all the time.

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Well it's not over till it's over true but the screwy rules set up by the DNC has given them this nightmare. Maybe they need to let the states go back to allowing winner take all Primaries and this would have been over by now.Oh yes it's now on to West Virginia who hasn't had a say since 1960! and that was because they were one of the few states then that had a primary.

Aint Politics grand?


Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 9, 2008 5:52 AM

The problems of voter fatigue and expense at this point in an election have drawn me toward several conclusions.

The college of electors must die, it is an antique.

There should be one month of campaigning and a national primary election involving all parties.

Two weeks following both parties have their national conventions at the same time.

There should then be four weeks of campaigning and the national election of all participating parties.

That would mean the process would commence on August 15 and end on November 5th.

That is ten weeks. That's enough! The United States government is a laughing stock with anyone who is in a democracy outside of the United states due the the length of this process. We confuse stamina with leadership sometimes.

It is over.

It's not the math for popular vote that matters - it's the delegates. By losing North Carolina by a large margin (remember when she had supposedly evened everything out and could possibly win NC?) and not winning Indiana by as large of an amount as Obama's NC win (remember when she was 20 points ahead here?), she's "proven" to the remaining super delegates that he has the tenacity to blunt her momentum.

Everyone keeps saying he can't go the entire mile, but he's doing that and then some actually. In Indiana, Evan Bayh dropped out of his own presidential race just to endorse her. As Obama counted on his next-door-neighbor notoriety to help him in Indiana, Bayh used his influence in Ohio. He campaigned hard for her here in Indiana and it was for naught. Here eked out lead isn't enough to show that the people actually want her anymore than him.

Instead, the message sent Tuesday night by the voters was clearly one of "This person has been chosen." The only way to win at this point is thru super delegates. They won't want to buck the trends, so more and more of them will announce for Obama. More and more of them will switch allegiances from her to him (as we've seen happening.) She'll more than likely win WV and KY, but at this point, it's the supers that'll decide it.

That has nothing to do with Tim Russert - just an understanding of politics. Tim, by the way, had nothing to do with my comment. :)