She now leads Obama, 51% to 41%, having gained three points over the past 24 hours as Obama lost one point, pushing her beyond the poll's margin of error to create a statistically significant lead for the first time in the Pennsylvania daily tracking poll.Could this be the result of the Michael Moore endorsement?
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Moore writes that Obama's experience and voting record aren't as important as his "basic decency" and ability to inspire. "What we are witnessing is not just a candidate but a profound, massive public movement for change," Moore writes. "My endorsement is more for Obama The Movement than it is for Obama the candidate."But the Movement that Moore endorses is the double edged sword of the Obama candidacy. Barack has found the trigger to release the pent-up demand for "change," making him the Magic Man of 2008. He's got the magic, but he doesn't have the goods, he doesn't have the experience to be president, as Michael Moore so aptly points out.
"I, like the majority of Americans, have been pummeled senseless for eight long years," he writes. "That's why I will join millions of citizens and stagger into the voting booth come November, like a boxer in the 12th round, all bloodied and bruised with one eye swollen shut, looking for the only thing that matters — that big 'D' on the ballot."To switch metaphors on Moore, let's consider that the pummeling that Americans have suffered is not that of a boxer, but rather, that of a scorned lover. Choices shouldn't be made when the decision making apparatus is still under the influence of real-time hurt. The mistakes made by a lover on the rebound are the stuff of legend.
This is what democrats are doing by allowing themselves to be seduced by Barack. They are so desperate to regain their footing that they are moving forward blind to their new lover's obvious liabilities. This is the energy that drives the Obama movement. This is the danger it represents.
Moore says he is disappointed with the Democratic Party, too, for failing to end the war despite public outcry and for "do(ing) the bidding of the corporate elite in this country. Any endorsement of a Democrat must be done with this acknowledgment ..."Let's recap Moore's endorsement then. Democrats are a failure, Barack isn't a great candidate, but since he's articulated the frustration that a big chunk of the electorate feels about the present, he's the guy to vote for.
This is the trap that democrats are in. They sense it even if they don't see it, which is why they've kept Hillary around so long. But it is the template for a losing campaign.
"They made a very serious choice that will have long-standing consequences - to put their brand at stake in order to try to deliver this knockout blow, that they've been campaigning about this -- you know, with this notion of politics of hope. I don't think that that's how they've behaved," said Clinton strategist Geoff Garin.
There's no doubt that Barack is willing to cross over to the dark side when circumstances require. As he described yesterday, after you take a few elbows to the ribs, you have to respond. While this has brought him down into the ring that he sought to float above, the question is - does the brand remain strong even as he mixes it up like any old street fighter?
For the sake of primary season, I suspect that the Obama calculation is correct - his brand as the good guy will remain strong enough as Hillary solidifies her brand as the 'do anything to win' candidate - that he can afford to do the dance he's doing. Democrats know the game that the Clintons are playing, and most of them don't like it.
The damage that's done is, of course, long term. It will be harder for Barack to act like the Messiah during the general election. He and McCain will mix it up on equal terms - one party nominee against the other - and Barack will be forced to answer for his thin resume and shaky associations, as John McCain will have to answer for his long history in public life.
This is the gift that Hillary has given the nation.
At an Obama visit to a diner in Scranton, there was some tension with the media. Asked about his inability to attract support from working class white voters, Barack put Aunt Jemima down and said, "Let them eat waffles."
Am I remembering that correctly?
Better watch the video.
"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.