April 16, 2008 Leave a comment
Well, I've been a shamefully poor blogger of late. My apologies. My heart wasn't in it for a bit, then my heart was but I just didn't have any time. And now– both!! Anyway, it seems to me that it is only appropriate that I get back into the swing of things by weighing in on Bittergate. I'm going to assume you know what I'm talking about. So, of all the random commentary on the matter, what I found the most interesting.
1) Ezra Klein makes a good case that this will not have legs because a) there's not a drip-drip-drip of information, b) the comments are not on their face that damaging, and c) there's no video. I think a) is quite important but I also think it is easy to underestimate the importance of c). Without pictures there was no Abu Ghraib scandal. Without a video of Jeremiah Wright's speech it would not have had near the newsworthiness. Obama is definitely lucky in this regard.
2) TNR's John Judis says, “Yes, it really is that bad” because it so plays into larger narratives of Democrats as elitists. He's got a nice analysis of the difficulty of Democrats in appealing to White, working-class voters. I think he's got a real point here, but he may be overselling just how damaging Obama's comments are.
3) I, of course understand that Hillary will really go to town on this, that's politics. But the chugging beers and talking about learning to shoot, so she can be Ms. regular gal. Give me a break. She just embarasses herself. Especially when she then refuses to answer when she last fired a gun or went to church. My Man EJ on the matter:
At one level, who can blame Hillary Clinton
for going after Obama's mistake? Her campaign looked set to collapse,
if not in Pennsylvania then shortly thereafter. Of course she
capitalized on his error by accusing him of being elitist.
But something doesn't parse when a Wellesley and Yale Law School
graduate whose family made $109 million since 2001 relentlessly assails
a former community organizer on the grounds that he is an elitist.
(McCain enthusiastically dittoed the charge Monday.) It's also
disappointing that Clinton, whose husband bravely battled the National Rifle Association over a ban on assault weapons, now presents herself as a Second Amendment hero.
4) So long as Obama stays within 10 in PA next week, I think this “scandal” is effectively done. Oh, it will live on in the general, as will Jeremiah Wright, but it will assume the modest proportions it deserves. A number of recent PA polls have come out suggesting that bittergate has not really damaged Obama in PA. Additionally, Obama maintains a strong national lead over Hillary in tracking polls. From what I saw on TV today, the media seemed ready to put the story to bed, based on the fact that it had not significantly changed the dynamic among voters. Of course, only time will tell.