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"Pennsylvania voters apparently made up their minds a couple of weeks ago and nothing has happened since to change them. An extraordinary turnout effort by Sen. Barack Obama's campaign could snatch this victory from Sen. Hillary Clinton, but that does not appear likely," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.A Suffolk University poll also released today shows Hillary with a ten point lead, and more ominous trends for democrats, as 40% of voters are conflicted over what they'll do if their candidate doesn't get the nomination:
In addition to the 20% of disgruntled Democratic voters defecting to McCain, another 4% would vote for independent Ralph Nader, and 20% were undecided about what they would ultimately do in November.
Zogby's tracking poll shows Hillary up 6 points in Pennsylvania, making the Suffolk numbers at the extreme end of the spectrum.
McCain leads Hillary and McCain both by 5 points in national head to head tracking polls by Rasmussen.
Barack leads Hillary by the same 5 points in their national poll. Gallup shows the democrats divided by just two points with Barack in the lead.
It is unclear precisely what issue set off McCain that day. But at some point, he mocked Grassley to his face and used a profanity to describe him. Grassley stood and, according to two participants at the meeting, told McCain, "I don't have to take this. I think you should apologize."In the battle for the heartland, it seems to me that the throwback quality of John McCain - good old fashioned American-style masculinity, including a bit of pig-headed belligerence - is just what the doctor ordered to go up against the Kerry-esque Obama.
McCain refused and stood to face Grassley. "There was some shouting and shoving between them, but no punches," recalls a spectator, who said that Nebraska Democrat Bob Kerrey helped break up the altercation.
Which one bothers you the most? For me its the final one.
Obama's ability to inspire enables him to reach out to independent voters that otherwise find McCain very attractive. It also gives him the ability to mobilize millions of young and African American voters that will change the electorate.
Most importantly, Obama's proven ability to mobilize at the grass roots gives him the credibility to convince voters that he can accomplish what they want most -- that he can lead a movement to change the way things are done in Washington.
The narrative that over incredible odds, a young African American Senator has challenged the conventional wisdom, won the Democratic nomination for president, and found 1.3 million grass roots donors to finance his candidacy gives him enormous credibility to argue that he can take on the special interests and force members of Congress to guarantee health care for everyone. It gives him credibility that he can lead a movement to remake our economy to benefit everyone and not just the wealthiest among us.
And, of course, Obama's judgment in opposing the War in Iraq from the first day, contrasts sharply with McCain's commitment to four more years of Bush foreign policy. Hillary Clinton's early support for that War does not.
If you play out the scenarios of Barack as president, having been elected as the guy who will end the war, who owes that to the electorate, who has guaranteed that he will pull troops out without regard for what's happening on the ground in Iraq, you have to figure it will take him into a second term to start winding things down, don't you? The LBJ of Iraq. The guy who actually turns Iraq into Vietnam.
Compare that to a President whose election is a mandate to win the war.
The latter is obviously the one with the better chance of ending the war quickly, and to suggest that a guy who has positioned himself as the anti-war candidate but has done nothing in terms of anti-war activism in the Senate is the best guy to end it strikes me as, sorry, dumb.
In watching campaign debates dating to Kennedy-Nixon in 1960, I never before had seen a candidate criticize the moderator or challenge his premises so often (at least eight occasions). "Look, let me finish my point here, Charlie," said Obama, after Gibson interrupted him following a 126-word answer.That's from Bob Novak's column today, What's the Matter with Obama.
Novak says that, until recently, Barack's campaign had been attracting "Obama Republicans," crossover voters who, in their lust for hope, would ignore his liberalism in such large numbers that he might have won in a landslide.
...they have leaned toward him as an exceptional candidate in the mold of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, a post-partisan leader and a welcome contrast to George W. Bush's failed presidency. That impression is threatened by Obama's performance the past 10 days, climaxing in Wednesday night's debate with Clinton.What Novak doesn't address is the inevitability of this moment. Its a long presidential campaign, and at some point someone was going to pierce the bubble and Barack would float to earth.
Thank God for Hillary! She stuck around to do pierce the bubble so a rational examination of the candidate can get started early enough for folks to do some reality-based voting come November.
Obama minimized his relationship by acknowledging only that he knows Ayers. But they have quite a bit more of a connection than that. He's appeared on panels with Ayers, served on a foundation board with him and held a 1995 campaign event at the home of Ayers and his wife, fellow former terrorist Bernardine Dohrn. Ayers even gave money to one of his campaigns.Bill Ayers and his wife once fought a war against the United States. Their opinions of the country haven't changed, and they don't repudiate their actions.
Dohrn has likewise rationalized the explosions, claiming that "our acts of resistance were tiny and symbolic." She even went to prison for refusing to testify about an armored-car robbery involving her confederates. That crime was not tiny or symbolic to the two police officers or the security guard who were shot to death in the process.And, of course, there's the old double standard.
It's hard to imagine (Barack) would be so indulgent if we learned that John McCain had a long association with a former Klansman who used to terrorize African-Americans. Obama's conduct exposes a moral blind spot about these onetime terrorists, who get a pass because they a) fall on the left end of the spectrum and b) haven't planted any bombs lately.Well, there you go. That's why Barack can't win the presidency.
More significant is the matter of negatives. Hillary's been drawing much media attention over recent days for the impact on her unfavorable ratings caused by chasing Barack on his San Francisco remarks. But the Rasmussen numbers suggest that her strategy has been working - while her bad numbers have shot up, so have Barack's, and they're viewed with pretty similar levels of disdain.
Obama’s ratings are 47% favorable and 51% unfavorable. For Clinton, those numbers are 45% favorable, 53% unfavorable (see recent daily favorable ratings).
Knocking Barack off his cloud has been a tough one, but the Clintons have finally done it. Compare the way the two democrats are viewed by the country to the perception of John McCain:
McCain is viewed favorably by 56% and unfavorably by 40%.While McCain benefits from his relative anonymity - he's really not part of the campaign right now - and these numbers are obviously fluid, this does show that the Clintons aren't as dumb as they look to some.
Remember, Hillary's goal is that Barack Obama not become president. When viewed through this lense, everything she's doing makes good sense.
How could Hillary be counting on a strategy of winning over the Super Delegates when they keep swinging toward Barack? The Super D's have no interest in her - the party can't stand the Clintons - and a big part of the irrational exuberance over Barack comes from their glee over the notion that it might be possible to win a national election without the involvement of Bill and Hill.
Meanwhile, an AP analysis shows Barack likely to get within 100 delegates of the 2025 needed for the nomination with pledged delegates, making it all the more ridiculous to expect the Super D's to force things against Barack. But AP headlines with a dramatic "Time, Delegate math working against Clinton."
In an LA Times article today on the Robert Reich endorsement of Barack, Mark Barabak writes about how democrats are getting turned off by Hillary's aggressiveness:
The more aggressive her tack, polls suggest, the higher she drives her own negative standing with voters.
"She's in a box," said Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, who has stayed neutral since his candidate, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, quit the race. "The more she does the thing she has to do, the more people don't like her.
But Hillary doesn't care about that box. She's worried about Barack winning the presidency, which would effectively box her out of running for the next 12 years (two terms of Obama and one run for his VP), at which time, she'd be as old as... John McCain!
So when people like Robert Reich jump off the fence and commit to Barack, its their way of telling her they don't like the game she's playing.
Which is sorta funny, because endorsements from the Robert Reich crowd don't help Barack, they hurt him. What does he need with more radicals lining up behind him? Barack's problem is that he is one of them, and he doesn't need anyone making that easier to prove.
But Hillary isn't much concerned over how high the hateometer. She wants to make sure that Barack is weakened for the general election so McCain can win, and the Init to Winnit, 40 year effort to become president can keep going for another 4 years.
"The way Charlie and George spoke to the Messiah Wednesday night was just over the top," is the sort of lament I've been hearing.
Predictably, the Boston Globe editorialized that the real elitists are the ABC News crowd, which kidnapped the event for their own nefarious purposes when they should have been talking policy:
Instead, Obama was forced once again to explain his remark that some voters in small-town America are so embittered with their circumstances that they cling to divisive wedge issues. Obama's answer was a weak and rather artless attempt to slide from characterizing voters from "bitter" to "frustrated." But the ABC anchors made it clear they weren't there for the voters or the issues or even the candidates, but only for themselves and their hunger to make news. Talk about elitism.The shock that the moonbats feel over how Barack "Fell to Earth" as David Brooks puts it in today's New York Times is delightful. They keep fantasizing that somewhere there is a devout liberal who is electable to national office, and they still think that Barack's the guy who can pull it off.
This is irrational, of course. And hard for those who haven't fallen head over heels in love with Obama to understand. One of our readers, who is a psychologist, offers some clarification as to why the moonbats are reacting so emotionally to some truth being told about The Chosen One:
It was so clear from the very beginning that a vast swath of America had what we refer to in the business as an idealizing transference. When a patient in therapy starts to revere you a little too much, you know it's time to fasten your seatbelt because their disillusionment and the flip side of the idealization, repressed rage, is just around the corner. So I've said all along that there will eventually be hell to pay here.
Repressed rage. Wow. That's what leads folks from the Boston Globe down to your average university professor to feel so betrayed over Barack facing some tough questions at a debate.
As Barack whines over how he was treated - he was clearly upset to the point of haughtiness Wednesday - it makes me wonder if its possible that he is so in love with himself that he feels the same sort of repressed rage over reporters not realizing that he is above questions that can offer some evidence to voters regarding who he is and what he believes.