Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mississippi Decides...

Sen. Obama coasted to a solid victory in Mississippi tonight. He will pick up at least 17 of the state's 33 delegates (compared to Clinton's 11-delegate net gain from last week). In the past week, the final counts of the primaries from past states-- ie. California-- netted Obama more delegates, and it seems official now that Obama can be declared the winner in the Texas caucuses. So not a bad week for Team Obama.

Mother Jones' Jonathan Stein looks at where the race stands after tonight-
MSNBC has projected two things: (1) Obama has won tonight's Mississippi primary and (2) Obama's pledged delegate lead will be 160 at the end of the night. Hillary Clinton will have to win 64% of all remaining pledged delegates in order to finish with the pledged delegate lead. That is, shall we say, highly unlikely.

The Clinton campaign plan, best I can see it, is to downplay Mississippi, play up Pennsylvania and win it, and then take the remainder of the states (potentially including do-overs in Michigan and Florida) by severely tarnishing Obama's luster. Narrow the popular vote to almost nothing, then convince superdelegates that are undecided or that support Obama to choose Clinton because she has won the second half of the primary race. Is that a strategy that is likely to win? No, but it's the best they got.

Translation? If Obama asks nicely, maybe he can be Hillary's Vice President. Oh, wait.

Finally, I will acknowledge the elephant in the room... former VP candidate, and Clinton fundraiser, Geraldine Ferraro's comment that "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position... He happens to be very lucky to be who he is." After this was lambasted by, well, everyone, Ferraro decided to dig in deeper. Giving followup interviews with Fox News and elsewhere, she said "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?". It's bad, ma'am, please stop. Now obviously, subtle racial digs at Obama are nothing new from the Clinton camp, and will continue through Pennsylvania and beyond. But at some point, the Clinton camp has to understand that their scorched-earth tactics will leave them with no ground left to run on.

As for the validity of Ferraro's original point, I'll let Marc Ambinder take this: "Because running as a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama is soooo easy."

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