Saturday, April 19, 2008

Posted by Picasa
All Aboard

It turns out that Barack Obama's day in PA is being spent on old fashioned whistestops aboard a train, from Philadelphia to an evening rally in Harrisburg. I took that train route many times--it's incredibly beautiful, and it gets even more beautiful west of Harrisburg to Pittsburgh. They used to have historical guides ride some of those trips, and they would point out some of the rich history along the route. Of course, Obama has some other perks--like his own car. And he gets to toot the whistle. It's not fair.

Obama's campaign site suggests he's staying on the train Sunday, but the route is unconventional: back east to Reading, north to Scranton (where Obama and Bob Casey and family will be joined by Caroline Kennedy), then west to McKeesport and ending in Pittsburgh. The Scranton stop is very interesting--this area, where Hillary Rodham's family has deep roots, is considered all hers. Even more so than the Pittsburgh area. What does the Obama campaign know?

It also turns out that his Philadelphia speech last night was a template for his closing argument in PA, asking voters to declare their independence from the old politics, while mentioning Hillary's use of such politics more pointedly than before. It's an interesting tactic. Hillary, like most pols, likes to end on a positive, but this is forcing her to be defensive as well.

But Obama is also accentuating his positive message ("Get on board the change train!") as you can see from this video clip of his stop in Downingtown.

The expectations game is also underway, with Hillary's people suggesting the election will be close and emphasizing how much more money Obama is pouring into media in the state. Saturation ads are a risk, maybe especially in PA, because people can get annoyed by them. Add robocalls--which the Clintonistas are doing much more of, often negative attacks on Obama--and both campaigns risk alienating people who just want this to be over. Still, these moves and statements make me wonder what the non-public polls that each campaign has are telling them.

As for the intensity on both sides, man, I can feel it on this coast.

Otherwise, Obama picked up a super-delegate, and so did Hillary. The New York Times has a couple of pieces on defections and money troubles in the Clinton campaign, while the Gallup daily tracking poll has Hillary ahead for the first time in awhile. The fallout from the tape continues within activist circles. Since it was founded at a key moment to defend Bill against impeachment, one of its founders asserts: "Without Move On, she would not be Senator Hillary Clinton. She would be the wife of disgraced-and-removed former President Clinton." And he asks In a third Clinton term, who will be the next core constituency to be steamrolled when the Clintons think the situation calls for it? Labor? Latinos? Who knows?" And for at least one now former Hillary supporter, this was the last straw.

There have been a number of eyewitness diaries on Kos about the Philadelphia rally last night--this one is especially good. A great point about the children coming to these events. If nothing else, this is something that's going to remain with the next generation.

Update: This neat diary with slide show from the Paoli stop, plus an overview of the campaigning today from Booman.
Home Stretch

Saturday, Sunday, Monday, then PA votes. Both candidates will be in the Commonwealth this weekend. One theory about how a campaign thinks they're doing is where they go in the closing days. Obama held a tremendous rally in Philadelphia Friday night--at between 35 and 40,000 it was the largest of the campaign, and some 5,000 enthusiasts kept it going with a spontaneous march a mile through the city. But he's leaving eastern PA, his acknowledged area of strength, and going to central PA Saturday and Sunday (Harrisburg on Saturday, Mike!) which is supposed to be Hillary territory. Hillary and Bill are both in western PA Saturday, defending her strongest area. It will be interesting to see if Obama keeps going west on Monday, to end in Pittsburgh.

The Obama strategy may simply be to hold down Clinton's popular vote margin, and introduce him in these areas with the general election in mind. Or his own polls are suggesting he is secure enough in the east to make Hillary defend the west.

So where was the CW today? Some were sounding doom for Hillary. Others were suggesting that the attacks on Obama may be working, and that PA will go big for her as undecideds slide her way.

In the long run, Reuters as well as others suggest that Clinton is pretty much finished. One interesting calculation said that after the primaries are over, Obama should be less than 100 delegates from the majority needed to win.

Then there is the Newsweek poll of Democrats nationally that saw the preference change from a virtual tie last month to a 19--yes, that's 19 point advantage for Obama. Besides Reich, Obama won the endorsement of foreign policy heavyweight and moderate Democrat Sam Nunn, and moderate Dem Sen. David Boren of Oklahoma.

But at the same time, the daily Gallup tracking poll has seen Obama's ten or 11 point lead gradually dwindle this week to 3. The Wall Street Journal said that Clinton needs a double-digit win in PA to remain viable, but some politicos like Pennsylvanian hard-baller Chris Matthews predict she'll get just that--in the neighborhood of 14 points. Hillary got some delegates as well Friday--one supe and two add-ons from New Jersey.

Then there are Events. One bit of breaking news Friday was yet another tape surfacing from a closed-door meeting, but this time it's of Hillary dissing the powerful group (which ironically was formed to defend Bill Clinton against impeachment.) Some commentators feel this will hurt her in PA, especially because she is also on video praising the group in public. It has already hurt her with one prominent online supporter, Jane Hamsher of FiredogLake. MoveOn is a major anti-war force these days. Will this hurt Hillary with them? This may develop further this weekend, but it's hard to see who she will lose she hasn't already lost in PA, except perhaps antiwar women who've stuck with her. But if she were to be the nominee, she would need credibility with them, and she would need MoveOn. Another bridge to the 21st century burned?

Still, it seems unlikely to hurt her with those working class PA voters. There may be a lot of them in PA--their percentage of the eventual PA primary vote is one of the big unanswerable questions right now--but there's an argument that they're a shrinking demographic, and one that doesn't vote Democrat anymore anyway. The theory here is that Dems need to lose them by no more than 10 points or so.

These three days can be a lifetime, and then there's Tuesday when the last voters decide. Conventional wisdom is that if they're undecided at that point, they'll go for the past and vote for Hillary. How good CW is anymore will be tested in PA.

Finally, for Obama friends, don't miss this one minute video, adding some effects to a bit of Obama's speech in North Carolina, brushing off attacks.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Motions

A theory emerged today, begun by Pat Buchanan of all people, but picked up by others, that these "manufactured distractions" (as Obama calls them) and the usual petty "character" issues (not flag burning this year, but a flag pin; not an ACLU membership card but serving on the same charity board with a former member of the Weather Underground who is now a well known, highly credentialed and pretty old Chicago citizen, etc.) that Clinton has helped unleash will ultimately benefit Obama, because if they don't work now, the Republicans won't have anything to use on him.

It's tricky, because the polls are showing Obama within 6 points or so in PA, and depending on a lot of unknowns, that may well be artificially low--he could be behind by more. If he doesn't come in under 10 points behind Clinton, the media may believe that these issues had resonance. But if PA doesn't buy them, who will? That's the thinking. Not very flattering to PA, and not very accurate, but if it means that some voters in the Commonwealth are especially vulnerable to these kinds of attacks, it's probably true. The question is: how many. I have to agree with Mike (in a Wednesday comment) that the Rendell machine is the biggest single factor favoring Hillary.

Generally it looked to me that the opinion on the debate turned as Thursday wore on, and the extent of the anger and disgust with ABC became clearer. Obama handled it perfectly. First of all, he went to friendly ground, in North Carolina. And he added the perfect gesture--a hand sweeping his shoulder, brushing off the manufactured distractions, after talking about how it took 45 minutes (probably longer) before he was asked the first substantive question on issues that voters care about. Some pundits and the old pols they listen to don't believe this--they think Obama should have hit Hillary harder. But I think he was right, it's not what voters want to hear, and by the end of the day, some media mouths were getting it.

But if the theory is right, keeping the campaign going isn't all bad. On the other hand, the nomination contest is just about over, and Howard Dean wants a nominee. He told CNN he wants super-delegates to begin declaring who they will vote for, starting right now. (One more did--from Oklahoma, a vote for Obama.)

Then there's the math, as they've been saying, that gets more compelling literally every day. According to this, Obama picked up another delegate in Ohio, as the result of absentee and provisional ballots just counted in a particular county. The revelation of that biggest of recent days for Hillary--when she won a close to 10 point victory in the Ohio popular vote, and a narrower popular vote victory in Texas--she picked up a net gain of five delegates. And even if she wins PA as expected, she may pick up as few as five or ten delegates there. Obama will get them all back and then some in North Carolina in early May.

So PA will tell us whether there is a "game changer" or whether we're just going through the motions until June 3. The problem may be interpretation. Realistically, Clinton has to win PA by 20 points, maybe 15, to change anything. Whether ABC News will see it that way is unlikely. The rest of the media, who knows? But super-delegates. Yeah, I think so.

Meanwhile, the Clintonians are touting the debate itself as a game changer. But the only thing Hillary seems to be changing is the minds of people who supported her. Today it's expected that Robert Reich, Billary's first Labor Secretary, will endorse Obama today. Although he's been favoring Obama, he'd said he'd vote for Hillary out of loyalty--until her recent negative campaign in PA. Obama also picked up another former Clinton supporter--this time a delegate, from DC.

And this morning's NY Times has a story saying Hillary's attacks haven't swayed. "Yet despite giving it her best shot in what might have been their final debate, interviews on Thursday with a cross-section of these superdelegates — members of Congress, elected officials and party leaders — showed that none had been persuaded much by her attacks on Mr. Obama’s strength as a potential Democratic nominee, his recent gaffes and his relationships with his former pastor and with a onetime member of the Weather Underground."

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Pennsylvania State Senator Leeanne Washington, and Democrats Dar Thomas and and Susan Petrow announced this morning that they are switching from supporting Hillary to Obama because of Hillary's negativity and dishonesty.

The Philadephia Daily News endorsed Obama, and the Harrisburg Patriot News also did yesterday. That's pretty much a clean sweep of major PA newspapers. This doesn't necessarily translate into popular votes-- Obama swept the big papers in Texas, too. But it helps even out Clinton's Rendell machine advantage.

The ABC debacle last night got big ratings, especially the first half hour. But the fallout continues today with a major level of rage against the network and its "moderators"--if ever a word was ironic, this is it. Most but not all reviews say Obama had a bad debate or even his worst debate, but a few got the point that he was talking directly to voters about the "gotcha" questions, and Hillary remained negative, scoring debate points, but underscoring her reputation.

But I believe voters hear Obama when he says (and he said in the debate):

I think what's important is to make sure that we don't get so obsessed with gaffes that we lose sight of the fact that this is a defining moment in our history. We are going to be tackling some of the biggest issues that any president has dealt with in the last 40 years. Our economy is teetering not just on the edge of recession, but potentially worse. Our foreign policy is in a shambles. We are involved in two wars. People's incomes have not gone up, and their costs have. And we're seeing greater income inequality now than any time since the 1920s.

In those circumstances, for us to be obsessed with this -- these kinds of errors I think is a mistake. And that's not what our campaign has been about.
What our campaign has been about is offering some specific solutions to how we move these issues forward and identifying the need to change the culture in Washington, which we haven't talked at all about, but that has blocked real reform decade after decade after decade. That, I think, is the job of the next president of the United States. That's what I intend to do. That's why I'm running.

Obama is betting that people hear him on this. I'm betting on it, too, because if they aren't, this country is finished.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Debate on Mars

Because the American Bullshit Network taped-delayed tonight's debate for the West Coast, I had the unusual experience of hearing the punditry pronouncements before I saw any of the debate. Often enough I've found my experience of debates different from what I heard from commentators, but tonight it's so different that there must have been another debate in a parallel universe I didn't see.

Chuck Todd is only one of the pundits who saw this as a bad Obama performance, partly because the A Bullshitters spent the first 50 minutes of a two hour debate on what Obama kept calling "distractions." (Apparently only Halperin dissents, giving Obama a B+ grade, and Clinton a B.) Every time these issues come up--'bitter,' Rev. Wright, the flag pin for chrissakes, and now an elderly Weatherman--the pundits go crazy, they find a few people who are credulous and offended, and then there's an election and/or the polls come out, and nobody else really cares. Obama has answered these questions, and he did so insistently and in context again tonight.

The upshot was that for those 50 minutes, he did most of the talking, and Clinton just stood there. He couched all his explanations and answers in terms of his rationale and main argument for running. I think he talked directly to viewers and voters, and he connected. And so I think Chuck Todd and the others are full of the same shit as the American Bullshit Corporation "journalists," neocon Charlie Whatshisname and former Clinton press secretary George Stepinitalloverus.

Update: The TV punditry didn't have much to say about ABC but print and Internet writers sure have. Tom Shales, TV critic for the Washington Post, writes that the ABC hosts "turned in shoddy, despicable performances."
"For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with."

This is how people were responding on live threads during the debate and now in a host of online columns on HuffPost, etc. ABC got thousands of critical comments, there's talk that the studio audience was in revolt. ABC hasn't heard the end of this. Even Gov. Ed Rendell was critical.

In the meantime, Obama picked up four more super-delegates Wednesday. And that doesn't count Bruce Springsteen--the boss also endorsed him.

And as Kos points out, Hillary ceded her stealth "he's unelectable" argument by admitting that Obama can win against McCain.

The saddest line in Shales' rebuke was that the cable channels did a better job running these debates. My first thought after seeing much of the debate was expressed by Marty Kaplan--give these debates back to the League of Women Voters--and by a commenter on his thread-- and put them on PBS.
Wednesday Begins Well

Good morning, Mike, and anybody else who might be listening in. Had to share this with you if you haven't heard: the Pittsburgh Post Gazette endorsed Obama today:

So forget all the primary skirmishing. Sen. Obama is every bit as prepared to answer the ring of the 3 a.m. phone as Sen. Clinton. Forget this idea that Sen. Obama is all inspiration and no substance. He has detailed positions on the major issues. When the occasion demands it, he can marshal eloquence in the service of making challenging arguments, which he did to great effect in his now-famous speech putting his pastor's remarks in the greater context of race relations in America.

Nor is he any sort of elitist. As he said yesterday in effectively refuting this ridiculous charge in a meeting with Post-Gazette editors, "my life's work has been to get everybody a fair shake."

This editorial began by observing that one candidate is of the past and one of the future. The litany of criticisms heaped on Sen. Obama by the Clinton camp, simultaneously doing the work of the Republicans, is as illustrative as anything of which one is which. These are the cynical responses of the old politics to the new.

Sen. Obama has captured much of the nation's imagination for a reason. He offers real change, a vision of an America that can move past not only racial tensions but also the political partisanship that has so bedeviled it."

In advance of the debate ABC hosts tonight, ABC and the Washington Post conducted a poll of Democrats, and it shows Obama with a ten point lead over Clinton nationally (about the same as the latest Gallups), but shows Clinton falling far behind on all the qualities: leadership, change, trust, etc. Her campaign is doing her in. But the Post story on it also says that the Dems surveyed weren't overly anxious to see the campaign end. Sigh.

So, always nervous about debates. Clinton usually gets a bump, but this time there's almost a week until election day. Right now my guess is that she's about ten points up. Based on past performance, you have to add about five points to her poll totals once election day comes. Though I'd like to see this one be different.

I keep waiting for the Change but it hasn't come yet, and it may not until the general election. But maybe it has. Maybe I saw it in some tape of Obama walking down a street in Bloomington, IND shaking hands. Maybe in the film on him visiting the Post-Gazette offices. Maybe in his last few speeches. But the Change would be when everybody knows he's the candidate, he's different, he's the President. An updated JFK effect maybe.

It'll be interesting to see what the mood is in and around that debate.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Well, maybe HufPost has it right, when they group poll results with astrology forecasts. Another new poll actually has Obama leading in Indiana by five points, and it too was taken over the weekend and yesterday. This LA Times/Bloomberg poll shows Obama leading in Indiana 40% to 35%, and Clinton leading in PA by 5 points. Obama's lead in North Carolina is 13%, which is under what most other polls show. So who knows.

But for what they're worth, the other polls released today show little movement in PA. SUSA sees Hillary ahead by 14, which is actually down 4 points from last week. It's one week until the voting. For somebody who is double digits ahead, Hillary has been getting some rough audiences lately, and Obama has been soaring. His momentum was probably blunted by this dust-up, but he was also liberated to attack Hillary more directly. There's the debate coming up, and some high profile TV appearances. It will all come down to this week.

Interestingly, there's a Washington Post article headlined "McCain Echoes Clinton Attacks" with this:

Looking for any possible edge, the Clinton campaign has pressed uncommitted superdelegates to view Obama's remarks as a major debacle that could harm him in November. But as of yesterday evening, there was little evidence that the electability argument is resonating.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D), an undecided superdelegate who represents Pittsburgh and surrounding towns in the Monongahela Valley, said yesterday that he was not particularly troubled by Obama's comments.

"I don't disagree with a lot of what he said. My dad was a mill worker. My grandfather was a steel mill worker, and when the steel industry collapsed, nobody's family was hurt more than mine," Doyle said. "It's not inaccurate to say a lot of politicians have come through these towns, made a lot of promises and failed to deliver. I thought he was spot-on when he said how people feel."

He added that Obama's unexpected endorsement yesterday by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney "carries a hell of a lot more weight" than the blowup over his comments about small-town residents.

I spoke with my sister in western PA, and ascertained that there are 7 or 8 votes in my family for Obama, none for Clinton.

Though Clinton is apparently trying to keep the controversy alive, TV has finally moved on: the Pope and polygamy are enough.
Monday into Tuesday

On Monday, TV news fulminators kept their focus on the Obama gaffe, though by evening a few commentators were questioning whether they're talking to themselves. While pundits continued to warn of trouble from it, most signs were that it was having little or no effect. USA Today found Still, in more than a dozen interviews here, even conservative Republicans couldn't muster the sort of outrage over Obama's remarks that Clinton backers were expressing Sunday. The AP found PA citizens it interviewed divided--some were bothered, But many more seem to think it was no big deal — and if there's a problem it's with the political slapfest that has followed.

By the end of the day, no less an authority than PA Gov Ed Rendell, Hillary's chief backer in the state, said it might cost Obama a couple of points at the margin in PA, but was no big deal. Opined the Boston Globe blog, But his downplaying of the Obama controversy today would seem to undermine Clinton in a big way, given that her campaign has spent the last four days trying to blow it up as big as possible. But even Hillary might be having second thoughts, since she was hissed when she tried to bring it up to the same Pittsburgh audience --the Alliance for American Manufacturing Forum, an audience of steelworkers and steel execs--that had cheered Obama.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, Obama got the endorsement of the most revered man in the city, Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and not given to political pronouncements. His "letter to Pennsylvanians" began: Based on the experiences that I have had in my seventy-five years and my assessment of what I think our nation needs to make real the change that is so needed, I am proud and now feel compelled to endorse Senator Barack Obama.

A number of western and central PA officeholders have been defending Obama against the Clinton attacks, and on Monday Obama got the formal endorsement of the Dauphin County Commissioner. This blogger identifies him as a former mayor of Steelton and an up and coming young politician, whose influence balances out the endorsement by the mayor of Harrisburg, which is in Dauphin county.

The polls released Monday that were taken over the weekend also showed no discernable effect, either nationally or in PA. (The ARG poll that showed a sudden 20 point jump for Hillary was dismissable; it's not a respected polling outfit.)

However, a really alarming poll is just out Tuesday morning--the very respected SUSA shows Obama doing poorly in Indiana. Though Hillary picked up only 3 points, Obama lost 4, and there were some huge swings in the internals, including an unbelievable swing among young voters, from Obama leading by 19 points to trailing now by 2. This poll was taken Friday through Sunday, precisely the time this dust-up was happening. This is the poll pundits are likely to be talking about today, and it probably will feed this story just as it seemed it could be dying down. Good grief.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Masterpiece Theatre

I've got multiple deadlines to deal with, but I'll point to two events Sunday: here's an account of the forum in PA on faith that Hillary and Obama participated in, with extensive quotes. And here is the YouTube link for part of a speech Obama made to a labor union audience in Steelton, in which he comes back hard--and with humor--at Hillary, and again pivots on the 'bitter' controversy to make his main rationale, and connect more strongly than ever with working voters. Read that and watch this, and know you've seen the master politician of our time.

Well, okay just a couple more things. Multiple instances (here and here) of Bill Clinton saying/writing the same thing that Obama said that Hillary got so exercised about.

And here's an earlier statement by members of the PA Sportmen and Sportswomen for Obama group. The response most often expressed in statements like this, and in comments on various web sites about this story, is that Hillary is playing politics with the truth. And Obama used this at exactly the right time in his comments in Steelton.
Sunday Call

Two PA newspapers endorsed a candidate in the Dem primary this morning, the Times-Tribune in Scranton, where Hillary was born and where she is campaigning today:

For Pennsylvania Democrats, the best answer in the April 22 primary is Barack Obama. In a nomination campaign that has defied convention, Mr. Obama has energized an entire generation of voters that, for the most part, otherwise had checked out of political participation. That, at least, portends a new approach to governance that can help to dissipate the political miasma that has engulfed Washington at least since the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

The Allentown Morning Call:

The Morning Call recommends that Sen. Barack Obama be nominated, and we offer three reasons.The first is the quality of his campaign. It has surprised the experts by moving him close to the finish line against bigger, more established political machines and it has communicated his basic ideas well.The second is his message of hope and change. It conveys a vision of the nation's future that is in tune with the tenor and consensus of most Americans.And third, and most important for the Democratic Party at this moment in history, there is Sen. Obama's ability to inspire.

This report goes inside poll numbers to suggest Hillary's support among white women was waning--and a Clintonian agrees-- partly because of how she conducts her campaign. What she's doing now is only going to erode it further, in my estimation.

And sounding a theme that a number of articles have focused on, one of the women is quoted: "If I ever want to look my kids in the eye again," she laughed, "I have to go with Obama."

Obama picked up another super-delegate, in Minnesota, who is also a member of the Democratic National Committee.

Hillary's Code

Not it's not about Hillary's code of ethics. That would be a very short post. It's about her wholesale use of racial code in her frantic attempt to misconstrue an Obama statement taken out of context.

It's hard to read her intent otherwise when, as JedReport shows, she utters the word "American" 18 times in a four minute speech criticizing Obama. In this context, "not American" is racial code for "not white." In this context, it's arguable but relevant to see the charge of being "elitist" as code for "uppity." Because the context clearly is (given her references to white working class childhood and her sudden embracing of the gun culture, as well as new photos of her swilling beer and downing shots with red-faced white men) an attempt to win the white working class male vote, which was slipping away from her in PA and Indiana. Her last hopes for viability rest with that group.

It's a gamble she might lose. She's trying to pump up her numbers in small town and rural white working class areas, but she may only get the votes she would have gotten anyway: those of racist whites who never would have voted for Obama, and now don't have to hide the fact. They don't have to say it's because he's black, let alone an uppity black. They can say it's because he's not American, and elitist.

Her problem in PA and Indiana, and certainly in North Carolina, is that the people who understand code words perfectly well are African Americans. They have already registered in record numbers in PA and North Carolina. Until she started this, there was some danger in PA--especially in Philadelphia--that the party machine working for Hillary would suppress the black vote, because people don't want to defy the local party, but they don't want to vote for Hillary either. Now that's not going to happen. African American voters are going to come out to defend Barack in tremendous numbers in PA and Indiana, and with such numbers in North Carolina that Obama will win more of the delegates there than he might have otherwise.

Is this racial polarization good for Democrats? Of course not. But if Hillary is able to hoodwink white working class voters, the so-called Reagan Democrats, into voting for her in the primary, this time they will be marginalizing themselves. Because the cold political calculus says that some of these are going to vote for McCain even if Hillary was the Democratic nominee. But no African Americans are going to vote for McCain if Obama is the Democratic nominee.

We'll see how latent racism is in the broader white community, and just how far we've come in getting beyond it. But here's the politics we know: Black voters in unprecedented numbers, young people in unprecedented numbers, a healthy chunk of middle class white voters (including Independents and some Republicans), and (if it is Obama v. McCain) Latino voters, who also know code when they hear it-- in every part of the country: that's the Obama coalition. Hillary is currently alienating all of them with her campaign. This is going to win over super-delegates?

In fact what will be interesting to observe is how this "covert" but very obvious racism plays with her actual bedrock constituency, older white women and older upper middle class feminists. How are the women who want to see Hillary as a role model and/or a victim of nasty men going to see this? Do her older white feminists believe in justice, equality, empathy and consciousness? Or are they just another selfish pressure group, with their own racial and class issues, willing to lose everything in November as well?

As for how this is playing now, those who feel this is a fatal error are currently the loudest, but the sentiment isn't unanimous. There's this quote from a Washington Post piece: But another Democratic strategist, who assessed the moment candidly on the condition of anonymity, said: "Ultimately, the case that McCain and Clinton will try to make that Obama is an elitist or out of touch has to be credible to the voter, and I don't believe it is. My sense is more people believe Obama, rather than McCain or Clinton, understand their lives and the challenges they face on a daily basis."

There are outraged posts on the Internet like this one. Even Joe Klein at Time is unconvinced. And there are plenty of progressives at least who see this as Hillary's last desperate act, and another sign the Republicans are afraid to run against Obama. And yet another signal that the corporate media will always try to do in a progressive candidate, as well as Hillary's ethical code: she'll destroy anybody--including the party and the country's future--in order to win something.

So far I see Obama bringing more visible and audible emotion to his empathy for the people left out by the Clinton-Bush boom for the wealthy, and more emotion to his call for the need to change Washington and elect people who will listen. So far I see his supporters rallying, and I'm guessing he's going to come out of this weekend having received far more campaign donations than Hillary-McCain. The battle has been joined. One more fight for the American soul and the world's future.