Wednesday, April 30, 2008


A new SurveyUSA poll has Barack Obama's lead down to 5% in North Carolina among likely voters.

Kos puts that in context here (Survey USA polls have consistently shown the race to be tighter than other polls, and that's still the case) -- but I have to confess there's a part of me that wishes Clinton would finish what she's started and take the nomination.

Yeah, really. It's for a number of reasons. Primarily it's because it's now clear that a Democrat probably won't win in November no matter who it is, but at least the recriminations following a Clinton defeat will focus on dynastic politics and the widespread negative feelings about Clinton and her husband, rather than on the notion that Obama was dangerously liberal/radical and dangerously nonwhite and dangerously elite/effete and we can't ever make that kind of mistake again, so we'd better go looking for the most Republican Lite, boilermaker-drinker-friendly/Bubba-friendly candidate we can find in 2012, someone who'll be anathema to all those progressives and bloggers and other assorted scum.

After an Obama loss we'll also hear, endlessly and erroneously, that Clinton was fully vetted and wouldn't have been subjected to the toxic-waste tsunami that Obama's facing, whereas a Clinton defeat will make clear even to obtuse purveyors of conventional wisdom that Republican run sewer campaigns no matter what and simply adjust the details depending on the target, details the press dutifully retransmits as a way of assuaging its guilt over being "liberal."

Of course, I'm second-guessing my support for Obama because it's seeming much less likely these days that he can find a way to defeat or do an end run around GOP character-assassination politics. He didn't seem ready for the Wright brouhaha or the flag/hand-over-heart nonsense or the Muslim rumors or the mutterings about William Ayers; he hasn't really neutralized any of those stories the old-fashioned way, and I'm not seeing signs that he engenders goodwill sufficient to rally 50.1% of the country against a political culture that obsesses over such distractions.

Sorry -- I'd like to see Obama get up off the mat. I'd like to see evidence that he's building a coalition big enough and loyal enough that they're going to reject what's happening to him now resoundingly at the ballot box in November. I'd like the story at that time to be that he took some body blows but he's so damn inspirational and his critique of our system is so persuasive that American politics turned the page. But right now it looks as if, as the saying goes, age and treachery are overcoming youth and skill. So what the hell, maybe we should just run age and treachery, and watch that combination lose to even greater age and much, much greater treachery.


(Poll and Kos links via Greg T., in comments to my previous post.)

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