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January 10, 2008
It Was Fun to Think
Obama Had Won, But Hillary’s Not Dead Yet
Well, at least Barack Obama got a good slogan out of it.
After five days in which the entire nation seemed under the impression
that Obama had sewn up the Democratic nomination and ended the Clinton
years as a result, Hillary Clinton put a quick end to that by actually
winning in New Hampshire, outsmarting both the polls and the pundits in
the process. Despite polls throughout the week that put Obama in the
lead by as much as 12 points, Hillary held the lead throughout the
night, and pulled off a narrow victory.
Obama, meanwhile, managed to deliver a memorable concession speech that
included the public introduction of the slogan “Yes, we can,” which he’d
been using for a few days already but not yet in a major speech. Most
victories aren’t as big as Obama’s in Iowa was, but the junior senator
from Illinois will have to make do with small ones for awhile. Until
The roller coaster of the past week illustrates just how ridiculous our
whole presidential nominating system is, as is the media coverage
thereof. The result in one hardly populated state is treated as a
political earthquake of epic proportions, while the opposite result,
just a few days later, is treated as an equally devastating shift in the
other direction. No one at any point seemed to consider that a primary
is just a primary, and the race is clearly very far from over.
Still though, that brief window in which Obama was talked about as the
presumptive nominee and Hillary as an also-ran sure was a fascinating
one, with the Drudge Report even going so far as to publish speculation
about Sen. Clinton dropping out of the race. There will be no dropping
out for the foreseeable future, aside from Bill Richardson.
Those of us who are attracted to the Obama candidacy, especially the
non-boomers among us, got a glimpse of the future during those five
days. Those of us who back Obama may not necessarily despise Hillary
Clinton, but we’re sick of the constant rehashing of the arguments of
the 1960s which, in the event of a Hillary nomination, will certainly be
coupled with a constant rehashing of the arguments of the 1990s as well.
anyone really looking forward to 10 months of that? Wouldn’t you prefer
someone with a style all his own, who is more interested in talking
about the future than the past?
Regardless, Sen. Clinton was able to show that she’s still the
frontrunner, and exit polls attributed the bounce-back to a dominating
performance among women, as well as older voters. The election is by no
means over, but Hillaryland has a new lease on life – and there will be
no more drop-out talk for her anytime soon.
Who’s the second-happiest person about the non-death of Hillary’s
presidential bid? Probably Dick Morris, the professional Hillary-hater
who has written multiple books about the Senator, and is even readying a
documentary called “Hillary: the Movie.” One has to think that a Hillary
loss would have the same effect on Dick that the fall of communism had
on Yakov Smirnoff – sure, it’s good news for him ideologically, but it
also means the end of his career.
The primary was just an odd night all around, from John McCain following
up his win with the one of the most boring, doddering speeches of his
career, to someone at Mike Huckabee’s celebration holding up a sign,
more than once, that completely blocked the camera’s view of the
candidate, in the manner of a solar eclipse. (I kept expecting Bill
O’Reilly to run out and shove the guy.) And I’m still wondering about
that ever-present beeping sound throughout MSNBC’s coverage – I kept
thinking my smoke alarm was going off.
sure was a fun five days, when it looked like Obama had already won. So
much so, I’d like to see pick it up again later this spring.
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