No Really, You Should Go
April 23, 2008

Last week, Senator Pat Leahy suggested that Hillary Clinton ought to quit the presidential race. How insensitive! How boorish! Pundits gasped, Clinton took umbrage, and even Barack Obama was forced to concede that Clinton has the right to run for as long as she desires. The persistent weakness of American liberalism is its fixation with rights and procedures at any cost to efficiency and common sense.

Small Towns, Big States
April 23, 2008

Matt Yglesias notes an expectations imbalance: Let me just note that simply because Hillary Clinton is hopelessly far behind in North Carolina doesn't mean that Indiana is the only May 6 primary that matters. Insofar as the remaining contests matter at all, they all matter. The Clinton campaign did a good job of making the contests Obama won between March 4 and Pennsylvania go down the memory hole, so that I heard TV people talking about Clinton having a streak (her actual streak as of today is one win!) but she doesn't get to arbitrarily decide which states matter.

Who Benefits From Pennsylvania's Closed Primary?
April 21, 2008

Just a quick thought about how the "closed" nature of tomorrow's primary might affect the outcome. The conventional wisdom is that it hurts Obama, since he tends to do better among independents and Republicans. But I think that could be wrong. My sense is that Hillary and Obama are basically running even among the independents and Republicans--call them I&Rs--who'd vote in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary if it were open. (I base that on Ohio, a demographically similar state with a basically open primary in which I&Rs split down the middle.

Is The Obama Campaign Too Obsessed With Delegates?
April 21, 2008

Isaac makes a good point in response to my item about Obama trying to fight to a delegate draw in Pennsylvania. I agree that there have been times in the campaign when team Obama has seemed a little too obsessed with delegates, and not concerned enough with symbolic victories. (One example: The time Obama spent just prior to March 4 traveling to Rhode Island, where he wanted to limit Hillary's delegate advantage, might have been better spent in Texas, where he actually had a chance of winning--and, therefore, ending the entire race.

The Below-the-radar Battle In Pennsylvania
April 21, 2008

The Pennsylvania preview in today's Times makes a great point:   In an atmosphere where both sides are hedging their expectations, Clinton aides have refused to say what margin of the popular vote she needs to win to stay in the race. The contest for delegates, who are awarded proportionally based on how well the candidates perform in each Congressional district, is likely to be close, but the pressure is on Mrs.

"bitter" Trickles Down
April 17, 2008

Via Jonathan Martin, a Republican House candidate in Pennsylvania is using Obama's bitter line in a primary mailing: And this is in the Republican primary, never mind running against a Democrat. There was the idea that this wouldn't have much lasting power because there was no good video.

Obama's None-too-bright Remarks
April 11, 2008

A predictable but basically understandable firestorm has begun over Barack Obama's comments on the "bitterness" of Pennsylvanians. Here is Obama's original statement, made at a fundraiser in California: You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

The Key For Obama In Pa
April 03, 2008

Mark Blumenthal scans the crosstabs from the latest Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania and notices they reinforce a point he made a few weeks back: How [Obama] ultimately fares among Pennsylvania's college-educated Democrats could well determine whether he loses Pennsylvania narrowly (as his campaign forecast in early February) or by a double-digit margin.

Pa Poll Has Obama Ahead
April 02, 2008

A New PPP poll shows Obama leading 45-43 in Pennsylvania. The poll is a clear outlier -- another poll today shows Hillary Clinton ahead 50-41. Still, the direction of the polling is clearly moving Obama's way. The Real Clear Politics average of polls has Clinton's lead falling from 16 points to six. Do I think Obama will win Pennsylvania? Probably not. Indeed, I can see a repeat of what happened in Texas and Ohio, where Clinton began with twenty plus point margins, Obama closed fast, raising hopes among his supporters that he'd win, only to fall short.

Obama Gets A Nod From Senator Who?
March 28, 2008

Mike Allen blogging over at Ben Smith describes freshman Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey's Obama endorsement today as a "big break for Obama" and something that will "help Obama with Roman Catholic voters," since Casey's a Roman Catholic. I'm not sure I agree. Has there been any senatorial endorsement in this race that's really affected a primary's outcome? Senators tend not to have the kind of local support networks and political machines that mayors or governors can deploy on behalf of their choice.