Okay, I have been assiduously avoiding writing a serious post about politics for kind of a while now. There are a variety of reasons for this, but primarily it comes down to the fact that I just. got. tired. of thinking about it. The nonstop horserace coverage. The absurd magnification of every misstatement and blunder into a referendum about a candidate’s qualifications (unless, of course, that candidate is St. John of Arizona, in which case you get to simply lie about things that you’ve done, and MSM, having already written the campaign narrative in which you are the straight-talkin’ one, doesn’t bother worrying about it.)
Mostly, though, it has seemed pretty obvious to me, about since the Texas-Ohio two-step on March 5th, that the campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination was going to end like this. The baseline for each primary was fairly well-set by its demographics – how many real upsets were there, beyond squeakers like South Dakota? Clinton was going to be unable to significantly eat into the delegate lead that Obama built in the Feb 5th-Mar 5th period, when he racked up 11 straight, essentially uncontested, victories. Clearly, Obama’s campaign understood that, in order to win, they were going to have to be ready to run a marathon, and built an effective strategy of winning every delegate they could, organizing all the way down to the precinct level. In Colorado, for instance, I believe that over 90% of the precincts in the state had at least one precinct captain from the Obama campaign.
Clinton’s campaign, on the other hand, believed that they could simply end the race at the starting gate, and was absolutely not prepared to take it past Feb 5th, which ended up being their downfall.
That said, I found the way the Clinton campaign behaved itself recently to be rather detestable. I never begrudged her the right to continue her campaign, and I didn’t even really mind her making the argument that she was the more potent force against John McCain in the fall. But the constant harping about the rules? The absurd comparisons of retired Jewish grandparents from Brooklyn wintering in Boca Raton to the citizens of Zimbabwe fighting for their right to have their voices heard? The fact that she took the stage Tuesday night, when someone waking from a 6-month coma would still be able to see that she had, in fact, lost, and declared that she needed a few more days to think about the status of her campaign, and she would see what she decided? It’s going to stick in my craw for a long time. Two months ago, if Obama had lost this race, I would have been happy to pull the lever for Hilary. Now? I’m not so sure I’ll even be ready to do so in 2012, if it comes to that.
However, it is now time for the silly season to officially begin, as we move out of the primaries and into the general election. I, for one, could not be more excited. More on this in the next post.