Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beware the Kingmaker

Barack Obama no doubt benefits from the endorsement of Ted Kennedy, but I wonder about the plan to tour around together, sit next to each other, etc. Maybe two cases of hubris feeding off of each other. The obvious opening for the Clintons: say that Obama is the candidate of the old liberal left, and that Clinton will not only do better in the general election, but also will govern from the center. This is exactly the primary strategy of Bill Clinton in 1992, by the way. Obama would be well-advised to stay his own man and not get too closely identified with the old lion, who is clearly out for his last hurrah.
I was interested by the endorsement of Obama by Kathleen Sibelius, governor of Kansas and also of dynastic political roots. She's very talented and gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union address the other night. (I e-mailed the Kerry campaign about her in '04, never got a response.) A woman on the ticket might not be such a bad idea if Obama beats Hillary in the primaries...and now Googling around a little after writing the preceding, I discover that James Carville has made the same suggestion.
Meanwhile, today we see the media criticizing Clinton for holding a victory rally in Florida (the Washington Post story by Dana Milbank is a good example). It's all a sham, the argument goes, because there were no delegates at stake. It's true that had the candidates campaigned in the state, the results might have been different. But over 800,000 voters went in to the polls and voted for Clinton. Wouldn't it be disloyal on the part of the Clinton campaign to fail to acknowledge the participation of over 800,000 supporters? And shouldn't the Obama campaign have staged something similar by way of thanking the 500,000+ people who voted for Obama in Florida yesterday? The punditocracy is decidedly missing a populist touch on this one.

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