Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Chase for Change 2008: South Carolina (D) Edition: Obama Gets Some Mo Back Again

So I've been away for the weekend, but now able to write on my blog again, here's my run-down from last night in U.S. politics.

No matter what Hillary Clinton's camp says, South Carolina was a complete blow-out against her. You can't frame 55-27 any other way. To put things in perspective Obama did as well against Hillary in South Carolina as Hillary did against essentially NO ONE (or "uncommitted" to be more precise) in Michigan. While everyone knew Obama was going to win South Carolina the margin of victory is what's brought back some momentum to his campaign. Endorsements now from Corolyn Kennedy (JFK's daughter) and Ted Kennedy will add to that further.

I personally think that, while the exit poll data on this is a bit muddled, Bill Clinton didn't do Hillary any favours in South Carolina. He needs to scale back his campaigning and let her shine on her own for awhile. He seems to have a knack these days for saying dumb things such as that the first act of a Hillary Clinton Presidency would be to send Bill and George W's FATHER overseas to tell everyone "America is open for business again" (which was obviously dismissed by George Bush Sr. within 5 minutes of him hearing the statement), that Obama was too young to be President (he's the same age Clinton was in 1992) and his comparison of Jesse Jackson to Obama the morning of the SC primary came off quite badly as well. Sure Democrats love the Clinton years, but Hillary needs to distinguish herself from her husband and it doesn't seem like he's been helping much of late.

He should be a bit more low key until after February 5th at least I would say and rather than being an attack dog start showing the similar level of class shown by other former Presidents (If I'm not mistaken, George Bush Sr. didn't go around attakcing John McCain so heavily when his son ran in 2000). If he keeps a more positive tone then I think both Hillary and him would be better for it.

All that said, Hillary is still the front-runner for three reasons. One, South Carolina rarely picks the winner. It was low of Bill Clinton to try to make the Jesse Jackson comparison as if to say Obama is no more likely to win than Jackson was(though Jackson still did pretty good back then, but far from getting the nomination), but even so, this state didn't pick the winner in 2004 either. Edwards won then and still came far shy of the nomination (so he must be once more disappointed with the latest results). Secondly, Hillary leads Obama heavily in Florida and even though technically right now it's not clear their delegates will count a big victory for Clinton there will give her back momentum for Super Tuesday February 5th, which is where the bulk of delegates will be won. Third, Hillary also leads in most of the delegate rich states voting on Feb. 5th such as California and New York. I can't see how Obama ends up ahead in the delegate count after Super Tuesday. Just how many he wins though will determine whether or not this thing will stretch to being decided on the convention floor.

Hillary may be the odds on favourite but I won't be putting all my money on her just yet.

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