Watching Hillary Clinton declare victory tonight in Kentucky, I was struck by how stilted she looked, as if she were happy by the margin of her victory, but resented having to give a speech declaring as much. Gone was the gloat that seemed to accompany similar addresses. It was clear she was reading from a text.
Obama, as I sort of noted before, had almost the opposite problem, he spoke with great fluency. Maybe he was reading from a prepared text, but he made it seem he was talking off the cuff. But, still the content seemed banal, as if he were merely repeating his talking points. At times, he did seem delighted with his own ability to come up with a clever turn of phrase on the stump to add some spice to his his speech.
He also came across as angry, as if he were somehow unhappy with the evening’s results. He just didn’t seem pleased he had reached the milestone he claimed when he declared he had won “a majority of delegates elected by the American people.” Um, Senator, do you only consider Democrats to be Americans, given that you only won a majority of your party’s delegates?
Maybe he was unhappy because while he split the primaries with Mrs. Clinton, him taking Oregon, she Kentucky, she won by a much wider margin in the Bluegrass State than his current margin in the Beaver State. By my projections (based on 75% of the Oregon vote counted as I write this), she should win about 135,000 won 141,396 more votes than he did tonight. And the media and many party leaders have written her off as a has-been in this year’s contest.
Even as the media has all but declared Obama the nominee, his rival, the apparent loser, has declared yet again that she’s “winning the popular vote.” But, the MSM seems to ignore her hefty vote total tonight, with Yahoo! leading with a story declaring him on the “brink of nomination.” (The article said her Kentucky victory had “scant political value” as if copying from an Obama media advisory.)
While preparing dinner tonight and listening to the talking heads on FoxNews, two comments caught my attention. First, Bill Kristol’s observation than since the Wisconsin primary on February 19, Mrs. Clinton has won a clear majority of the popular vote. She’s being doing better as he’s presumed the nominee. Shouldn’t a candidate be increasing his share of the vote as his nomination becomes ever more likely?
Second, Fred Barnes’ assertion that if the Florida and Michigan results counted, she’d be headed toward the nomination. Howard Dean’s peremptory decision to strip those two states of their delegates really helped the Illinois Senator.
Basically, rank-and-file Democrats don’t seem to be rallying around their party’s nominee. While leading Democrats want to close ranks around Barack Obama, 62 percent of Oregon Democrats want the contest to continue. “Only 28 percent say the campaign should end as soon a possible.” And this in a state Obama won.
Democratic leaders and the MSM may be delighted with Obama as their party’s standard bearer, but Democratic voters still have questions about their likely nominee.
Maybe Senator Obama was aware of those questions and the challenges he faces in answering them that caused him to seem so off this evening.