Saturday, April 26, 2008

Race for the White House- 4/26/08

I have been finding it prettty tedious the last few weeks to spend ten minutes and write these entries on the Presidential race, and I feel like the writing is probably going to be quite sloppy, but yet this Presidential contest continues to be so interesting in many ways and weird in others, I hope I will find the effort was worth it, if I ever read these back several years from now.

The most signifcant development of the week was Hillary Clinton's near ten point victory over Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary. While such a result was not unexpected, it certainly does give her impetus to continue her campaign, as the focus moves on to the states of Indiana and North Carolina which will be voting in early May. Clinton's victory, despite being outspent by about a 3-1 margin is pretty impressive when considering that fact, as well as how many times she has been counted out by pundits and have seen pressure put on her by Democrat leaders to drop out. While Rush Limbaugh and his "Operation Chaos" may have played a part in helping Clinton achieve this Keystone victory, with the help of mischief seeking Republican voters, the New York Senator has also continued to be successful in appealing to the traditional Democrat constituency of working class white voters. Obama has continued to struggle with those voters and since the last contest, the brouhahas surrounding Reverered Wright and the Senator's own comments about "bitter" small town voters have certainly not helped. While Obama continues to receive massive adoration among liberals and tremendous support among African-Americans and many upscale voters, his inability to broaden that base in large primary states continue to cause concerns that Obama might find a general election difficult to win.

Of course, before Democrats get to a general election, they have to settle on a nominee, and the results of Pennsylvania make it pretty certian that such a decision will not be coming any time soon, to the great consternation of many party insiders. Obama's former pastor is now back in the news, making statements to the media, and saying things which could be taken as a slap at Obama for "reacting as a politician" to the controversy regarding Wright's sermons. The fact that Wright is speaking up is likely the last thing the Obama campaign needs right now and the Clintonites are probably delighted to see this remain in the news as well as the debate as to whether or not Obama is an "elitist." Feeling confident, Clinton today took the step to challenging Obama to a moderator-less debate in North Carolina and is likely to continue to hammer Obama for ducking debates before North Carolina and Indiana vote.

Republican nominee John McCain spent much of the last week making appearances in places around the country which Republicans might not be expected to get much support, and it was in many ways similar to a "poverty tour" taken by John Edwards during the primary season. McCain's visits did not receive a ton of media coverage this week but many feel it will prove to be politically beneficial nonetheless.

Most of the other news involving McCain involves a controvery over a television ad run by the North Carolina state Republican Party in which Democrat candidates for Governor of that state, who happen to support Obama, are linked to the Senator, in which video clips of Wright's sermons are featured. Interestingly enough, McCain has vigorously disassociated himself from the effort and both he and the RNC have called for the ads to be pulled and many conservatives are angry at their party's candidate because of this step and there currently is a standstill over whether or not the North Carolina state party will stay firm or pull the ads.

While one may never know for sure, the politically minded person that I am, has to wonder if this is all part of a brilliant "good cop bad cop" strategy in which McCain is seen as denouncing negative politics, while at the same time, the media gives the ad more free air play than the North Carolina Republicans could have ever hoped for and the whole Obama/Wright matter stays in the news. Whatever the original intentions, that result is what is likely to happen, but we may never know if the McCain campaign truly intended for that or honestly reacted to the ad in the way that they did. Adding to the confusion is the fact that late this week, McCain himself raised the fact that an advisor to Hamas has endorsed the Obama candidacy and McCain asked people to reach their own conclusions. Such a statement (as well as his willingness to focus on the William Ayers connection to Obama) is really pretty incredible considering the way McCain publicly reacted to shoot down the commerical involving Obama's spiritual mentor of 20 years, which was a far more reasonable thing to harp on than the Hamas endorsement. Many conservatives are scratching their heads over this development and it will remain to be seen whether the steps McCain took to make himself look more appealing to independents and the media will be worth any damage that may have been incurred among the conservative base.

In the meantime however, McCain continues to benefit the longer, and nastier the Democrat contest gets. It seems as if every day, another log gets added to the fire. Just one thing that happened this week is that House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest ranking African-American in Congress reacted to Bill Clinton's curious statement that Senator Obama had played the race card on him in the South Carolina primary a few months back, instead of the other way aroud. Clyburn told a reporter that the Clintons are embarking on a strategy to destroy Obama, even if it renders him unelectable in the fall. Republicans can hardly wait to see what happens this week with all the Democrat intra-party craziness.

Also, it is worth mentioning that in a year in which Presidential candidates have availed themselves of all sort of non-traditional media opportunities (and on a week where the outgoing President himself appeared on high-rated television shows American Idol and Deal or No Deal), Clinton, Obama, and McCain all appeared on pre-taped segments for World Wrestling Entertainment's "Raw" program, in which they did their best trash talking in an attempt to appeal to wrestling fans.

Beyond that though was a segment on the same program in which actors portraying Obama and the Clintons actually got into the ring and fought it out. It was one of the most surreal and perhaps funny things I have ever seen but it just amazes me that Obama and Clinton would have agreed to formally be a part of the television program if they knew they what they would be subjected to. Anyone who has not seen highlights of Hillary and Barack fighting it out in the squared circle should check it out on YouTube, but the match ended when a giant Samoan enterered the ring and physically pummelled both Democrat candidates, while Bill Clinton cut tail and ran. Apparently, his name is Umaga and he is either a McCain delegate from American Samoa or a proud operative in Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos."


At 3:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is clear that the major media smiles on Obama and frowns on Hillary. The number of politicians that have been organized to endorse Obama publically is a phenomenon. The fact that is spending tremendous sums on Barak's campaign has been left out of the media, and most people do not even know who George Soros is, what his agenda is and what MoveOn purposes to do. And, with all of the lopsided media, political, and financial support for Obama he has not been able to bring a successful closure to his campaign. It appears that despite all of the spending and all of the lopsided favorable press there are enough voters out there who simply don't like Obama's political philosophy. In fact, he scares the hell out of middle America, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and white collar workers, in spite of the media claims that republicans are joining his ranks. Obama has control over the Black vote and that is substantial. But is it enough to win the general election? Al Sharpton has promised "demonstrations" if Obama is not the chosen one. Clearly, the race card is played. But can it trump?


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