Catching Up On The Pres. Race

--Here's my take. Barack Obama was able to rack up a huge number of delegates, and become the presumptive nominee, by February 12th (the 'Chesapeake' or 'Potomac' primaries, a week after Super Tuesday), without ever really being properly vetted as a candidate at this level. That was because A) he came in remarkably un-vetted compared to most Presidential candidates; B) the GOP nomination race took up so much media attention that Obama didn't really get the typical level of national scrutiny; and C) by the time Obama emerged as the frontrunner, the tremendous front-loading of the primaries meant that the race was essentially over. Anyway, the upshot is that if I was a Democratic superdelegate, I would have found it appropriate to hold off on declaring my intent (and helping soildify the nomination), while Clinton and the national media put Obama under the hot lights and we saw whether something potentially disqualifying emerged. Well, three months later, all that's emerged is little, peripheral things. So now, or sometime over the next several weeks, it will be appropriate for me and my fellow superdelegates to declare, In other words, what I'm saying is that I think everybody pretty much behaved pretty appropriately, or at least justifiably, all around.

--If I was an Obama supporter, I would be pointing out that in the 13 primaries held since Super Tuesday, Clinton won five -- and only one by a margin greater than 10 percentage points (Rhode Island). Obama won eight, of which North Carolina, at 14 points, was the closest. (That's not even counting the caucuses, in which Obama routinely crushed her)

--While everybody's been debating how the Democratic Party's divisiveness may be hurting it, how about the GOP and John McCain? At the very moment Hillary Clinton appears to be winding down her candidacy -- presumably sending her supporters out searching for reasons to choose between Obama and McCain -- the Arizona Senator has been out publicly wooing the ultra-conservatives. The very day of the Indiana/North Carolina primaries, McCain gave a speech effectively promising to be a super-strict pro-life President; isn't that likely to alienate huge numbers of those potential cross-over Clinton voters?

--John's wife Cindy McCain gave an interview to NBC's Ann Curry, portions of which were shown this morning on the Today Show. See if you can spot her error in this statement she made about the cyclone tragedy: “I want to be there. And I want thousands of people to follow me. I'm appalled at the government of Myanmar doing what they're doing." Answer: the US government does not recognize the existence of "Myanmar," or the legitimacy of its military "government." All US officials -- and Laura Bush, and all the Presidential candidates -- have been very careful about referring to "Burma," and you can be certain that Cindy McCain has been told to do so. (Particularly because her husband frequently speaks about his contempt for that country's illigitmate military rule.) Now, I don't want to go over the top and claim that this should be treated as a huge campaign issue, but this is serious: the First Lady must be able to follow these kinds of State-Department directives, or she's going to create international tensions and problems.

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