Wednesday, April 16, 2008

quick thoughts about tonight's debate

When I say quick, I mean quick!

Okay, biggest winner from tonight's debate: ABC news. Gibson and Stephanopoulos actually asked real questions! They may have established their network as the MSM channel of choice for centrist voters in the upcoming elections. That's a good night of work for anybody!

Now, for the candidates. Obama won.

And if that seems counter-logical to what other conservative bloggers (Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, Jim Geraghty and just about all the team at the Corner from National Review), my observation has almost nothing to do with the overall performance of either candidate.

No, my observation has EVERYTHING to do with one specific aspect of the debate, captured beautifully by this headline on AOL:

Clinton says Obama can beat McCain

The assertion came early in the debate, probably before the 15-minute mark. True to form, Hillary tried as much as possible to avoid answering the direct question asked by Stephanopoulos.

But he didn't let her defer. See above about how well the ABC team performed in tonight's debate.

And when pressed, she finally conceded: yes, he can beat McCain.

In that one fell swoop, Clinton's strategy changed from getting the superdelegates on her side via any means available to. . .umm. . .well, I don't know what her new strategy is.

And I'm betting neither does she.

Because she lost her argument to the super-d's that Obama can't win in November. I don't know how successful that argument was anyhow, but it would have looked a whole lot better following a win in PA, don't you think?

But now she can't argue that anymore--that would even be too two-faced for her to try. And the super-d's have the cover they've been looking for.

Now maybe they'll change their minds on their own. They certainly have reason to, based on Obama's performance tonight. He really was bad. And maybe Clinton will get lucky and change a lot of minds in North Carolina and Indiana. Hey, stranger things have happened.

But Clinton likely isn't going to go to the convention with the lead in delegates. And she has no choice but to fight tooth and nail to get Florida seated according to the vote from the primary. . .but her likelihood of success is small. And she will, through that "divisive" action, provide more cover for the super-d's to stay with Obama.

So as poorly as tonight went tactically for Obama, he has to consider it a strategic success.

Let's hope that ABC keeps the gloves off for Obama when the Presidential debates roll around this fall.


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