The NPR Nominee

Hillary has an enhanced argument for her candidacy today.

Taking Pennsylvania by 10% points means she picked up 216,000 votes more in the cumulative popular vote battle against Barack.

Throw in the currently excluded tallies from Florida and Michigan, and Hillary leads in popular vote. Now, this isn't fair, as Barack's name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan, but it adds some moral weight to Clinton's argument that she should stay in the race 'til the bitter end.

As Bob Novak writes today:
A margin of 10 percentage points demonstrates that she is more than just a survivor. She is the candidate of the traditional Democratic base whose support is essential for winning the presidential election.
Considering that Hillary and Barack have nearly identical voting records in their brief legislative careers (a combined decade in the U.S. Senate), what is it about Barack that makes him less attractive to the traditional democratic base?

We've got to conclude that Barack's "bitter" controversy represents a vital turning point in his candidacy - private remarks in front of elite supporters in the nation's most wacko liberal city demonstrating a large gulf in his understanding of and connection to regular Americans.

Barack's Pennsylvania campaign, which was quickly erasing Hillary's once 20 point lead 10 days ago, was stopped dead in its tracks.

In his concession speech last night, Barack congratulated Hillary for her tide-turning victory, but attacked the nature of how she obtained it, saying its not about winning at any cost - but for democrats, it should also be about how you win:
''We can be a party that thinks the only way to look tough on national security is to talk, and act, and vote like George Bush and John McCain. We can use fear as a tactic, and the threat of terrorism to scare up votes.

We can be a party that says and does whatever it takes to win the next election. We can calculate and poll-test our positions and tell everyone exactly what they want to hear..."
This argument, which on the one hand looks smart because it pulls voters back to the themes that made him the hot candidate in the first place - the promise of a different kind of politics - is a mistake now, in my opinion, as it serves to solidify his status as the intellectual/suburban (read liberal) candidate, not the man of the people.

Bill Clinton represented a "new" democratic approach - be liberal, but be normal and reasonable. A contradiction in terms, but one that made him electable. In the Hillary/Barack matchup, we're seeing a faceoff now between these two images - the electable candidate versus the NPR candidate.

NPR can get the nomination. He can't win the presidency. That's the lesson of Pennsylvania.

Whether Barack gets the nomination isn't the question - it will take a minor miracle for him to lose it. The question is, "how screwed are the democrats with Barack Obama as the nominee?"

The answer? Very screwed.