Hate to say I saw it coming, but…
There’s no question in my mind Obama and his team took their eye off the ball the past few days and let the Clinton team take the lead.
Obama’s team has been very good at quick, almost instant, responses to attacks. They’d been doing that all along, But in the past several days, he’d been acting like the presumptive candidate and quickly answering any McCain attacks while seeming to brush aside Hilary’s, like they were “silly”—as he often accurately described them in their last few debates.
But it came across, at least to this observer, who is a fan of his, a little arrogant. Not a smart move. He did it again last night, making the point that he has more delegates. He should have kept his status as the guy who came out of nowhere, not the prince waiting for the king to die.
The grace and even humility that got him all the attention in the first place, in his great speech at the last Democratic presidential nominating convention, seemed to become aloofness and cockiness, not a smart move.
I’m afraid this all benefits McCain and the Republicans. It’s a long way to November, but if there had been a national election anytime in the past several months, the Republicans would have been blown out of the water, with not enough votes to keep any power in the Congress or the White House.
Unfortunately, if the Democratic race continues as it has over the past few days, and hopefully it won’t, but… If it does, it will only strengthen the Republicans.
If the Clinton team keeps disparaging Obama’s experience and record and the Obama team keeps failing to respond quickly and strongly to the allegations (as it unfortunately did when it came to the NAFTA/Canada debacle and the absence of meetings of his Afghanistan sub-committee), then I’m afraid the Republicans may pick up the slack, either by the Democrats losing the enthusiasm of some supporters who will just stay home on election day if their candidate doesn’t get the nomination, or will vote for McCain in protest to what happened (or happens) to their candidate.
In other words, if Hilary wins the nomination by running negative ads against Obama, there’s a strong possibility that those who are energized and inspired by Obama’s candidacy will either stay home on election day or vote for McCain out of resentment, perhaps doing for the Republicans what they have been unable to do for themselves, finally breaking the longtime and until now unbreakable alliance between the majority of African-Americans and the Democratic party.
And those ads of hers will only backfire in the race against McCain. Because I’m sure a majority of “white men” as well as many women and Hispanics and even African-Americans, if given the choice between who will answer the metaphoric red phone in the White House in the middle of the night, will choose McCain over her. Correctly, or not.
All in all, it wasn’t a good night for the Democrats, and the next several weeks don’t look so good either. Obama has to get his game back, and Clinton has to go positive again. And one of them has to have a decisive win that ends it.
None of these scenarios look promising right now, but Obama getting his game back is the most probable. Let’s hope. And of course, there's always the strong possibility that McCain and the Republicans will shoot themselves in the metaphric foot (or in Cheney's case, in their best friend's real, not metaphoric, face).