It looks like the chickens came home to roost in the national Democratic Party. Right on top of Barack Obama's head.
Hillary Clinton, who was all but counted out of the Democratic race for the presidential nomination a month ago out-polled the self-anointed nominee by 10 percent in Pennsylvania's Democratic primary Tuesday and suddenly the tables have again turned.
Obama didn't wait around for the bad news. He flew off to Indiana where he gave a speech that I would have scored an easy 'A' if he had given it in one of my college classes. It was full of hope and fire, and never-give-up determination, delivered with an intensity that had the crowd all but forgetting what was going on slightly to the east.
But the reality of Tuesday night was that Hillary Clinton trounced him, and did so in many previously solid Obama demographics to boot.
There was an ocean of explanations on the news Wednesday morning, in addition to the spin from the Obama machine that "it don't mean nothing." Obama vows to recapture his momentum in North Carolina and Indiana, but that means a lot more work than he had originally thought, and a lot more money.
Obama outspent the Clinton campaign in Pennsylvania by a gazillion dollars to one, but despite his claims early in the day Tuesday, all that money did not turn the primary around. In fact there was a fair amount of evidence that some of the over spending actually hurt him.
He should have asked his advisers to take a look at the unsuccessful campaign waged against Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman when the enormously wealthy Democrat Ned Lamont spent millions of his own and other people's money in a failed attempt to oust him. Lamont kept pouring more and more into the campaign, but the gap was as wide as the Mississippi on election day.
Money helps a campaign, there is no doubt about it, in terms of getting your message out to the voters. But it also shows you can't buy all the votes. When people have made up their minds, and a candidate has done more to alienate the voters than attract them, money stops being the deciding factor.
Obama lost not because of money, and not because of race, although that's what the national Democrats want us to believe. He lost because instead of showing himself to be a collected, competent leader who happens to be black, he is instead a black man who never endured the abuses of the pre-civil rights era, but is all too willing to join in on blasting modern day white Americans for events that occurred a century before most of us were born.
Rather than being a 'post-racial' product of the United States upper middle class, Obama has shown himself to be a puppet of the race-baiting, white-guilt proponents who believe that true leadership is keeping most of their race dependent on the welfare system, caught in an endless cycle of hatred, self-loathing and economic dependence on the government.
Barack Obama could have, and should have, shown that while he is aware of past abuses, he is looking forward to a better America where equality is a real concept not just a word that politicians throw around to feel good about themselves.
But when his past associations - and yes they do matter - came back to haunt him, Obama could not let go.
Many people have a hard time with misplaced loyalty. It is difficult to walk away from what you once believed. But Obama didn't have to walk away. He could have acknowledged his past, and made the point that he has moved on, instead of trying to justify it.
His further lapses, questioning gun ownership, religion, and not jumping all over Pastor Jeremiah White's obnoxious comments about Italians, just added fuel to the fire.
I'm not sure how he thinks people in Indiana are less prone to take umbrage at his stances than people in Pennsylvania, but it will be interesting to hear. But regardless of what position or tactic he employs there is one itsy-bitsy but ever so important political concept that he should remember.
Politics is numbers, from beginning to end. You need more than the other guy and you try to build coalitions that add up to more than what your opponent can accumulate.
In the world of presidential politics, African-Americans account for one-eighth of the population, and in the general election, no more than than portion of the total vote. There are other voting blocs, and they can all help or hinder the final outcome.
But in the United States of America today, seven-eights of the electorate is NOT African-American. And in one form or another Barack Obama has managed to insult or disparage a big chunk of that non-African-American voting bloc. You can't get elected president of the United States if seven-eighths of the voters are not on your side.
Someone in his campaign should have told that to Barack Obama before he let a firebrand minister and ill-conceived prejudices do his talking for him.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008