Friday, February 8, 2008

Great column in WSJ today on Obama's chances

Today Peggy Noonan outlined why Hillary Clinton is going to lose this thing, and just how formidable Obama will be in November. She makes a compelling argument:

She's the first I've heard willing to admit Clinton's losing:

"I ruminate in this way because something is happening. Mrs. Clinton is losing this thing. It's not one big primary, it's a rolling loss, a daily one, an inch-by-inch deflation. The trends and indices are not in her favor. She is having trouble raising big money, she's funding her campaign with her own wealth, her moral standing within her own party and among her own followers has been dragged down, and the legacy of Clintonism tarnished by what Bill Clinton did in South Carolina. Unfavorable primaries lie ahead. She doesn't have the excitement, the great whoosh of feeling that accompanies a winning campaign. The guy from Chicago who was unknown a year ago continues to gain purchase, to move forward. For a soft little innocent, he's played a tough and knowing inside/outside game."

She basically says nobody is willing to admit Hillary's losing because they are afraid of a New Hampshire-like miscalculation. They're playing it conservatively, just like networks' reluctance to call state's based on exit polls since Bush-Gore.

But the most compelling part of the article comes at the end when she talks about just how unstoppable Obama will be in the general:

"But Mr. Obama will not be easy for Republicans to attack. He will be hard to get at, hard to address. There are many reasons, but a primary one is that the fact of his race will freeze them. No one, no candidate, no party, no heavy-breathing consultant, will want to cross any line--lines that have never been drawn, that are sure to be shifting and not always visible--in approaching the first major-party African-American nominee for president of the United States..."
"...He is the brilliant young black man as American dream. No consultant, no matter how opportunistic and hungry, will think it easy--or professionally desirable--to take him down in a low manner. If anything, they've learned from the Clintons in South Carolina what that gets you."

And Noonan saved the best line for last:

"The Democrats have it exactly wrong. Hillary is the easier candidate, Mr. Obama the tougher. Hillary brings negative; it's fair to hit her back with negative. Mr. Obama brings hope, and speaks of a better way. He's not Bambi, he's bulletproof."


There's no doubt about it, Clinton is on the ropes. Everyone is saying that this thing is a tie, but what they are not saying is that a tie is a loss for Clinton. This woman has been running for President since 1992--Bill used to say America was getting "two for the price of one." Yet, Obama, who was not even on the national radar until his speech at the Democratic convention four years ago is slowly pulling support away from her. This is the first day since Iowa that I've actually felt he may win this thing.

One more thing, Noonan suggests that it's Obama's race that makes him such a difficult target for Republicans in November; I disagree. I think it's his message, not his race, that makes Obama such a tough target. With McCain at the top of the Republican ticket, this election will be another referendum on the war in Iraq and Obama has the credibility and moral authority to get us out. His consistent opposition to the war coupled with his likability and willingness to see both sides of an argument make him an outstanding general election candidate.

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