Dan Balz of the Washington Post is one of the best and most seasoned political reporters in the country, but as I’ve pointed out from time to time, he’s having trouble this year swearing off the political moonshine known as momentum. His newest lapse is the following sentence in his Page One writeup of Hillary Clinton’s lopsided West Virginia primary victory:
[T]he primary win may have come too late to have a significant impact on the trajectory of a nomination battle in which Obama has an almost insurmountable lead in delegates.
May have cometoo late? Try almost certainly has come too late. As the New York Times’Patrick Healy puts it,“the West Virginia results are unlikely to hurt Mr. Obama’s chances of winning the nomination.” (The Times’ coverage has tended to be more rigorously arithmecratic than the Post’s throughout the primary campaign.) How unlikely, you ask? Well, Slate’s John Dickerson observes that Clinton “must reverse the math by convincing more than 70 percent of the remaining superdelegates to initiate Party Armageddon by denying Obama the nomination.” Balz himself notes later in his story that Clinton’s goal of keeping Obama’s lead in primary delegates below 100 “seems out of reach at this point.” Even if you do no more than look at Balz’s momentum-besotted sentence itself, you’ll note a troublesome mismatch between “may have” at the beginning and “almost insurmountable” at the end. As my college professors used to write in the margins of my papers: Say Better Please! And, for God’s sake, get that momonkey off your back.
Momentucracy vs. Arithmecracy Archive:
May 2, 2008: “Hillary Clinton, Fairy Princess”
April 23, 2008: “Hillary Clinton, Ex-Arithmecrat”
March 6, 2008: “Agony of the Arithmecrats”
Feb. 6, 2008: “Triumph of the Arithmecrats”
Feb. 1, 2008: On the Media interview about momentucracy and arithmecracy, New York Public Radio
Jan. 30, 2008: “Momentucrats vs. Arithmecrats, Part 2”
Jan. 28, 2008: “Momentucrats vs. Arithmecrats”
Jan. 21, 2008: “Is Obama Winning?”
Dec. 11, 2007: “Whose Nominee Is It, Anyway?”