Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Rise and Fall of Barack Obama. Is his Campaign Imploding?

Ever since he announced that he was running for president of the United States, Sen. Barack Obama has been called everything from the Messiah to an empty suit, creating a political fissure not seen among Democrats in about 55 years. His candidacy, like that of his opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton, has divided the party right smack down the middle.

To be sure, Obama came out of the gate in January charging like a thoroughbred, surprisingly taking the Iowa caucuses, Idaho, Utah, Kansas and others before moving onto an impressive 11-state winning streak in February. He seemed unstoppable, and winning the nomination was thought to be an obvious inevitability. And that's precisely the point where the Obama campaign appears to have peaked. Since February, he's only manged to squeak out victories in Wyoming and Mississippi, while Clinton has won key states like Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Obama's support has come primarily from blacks, the affluent, the educated and college students. Clinton has been more successful pulling together a broader coalition consisting of the white working class, Hispanics, Catholics, Jews, women and 45+/seniors.

Then came the controversies: Rev. Jeremiah Wright's hate speeches; the Tony Rezko Chicago real estate scandal; the "flag-pin" flap; his wife Michelle's "pride" comments; and "BitterGate." Poor debate performances followed. Obama, once flying high, soon became viewed by many as a potential liability. A candidate whose overall message was failing to resonate among the party's base. A candidate who was failing to connect with voters in a way necessary to win the nomination. A candidate who, in the words of NY Times columnist Bob Herbert, needs to "put more meat on those rhetorical bones."

And then came the Pennsylvania primary, where Clinton won a decisive, almost 10-point win, capturing the support of not just the rural and white working class, but also surprisingly taking the Philly suburbs. In the subsequent week, Obama's numbers have dropped precipitously, with Gallup's Daily Tracking Poll showing Clinton and Obama now tied, and she ahead of Sen. John McCain in the national election. Worse, the Newsweek poll released this weekend shows Obama's lead has been cut by more than half from last week, and that his "electability" lead dropped to 46%-38% from 55%-33. His unfavorable rating jumped to 40%.

So is the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama imploding? Is his failure to win a big blue state...his public gaffs...his inexperience...his controversies finally having the kind of impact with voters that may leave him unable to convince the super-delegates that it's he, not Clinton, who they should send into the general election against McCain and the GOP? Has he failed to show Democrats that he's a fighter, equipped to be president and commander-in-chief? Is he unable, unlike Clinton, to win back the "Reagan Democrats"...with whom neither candidate can win without? Is his support stagnant while Clinton is winning over the undecideds? Is he all style over substance? Should we be concerned why he refuses to debate Clinton in North Carolina, or why he's fighting tooth and nail to keep Michigan and Florida out of the contest?

By those passionate about Obama, I've been comically accused of being everything from a Hillary Clinton shill to running a Clinton "fan site." But consider what I wrote back on February 10th, following Obama's strong wins in Louisiana, Washington, Nebraska and U.S. Virgin Islands:

"Surveying the landscape at this time it's hard to imagine this momentum fading at any time soon. It's hard to imagine him not going all the way. In politics, momentum and perception is everything. And he looks, act and sounds like a winner. In his victory speech, he was strong, confident and driven; he carried himself like a man who had a window into the future, and he really liked what he saw. To the contrary, Clinton appeared like a tired loser; weak, scared and whose window afforded a much less exciting view."

I wrote many more extremely positive pieces like this about Obama since then when he deserved them. Ironically, I've even been called an Obama shill. But in politics, months can seem like a lifetime, and Obama's once strong inevitability now seems quite uncertain. It is now Clinton who has all the momentum and who appears like a winner, with Obama coming across badly weakened, tired, angry, condescending. Like a candidate who's back at that window, but this time does not like what he sees.


Anonymous said...

Please change your mast head to "HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT"
The consistent Obama bashing (yes, with a couple of selected pro Obama posts to spice things up) is getting tired. You're doing nothing but adding to the fissure within the party. I'm done visiting the site. Enjoy the damage your girl has done.

Anonymous said...

"Hillary shill"?

If the shoe fits...

Anonymous said...

Andy - as your site illustrates over and over again, you show the facts and let the people decide. I am sick to death of the idiots who constantly come here saying you're FOR this person or your BASH the other person or whatever. If your readers want to leave, let them leave. I'm tired of their whining, bitching and moaning. Facts are facts, whether people like it or not. Get over it. Obama's campaign is, in fact, imploding. And he has no one to blame but himself. And for the record, although I have been a Hillary supporter from day one, I wouldn't care who gets in there as long as it's someone who actually cares about this country and the people in it (unlike the republicans who couldn't care less). If Americans truly want 4 to 8 more years of a never-ending war, a recession we'll never come out of, gas prices that will continue to get higher and higher and higher with no end in sight, and continued job losses, then fine, vote for McCain. Personally, I'm sick and tired of GOP candidates who are older than dirt and five minutes away from a heart attack. I personally feel that one of the reasons the Bill Clinton years were so economically sound and peaceful, was because of his youth, among many other positive factors. I don't care about McCain's war record or his personal agenda. I care about someone who is going to get results, get us out of this war, get our economy back on track, get gas prices down and restore our image to the rest of the world. Anyone with half a brain should want the same and demand nothing less.

Anonymous said...

It really doesn't matter which candidate gets the Democrat nomination because neither Obama nor Clinton are capable of running the White House.

Neither will win, Clinton has half the country vowing to never vote for her and Obama's racist/terrorist friends will result in smart minded voters to vote for McCain.

McCain is the only choice this year. Don't fret Democrats, McCain is pretty liberal for a Republican. If people really want a uniter, McCain has a track record of reaching across the isle to work with Democrats. Hillary's track record is one of constant fighting and Obama is still looking for his track record.

Anonymous said...

McCain disgraced himself, when after Bush brutalized him in their presidential campaign, he went crawling back, in a "battered wife syndrome mode" to Bush, kissed and hugged him and became his clone. Where is the ability to lead, fight, inspire in a man so weak? It's not his age, it's his lack of character.

Obama can't win because he too is weak and has associated for twenty years with a movement which is racist and anti-American. On PBS Wright used the 137th psalm to explain his position; and it is a frightening position. Wright is unforgiving for any mistakes our government has made since the early explorers came to this continent. Not only that, Obama got his lead before all the controversies and bad news became known to Americans.

It cannot be said about Hillary that she is spineless, thats for sure. Nor can it be said that she's unpatriotic. That's for sure. What can be said is that she was part of a former presidency that gave us prosperous, peaceful years which she can once more be delivered if she is president. Don't argue that she wasn't the president, he was. That of course is obvious. But it doesn't detract from her experiencing, participating and agreeing with his policies.

It all seems obvious to me who should be elected by a landslide.

Anonymous said...

I would say that Clinton is winning against another Democrat, in states traditionally Democratic anyway. What (I believe) Obama has been doing with his wins is getting to voters who in past elections would have gone to the Republicans.

And while McCain is more pragmatic than most Rebulicans, calling him "liberal" is disingenuine at best.

Anonymous said...

Hendrick Hertzberg in this week's New Yorker:

"Hillary Clinton has not, in fact, survived the worst that the Republican attack machine (and its pilotless drones online and on talk radio) can dish out. We will learn what the worst really means if she is nominated. The Commie law firm will be only the beginning. Many tempting targets—from Bill’s little-examined fund-raising and business activities during the past seven years to the prospect of his hanging around the White House in some as yet undefined role for another four or eight years to whatever leftovers from the Clinton “scandals” of the nineteen-nineties can be retrieved from the dumpster and reheated—remain to be machine-gunned. The whole Clinton marital soap opera, obviously off limits within the Democratic fold, will offer ample material for what Obama calls “distractions.” To take the most obvious example, the former President’s social life since leaving the White House will become, if not “fair game,” big game—and some of these right-wing dirtbags are already hiring bearers and trying on pith helmets for the safari. Is this a “there” where the Democratic Party really wants to go?"

Anonymous said...

Why would his campaign implode just when we're finally hearing what his AND her past records are??

Barack Hussein Obama

And people are finally showing their memory has returned about the Clintons as well;

Hillary Can't Wait: Screw'emGate


Downside Legacy at Two Degrees of Bill Clinton

The Clinton Legacy

Anonymous said...

Almost all of the Clinton's "stuff" has been scrutinized before and it came to nought. And it would seem that to the extent of the trouble our country is in, we might grow into beoming a little more sophisticated when it comes to judging personal relationships and dalliances.

Nothing anyone can sling at the Clintons can be as bad as that which can be claimed about the other two candidates.

Anonymous said...

For the record, Obama won Texas.
The delegate tally from TX is Obama 99, Clinton 94.

Once again Ostroy fudges the numbers.

Obama's campaign is flush with cash, with fresh influxes from former Hillary donors.

Hillary's campaign is in debt and has left many small businesses hanging out to dry having still not paid them for their services.

Obama continues to pick up superdelegates at a steady pace.

Clinton continues to lose superdelegates.

Stop whining about MI and FL if for no other reason than because ALL of Hillary's 12 representatives on the 30 member DNC rules panel voted for Florida's full disenfranchisement, which, under party rules, applied to Michigan, as well.

Obama's campaign is not imploding, no matter how much you wish it was.

Anonymous said...

i hope americans are not to dumb to see what is going on.....what is going on now is that hilliary wants to give as many people another reason not to vote for obama,besides the the reason he's black.....that is why she brought up farrakan and jeremaih wright in the last debate.....she is trying to get voters to think about flag pins,and bittergate..and religious beliefs ....she's trying to make people forget they are poor and struggling to keep their heads above water...trying to make people forget about nafta....the bill she advocated loudly....she's trying to get voters to focus on things that don't really matter in their daily lives's called polictics of distraction...that's all it is......i'm tired of people calling hilliary a fighter..(she's a better liar).....hell jerry coney was a fighter...if you remember him then you should know his won\lost record...dismal!!!

Anonymous said...

What a silly, self-indulgent blog. Since the Pa primary, that winner Hillary picked up 3 superdelegates, while that loser Obama picked up 4.

Polls? Sure, here you go -

As of Friday April 26:

Rasmussen Tracking 48% 42% Obama +6.0%
Newsweek 48% 41% Obama +7.0%
USA Today/Gallup 50% 40% Obama +10.0%
ABC/Wash Post 51% 41% Obama +10.0%
Here's some more for you -

Hillary is behind by 156 delegates with 408 remaining in the upcoming primaries. She needs to win almost 70% of the remaining delegates to pull even. We all know that is impossible at this point. Assume they split the remaining delegates evenly, a tall task for her since the biggest prize is NC where Obama has a double digit lead. At that point she will need to persuade 156 of the remaining 298unpledged superdelegates (approx 53%) to jump into her corner despite being behind in delegates, popular votes and states won. There is no compelling reason for them to do it and they won't. When the majority of the superdelegates move to Obama, what does she do? Does she bow out gracefully and campaign for Obama like a good Democratic soldier should and help to unite the party, or does she continue to tear the party apart for her own selfish ambition and fight to the convention?

Kids - like him or not, he's going to be the nominee. Either get on board or take responsibility for Bush III.

The Ostroy Report said...

Anon 8:35...You cite the Newsweek poll (among others) giving Obama a 7% pt lead, but what you fail to also mention is that 7% is less than half of what his lead was a week ago. Stick your head in the sand if you want to, but it's not gonna change the outcome one bit.

BTW, the other polls have similar drops case you're interested.

Anonymous said...

Give it a rest Ostroy.

While (dubiously) claiming a "decisive" Clinton victory in PA you fail to mention that Clinton at one point had a 26% lead in PA. She ended up with case you're interested.

Meanwhile this error remains uncorrected:

"Clinton has won key states like Texas"

Clinton lost case you're interested.

Anonymous said...

Andy -

"Stick your head in the sand if you want to, but it's not gonna change the outcome one bit."

What outcome is it that you are predicting?

Anonymous said...

"Since February, he's only manged (sic) to squeak out victories in Wyoming and Mississippi,"

It's helpful to your argument if this were true, but it's not. Since February's remarkable run, Obama has won Wyoming, Mississippi, Vermont, Hawaii and Texas (yes, Texas since delegates select the nominee, not popular votes - so that's 5 states won) while Clinton has won Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island (3 states). It's also worth noting that Obama's delegate lead since February has increased over Clinton despite her "big" victories.

Furthermore, Obama did not "squeak out" a victories in Wyoming and Mississippi. He wiped the floor with Clinton in those two states, winning over 60% of the vote in both. He also won Vermont with 59% and Hawaii with 75% of the vote. THOSE, amigo, are convincing victories.

BTW, the latest polling in IN and NC has Obama leading Clinton in both states. In fact, the only polls I know of that have been conducted twice in the last three weeks (ARG and Research 2000) in Indiana both show a swing of 4% in Obama's favor over that time, a time which encapsulates all the supposed Obama "controversies" and Hillary's win in Pennsylvania. So much for big mo being on Clinton's side.

With continued use of selective polling numbers as well as empty rhetorical device to bolster your case for Clinton and pulling out a quote that simply shows you to be a pinwheel prognosticator of tidal shifts, you don't bolster your bona fides as a writer. Rather your latest column paints you as someone who got his feelings hurt last night. That was not my intention and I apologize if it is the case.

However, I read the masthead of the site upon coming here via a link provided at another site and hoped this would be a place to find unity of purpose and cause. Sadly, I seem not to have found what I was looking for. Unlike a strident Republican, though, I'm willing to hear from you if this really is a place of unity or simply a Hillboy waste of my time.

On multiple occasions I have stated my preference of candidate while at the same time recognizing that if the other candidate wins the nomination, I will vote for the Democratic standard-bearer.

Will you pledge the same, Mr. Ostroy?

The Ostroy Report said...

Anon 9:41....Hillary won Texas' pop vote 51-47. Because the party's moronic proportional system somehow gives Obama 4 more delegates than Hillary does not take away from the fact that the people of Texas gave her the win. I love how Obama's supporters are always so concerned with the super delegates not overturning the "will of the people"...yet they don't seem to care much for the will of the Texas people.

Anonymous said...

Too funny, Andy. Is this the whining you speak of?

I happen to LIVE in Texas and we the people of Texas used our primacaucus system in order to help Bill Clinton earn the Dem nomination in 1992 and 1996. We used the same system again this time around and Barack Obama won fair and square.

This will be at least the fifth time I've asked this of you - will you support the eventual nominee of the Democratic Party regardless of who that nominee is?

The Ostroy Report said...

Ok, Anon, just remember your disregard of the "will of the people" when/if the super-D's back Clinton.

As for your five questions, out of respect to you as a reader of my blog, I will answer it even though, as I sugested to you yesterday, if you had actually read more than a week of my stuff you'd already know the answer.

And the answer is....of course. Only a fool would support either Obama or Clinton in the primary yet vote for McCain in the general. I repeat...a downright, misguided fool.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your answer. I'm sincere when I say it is much appreciated.

The will of the people of Texas was carried out, not disregarded, and I feel quite comfortable in stating this since I am actually a lifetime resident of the state while you are not.

Anonymous said...

"the party's moronic proportional system"

Andy, stop whining.

If for no other reason than this same "moronic proportional system" is what is used in the general election, to wit, Gore v Bush in 2000. This is the system we're still stuck with after 8 years, so we'd best get used to the idea that this is how it will be done this cycle. Maybe it'll be different in 2012, but maybe not. Learn the rules of the game.

Pretending that caucuses are irrelevant and don't represent REAL PEOPLE is pathetic and desperate.

Obama won Texas - fair and square. Period.

Anonymous said...

Writh's two recent speeches have ruined it for Obama. He simply can't be elected after the comments by Wright that Obama heard for twenty years. We've now heard what Wright has to say "in context" and it's hypocritcal at the least. He says don't condemn, and then he procees to mock and deride two presidents and white worshipers. He says blacks learn with the "right" brain, yet he supports schools that would include two types of learming processes. He would rant if it went back to black shoolds separate from white schoosl. It would also need black school bands and white school bands because of differnt mucical tendencies. Teachers have a hard enough job now just teaching a large number of students in a classroom who are at different levels of learning, never mind who learn in a totally different manner. He said he would aaccept the vice presidency. These are just a few of the remaeks Obama "sat for" during the twenty years. They did not just "happen" over the weekend.

Hillary is the only choice -- like it or not.

Prius said...

Andy, you continue to draw the few Republicans that still love their man Bush. I still can't believe that after 8 years of the Bush Crime Family there are still a few that think he has done no wrong. I guess it just proves that there are suckers born every day and they still love cool-aide, the drink of gullible Republicans.

The Ostroy Report, where Republicans come to learn the truth.

Anonymous said...

Obama won Texas. Obama has more delegates. Obama leads in the popular vote, despite Clinton's latest prevarications. Obama has won more staes. Obama leads against McCain in more states with more electoral votes. Your blog is so tiresome. Please give it a rest and discuss some issues. Obama will be the candidate, and soon. Clinton can run for governor and win. She might not even have to lie, although it seems to come so easily to her.

Anonymous said...

I've been a Dem my whole life. I have been involved with politics for over 25 years.

Obama will not win in November. Take it to the bank.

BTW: Andy is not a Republican. If you listened to Air America you would hear him on the air.

Anonymous said...

The reason Superdelegates won't declare is because they don't want another Nixon v McGovern election.

Obama will not win in November. He should have run as VP.

Anonymous said...

"If you listened to Air America ..."

The problem is nobody listens to Air America.

Anonymous said...

Once again with the "I've been a Dem my whole life" story..... "involved with politics for over 25 years"..... only to show how clueless with lines like "he should have run as VP".

Guess you missed that part that no one runs as VP. You'd think you'd learn something after more than 25 years.

Then again, since 4:46/4:49 is likely just a Republican troll, this kind of dissembling makes perfect sense.

What doesn't make sense though is why Ostroy hasn't done an update to his main post to correct his error about Texas. Why base your arguments on lies Andy?

Obama will do just fine in November IF the Democrats get their act together. A big task to be sure. We're all counting on Ostroy to help since he said he would.

Anonymous said...

hey Andy---why dont you do a story on the Ron Paul delegate fiasco in Nevada this weekend? The GOP walked OUT of the convention because Ron Paul's delegates were WINNING. This isnt really a Ron Paul story as much as it is a sad day for the GOP-----who has ever heard of the party WALKING OUT of a convention before????? Ive heard people on the videos say "man, the Democrats are really gonna eat this story up!" Go at it Andy.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

If everybody that voted for Gore in 2000, voted for him as a write in candidate in November, then he could take his rightful place as President and clean house as it were. S Bush F/W, Tx. I plan on it. Got to vote for sanity you know!