Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hillary Stumbles, Obama Triumphs

The election in South Carolina was a huge, huge win for Barack Obama and a stinging rebuke to Hillary Clinton. Obama won an outright majority of both men and women, and he won a plurality in every age bracket. More black voters chose Obama than Clinton, and more white voters chose John Edwards than Clinton (by a couple of points). Hillary was demolished, and the defeat is even more astonishing when you consider that she was leading in the polls just two months ago.

To his great credit, Obama has surprised many and demonstrated that he can outfight an aggressive opponent, which makes me much happier should he win the nomination. Obama managed to tarnish the Clintons' historic rapport with African-Americans (that MLK/LBJ flap) but more important, he turned the tables on the Clintons: he transformed Bill from Hillary's greatest asset to her greatest liability. The media narrative shifted from, "the mean guys are ganging up on poor Hillary," to, "the nasty Clintons are ganging up on poor Obama."

But Obama has done much more. The pundits thought he was "too black" to win in Iowa, and he proved them wrong. The pundits thought he was "not black enough" to win in South Carolina, and he proved them wrong. He has shown strong appeal across all sectors of society, all races and genders, all ideologies. I now believe Obama will be President one day, if not in this election, then four or eight years from now.

When I contrast Hillary's strong performance in the Nevada debate, where the candidates made peace, with Hillary's poor performance in South Carolina, where the candidates made war, the lesson seems abundantly clear. Hillary needs to go back to doing what won for her in New Hampshire: neither attacking her opponents nor responding to their attacks, but simply championing her key themes of knowledge and experience. She needs to put Bill firmly back on the sidelines again and once more shine for who she is. She should find a way to make peace with Obama also. If she cannot do any of those things, she does not deserve to win the nomination.

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