Wednesday, March 5, 2008

March 5, 2008

     For the Democrats, the fat lady didn't sing;  the opera goes on.  The voting in Texas and Ohio, according to exit polls, was like the voting in other states--Obama in general did best with younger, better educated voters and better with independents, who could vote in both states, than with Democrats.  More than forty percent of those polled, in both states, said they would be satisfied with either candidate as the nominee.
     But that could change.  So far, Obama has waged a fairly positive campaign.  Clinton used some negatives;  facing elimination, she probably felt she had to.  Now, of course, they may both go negative.  There's a pause in the schedule--Wyoming has caucuses thus weekend, Mississippi has its primary next week, but no big state votes until Pennsylvania, April 22nd, weeks away.  Lots of time to plan new attack ads.
     But will Obama do that?  I was struck by a memo a friend e-mailed me, written by Melissa Harris-Lacewell,  a professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton.  She writes that Obama, like a modern-day Martin Luther King, is "leading a 21st century non-violent political campaign."  Obama's supporters will want him to attack, she writes, but "He is asking us to trust that he is tough enough to absorb the blows and remain firmly planted on the political high road he is trying to blaze for the country."
     Obama himself, in an e-mail, wrote, " We knew the closer we got to the change we seek, the more we'd see of the politics we are trying to end--the attacks and distortions that try to distract us from the issues that matter...."  This time, he went on "it will not work."
     Well, we'll see.  Politicians use negative ads because they often do work, and certainly Sen. Clinton won big Tuesday night.  She still trails in total delegates won, but only by a hundred or so out of more than 2000 selected so far.
     We'll learn, between now and Pennsylvania, more about the candidates.  We know Clinton is tough;  will she stay on the attack?  Can Obama take a licking and keep on ticking?   If you like campaigns, this is a vintage year. 


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