Monday, February 11, 2008

Update: First Murmurs of Superdelegate Defections

Andrew Sullivan refers to his Daily Dish as a "parasite blog,", a blog which exists mainly to point at other people's material and say, "Looky look look!"

Since of late I've been getting a lot of material for this blog from Sullivan's blog, what does that make LYAN? Is there, as Ogden Nash opined, a smaller flea that bites larger fleas, and a smaller, and so ad infinitum?

Anyway, thanks to Sullivan for reading the New York Times so the rest of us don't have to. In tomorrow's edition you will find this article discussing the probability that Hillary Clinton is sunk unless she wins both Texas and Ohio, and both by a landslide.

NOTE: The NYT endorsed Clinton over Obama. It's spoken fairly benignly of Clinton for most of the campaign, giving her benefit of the doubt. The fact that it is this paper, of all of them, that comes forward with report of the wheels wobbling on her wagon (not come off yet, but...), is a sign of just how serious things are.

Here are the money quotes:

“She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she’s out,” said one superdelegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. “The campaign is starting to come to terms with that.” Campaign advisers, also speaking privately in order to speak plainly, confirmed this view.

Several Clinton superdelegates, whose votes could help decide the nomination, said Monday that they were wavering in the face of Mr. Obama’s momentum after victories in Washington State, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine last weekend.

Some said that they, like the hundreds of uncommitted superdelegates still at stake, might ultimately “go with the flow,” in the words of one, and support the candidate who appears to show the most strength in the primaries to come.

. . .

With primaries on Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, Clinton advisers were pessimistic about her chances, though some held out hope for a surprise performance in Virginia.

And as polls show Mr. Obama gaining strength in Wisconsin and his native state, Hawaii, which vote next Tuesday, advisers, donors and superdelegates said they were resigned to a possible Obama sweep of the rest of February’s contests.

Some donors also expressed concern about a widening money imbalance between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton: Obama fund-raisers say he is taking in roughly $1 million a day, while Clinton fund-raisers say she is taking in about half of that, mostly online. Mrs. Clinton’s aides say that the campaign was virtually broke as of the Feb. 5 primaries, but that finances have stabilized.

So: serious financial problems. Only a half-effort in Wisconsin, the one state prior to March 4 that Clinton had any serious hopes of winning... which means Obama could be riding a ten state winning streak going into Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. Clinton internal polls show them losing ground, apparently.

And worst of all for Clinton, her superdelegates' loyalty is crumbling. Granted, the anonymous sources are likely anonymous to avoid appearing weak to their voters... but is there perhaps some fear of retaliation, too? Are Hillary's superdelegates neither idealistic supporters nor opportunistic influence-seekers, but merely weak individuals dependent on the Clinton machine who fear retaliation should they leave the Hillary camp?

Whatever the truth, they're not happy campers... nor should they be, all things considered.

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