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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Gail Collins: Next up...Pennsylvania!...except it's not.

Gail Collins waxes enthusiastic about the state of the Democratic primary race in today's New York Times:

It’s all up to Pennsylvania!

Yes folks, over the next seven weeks — the amount of time it takes a normal country to conduct an entire national election — we will be obsessing about the critical upcoming Pennsylvania primary. Harrisburg! Altoona! The Poconos! Did you know that in the Poconos, some hotels have bathtubs shaped like hearts or Champagne glasses? We actually plan on bringing that up a lot.

Fast forward to Pennsylvania! Or...check that. Not so fast.

Wishing it so does not make it so. Like her candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton, Gail Collins has left Wyoming's March 8th caucus awarding 18 delegates and Mississippi's March 11th primary awarding 33 delegates off the lede. Neglecting some states has been the Achilles heel of the Clinton campaign. For Collins to perpetuate this wishful thinking version of the Democratic nomination process is typical.

Collins doesn't seem to care that she's left Mississipi entirely out of her op/ed. And she shows that it's easier to degrade caucuses (which were the tool, btw, Mondale used to fend off Gary Hart in 1984) than for Clinton to compete in them:

Cheers to Obama, who is caucus king thanks to the way he has mobilized his ultra-enthusiastic supporters. But if I were a superdelegate forced to choose between two attractive candidates, I’d look for the one who won the big primaries where people were actually encouraged to vote.


However, Super Delegates, as Jonathan Alter reports, aren't going to have the luxury of writing off states that Gail Collins does (and at this late date, after that strategy has failed Clinton, that's unforgiveable rhetoric from Collins or any Clinton supporter). Alter writes:

I've asked several prominent uncommitted superdelegates if there's any chance they would reverse the will of Democratic voters. They all say no. It would shatter young people and destroy the party.

The Democratic nomination is a contest for pledged delegates by pre-agreed rules. Super Delegates, as Alter notes, will respect those rules and respect the delegate counts. By dint of a fawning beltway and New York press corps that ignores the clear math, Senator Clinton lives to campaign another day after her popular vote wins in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island left her further, not closer, to closing the delegate margin with Senator Obama. (What Collins does not note in her Op/Ed is that those wins netted Clinton as few as a four delegate advantage...a net that Obama could well make up in Wyoming and Mississippi.)

Collins is writing off Wyoming and Mississippi, following the lead of the Clinton campaign, and that doesn't make much of a case to the Super Delegates. Everyone knows that the General Election isn't going to feature any gimmes. Only one candidate has run hard in every state contest by the rules agreed to ahead of time. Only one candidate has marshaled their resources to compete everywhere there was to compete.

Added to Obama's commanding delegate lead, that nationwide campaign makes a pretty powerful Super Delegate argument, too.

4 Comments:

  • Don't forget about me for Mississippi political coverage!

    I'd say that Obama and Clinton have payed about the same amount of attention to Mississippi.

    Obama's got advertising and staff and has committed to visit the state for one day.

    Clinton doesn't have advertising and I haven't heard from her staff, but between she and Bill they will be in Mississippi for 3 days.

    By Blogger John Leek, at 11:02 PM  

  • John, that's entirely my bad. I am sorry for neglecting to link to you here.

    Check out John's coverage of the Jefferson Jackson dinner, and all things Mississippi, at the Cottonmouthblog. Btw, to her credit, Senator Clinton attended this dinner and Senator Obama did not.

    Very good points you make, John!

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 11:17 PM  

  • great catch kid.

    By Blogger JedReport, at 2:19 AM  

  • Your quote:

    "By dint of a fawning beltway and New York press corps that ignores the clear math, Senator Clinton lives to campaign another day after her popular vote wins in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island left her further, not closer, to closing the delegate margin with Senator Obama. (What Collins does not note in her Op/Ed is that those wins netted Clinton as few as a four delegate advantage...a net that Obama could well make up in Wyoming and Mississippi.)"

    I've been looking all day in the MSM for someone with the sense or independence to realize that Obama won Texas, and Wyoming pretty much cancels out "Hillary's huge and campaign rejuvenating win in Ohio".

    Now that I finally found someone who cut through the bullshit, I can go have a life!

    By Anonymous InsanityRules, at 8:11 PM  

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