Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Many in the Obama camp, having outfoxed the apparently not-so-formidable Clinton machine, can't seem to get the hang of winning gracefully. They feel a need to drive a stake in Hillary Clinton's reputation, then dance. If they were smart, they'd heap praise on Clinton and let her finish out the race, however she chooses to do so.
That's sage advice, even though offered by Republican mastermind-turned-pundit Karl Rove. Treat Clinton shabbily, he says, and many of her supporters "will remember it by November."
Nonetheless, Obamites are throwing victory parties over the impending defeat of a fellow Democrat who has thus far pulled in over 47 percent of their party's primary and caucus participants. Some take a more direct approach. In anticipation of the West Virginia primary, college students for Obama were hurling insults at farmers and truck drivers holding signs for Clinton.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, unable to contain himself, administered one last kick to Clinton's dignity by opining that the New York senator lacks the "real leadership" needed for the job of vice president. He said that Obama should pick someone who is "in tune with his appeal for the nobler aspirations of the American people."
So much for the nobility of aspirations held by his own state's Democratic primary voters, who preferred Clinton over Obama by 15 percentage points. Next door in Rhode Island, Rep. Patrick Kennedy dittoes Dad as an unwavering super-delegate for Obama -- this despite Clinton's 18-point win in that state's primary. It's as if the voters are invisible.
Disrespecting the nearly 17 million who have supported Clinton is politically unwise, but turning them into "the enemy" is insane. Last week's enemy was working-class white people. The Democrats can win without a majority of white voters -- as Obama strategists undiplomatically note -- but they can't win without a strong showing among them.
So Obama partisans do not help their cause by willfully misrepresenting Clinton's reference to "hard-working Americans, white Americans" as racist rather than as a poorly worded observation made in a state of utter exhaustion. The fervor of their outrage suggests that some regard the mere consideration of white people, particularly white men, as a demographic needing a special message is an act of bigotry. (That's as opposed to a thousand other racial and socio-economic groups that politicos routinely slice and dice.)
We now hear pained remarks from the Obama camp that many white men won't vote for any black. Oh really? No one was complaining during the early races in Iowa, Maryland, Virginia and Wisconsin, when most of the white male participants backed Obama. That was before the Rev. Jeremiah Wright ugliness became public.
Weirdly, Obamite triumphalism seems to be merging with the festivities on the Republican side. You can understand why the right would welcome what it prays is "the end of the Clinton era." Bill Clinton presided over the longest peacetime expansion since World War II. His budget surpluses put his so-called conservative predecessors and successor to shame. Wouldn't a vow to build on the Clinton legacy, rather than dismantle it, be a better tack for the Obama campaign?
By the way, Clinton's continued sparring with Obama does not hurt the Illinois senator's chances in November. It only crowds out Republican efforts along that line. Believe me, you'd rather have the Clinton version.
Obama can't beat John McCain without large chunks of Clinton's core constituency: women, Hispanics and the white working class. Dumping on their candidate is one step removed from dumping on them -- and some of the Obama people don't even bother with that step. Rove must be enjoying the show.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $3.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.