Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Badger blogging

By Michael J.W. Stickings

UPDATED FREQUENTLY.

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7:49 pm - The Politico's Mike Allen is reporting that exit polls in Wisconsin point to a potentially huge win for Obama. But we've all learned not to trust exit polls, right? (I hope you're all nodding along with me.)

8:35 pm -- More on the exit polls over at NRO: 60 to 40 for Obama? Yeah, that would qualify as huge. (But, well, see above.)

8:37 pm -- Ambinder on the exit polls: "A Less Affluent, Less Well-Educated, Economically Sensitive Electorate." In other words, it's the economy, stupid. (And health care.) Which means the state should go for Clinton... right? At least, that's the way it was looking before Obama's recent surge into the lead, back when the nomination looked like Clinton's to lose. Honestly, who would ever have thought that Clinton would lose Wisconsin, or even that the contest would be competitive? She hasn't lost it, I know, but it's prime Clinton terrority. If Obama can win here... well, that would say a lot, wouldn't it?

8:42 pm -- See this from the Obama campaign (quoted at The Plank). See my previous entry. The Obama spin: It's a state Clinton should have been able to win easily. In this case, the spin is the truth, and, to repeat myself, an Obama win here would mean a win in prime Clinton territory. (For more, see MyDD.)

9:01 pm -- CNN calls the Republican primary for McCain. No surprise there. Exit polls do have Obama in the lead, but CNN is not making a projection on the Democratic side.

9:06 pm -- Two others live-blogging Wisconsin: Jeralyn Merritt on the left and Ed Morrissey on the right.

9:22 pm -- CNN calls it for Obama! A huge celebration breaks out in my head.

9:31 pm -- CNN has the updated results here, by the way. Maybe I'll flip over to MSNBC for a change. No, as much as I dislike CNN, it's still preferable to the alternatives. And there are just so many hosts and pundits, and hence so much opportunity for comedy -- mostly unintentional, of course. Fox News is too predictable in its right-wing propagandizing and MSNBC is too much of a testosterone-fest for anyone's good.

10:32 pm -- What can I say about Obama's speech that I haven't already said on previous occasions? -- here, for example. It was, as always, simply awesome. In contrast, as has become the norm, Clinton didn't even mention the Wisconsin vote, let alone congratulate Obama, in her speech tonight. She didn't even thank the people of Wisconsin for coming out to vote, nor those who voted for her, nor those who campaigned for her, gave of their time for her, sacrificed for her. It's like she's pretending Wisconsin never happened, even though she campaigned there vigorously. She and her campaign have been smearing Obama, desperately trying to bring him down, and have been playing the dirtiest politics of the campaign so far, and yet all they have to show for it is another loss, and Clinton herself won't even talk about it. The contrast between both the candidates and the campaigns is pretty clear in this regard.

10:46 pm -- Obama spoke to 20,000 people in Houston. McCain may be a hero, as Obama himself acknowledges, but he looks puny next to Obama.

10:48 pm -- With 60 percent of precincts reporting it's Obama by 13 over Clinton, 56 to 43.

11:43 pm -- As expected, McCain won easily in Washington and Wisconsin. He even did extremely well among "Republicans" in Wisconsin. No, he isn't some independent usurper of the GOP throne. Conservatives may not all be behind him, but he does seem now to have the party, broadly speaking, behind him, and he is already running as the nominee, pretty much. His speech tonight was directed largely at... Obama. (Of course, Huckabee is still doing fairly well even though he isn't a conventional -- or, rather, establishmentarian -- Republican. McCain would have problems if a mainstream conservative (e.g., a Jeb Bush type) were in the race -- but, then, he wouldn't be in the position he's in if such a conservative were in the race. He is the presumptive nominee largely because the field has been so weak, from a mainstream conservative perspective.)

11:53 pm -- I can't believe I'm about to praise Paul Begala, but, well, here goes. He just referenced Isaiah Berlin. That alone is worth some praise, not least because he did so on CNN and among a group of pundits hardly known for its collective depth. But he also made a good point. According to Berlin, there are foxes and hedgehogs. Foxes know a lot of little things, hedgehogs know one big thing. This is a hedgehog election and Obama is a hedgehog. I would argue that he is also quite the fox -- no double entendre intended -- but the point is well-taken. Obama just gets it. He is the perfect zeitgeist candidate, the candidate who personifies our time, who embodies the sort of leadership that America so desperate needs and that Americans are so desperately craving. Again, though, he isn't all rhetoric, and his campaign isn't just about the concept of change. There is substance there, too -- a lot of it.

12:35 am -- Okay, that was Begala's one shining moment. Larry King just asked him what Clinton should do, and he said take from (and "quote") Edwards on middle-class economic issues. Right, because she's just that sort of populist. Sure, she can do that, but would she be at all credible? No. Larry then asked him if she should go after Obama hard, and he said yes, but only if it's "fair and factual" -- this just moments after he brought up, almost as a casual aside, the bogus (and slanderous) plagiarism accusation her campaign levelled at Obama over those Deval Patrick-inspired remarks. Thanks for getting back to your usual partisan hackery, Paul. You haven't changed a bit.

1:28 am -- Nothing yet from Hawaii, but, in Wisconsin, with 97 percent of precincts reporting, Obama is up by a whopping 17 points, 58 to 41. Yes, a huge win for Obama, outperforming the polls and eating into Clinton's core support areas. Next up: Ohio, where Obama still lags behind, and Texas, where he has drawn even, as well as Vermont and Rhode Island -- all on March 4, two weeks from... well, yesterday (it's long past midnight here in the east). Clearly, Obama has the momentum, but there is still a long way to go.

I'll have more on this later today, as will, no doubt, the co-bloggers. For now, though, I must bid you all a good night. Thanks for stopping by. Take care, everyone.

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