Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Obama: The Presumptive Nominee

It's over. If you don't believe me, check out Tim Russert:

It turns out that Hillary Clinton loaned herself $6.4 million dollars again last month in order to continue, upping her personal investment in the campaign to $11.4 million. Even with that loan, it appears as though she's still in big debt. Obama, on the other hand, has something in the neighborhood of $50 million in the coffers with less than a million in debt.

That's the money. The path to the delegate lead is over as well. The loss in NC, combined with the narrowest of wins in IN, assures that Obama will end with the delegate lead after June 3rd. He can actually clinch the nomination after Oregon with a win and the superdelegate flood that is expected to come now. In fact, he can get 2025 on that day, or he can probably get the 2209 that Clinton has newly introduced as the magic number, which includes both Florida and Michigan. This is a blessing in disguise because Obama can clinch the 2209 with some help from his super friends, and then seat both delegations at the Democratic National Conference well in advance of that event, giving the Party enough time to heal any rifts that may exist.

Hillary sounded resigned to the fact that this thing is basically over when she spoke last night, in stark contrast to the Obama speech, which I thought was his best in almost 2 months. Looking at Chelsea, standing behind her mother, nearly in tears, told the story as did the red-faced, sullen Bill by her side. His from and puppy dog eyes betrayed his own emotion. Even Matt Drudge, the conservative blogger, posted a headline saying "The Nominee", featuring a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama walking hand in hand. The Huffington Post did something similar.

On to the general election campaign, John McCain is gearing up with a series of speeches designed to broaden his appeal. The conservative pundits are now talking about how great he matches up with Obama, and how the contrast works to his advantage. Provided the Clintons follow through on their promise to work hard for Obama (maybe in exchange for a VP slot going to a Clinton ally) McCain is absolute toast.

When these two men stand up next to one another to be compared, it's going to look ridiculous. I mean, RIDICULOUS. McCain's gaffes have gone largely unexamined by the media as Obama and Clinton have been fighting it out. Obama has been vetted in the media and the public has spoken. Most of the skeletons that have come out of his closet have come and gone, and he survived. Not only did he survive, he thrived. The GOP will probably have to abandon Reverend Wright as a main strategy, as the ad campaigns that were run to tie local pols with Obama/Wright ended up backfiring. Democrats in heavily Republican districts pulled off historical election victories. A few of those districts flipped for the first time in 30 years!! The tide is turning.

The Tony Rezko situation is likely to be a GOP attack point, but McCain's own Keating 5 scandal makes Rezko look like chump change by comparison. The media has seen the Obama dirt, and while they're unlikely to completely give up the focus on his skeletons, the added scrutiny of McCain's skeletons will, however, make this thing wide open. No one ever looked at Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky during the Democratic campaign, to her advantage, because we lived through it and it was played to death on TV for years. McCain has been a teflon candidate his whole career, but this is different. This is the presidency. He's going to be examined harshly. I guarantee it.

So, in the end, the general election started last night. McCain's decrepit, undead spirit will walk the Earth seeking support, while Obama's youthful energy and loaded coffers will be aimed at making this contrast so apparent as to force the most ardent Republicans avert their eyes. Away we go.


mondemondomundo said...

Why are campaigns so expensive?

Can't these money that were funded be used in a different way?

Does the country pay money for the election like in Japan?

Mike Plugh said...

The country pays some money, but the system has been around for a very long time. It won't change because:

1. A lot of the money ends up with small businesses around America

2. TV ads cost a lot

3. America is HUGE so it costs a lot of money to open offices in communities all over the country. To win elections you have to have a local presence.

4. Japanese people don't take their democracy seriously. People don't volunteer to campaign very much. Parties have people drive around in vans shouting in the streets through megaphones. Americans get involved, so you have to buy pizza and coffee and signs and buttons and pay for gas.

Peter Chu 朱澤人 said...

Professor Strate says that Clinton's loss in presidential nominee is due to her inabiliity to handle new media such as TouTube and blogs. She was blasted in these two media.

The three magazines that I subscribe--The Economist, Time, and Newsweek--all put Obama on the cover page and declare him as the final Democrat's nominee. But on the TV, Clinton's strategist still says that "hey, you didn't count Michigan and Florida....and we don't accept 2,025 as the final number of delegates we need...." She just doesn't give up!