Bloggers are all over Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, where Hillary Clinton kept alive her chances for the Democratic nomination with a solid victory over Barack Obama.
Many bloggers think the result just lengthens the already drawn-out contest. Carpetbagger Report’s liberal Steve Benen sums up: “[The winning margin is] big enough to give Clinton a boost, but not big enough to change the overall dynamics of the race. It’s big enough to keep the campaign going for quite a while, but not big enough to compel uncommitted superdelegates to get off the fence.”
“Hillary’s vanity campaign will continue on, trailing in delegates, trailing in the popular vote, trailing in enthusiasm and money, but not lacking in the firm resolve that only Hillary can save us all from our selves,” intones John Cole of Balloon Juice.Liberal Political Animal Kevin Drum concludes that Clinton “seems to have won by roughly the same margin she would have won by even if she and Barack Obama hadn’t just spent $40 million there. In other words, the campaign was not only pointless, but pointless and wildly expensive.”
Jonathan Stein at Mother Jones’ MoJo Blog attacks the Clinton narrative that the primary proves the “tide is turning” back to her, observing: “What’s funny about the Clinton campaign’s message is that Clinton never trailed in Pennsylvania. One month ago, she was leading in the state by 15 percent, and she won Tuesday by 10 percent, hardly what practitioners of math would call a comeback. But the wielders of spin are not the same as the wielders of calculators.” But the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder points out that “Obama had six weeks and an unlimited pool of money and a media that was on side, and he still did not win. Obama still has the burden of explaining why he cannot beat Clinton in one of these states.” Obama supporter Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos explains, with a long list of reasons why Obama didn’t take Pennsylvania, and he expresses annoyance at the implication “that somehow he’s not ‘electable’ since he can’t win every single state on the calendar.”
Huffington Post blogger Dylan Loewe points out that Hillary cannot possibly overtake Obama in the delegate lead and believes that that makes her unelectable in the fall: “If the superdelegates give Clinton the nomination without her having won the popular vote or pledged delegate count, without any rational connection to the will of the people, an enormous swath of Democratic voters are likely to stay home in November.”
But at Real Clear Politics Tom Bevan defends Clinton’s campaign performance, declaring, “Like her or not, you have to be impressed by Hillary Clinton’s resilience as a candidate. She’s been up against the wall at least four times during this campaign, and every time she has come through with exactly what she needs to stay alive. … [I]t’s hard to dismiss the kind of guts and determination she’s shown as the odds of her winning the nomination have gotten longer and longer.” The former first lady also finds an unlikely champion in conservative Times columnist William Kristol, blogging at the Weekly Standard’s Blog. “Maybe we should acknowledge that Hillary Clinton is a pretty impressive candidate,” he proposes. “She’s tough, disciplined, and not unappealing. She’s a good debater and adapts pretty quickly (if a bit clunkily) to campaign developments. Her campaign organization and strategists have been inferior to Obama’s—but she’s gotten more total votes than he (counting Michigan and Florida—the voters there are people too!). And she’s done this while bearing the burden of her husband.”
Bloggers also respond to a New York Times editorial reacting to the primary, in which the NYT said it was “past time” for Clinton “to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.” At the New Republic’s Plank, Gabe Sherman judges the piece “surprisingly harsh” and proves “the paper was uncomfortable with the Clinton endorsement—and still is.” Protein Wisdom’s Karl calls the editorial board “bitter” and notes, “No candidate who has won as many votes and delegates as Clinton hasn’t taken the fight to the convention.”
At Hot Air, conservative Ed Morrissey considers the Times’ argument and wonders, “And just how would it look to Democrats in upcoming states to see Hillary shoved aside after winning Ohio and Pennsylvania by 10 points each? It would look like Obama couldn’t beat her in a tough but fair contest, and he had to be rescued by the party establishment. … Do Democrats really want to throw such a delicate and fragile candidate onto the top of their ticket for a general election?”
Writing from Indiana, Shakesville’sMelissa McEwan objects to the editorial’s assertion that “voters are getting tired” of the Democratic primary battle, grumping, “You see, some of us, out here in flyover country, haven’t had our chance to vote yet. … What we are tired of, however, is a bunch of fucking uppity wankstains trying to force an end to this primary before we get our chance to vote.” Continuing with the snark, Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott synopsizes “the Times harrumph”: “Hillary Clinton’s ruthless insistence on winning big-state primaries with traditional Democratic voters only hastens and strengthens the case that she drop out of the race and let Barack Obama finish his waffle.”
Read more about the primary results. Read more reaction to the New York Times editorial. Watch Clinton’s response to the editorial on the Today show. In Slate, John Dickerson writes that the victory helps Clinton make her case to the superdelegates.