A depressing possibility, from Ezra Klein:
I've yet to hear a plausible scenario in which Clinton wins the superdelegates. Just about every serious path to the presidency requires Obama to utterly implode, to be rendered non-competitive for the nomination. In that scenario, the fact that Clinton remained in the race might make her a likelier nominee than Gore, but her continued campaigning doesn't have much of an impact. What she is doing by a mounting a basically hopeless but still quite furious campaign is exposing Obama's weaknesses. McCain's folks might have suspected that they target states like Pennsylvania and Ohio and Florida, but now they have a precinct-by-precinct map of where he underperforms, ready narratives to activate in their negative campaigning (they don't have to grope around to create a line of attack), and a media that's now convinced of his vulnerabilities.
A spot-on complaint from Hunter, at Daily (and nightly) Kos:
Listening to Clinton campaign surrogates on television, before the PA votes ever started to trickle in, was truly painful. Suddenly one state was the only state that mattered. All those other states were merely prelude: if Clinton could eke out a victory in this state, trailing in the delegate count would no longer be significant, and it would be a brand new race, and Obama would be on the ropes, and Clinton would suddenly win a billion dollars, a pony, and the moon; attention must be paid. It is not enough for Obama to simply be winning the nomination according to the rules laid out in advance: no, he must win the "right" way, according to the Clinton campaign and surrogates, or it doesn't count. He has to win the "right" states. And he has to win primaries, not caucuses. And he has to "close the deal", shutting Clinton out of remaining wins entirely, or it proves something ominous (the fact that Clinton has not been able to "close the deal" against him, and is instead trailing him badly and irreparably, barring superdelegate do-over, somehow does not count against her own merits.) And he not only has to win the "popular vote", but he has to win that, too, the right way, which is to say by counting only certain states and not counting others. And he has to win small towns, not just big population centers, because winning big population centers is elitist. Except that if he wins small towns in the West and Midwest, that doesn't count, because it's more important to win the big population centers. And all of this somehow proves that Clinton is a better candidate against McCain than Obama is, even though the polls to date have consistently shown Obama is a better candidate against McCain than Clinton is.
More irritating is that the negative attacks presented are, well, stupid, and seem increasingly to be predicated on the notion that voters, the press, the pundits, and we political hangers-on are all idiots seeking to cling to the most shallow of accusations. The press and the pundits? OK, I'll give you that one. The rest of us, however, weren't born yesterday.
An explanation from Sara Smith at Wonkette:
This morning, millions of sad, youthful Obama voters are waking up and wondering what the hell happened in Pennsylvania. Here's the scoop, little ones: Pennsylvania's elderly are so old that they make John McCain look young, and they're so numerous that you'd think they were still capable of reproduction. In fact, the only state with more elderly residents is Florida, and at least those old people moved there. They want to be in Florida. Meanwhile, old people in Pennsylvania resemble the humble sea cucumber: sessile, rooted, a prisoner of the very earth that nourishes them. Naturally, these people vote for Hillary Clinton.
Dick Morris, former Clinton advisor and current Clinton foe, puts it this way:
"Pennsylvania Democrats, in other words, suffer from future shock. They welcome old, established ways and embrace dynasties happily because they are so familiar. (Look at the Bob Caseys - dad was governor, the son is senator.) [...] But don't expect the open primaries of Indiana and North Carolina to behave like Pennsylvania's geriatrics. Both states are younger, especially North Carolina, and independents can vote in each primary. (North Carolina is where a lot of the young people who fled Pennsylvania winters and job losses ended up)."
Poor, poor Pennsylvania. Even when it wins, it loses. We look forward to youthful, vibrant Indiana and North Carolina finding a new and different reason to avoid voting for Obama.
Well, that last one made me laugh, anyway. Thanks, Sara!