Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Since the beginning of this blog I have caught a lot of crap from people who wonder if I sit around all day and night and watch politics all day. While there is a certain extent this is true, 17people knows the importance of and excercise. Hence on all election nights, I plan a cardio workout at my gym and am lucky that my CNN is on one of the TV's there.
So last evening I was expecting the Wisconsin results would take some time to come in and that the speeches would come later in the evening. So when I got on the treadmill around 7:55CDT thought I would get a lot of analysis from Wolf Blitzer, Bill Schneider, and hopefully the beautiful and brilliant Suzanne Malveaux. Was also happy to see one of my favorite analysts Paul Begala finally back on the air.
I was wrong and the result was a cardio workout that seemed like it would never end.
As if he listened to the pundits John McCain raced to the stage as soon as he was projected the winner. In so doing he did not have to follow Barack Obama. McCain gave a speech that was clearly looking ahead to November. He hammered at the experience and rhetoric of the Obama and drew the only real line in the sand that he has and that is experience on National Security. Guess he failed to realize that tactic has not worked so well for Hillary Clinton.
Overall this was a pretty rough speech for McCain. It was eerily similar to the underwhelming New Hampshire victory speech. He seemed uncomfortable and off rhythm the whole speech never really getting into any flow.
Soon after McCains speech, Hillary took to the stage. If McCain was underwhelming, then Hillary was delusional. She never once thanked the people of Wisconsin who voted for her. She got blown out, but over 450,000 people voted for her. To put this number in perspective that was more than 50,000 votes more than all the Republican votes cast in the entire primary! This is another strong sign of voter and base energy for Democrats in an important state looking forward to November.
Hillary's arrogance and lack of understanding has once again caught up with her. How could she not thank the people of Wisconsin? Why would she not congratulate Obama? The Clinton campaign has lost its focus and message and the timing could not be worse.
While I think she should stay in the race until Texas and Wisconsin, think Hillary needs to decide how she will exit this campaign without damaging her reputation in the party. The TV pundits may say ‘it’s not over’, but guess what folks, ‘it’s over’. This is the time for the Clintons to show some class and go very positive, like the week before Super Tuesday. It won’t be enough to win, but it could be enough to save some standing in the party. If she goes negative on Obama, there will be many more Democrats who will want her to go away for the fall election completely.
Right in the middle of Hillary's lifeless speech CNN showed Obama walking to the stage. For the second time in the campaign Obama took to the podium cutting off a rival. The other time was to John McCain. Now remember, I am on a treadmill at this time and I look down and it says 32:23 when Obama starts talking. I had planned around a 60minute circuit, but Barack Obama had my health in mind when he spoke this evening.
In what has to be labeled a Bill Clinton-esque speech Obama talked and talked and talked while I ran and ran and ran. 45minutes later Obama wrapped up and I had run over 7.25 miles and burned over 1000 calories in the nearly 80 minutes on the treadmill.
The Obama speech, unlike many of his others spoke to me directly. Hence why I call it Clinton-esque. While it was his least poetic and least inspiring, it was the first time he really sounded Presidential to me. He talked details and was still able to keep a tone of hope and a smooth delivery. To me it was even smoother as there was much less call and response with the crowd. There was less, 'Yes we can', 'USA', or 'Amens' coming from the crowd. While these are popular with some, I think the campaign has gotten a little lost in the excitement and last night’s speech showed Obama as a President.
He got more specific and clear on his healthcare plan, talked of service for tuition assistance, and got into it with McCain on foreign policy, while showing respect for him. The speech was more detailed, which may not have sent chills down peoples spines (or in Chris Matthews case, his leg), but he spoke to people who wanted to know specifics. His style was less the leader of a mob, and more the leader of a country.
While he got criticized for the length of the speech, it was the style and tone of speech he has to show to defeat John McCain, and one we will hear much more.
Will be a long two weeks until Ohio and Texas, but think that the momentum of Obama is finally where it needs to be to win this nomination and wrap it up on March 4th. Unless he implodes in one of the two debates or some kind of huge story breaks think that he will sweep March 4th with maybe a close election in Ohio.
If he does that the morning of March 5th we will start the debate of McCain vs Obama.