Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Onward

I didn’t stay up to watch the final outcome of the Texas primary since I get up very early, but when I did, I wasn’t too surprised at the outcomes of yesterday’s races. I’ll leave the minutiae to the pros such as Josh Marshall at TPM:

A lot’s getting said tonight. And a lot of it is baseless speculation. But the one thing that rings true to me is this: The Clinton campaign got rough and nasty over the last week-plus. And they got results. That may disgust you or it may inspire you with confidence in Hillary’s abilities as a fighter. But wherever you come down on that question is secondary to the fact that that’s how campaign’s work. Opponents get nasty. And what we’ve seen over the last week is nothing compared to what Barack Obama would face this fall if he hangs on and wins the nomination.

So I think the big question is, can he fight back? Can he take this back to Hillary Clinton, demonstrate his ability to take punches and punch back? By this I don’t mean that he’s got to go ballistic on her or go after Bill’s business deals or whatever else her vulnerabilities might be. Candidates fight in different ways and if they’re good candidates in ways that play to their strengths and cohere with their broader message. But he’s got to show he can take this back to Hillary and not get bloodied and battered when an opponent decides to lower the boom. That will obviously determine in a direct sense how he fares in the coming primaries and caucuses. And Obama’s people are dead right when they say, he doesn’t even have to do that well from here on out to end this with a substantial pledged delegate margin.

At the end of the day, the winner of the pledged delegate race has the strongest claim to the nomination. Everything else is spin.

And right now, that would be Barack Obama.

Oh, yeah; John McCain wrapped it up on the GOP side. I got home from a meeting just in time to catch his speech to the rally in Dallas and instantly hit the Mute button; I’m not sure if I can stand the next eight months of a candidate who starts every sentence with “My friends…”