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Last Tuesday ended the six-week lull in the presidential primaries, the Pennsylvania primary referred to as Super Tuesday III. It was the last of the big states with 158 primary delegates (and 29 super delegates) at stake. The results were no surprise to anyone; even Senator Barack Obama’s people stated that a close second was what they were expecting because of Senator Hillary Clinton’s double-digit lead weeks ago combined with her familiarity with the state. (Her father was from Scranton, PA). However, Obama is still ahead in the delegate count and has still won more states, but the battle for the nomination continues. There are nine more states, including Florida and Michigan—their delegate apportionment still to be decided—and Puerto Rico still to hold primaries. There appears to be no end in sight for the Democrats.
As projected throughout the campaigning in the Keystone State, Clinton won however, what was not projected was the narrow margin of her victory. She has stated, “A win is a win,” but that’s not so, when viewing the big picture—the entire campaign in general and Pennsylvania in particular. At the start of the campaign, approximately 15 months ago, “Clinton” was the name to have, a political winner and former first lady, who many felt was already the president-elect; it was hers for the taking. By February 5th, Super Tuesday, the race was expected to be over.
Enter Obama, the upstart, the junior senator, whose very name was difficult to pronounce and who many well-meaning pundits did not think would survive the first round in a field of about eight seasoned politicians and veteran campaigners. No sane prediction back then would have envisioned Obama would eventually be the one who would finally be ahead in the delegate count, the states won, the popular votes, in fundraising and an unmatched string of 11 continuous wins. It was unimaginable and unthinkable 15 months ago. And that is the real story of the Obama campaign.
The numbers do not favor Clinton and the Pennsylvania win may be a pyrrhic victory because it will not significantly change Obama’s relative delegate lead. In addition, Obama has recently received key endorsements from some of the former president’s stalwarts even though those endorsements do not in any way seem to reflect any animus towards the Clinton(s). They just want to end the in-fighting and party-bickering by latching on to the candidate whom they feel will make the better president. According to media reports, five former “Clintonites” and two former Senators have recently endorsed Obama—which speaks volumes.
Of more concern is the Republican’s presumptive nominee, Senator John McCain, who presently has the presidential highway all to himself and seems to be forging ahead, solidifying his base. Some polls indicate that he is ahead in the race for the White House when matched up against either one of the Democrats, whomever gets the party’s nomination. That is a far cry from a year ago.
The thought of four more years of the current administration’s policies is a daunting prospect to the majority of the country and the reality of that scenario increases daily and exponentially while the Democrats await the selection of a nominee. Since the President has openly endorsed the Republican presumptive nominee, who appeared to have endorsed the adminstration’s policies, observers have labeled a possibly McCain presidency as Bush’s third term.
Meanwhile the last debate clearly demonstrated the distraction that is prevalent in the Democratic camp. The major issue facing the country—the economy, Iraq and healthcare—were discussed seemingly as afterthoughts.