I’m baaaack… just in time for Kentucky and Oregon


Is it over yet?

Due to last week’s unplanned working vacation at the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center (as a juror, not a defendant), I haven’t had a chance to post to the Y-Decide blog for about 11 days. In that time, the endless loop that is the Democratic primary continued with little variation from the 20 or so weeks that preceded it.

Aside from little blips in Texas and Ohio and then again in Pennsylvania, the story has gone something like this:

Clinton and Obama split a couple of states’ primaries with little change in the overall difference in delegates or popular vote. Obama continues to lead in both categories as Clinton pushes the line that she’s a stronger candidate because she has won the bigger states and he has won the states that won’t vote Democratic in the fall. Despite that constant refrain, Obama picks up a couple of super delegates. Both candidates look forward to the next primary contests and establish their expectations for victory or blow-out losses.

In this case, Obama is poised to take crunchy, progressive Portland Oregon while Clinton is building up the importance of hardscrabble Kentucky (talk about a state that Democrats won’t win in November!)

When results play out as expected, Obama’s campaign will point out that he didn’t even campaign in Kentucky yet he still got xx% of the vote and Clinton will say that her victory in Kentucky proves that the country is crying out for experience, etc. On his victory in Oregon, Obama will point to its status as a swing state that the Democratic nominee needs to win in November. Actually, I take that back, since he already knows that he’s got the nomination wrapped up, he doesn’t have to play those games. His speech will focus once more on the man whose name hasn’t even been mentioned yet – Senator John McCain.

Obama had planned on celebrating his victory tonight but he apparently has backed off of that idea so as not to rub Clinton’s nose in it.

The new wrinkle to the Democratic nomination loop has been that ever since his huge victory in North Carolina, Obama has assumed the role of presumptive nominee and has turned his focus to McCain.

McCain, in my absence, has also started to train his guns on Obama.

He delivered a speech on climate change in an attempt to move himself back towards the center and muddy up the distinctions between himself and Obama while also separating himself from the current president.
The Gristmill is your place to go for reaction to that speech and McCain’s environmental policies. The American Prospect, meanwhile, has a story about “The Myth of Green McCain.”

Recently, the issue has been foreign policy where McCain’s years as a Senator from Arizona and other years in a cage in Vietnam apparently give him enough foreign policy experience to trump the fact that he can’t tell his Sunnis from his Shi’ites. That’s not to say that Barack Obama has a well of foreign policy experience to draw from. The point is that both candidates are about equal on the experience front, so they should probably be judged on the merits of their ideas for the future of America’s place in the world.

McCain has taken issue with Obama’s willingness to have a dialogue with world leaders who don’t like us or our allies. That one was about Iran. Continuing his world tour, McCain takes Obama to task over Cuba.

So we’re just about to pop the old loop out of the VCR and send Senator Clinton back to Washington DC with a newfound fighting spirit that will serve her well as a champion of progressive causes in the U.S. Senate.  Maybe she’ll take over as the next “liberal lion” when Ted Kennedy decides to pack it in.

The new loop – Obama v. McCain – is being cued up now.


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