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Still In It To Win ... What Exactly? Still In It To Win ... What Exactly?

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Still In It To Win ... What Exactly?

DEM FIELD I: She Keeps Going, And Going, And Going...

Liberal bloggers react to Hillary Clinton's announcement that she's staying in the race "until there's a nominee" (despite a growing chorus of calls for her to concede to Barack Obama):

MyDD's Todd Beeton: "While, as I wrote last night, I don't think she'll ultimately be the nominee, I support her decision to continue. The rest of the states deserve to participate in this historic election."


The Stump's Michael Crowley: "I'm actually a little surprised she's pressing on. Surely even the Clintons can see some point of diminishing returns where the harm to their reputation outweighs whatever tiny chance she has of succeeding."

Taylor Marsh: "On To West Virginia. ... This is a time for champions. We fight on."

In reaction to Clinton saying that "if [Dems] had the rules that the Republicans have, I'd already be the nominee," AMERICAblog's John Aravosis writes: "It's petulant, arrogant, whiny, and just overall makes her look like a spoiled brat. She is looking and acting and sounding like one of her pushy surrogates, not like a presidential candidate. Whining about how you should have won it already is something your staff says -- if at all -- not you. ... Oh, and one more thing. It's been clear from the beginning that someone forget to tell Hillary, 'we're not Republicans.'"


The Stump's Mike Crowley: "A few days ago I joked that Hillary had come to resemble Mike Huckabee: "Deriding elites, playing the populist, campaigning hard in rural areas. ... A few TV commentators have declared that her campaign is effectively dead either way, but that she may carry on for a while--maybe until June 3--with a purely positive campaign whose last hope is a totally unforced error (a.k.a. "macaca moment") that brings Obama down. And that, of course, is how Mike Huckabee closed out his own campaign--harmlessly traveling around with barely an ill word for John McCain. Hillary's bizarre transformation will have been complete. (That they both lived in the Arkansas governor's mansion makes it that much stranger....)"

DEM FIELD II: Some Of My Best Friends Are White People!

The greatest response to Clinton vowing to stay in the race centered on her camp's insistence that she's seen great gains in securing the coveted "white working-class vote":

Talking Points Memo's Greg Sargent: "On the Hillary conference call, Hillary chief strategist Geoff Garin made the case for her electability in some of the most explicitly race-based terms I've heard yet. Garin argued that the North Carolina contest, which Obama won by 14 points, represented 'progress' for Hillary because she did better among white voters there than she did in Virginia. ... Garin's overall implication here is that her success among white voters in North Carolina yesterday is 'progress' in the sense that it strengthens her case for electability. In other words, it's an explicit, and unabashed, linking of her claim of electability to her success among whites."

Open Left's Chris Bowers: "Awesome. Let's spin crippling losses as huge victories, and talk about the importance of voters in explicitly racial terms."


Huffington Post's Mike Barnacle: "Now, faced with a mathematical mountain climb that even Stephen Hawking could not ascend, the Clintons -- and it is indeed both of them -- are just about to paste a bumper sticker on the rear of the collapsing vehicle that carries her campaign. It reads: VOTE WHITE."

Aravosis: "Hillary is saying that her base is better than Obama's base. And we all know who Obama's base is: Blacks (and elitist latte sipping pansies from San Francisco who don't have testicular fortitude, but Hillary doesn't mean gays, she means other effeminate pansies from San Francisco). ... We learned months ago that when the Clintons start invoking race, it's intentional."

Though most liberal bloggers were critical of Garin's "progress" argument, Talk Left's Big Tent Democrat was more circumspect: "In the Left blogs today, it is considered a mortal sin to point out that Barack Obama has trouble connecting with white working class voters. ... African American voters have been a staple of the Democratic coalition. While no constituency should ever be taken for granted, there seems to me no doubt, all things being equal, that holding white Democrats is more of a problem than holding African American Democrats."

Josh Marshall seemed to have the most balanced take: "There's nothing wrong with studying these percentages in terms of demography. Nor is there anything wrong with Democratic strategists recognizing that their candidates need to win this or that percentage of white voters to win. But creeping in the shadows of these conversations about how Democrats can no longer manage to win the white vote and are only saved from political oblivion by running up big margins among African-Americans is a little disguised assumption that African-American votes are somehow second-rate. I don't think there's any getting around that."

And Ben Smith sees the timing of Garin's rhetoric as somewhat suspicious: "Now, the press has talked about the race in these terms constantly, so I won't feign shock. But it's a bit strange to hear it so bluntly from the candidate's mouth, and probably not a great way to endear herself to African-American voter. And it's also noteworthy that the blunt talk on appealing to whites surfaces the day after the last round of primaries in which there's a substantial number of black voters."

Finally, Jim Geraghty sees a double standard in all the talk over Dem demographics: "African-Americans are voting overwhelmingly for a candidate who shares their skin color, but it's being repeatedly suggested that white working-class voters are motivated by racism. Is this the 'national conversation on race' that Obama had in mind in his Philly speech?"

DEM FIELD III: Consolation Prizes

Many in the liberal blogosphere suspect that Clinton's refusal to concede is an attempt to secure a veep slot:

Beeton: "What the Clinton campaign is doing ... is to demonstrate how crucial Hillary Clinton's presence on the ticket is to Obama's victory in November. The longer she is able to continue in the race and the better she continues to do among white working class voters in states such as West Virginia and Kentucky, the more compelling the rationale for offering her the VP spot becomes."

Daily Kos's NMDan: "The only logic to the Clinton's action has to be a power grab for the VP position.... I know, I know many of you don't want to hear this but I think it is almost inevitable. The record numbers that the Democrats are turning out will not be ignored within political circles and amongst the Superdelegates. The Clintons and their advisors are smart enough to do the math and realize its over for 2008. The Clintons also realize they are a brand name, they have a huge organization, and they will wait 8 years to take the whitehouse. They are professional politicians."

Marc Ambinder: "At the highest levels of the Obama campaign, there is no appetite for any talk of a unity ticket so far. Still, big victories in West Virginia and Kentucky will help Clinton make the argument that she is indispensable."

Markos Moulitsas thinks the possibility of an Obama-Clinton ticket is a terrible idea: "This isn't a call based on bitterness or hate, but practical politics. The VP candidate needs to be a subservient figure, someone who won't outshine or overshadow the presidential candidate. Let's face it, Hillary is too strong a personality to play that role (not anymore), and the drama the Clinton family carries with them would be a distraction from Obama's core message. Seeing how Bill Clinton has comported himself this primary season, no one wants to see him around the rest of the year. He's been a disgrace. Furthermore, at a time that the GOP is fractured, demoralized and broke, few figures can bring in the dough than the Clintons. There's no reason to give Republicans a boost by putting Clinton on the ticket. ... She doesn't deliver geography ... she doesn't add 'experience' to the ticket, since she always overplayed her credentials on that front, she probably brings some credibility on health care, but little else. There's the 'unify the party' thing, but that's overplayed as well."

Huffington Post's Ian Welsh suggests that even if Clinton was offered the veep slot, it wouldn't be in her best interest to accept it: "[T]o be crass and point out the unpalatable truth, there isn't a lot in it for Hillary to back Obama in a more than pro-forma 'going through the motions' fashion. If he loses, she's the presumptive nominee in 4 years, after all. If he wins, she probably has to wait 8 years, and she's not getting any younger."

Welsh suggests other motives for Clinton staying in the race: "For Bill, probably a seat on the Supremes if the opportunity comes up (and it will, if Obama is elected.) For Hillary? Probably Senate Majority leader--it's not like Harry Reid really likes the job anyway."

Over on the conservative side of the blogosphere, The Corner's Lisa Schiffren also thinks a veep slot would not be in Clinton's best interests: "Hillary is older, more experienced in life if not leadership, and the putative nominee is pretty flimsy. Taking orders from him and living to serve -- or being frozen out of -- his agenda is not a place that Hillary should want to be. For one thing, it will undermine the vision of political strength she has offered the nation's girls and young women -- which is her genuine gift and legacy. ... Being the Veep candidate on a losing ticket is a one-way train to political oblivion. If he wins -- and maybe even if he loses -- he will run again in 2012. Challenging a sitting president of your own party is a fool's errand. Waiting till 2016 is another for a 60-year-old woman."

"Hillary has two real political choices: 1) return to the Senate and become a power center, and maybe even a voice for the working classes she has gotten to know. ... Or 2) If she is going to demand a serious job, she should demand a top-tier cabinet position where she has a major undertaking to call her own. (Not that I want her in charge of health care, the military or foreign policy.)"

Despite the damage done to Clinton in the primary, and the near impossibility of her getting the nod, The Stump's Noam Scheiber suggests that she's actually still "in it to win it": "My earlier understanding was that Hillary refused to quit because she believed Obama would lose to McCain. I didn't see things the same way, but there was a certain nobility to her stubbornness (even if the logic was self-serving). If DeFrank is right and I'm understanding him correctly, Hillary now thinks both she and Obama would win and just wants to claim the prize for herself. It's, uh, not exactly the most principled argument for denying the nomination to the guy who's basically won it."

Another consolation prize being bandied about the blogosphere is the possibility of Obama paying off Clinton's mounting campaign debt (which appears even greater now that her camp announced yesterday that the Clintons loaned themselves another $6.4M):

Andrew Sullivan: "The representative of working class white America is now using her own multi-million dollar fortune to ensure that the little people's voices are heard. It's a nice contrast with the elitist, commie egghead who has revolutionized campaign finance with 1.5 million small donors."

Marshall: "Helping to retire an opponent's campaign is not unprecedented and can sometimes be justified in the interests of party unity. (Remember, this isn't just money in the abstract. A lot of it is payment to people who provided services or goods of various sorts to the campaign and need to be paid or paid back.) But using more than $10 million raised in large part by small individual donations to pay back the Clintons who appear to be worth many tens of millions of dollars simply seems wrong."

MCCAIN: Judging His Credentials

The blogosphere was still buzzing over John McCain's promise to appoint conservative judges:

Powerline's Paul Mirengoff: "Senator McCain delivered an address on judicial philosophy at Wake Forest University today. It's very strong, very sound speech. ... Should McCain's speech satisfy conservatives? Not in and of itself; actions speak louder than words. However, McCain's actions over the years have mostly been consistent with these words. For example, he was a solid supporter of Roberts, Alito, and nearly all of the court of appeals nominees that Democrats attempted to block. His decision to join the Gang of 14 seems to have been a tactical one -- he thought it would maximize success in confirming worthy nominees. One can disagree with that judgment, as I do, without seeing it as inconsistent with a sound judicial philosophy. ... For my part, I don't expect that McCain will be perfect on these issues; indeed, even Reagan at times came up short. But I certainly agree that McCain understands most of the basics and that, in all likelihood, his approach to the judiciary will generally be sound."

The Corner's Kathryn Jean Lopez: "So I thought McCain was odd to bring up the Gang of 14 without showing a little humility -- at least an acknowledgement some of his 'friends' thought it was a bad call. ... Now, truth is, there is a lot to praise in the judicial speech today, and we do. But one speech isn't going to do it on the Right -- rally enthusiasm -- when there are constant reminders about instincts."

Glenn Greenwald: "According to John McCain, then, executive power in the U.S. now is exactly what it should be, perfectly in line with what the Founders envisioned -- except that it is too constrained by a judiciary which 'show[s] little regard for the authority of the president.' To McCain, the only real problem with our system of checks and balances is that the judiciary has too much power, and the President not enough. This was exactly the view of the world articulated by George Bush last November when he spoke to the Federalist Society. ... Virtually every abuse of the last eight years has its roots in the Bush/Cheney view of the President as Monarch, and John McCain clearly endorses its fundamentals."

The Plank's Josh Patashnik: "Largely an awkward attempt to pose as a socially conservative culture warrior, the speech contained a few legitimate points wrapped in many layers of tired cliches about so-called activist judges. More importantly, as Koppelman points out, McCain's argument was heavily backward-looking, criticizing outcomes in a number of cases over the past few decades."

Finally, Michelle Malkin is upset over McCain's decision to reach out to pro-immigration groups: "You'll recall that John McCain's sanctimonious reason for agreeing to speak to his friends at the radical, open-borders La Raza-The Race conference in July is that it is 'part of his commitment to talking with all Americans.' Well, let's test how committed he is to 'talking with all Americans' and 'reaching out' to all Latino voters. Why not reach out to the Hispanic group, 'You Don't Speak for Me?' These Hispanic Americans defiantly reject the radical open-borders agenda of La Raza-The Race. But look which group the GOP presidential candidate is pandering to this summer. And Republicans wonder why grass-roots conservatives see less and less of a difference between the parties."

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Chickens Coming Home To Roost?

Sullivan: "Here's what now seems obvious: African-American voters killed the Clinton candidacy. It is a fitting end to the Clintons' campaign and an almost Shakespearean coda to their career. The Clintons were exposed in their long-running exploitation and reliance on minority votes. No group was more loyal to them than African-Americans; and in the end, like everyone else, African-Americans realized that the Clintons are frauds, disloyal to the core, cynical to their finger-tips, and finally, finally, returned the favor. ... This will be history's verdict: in the end, the Clintons were defeated not by Republicans, but by African-American Democrats. How wonderful. How poignant. In the end, the karma gets you."

LEST WE FORGET: Twittering The Election

From The Onion: "After Sen. Barack Obama's comments last week about what he typically eats for dinner were criticized by Sen. Hillary Clinton as being offensive to both herself and the American voters, the number of acceptable phrases presidential candidates can now say are officially down to four. 'At the beginning of 2007 there were 38 things candidates could mention in public that wouldn't be considered damaging to their campaigns, but now they are mostly limited to 'Thank you all for coming,' and 'God bless America,'" ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos said on Sunday's episode of This Week. "There would still be five phrases available to the candidates if the Obama camp hadn't accused Clinton of saying 'Glad to be here' with a little tinge of sarcasm during a stump speech in North Carolina.' As of press time, the two additional phrases still considered appropriate for candidates are the often-quoted ;These pancakes are great,' and 'Death to the infidels.'

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This article appears in the May 8, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.

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