Even before the scope of Barack Obama’s loss became apparent in last night’s Pennsylvania primary, the New York Times editorial board published a screed attacking Hillary Clinton for remaining in the race. Called “The Low Road to Victory”, it demands an end to her campaign even while she handily wins major states. Actually, it’s not that they want her to quit, but that they want her to stop competing against Obama so hard — apparently conceding that Obama can’t win in a tough race:
The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.
Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.
Voters are getting tired of it? Not by any spin of the evidence. The turnout in Pennsylvania apparently tripled the previous presidential primaries, although usually Pennsylvania doesn’t factor into the selection process like it does this year. Not only that, but in case the New York Times missed it, Hillary won. Voters in the Keystone state can’t have been all that tired of Hillary’s campaign style.
If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race.
She won by ten points, which the Times may have known had they not written this before the results were known. She had a +6 in delegates based on the popular vote, but she’ll win most of the 60 delegates based on districts, thanks to her almost-shutout throughout all of PA except Philly. Moreover, the big margin and Obama’s inability to win undecideds should change the calculus of the race.
It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.
Obama outspent her 3-1, and he had narrowed that gap considerably prior to her going “negative”, which is to say that she ran comparative ads criticizing his lack of experience and his claims to have not taken a dime of lobbyist money. After that, the Crackerquiddick comments, and his terrible debate performance, she reversed Obama’s momentum and won handily.
What was that about “self-interest” again?
Let’s skip to the end:
It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind with they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box.
Do New Yok Times editors ever do research? Superdelegates can’t do anything now to end the race because they weren’t created to end a tie. They exist to overrule the popular vote when disaster looms, and to that end, they can change their minds at any time before or even during the convention. Even if every superdelegate were to stand up now and declare themselves for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton has four months to change their minds, according to the DNC rules.
And just how would it look to Democrats in upcoming states to see Hillary shoved aside after winning Ohio and Pennsylvania by 10 points each? It would look like Obama couldn’t beat her in a tough but fair contest, and he had to be rescued by the party establishment. That, combined with his apparent refusal to meet Hillary in another debate, makes it look like Obama is a cream puff. Do Democrats really want to throw such a delicate and fragile candidate onto the top of their ticket for a general election?
Apparently the Times does. Bookmark this page when it comes time to campaigning against John McCain to see if they hold Democrats — or themselves — to the same standard as Hillary Clinton.