Wednesday, February 13, 2008
My experience over the past few months is that I respond much more favorably to seeing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton debate than I do to print media coverage of either them. With Obama, seeing him discuss the issues reminds me that there's more to him than just the euphoric adulation that his campaign has been reduced to by the media. With Clinton, it's just the opposite. Seeing her reminds me that she's a lot more likable and impressive in person than the media allows for.
Now, it's been observed that the debate format is not one that favors Obama. And it's also obvious that euphoric adulation is not in and of itself a major disadvantage for a presidential candidate. So it doesn't surprise me that Hillary Clinton's meltdown-in-progress coincides with the end of the debate season. What does surprise me is that she hasn't been more insistent about getting some more debates scheduled.
Meanwhile, I'm not so sure her strategy to pin her hopes on Texas and Ohio is such a bad move. By conceding the past week's worth of primaries, she's put herself in the position of authentic underdog going into next month. Now she can legitimately make the case to her supporters in those two states that if they don't mobilize for her, and in a massive way, she's finished. Conversely, if she loses either one, or if her victory is not on a corresponding scale of magnitude, she's got to be willing to bow out.
Update: Apparently Clinton is calling Obama out for not debating In Wisconsin (YouTube at link). Andrew Sullivan calls it a negative ad. If so, it's pretty tepid as far as negative goes.