Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Win for Obama

(Picture credit Tim Johnson/Reuters)

Barack Obama has won the Wisconsin primary with a 57% to 42% margin over Clinton, with over 3/4 of precincts reporting.

He beat Clinton among white male voters, split women voters in a near-tie, won among Independents, and gained among white, working-class voters, according to MSNBC. He also led on electability (63% to 37% for Hillary).

According to the New York Times,

"Almost two-thirds said Mr. Obama would be more likely to unite the country and about 55 percent considered him more likely to improve foreign relations."

Although the Clintons can never be counted out, and there are some big states yet to vote, the momentum is continuing to propel Obama forward. The Associated Press characterized the win in a way that does not bode well for Hillary Clinton's chances:

"Barack Obama cruised past a fading Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Wisconsin primary Tuesday night, gaining the upper hand in a Democratic presidential race for the ages. It was Obama's ninth straight victory over the past three weeks, and left the former first lady in desperate need of a comeback in a race she long commanded as front-runner."

The win came after controversy generated by the Clinton campaign regarding his using certain phrases that had previously been used by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. The two men are friends and Obama had credited him with one of the phrases in a previous speech. According to the CNN Political Ticker, the whole thing was old news:

"A Boston Globe article in the spring of 2007 titled 'Patrick, Obama campaigns share language of "hope"' noted many similarities between their stump speeches, and said that the two men shared a 'symbiotic friendship.'"

Another controversy arose when Michelle Obama was quoted as having said that for the first time in her adult life, she was proud of her country.

The statement was taken somewhat out of context, as Ms. Obama added, "Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change." She went on to say:

"'I have seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues and it has made me proud,' she told supporters."

The statement immediately generated all kinds of commentary in the media, and no doubt will be used against Obama by his opponents. But when you take into consideration the fact that Michelle Obama, at 44, has had an adult life that really only began in the middle of Reagan's presidency, she may have a point there.

Let's see...we've had policies that made the rich richer and the poor, poorer. We've had a president who was impeached for having sex in the Oval Office and lying about it. We've had a president who invaded another country without provocation, killing perhaps as many as a million of its citizens, including women and children, with no end in sight. We've seen our country's image tarnished throughout the world as a result. We've seen political partisanship poison our government to the point that nothing can be accomplished.

I'm not saying that there aren't plenty of reasons to be proud of our country despite all this. But I am saying that Michelle could have her reasons for feeling more positive toward this country than ever before.

Obviously neither controversy bothered the voters in Wisconsin, since Obama's margin of victory was decisive.


Larry said...

How many have been proud of what this country has become these past 7 years?

Randal Graves said...

Boy, it's a good thing I'm not running for office, because I haven't been proud of my country for a long-ass time either.

Mauigirl said...

I know - when I heard she said this, I knew exactly what she meant. I'm glad the voters understood as well.

Satan said...

Just you wait. The Clinton camp will come up with much more damning stuff against Obama sooner or later.

And if not them, the Republican dirtdigging machine.

It's not over.

-- Satan

Mauigirl said...

Satan, I'm sure you are quite right. DistributorCap already posted a link on Christopher's "From the Left" blog showing some of the nasty stuff the right-wingers are posting about Obama. (Now they're trying to say his most important mentor growing up was a communist - shades of Joe McCarthy).

The thing about Obama is, I think he's got the "cool" to repel accusations without being nasty or defensive the way the Clintons can be. After all, he deflected any controversy about youthful drug use by basically saying "Yeah, I did. I don't do it now, it's irrelevant." Instead of the parsing of the truth that Bill Clinton did ("I didn't inhale" "I never had sexual relations with that woman..." "It depends on what the definition of "is" is").

I know I shouldn't be judging Hillary by Bill's words, but let's face it, they're in the same camp when it comes to this stuff.

We'll see what the Right comes up with to attack Obama. But I can't imagine they would have any more ammunition against him than they would Hillary. She certainly is not without her own very attackable baggage.

And the electorate is in no mood for attacks and negativity. They want a change from all that. I think some of the attacks that either Clinton or the Republicans may try to make against Obama will backfire against them.

Anonymous said...

The result in Wisconsin is very encouraging. I don't want to get too complacent, but this was supposed to be the state that Hillary HAD to win if she was gonna have any chance at all, for the reasons you stated. If she lost in a mostly white state with lots of blue-collar workers, I think she's toast (I hope so anyway).

Diane M. Roth said...

I overheard two "senior" women in church early this morning saying that they weren't so sure about Obama, but they'd be interested in seeing his wife in the white house! What about THAT?

I don't know if satan is exactly right, but I do think you're going to see the "honeymoon" for Obama end really soon. If they can't find "dirt," they'll find something to ridicule. It might not be pretty.

Diane M. Roth said...

and tonight at church the woman sitting next to me said Obama was "neat, but he should have waited. He doesn't have enough experience." She hears him saying he's going to fix everything that is wrong with the country in the next year, which makes her roll her eyes.

Dr. Zaius said...


Chris Dashiell said...

I don't know how long Michelle Obama's adult life has been, but in the last forty years we've seen Nixon, Reagan, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran-contra, and a whole bunch of other crap. So although I know the noise machine will pounce, the fact is--she was probably just being *honest.* (Perish the thought!)

Mauigirl said...

Tom, you're right, Wisconsin is very encouraging indeed - let's hope this continues in the other states.

Diane, I agree, "the gloves will come off" soon, as they say. And I too had doubts about Obama's lack of experience at first. But when you really think about it, Hillary hasn't got much more experience than he does as an elected official. Being the wife of a president, to me, does not count.

Dr. Z, great cartoon, thanks!

Dashiell, I agree - you thought of some more great examples of reasons not to be proud.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

You and I are going to have to agree to disagree, which is fine with me.:) If it's any comfort, I haven't decided who scares me more: "Mr. I invented hope" or "Mz. I know Washington so well it hates me."

Mauigirl said...

Future, I know what you're saying - the problem is, the one that scares me the most is "Mr. 100 Years of War" McCain.

I do feel that Obama probably should have had more experience before running.

On the other hand, we've had candidates with experience - Al Gore, John Kerry, for instance - who weren't able to manage to win elections. So who knows, it's all a crapshoot, in the end...so I'm wagering on hope. It may be an illusion but as Joni Mitchell wrote,

"I've looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose, and still somehow, it's life's illusions I recall..."