Barack Obama gave a speech last night which is typical of Obama and the twisted view of reality he likes to put forward. The essence of his speech is that he is now less than 100 delegates shy of the 2026 he needs for the nomination and therefore the nomination was now "in reach".
People like to refer to certain aspects of the nominating process as "a horse race". I don't know how many races Senator Obama has seen but every day at tracks all across the country, there are horses leading in the stretch, the finish line within reach, and they lose. Sometimes convincingly by open lengths, sometimes closer. But they lose. And they lose because they weren't the best horse. It happens every day. Sometimes the race is close because the best horse is given a handicap and carries a lot more weight than the other horse -- enough to slow it down but not enough to stop it.
Clinton has had to fight through a number of handicaps in this race. She has had to carry more weight, placed on her back by the news media, Obama's bullying tactics and party elders who seem more worried about damaging the "brand", and blowing their chances in the fall than who is the best candidate. And when Obama's lead was growing they were more worried about exposing the cracks in the Obama kewpie doll, than whether those cracks were so damaging they made him unelectable in November. The result is that every time Obama has attacked Clinton and she has hit back, she was criticized from all sides.
The news media who has been in the tank for Obama in probably the most dishonest and biased coverage of an electoral process in history, accuses her of low tactics if she defends herself. Party elders who, if nothing else, have shown since 1996 they haven't a clue how to win a Presidential election, admonish her not to do anything that would damage the Democrats chances in the fall. Howard Dean, more afraid of not losing than making sure the Democrats win by sending out the most electable and qualified candidate, keeps talking about putting an end to race before its over. And Obama seeing that Clinton has one hand tied behind her back, has taken full advantage, taking his swings when he can, then playing victim if Clinton hits back.
This is a race where Clinton is running with 150 lbs on her back and Obama 110. And even with all that she is now in position to win.
With yesterday's primaries Hillary Clinton leads in the popular vote by 179,704 votes with 12% of the precincts yet to report in Oregon. It also includes the Florida and Michigan vote totals where I allocated 149,010 votes to Barack Obama for his share of the "uncommitted" line in Michigan.
As anyone familiar with what really went on in Michigan knows, Obama arranged with the state Democratic committee to have his name represented by a line that read "Uncommitted" and every voter in Michigan knew it. John Edwards agreed to be part of the "uncommitted" line so the only issue was apportioning the 40.7% of the uncommitted vote. I gave Edwards the 14% of the vote average he had gotten everywhere else and Obama a little over 25%. When Florida and Michigan are factored in, Clinton has the popular vote lead. With regards to delegates, Obama's lead is now by 94 delegates and that will get smaller after Puerto Rico where 55 delegates up for grabs. Clinton is expected to do even better in Puerto Rico than she did in Kentucky.
Clinton is virtually assured that she will end the primary season with the popular vote lead. And the only clear and reliable indicator of the true will of the people is the popular vote, not the delegate count given the Democrats bizarre way of apportioning delegates.
Obama will have won close to 630 delegates in states where he was landslided by Clinton. These are delegates he would never have if the Democrats used the system that is used by the Republicans and in the general election. In that system Clinton would have close to a 500 delegate lead and would have wrapped up the nomination long ago.
Nancy Pelosi in her ill advised remarks about what super delegates should do, essentially said they have to ratify the will of the people, not use their own judgement. She was talking about the delegate count, aptly displaying how she led the Democratic congress to a lower job approval rating than George Bush. But the true and only measure of the will of the people is the popular vote.
Super delegates need to be pressured to take note of this. They respond to both political pressure and to undeniable facts. They need to know that their job is now is to deliver their vote based on the will of the people and the undeniable facts, not a set of false expectations created by the Obama campaign and the news media.
Obama's speech last night about the nomination being within reach while Clinton dismantled him by 35 pts in Kentucky might have been especially fitting. In the 1957 Kentucky Derby, Bill Shoemaker misjudged the finish line aboard the favorite Gallant Man and stood up in the saddle too soon thinking the race was over. Iron Leige closing like a freight train caught him, passed him and won the 1957 Kentucky Derby.
Last night we may have seen Barack Obama stand up in the saddle too soon.