Sunday, February 10, 2008

Obama's Super Saturday

By Michael J.W. Stickings

What a day for Obama, culminating with yet another awesome speech, both inspirational and presidential. If you're scoring at home -- and who isn't? -- here's the list of (upcoming) primaries and caucuses we examined yesterday:

-- Louisiana (2/9): CHECK
-- Nebraska (2/9): CHECK
-- Washington (2/9): CHECK
-- Virgin Islands (2/9): CHECK
-- Maine (2/10)
-- D.C. (2/12)
-- Maryland (2/12)
-- Virginia (2/12)

Yes, it was a sweep for Obama on Saturday. He won Washington and Nebraska by greater than 2:1 margins over Clinton, and he won Louisiana by more than 20 points. And he won the Virgin Islands. It wasn't just a sweep, it was a decisive sweep, with Obama once again, as on Super Tuesday, proving how strong he is all over the country: the Pacific Northwest, the South, the Heartland. Maine will be a challenge for him, but he could very well win the four next votes, as well as Wisconsin and Hawaii (2/19). He should also win Mississippi and Wyoming (3/11). Vermont and Rhode Island (3/4) could go for Clinton, depending on what happens between now and then, but Ohio and Texas (3/4) will be tough battles for Obama. Still, with wins today and, hopefully, wins tomorrow and next Tuesday, he would put himself in a position to win on 2/19 and to perform well on 3/4, and then to take his momentum into Pennsylvania (4/22).

I am being optimistic, yes, but, as Obama put it so eloquently in his speech last night, there's nothing wrong with a little hope.


Speaking of his speech, it was brilliant. He presented himself as the frontrunner, as the presumptive nominee, as the leader of a genuinely historic movement, and he did so with admirable magnanimity; he responded to his critics, including those who claim he lacks experience and is too much of an idealist; he stressed his friendship with Clinton and the unity of the Democratic Party; he reached out to Democrats ahead of future votes; he outlined his policy positions on key issues like health care, taxes, and Iraq; he noted that he is the better option against McCain, the more likely to win key battleground states in November; and, simply, he inspired in a way few politicians ever do these days. It was a multi-purpose speech in the middle of a tight campaign, and at times like a general election speech, with the nomination already won, but it was so much more. Indeed, I would say it was at times like a State of the Union address, a visionary one from a great president who knows how to lead and is prepared to do so. It was, at times, genuinely tingle-inducing.

As much as anything else, it is Obama's capacity for greatness that brought me over to his side, and, in last night's speech, that capacity was plainly evident.

I have no doubt -- and I have doubted him in the past -- that he is ready to be president and to guide America through the many challenges that lie ahead.


On the Republican side, while the race may still be McCain's to lose, it was a pretty good day for Huckabee, who won Kansas and Lousiana, the former decisively. Huckabee is close in Washington, although McCain should pull it out. (The process is a complicated one in Louisiana. As no candidate won a majority of the vote, the vote will not count in terms of the allocation of delegates. Rather, delegates will be allocated through an ongoing convention process.)

If nothing else, Saturday's GOP results reinforce the notion -- an accurate one -- that McCain, presumptive nominee or not, is widely unpopular in his own party.

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  • Michael,

    It was an impressive but not unexpected win in those states. The only real surprise was Washington and that was how big a margin he won by in a state that has a substantial youth vote.

    But take a look at the Republican vote, particularly Nebraska and Louisiana.

    Obama will have problems winning those in the general, and let's face facts, he practically has to win Louisiana in November.

    By Blogger Carl, at 9:37 AM  

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