Thursday, May 15, 2008

So Long West Virginia

I really was set to write a post this morning that didn't focus exclusively on the primary race between Clinton and Obama. But sometimes current events intercede and you've got to throw out the old plans.

In case you missed it, last night John Edwards announced that he was endorsing Barack Obama for president. I'll make a bold prediction here and say that the papers and blogs today are going to be simply jam packed with analysis of how this helps Obama/hurts Clinton/doesn't do anything for McCain/who knows what else.

For my part, I don't really know how much this endorsement is really going to help. At this point, Obama has the nomination pretty much sewn up, so it's not like this (or Edwards' 19 delegates) are really going to be what puts him over the top. What this endorsement does (and is brilliant for doing) is makes everyone forget about how badly Obama was shellacked in West Virginia. We went from a week's worth of stories about how white voters didn't want Obama to a week's worth of stories about how much the Edwards endorsement is going to help Obama. Pretty brilliant. It's about time that Obama started taking command of the news narrative again.

In terms of how this actually helps Obama, the main point you'll be seeing a lot of is how this is going to help him win those hardworking white Americans that Hillary talked about. Frankly, I'm not sure how much that's going to be the case. After all, do you really see Mr. $400 Haircut swaying the folks way out in the hills of West Virginia? It's a nice symbol for urban voters that Obama can win the hardworking white vote, but I'm not sure how much of a difference it's going to make when you actually get out to those areas where Obama does so poorly.

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