Among people that I talk to, one of the main reasons they give for supporting Clinton over Obama is his lack of experience. They reason that she's been around the block a time or two and he barely has. Another part of it is that she's had a lot more experience with hardball political campaigns, which should also make her more electable than he is. One example of why people are continuing to support (shall we say "clinging to"?) Clinton is this clip from a diavlog
in which Glenn Loury explains his positions, including his view that she is just more competent.
Many of us Obama supporters, however, tend to question the relevance of her experience, or argue that his cross-partisan appeal, combined with the deep wells of Clinton hatred across the country, make him more electable than she is. Not only that, part of his appeal is that he has the ability to be a transformational leader in a way that Clinton does not.
Now we have some more data points from recent weeks, and I'm afraid they don't seem to look very good for Obama. We do have the Jeremiah Wright thing, and we also have the clinging to guns and religion thing (which probably doesn't look as bad if you know what was going on when he said it
), but these things still seem to demonstrate a political tin ear, which probably makes him look like a weaker candidate than he originally did.
In addition, some of his complaints about the Clinton campaign seem to be in the "Mom, she's being mean to me!" vein, which aren't much fun to listen to coming from your three-year-old, and are much worse coming from a professional politician.
Then, yesterday, he probably did worse than we were expecting. Clinton started out 20 points ahead, he chipped away at her lead, last week people were saying he was going to come within five points or so, and yesterday she won by almost ten.
I will concede that the long hiatus since the last primaries, and the fact that Pennsylvania was the only game yesterday combined to make yesterday look bigger than it otherwise might have. Still, though, if anyone has momentum now, it's not him. (Remember back in 2004, when the Red Sox came back from a 3-0 lead in the playoffs to beat the Yankees? It was a big deal even when the Red Sox won their first game, even though they had to win three more in a row.)
So where are we? Obama is still the leader, but there are certain defects appearing that we hadn't seen before. We also know that the R's are going to be ten times as mean and dishonest as any Clinton can be, and they're going to make up as many lies about Obama as they did about Kerry four years ago.
I still hear people say that it doesn't matter, McCain just can't win. I think those views are clearly wrong. I think he can potentially win, and I am thinking more and more that the D's can boot this one.
So what do we do? Is anyone thinking that it's time to jump off the Obama band wagon?
And, in an inside-baseball kind of way, does the deflation of Obama provide the justification of the superdelegate system that people have been criticizing all primary season?