What Barack Obama could learn from Jerry Maguire.
In late January, on the eve of the Florida primary, Bettina Inclán, the 32-year-old head of Hispanic outreach for the Republican National Committee (RNC), appeared on Fox News opposite progressive activist Simon Rosenberg to discuss the Latino vote. To say that the deck was stacked against Inclán in this fight would be an understatement. Over the past year, the major Republican candidates have gone out of their way to make anti-immigrant sentiment a centerpiece of their campaigns.
Amid the steady (if not exactly frenzied) march of superdelegates toward Obama these last few weeks, it's worth asking what accounts for his relative success here. My favorite theory, courtesy of the New Democratic Network's super-sharp president, Simon Rosenberg, has to do with the sheer amount of time between March 4 and Pennsylvania. One view of this interregnum held that it would be bad for Obama, since it gave the press nothing to do but scrutinize him and gave the Clinton campaign time to soften him up. In light of the Jeremiah Wright controversy, that wasn't completely wrong.
If you've bothered to pay any attention to the low-wattage drama of the race for chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), you probably know that Howard Dean is on the verge of winning it. But, during a three-month process in which many candidates and would-be candidates have stumbled briefly into the fray, nothing is more illustrative of how Democratic politics have changed than the fate of Leo Hindery. You've probably never heard of Hindery, but he is one of the party establishment's longtime moneymen.