by Jeff Siegel
How difficult is it to be a political pundit? Not very, if even National Football League coaches can do it.
Consider this, from a piece on the Sports Illustrated website discussing the league's new coaches:
To me, the whole run on these head coaches this year is a little like Barack Obama's candidacy. The experience factor may be light, but these guys who don't even have any coordinating experience, they're squeaky clean. They don't have any negatives that you can attack. The interesting thing is that their lack of a track record is actually seen as a positive.
I can't help but think that if a guy is that clean, he sells better. If you have no blemishes, you can mold them and spin them to your fans and the media any way you want. Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War because she was in the Senate at the time, and if she hadn't, she probably would have been labeled a traitor. But it's still being held against her, while Obama didn't have to cast a vote, so he can say he was against the war from the very start.
Which brings us to this week's Democratic primary results, and the pundits' spin. Wrote The New York Times: "The outcome provided [Obama] his first chance to assert that the Democratic race, which had seemed to be heading into a protracted standoff, is beginning to break in his direction." Added The Washington Post: "Obama extends his post-Super Tuesday winning streak and forces Clinton onto the defensive as the Democratic presidential race moves toward a showdown in Ohio and Texas on March 4."
Neither of which stands up to the analysis of the anonymous coach.
The Democratic presidential race is not over, despite what most in the media have declared since the Iowa caucuses. Mrs. Clinton has been repeatedly counted out since Iowa, yet may still have the most delegates (depending on who is doing the counting). Yes, she fired her campaign manager and another top aide quit, but if she wins Texas and Ohio on March 4, none of that will matter. And if she wins Texas and most of its 228 delegates, no one here will be surprised. She is popular, her husband is popular, and the Hispanic vote is huge here. And even the Beltway pundits are willing to concede that Sen. Obama (D-IL) and Hispanic voters don't seem to much like each other. If Sen. Clinton (D-NY) wins Texas, splits Ohio and she already has New York and California in her pocket, how does Obama get the nomination?
That's one reason why I still think Mrs. Clinton, despite her well-documented flaws, will be the Democratic candidate. The other? Because the football coach is right. Obama's clean record isn't of his doing. It's because he hasn't been around long enough to muddy it up. And Democratic Party voters will, in the end, prefer the devil they know.
That's yet another example of why the Democratic Party is no longer relevant. Another? That anyone could think that Obama's empty record signifies anything other than his inexperience. Maybe we can get that coach to write a piece for us here.
For more background on the 2008 campaign, please see these archival posts:
- "New Hampshire: Barack Obama's Latest Hope;"
- "The Hillary Clinton Potomac Primary Climate Check"
- "John Edwards Says Goodbye to the Campaign Trail, For Now;"
- "Campaign 2008: Claiming the Questionable Past to Remake the Future;"
- "John McCain and the Republican Right;" and
- "Mike Huckabee, Texas Ranger."
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