Democrat presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, seen here explaining to an African-American toddler why black men should not be president, had her sinuses cleared by fellow Senator, Barack Obama, in the South Carolina primary on Saturday. Clinton, once considered the inevitable nominee, appears weak and wounded headed into the February 5 Super Tuesday primaries.
The final numbers from South Carolina are staggering: Obama 55 percent, Clinton 27 percent, Edwards 18 percent.
The high African-American turnaout in the Palmetto State has many pundits (Outside the Beltway) speculating that the vote was pay back for Bill Clinton's racially divisive tirades over the past two weeks. Seems plausible. (Bill kept up the racial thing after the winners and losers were announced. Big Dog wonders what Bill will do now. Huffington Post says Camp Clinton declares Obama "the black candidadte.")
This also seems plausible, though:
A year ago, Democrats and Republicans were pure emotion. Democrats charged the polls in November 2006 out pure, spitting hatred for George W. Bush. Republicans stayed home out of apathy generated, in part, by Bush's two years of hunkering down in the White House and two years of hunkering down in Iraq.
When America won the Iraq war with Surge in 2007, emotions waned and reason (if you can call it that) surfaced. In a reasonable evaluation, Barack Obama is the right candidate for Democrats.
Obama has been against the war in Iraq since the beginning. Clinton was for it. Obama's position is the wrong one, but he's been principled and consistent. Clinton's vote was the right one, but it was cast for the wrong reasons. Clinton's opinion on the war and everything else was the result of careful poll analysis and small group surveys. Hillary is abstract, while Obama is concrete.
Obama is likable, even to conservatives, in a way that Hillary never can be. I would enjoy an argument with Obama. I have a feeling we could argue politics, economics, and diplomacy over drinks and part as friends. I have an equally strong feeling that Hillary (or Bill) would agree with me on everything, leave the bar, and tell a dozen reports that Bill Hennessy is a dangerous criminal who should locked up in an asylum.
Obama appeals to liberals' highest values while Hillary (and Bill) appeal to their worst vices. During his time in office, we heard over and over that Bill Clinton is so well liked because he makes us feel better about our own reprehensible weaknesses. Perhaps. But that only works during peace and extreme prosperity. Clinton wasn't so damn cute from 1993 to 1995 when the economy was creeping along at 1.3 percent growth and Islamic mutants were trying to blow up the World Trade Center. He became tolerable only after a Republican Congress set Reaganomics back in motion.
So maybe SC wasn't the black man rising up to throw off his former "First Black President" master. Perhaps it was perceived virtue rising up over powerful vice.