Sunday, February 17, 2008

Oh, Wisconsin?

I was only 14 and it was the first campaign--really, the first news--I ever followed, but my memory is that the 1960 primary in Wisconsin between Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy was big news, covered every day by reporters and camera crews on the scene.

Kennedy's win in Wisconsin and West Virginia were the defining moments of his campaign. I believe Wisconsin could be very important this year as well for Barack Obama. But the press isn't covering it. Even the vaunted political blogs like Hotline and Politico are just tap-dancing: noting the ads and the back and forth, but doing no reporting. Same with the big papers, as far as I can see.

So we're left with assumptions and signs, and the valuable eyewitness accounts of people there, who neverthless aren't experienced reporters. I'm back to feeling uneasy about the whole thing. Especially with an ARG poll showing Clinton ahead in Wisconsin, 49-42%. The internals are even more potentially damaging to the Obama campaign, reflecting divisions he'd transcended in Virginia and Maryland, especially the white vote which this poll shows him losing by 8 points.

Why is Wisconsin being ignored?

So it wasn't Hawaii, it was North Carolina: that's where Obama went today, to meet with John Edwards. If there was some evidence that an Edwards endorsement could help with the blue collar white vote, his endorsement would be important. I don't see any such evidence. Endorsing Obama is at this point more important to Edwards' credibility than to Obama's campaign. Stories are that Clinton has been courting him more, and her economic rhetoric has begun to sound more like his. But Edwards couldn't sell it, and neither can she. Only Obama can and Edwards ought to realize this, if he has eyes and ears.

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