Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Now what? As Texas finishes the job of sweeping up the delegates from its bizarre "two-step" primary-caucus conundrum, Ohio has made it plain that Hillary Clinton will not go away. A race that was supposed to be wrapped up in early February is gearing up to be a knockdown drag-out clash of attack ads, legal disputes, and GOP gloating, maybe through to Denver. Yes, that was Rush Limbaugh chuckling in the background. I awoke today to news that the Clinton camp is floating trial balloons about she and Obama sharing the ticket in Fall. Call it a political Super Friends ticket, with Hillary in the red cape. But there's no doubt that Clinton will be serving red meat to her fans over the next few weeks, reminding the country that only she can answer that damned phone at 3 a.m.
So now the pundits begin their parsing: county-by-county, zip code by zip code, click-thru by click-thru: How did this happen and where do we go from here? We know that neither Obama nor Clinton can wrap this thing up numerically until the superdelegates weigh in. And we know that savvy reporters are pulling out their Michigan and Florida roadmaps. But no one can claim to know what's going to happen next.
Recalling my (all too brief) viewing of the aftermath last night (after returning from a class that ended at 8:45 and exiting my homebound bus at around 10 p.m.), I caught one pithy piece of analysis that, for me, managed to convey the utter strangeness of this race. I was watching MSNBC -- because the audio feed from CNN's "best political team on television" kept dropping out -- and Chris Matthews commented on the failures of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Super Duper Tsunami Tuesday to produce a clear winner. He said, "It's the only sport, the only competition . . . where you have the playoffs and then you have the regular season." Yep, we're playing in Bizarro World now. What a game...
Follow-up: Newsweek's Jonathan Alter offers Clinton supporters some bad news regarding math.