April 22, 2008

Drumroll please

Well, once again, it's game day for citizens and political junkies in America.

After enduring such an excruciatingly long build-up to this event, (actually not long at all, but when a presidential campaign being treated like a reality series, people don't know what to do if it's not on a regular schedule) today will be another round of 24 hour hype, hot air, and Pennsylvania Primary prognostication, prediction, punditry and palaver.

Drama will be manufactured, and some actual real drama may ensue.

The time for the expectations spin is nearly over (though it will no doubt go on until the returns are in and then crank up again in earnest after the results are known.)

The (rather dumb and unknowable) question on every pundits lips was, just how much of a margin of presumed victory will be enough to give Clinton a legitimate right to argue that she's actually a viable choice as Democratic nominee?

In other words, what's the cut off line below which everyone will demand she get the hell out of the way?

Of course, this is like trying to determine EXACTLY what the correct price to pay for, say, a 10 year old Porshe 911 or a used motor home.

It can't be done. It's whatever people say it is. It's in the eye of the beholder.

Which is why you're going to hear such a spin storm tomorrow night and Wednesday that it will make your head cave in.

Unless Hillary wins by about 15% or more, the frantic spinning begins.

The pundits seem to demand that some fixed percentage be chiseled in stone so that Hilary will have to drop out if she doesn't achieve it. This is typical of their rather pompous belief that it's they who set the rules and determine the outcome of races.

First Hilary had to win by at least 10 points. Then her camp started dialing back in the face of polls showing Obama narrowing the gap. Now some say if she wins by 8, it will be enough to make her legit and allow her to stay in the race. (like she'll ever drop out.)

Some of her surrogates were out dropping it to 5% yesterday.

But let's face it, Hillary isn't going to drop out unless Obama beats her by 30%, and maybe not even then. As John Stewart asked Obama during his appearance on The Daily Show last night, what does he intend to do if he wins the nomination, then goes on to win the presidency in November, and after his inauguration, Hillary is still campaigning?

But seriously folks. Tomorrow will be a turning point. But that turning point may turn out to be one that changes next to nothing.

The pundit corp and campaigns are chomping at the bit to try to determine what determines who wins and who loses. The press demands it. It simply can't result in another muddled essentially deadlocked result that changes nothing.

They're getting tired and cranky and damn it, they want this over with.

I'm with them. I'd like nothing better than if Obama actually wins the damn thing and essentially forces Clinton out of the race, if for no other reason than to get the thing over with and get on with the reconciliation and pivot to face the real opponent, John McCain.

I don't believe either Obama or Clinton are vastly superior than the other. I favor Obama, largely due to what I consider Clinton's pretty disgusting campaign in the last several weeks. It's as though she simply gave up on pretending to represent any real change and just came out and acted like what she is, a calculating politician who's absolutely steeped in, and therefore locked into, the "old", typical type of politicking and campaigning that people are beyond sick of.

The sleazy innuendos, the dishonest attempts to take every silly-ass tid-bit they can dig up and spin it into evidence of some dire and serious character flaw in Obama. In other words, the "kitchen sink" strategy is, for me, doing a terrific job of showing exactly why a vote for Clinton is a vote for someone who will continue to play the game, giving us the impression of change, but precious little of it.

Obama may or may not be able to institute real change. But it's clear that at least he's not a fraction as cynical and calculating as Clinton.

But I digress.

I want to invite you to share YOUR prediction for how this will come out.

First, who's going to win. (Odds on favorite of course is Clinton)

Secondly, just what margin of victory does Clinton need to be able to credibly argue that she still has a chance at the nomination... in other words, that the super-delegates should choose her in the end?

And bonus question. How much is there to the Clinton argument that the super-delegates should anoint her the nominee because she does better in crucial rust-belt states that the Dems must carry in the general? And would that rationale justify super-delegates selecting Clinton over Obama even if he emerged with more of the popular vote, more elected delegates, and more contests won?

And bonus bonus speculation......

What will happen if Clinton is chosen as nominee solely by super-delegates despite Obama having gotten more votes, more pledged delegates, and won more contests?

Will Dems revolt and simply refuse to vote for her, or vote for McCain? Or will sanity prevail and they'll pull the lever for Clinton realizing that the country couldn't endure another Republican administration?

**Update**
I suppose I ought to throw out my prediction. Clinton by 6%

Argument that Clinton should be nominee due to her being stronger in general, despite losing popular vote? Too tough to call. Glad I'm not a super-delegate.

What will happen if Clinton looses most measures but is picked by super-delegates as nominee?

Makes it VERY tough for Dems in November. Despite it being nearly insane, many Dems may sit it out or actually vote for McCain if this comes to pass, thus playing an active part in putting this country through four more years of Republican mis-rule and disasterous foreign and economic policy.

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