The end of the line?

MSNBC’s Russert: ‘We Now Know Who the Nominee Will Be’

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David Bender, hosting Rachael Maddow yesterday afternoon (evening, depending on where you habitat) mentioned a posting on Al Giordano’s blog, The Field. It was an open thread, but it pointed out something that has had us all suckered for a while when it comes to the Hillary campaign. Originally titled, “We don’t get fooled again”, it laid out the entire day of the spin by the Clinton campaign:

Today marks the 47th and 48th primaries or caucuses for the Democratic presidential nomination. More than 90 percent of the delegates will have been chosen by tonight. By now, we all ought to know the drill.

The day begins with the Clinton campaign leaking something to the Drudge Report to set expectations for the day. That then gets repeated on political blogs and cable news, where Clinton surrogate Terry McAuliffe elaborates. Todays expectation: That the Clinton campaign expects a 15 point defeat in North Carolina. Clintons yapping puppies in the news media repeat the manufactured expectation all day long, in which the bar is supposedly now that if Clinton comes within 15 points in that state that she has somehow won with a 14 point (or 6 point) defeat.

Around 4 p.m. rumors of exit polls begin circulating on the Internet. Around 5:30 p.m. AP and other news organizations leak minor data from the exit polls that explains almost nothing of value. Sometime after 6 p.m. Drudge posts raw numbers from exit polls that – if past is prologue – show Obama doing an average of seven percentage points better than he actually does.

Obama supporters then get prematurely jubilant and after polls close (tonight at 7 p.m. ET in Indiana and 7:30 p.m. ET in North Carolina) the real results start to come in and reveal Clinton then doing better than expected (at least better than the new expectations promoted during the day).

The media talking heads then ask aloud why Obama cant close the deal (in Clintons own words) and what is numerically a defeat for Clinton (because the results, even in her recent wins, bring her objectively farther from the nomination in the context of the smaller number of delegates then available) gets spun as a Clinton victory.

Clinton takes to the stage, claims unexpected victory, gives out her web site address and pleads for elder women on fixed incomes to send more money to the $109 millionaire. The following day they claim that $10 million rolled in, only to be disproved more than a month later when the actual FEC filing is due. Obamas FEC filing simultaneously reveals that he raised much, much more, from more small donors, and the Clinton campaign plays the victim card over being outspent.

The Chicken Littles among Obama supporters then proceed to agonize across the Internet for days on end, seemingly oblivious to the fact that their candidate has just moved closer to the nomination, and Clinton was pushed farther away from it.

Most undeclared superdelegates duck behind all the media-generated confusion to continue to keep quiet, although a few courageous ones a day come dribbling out, more for Obama than for Clinton, also moving Obama closer to the nomination and Clinton farther away.

Meanwhile, the media then looks to the next state – this time it will be West Virginia, the best state demographically for Clinton, who is 30 points ahead there – and proclaims that its do or die and begin anew with the spin cycle about white Appalachian voters being the only voters that matter.

Around that point in the process, the Clinton campaign holds a conference call to move the goalposts again, as Keith Olbermann so masterfully explained last night:

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I had glanced through that post yesterday morning, and went on with the day. Every now and then, I would hit Drudge and Google News — and wouldn’t you know it, these things just started to appear like magic!

I remember Pennsylvania. Clinton lowered her expectations there too. Sure, she won, but not by all that much — but the meme was in place that she did better than she had “expected”, which translated into a “loss” of viablity for Obama.

Hillary is said to be taking today off to do some soul searching. In her “victory rally” last night she said something that made my mind wonder where the hell her’s is:

“Well, tonight we’ve come from behind. We’ve broken the tie, and thanks to you, it’s full speed on to the White House,” she told cheering supporters.

There has been a “tie”? And she has somehow “broken” that tie? Darling, you’ve been coming from behind all season, and each time you are getting further and further behind.

But, at the same rally speech, she did come out for the first time with a sign that she may be considering the idea of ending her race:

“I can assure you that no matter what happens, I will work for the nominee of the Democratic Party because we must win in November.”

A few seconds later, she said: “It is time for all of us to recognise what is at stake in this election, not just for Democrats, as we decide who will be our nominee, but for all Americans.”

Operation Chaos effect?

As you’ve heard, Rush Limbaugh has been pushing his “Operation Chaos”, calling for Republican voters to cross over and vote for Hillary in order to keep the Democratic contest going.

The question is, how much of an effect did Rush Limbaugh (and other Right-wing broadcasters) have in these primary races?

In Indiana, thirty-six percent of primary voters said that Clinton does not share their values. And yet, among that total, one out of every five (20 percent) nevertheless voted for her in the Indiana election. Moreover, of the 10 percent of Hoosiers who said “neither candidate” shared their values, 75 percent cast their ballots for Clinton. The Obama team estimate that perhaps 7 percent of the votes cast for Hillary were by people who will probably vote for McCain in the General election.

17% of her voters indicated in the exit polls that they would NOT vote for her in the fall.

Jake Tapper, ABC News’ Senior National Correspondent, posted on the ABC blog, a story about an Indiana Republican voter who purposely crossed over to vote for Hillary even though she has every intention of voting for McCain in November:

Melanie Kerr is an Indiana voter we met over the weekend at the “Orchard In Bloom” festival.

She was looking forward to casting her ballot for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.

But she doesnt like Clinton.

She likes Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Shes a Republican.

So why was she planning on voting in Indianas open Democratic primary?

I want to keep the primary going as long as possible, Kerr said. I want to keep a debate going between the two of them. Obama would have been untouched in my opinion if she didn’t stay in the race. Then her staying in longer and even longer than (her attacks) will be in people’s minds in Democratic people’s minds when November comes around.

It isnt that Kerr thinks Clinton would be easier than Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, for McCain to defeat in the Fall. Its the idea that with Clinton in there, that keeps the debate between them going and we get more, uh, more chaos.

Kerr giggles. That’s the name — Operation Chaos.

A lot of Republicans crossed over to vote in the Democratic ballot. Some were legitimate, but even if you considerfive percent of thoseRepublicansto be part of “Operation Chaos”, it means that Hillary probably lost Indiana amongst legitimate voters. The same goes for those who crossed in North Carolina — the margin was probably greater than it appears.

Unfortunately, there is no real way to determine exactly how much Limbaugh was able to change the vote outcome in any of the previous primary races.

From now on, I see Hillary Clinton starting to take the high road and start going after McCain instead of trying to tear down Obama. She will pull her negative ads and not attack Obama in any way.

On May 20th, she will probably lose the Oregon primary, but win the Kentucky race. But at that time she will drop out on a “high note”.

I think you can see this in her speech last night when she pledged to support the Democratic nominee, and a lot of her speech talked about how much fun this whole thing (has) been. It seemed that she was talking in the past tense.

So, is it finally over? Is Hillary going to do the right thing?

Personally, I hope so. I would much rather see Hillary drop her bid for president and go after the job she can actually do more good in: Go after Harry Reid’s job. I would be her biggest cheer leader.