It wouldn't be exactly right to say that the annointing of Barack Obama as nominee is a bittersweet day for some Democrats, because as many supporters of Hillary Clinton weigh in today, they are just bitter. Here's one of the best posts of that genre, from my blog-o-friend Amy Z. Quinn, who posts under so many different names I can't keep track. Today she writes (not from Pa. but from South Jersey!) as Citizen Mom that "You're Damn Right I'm Bitter":
Yes, it smarts.
Yes, I'm angry and disappointed today.
And yes, I'll still vote for Barack Obama in November. But you should understand why I'm not feeling great about it this morning.
Now that it's over, now that everybody's been able to run their ecstatic headlines, can we all just admit that the MSM and the Yes! We! Can!-crazed online world had a deep desire to see Obama win, if only so everyone can soak in the aura of the New Kennedy or the first black president or the generational shift, or to have anything but the Clintons to write and talk about for another four or eight years?
There's a lot more (include a kindly worded slam on me, surely deserved) and the whole thing merits reading. My one major quibble, not just with Quinn's critique but with a lot of the pro-Hillary writing in recent days, is the emphasis on how many votes Clinton received when:
1) By most counts -- except the one that counts her votes from a large state (Michigan) where Obama wasn't on the ballot and which Clinton herself once said didn't matter -- Obama received a few more votes than Clinton did, anyway.
2) More importantly, this race was about what every nomination fight has been about since the 19th Century, and that is about getting the most convention delegates. That was no secret -- these were the rules going in, and everybody knew it. In the end, Obama won the most delegates because of something that anyone could have come up with, regardless of their gender or their race or their experience or whether the media loved or hated them. He won with a strategy:
The insurgent strategy the group devised instead was to virtually cede the most important battlegrounds of the Democratic nomination fight to Clinton, using precision targeting to minimize her delegate hauls, while going all out to crush her in states where Democratic candidates rarely ventured.
The result may have lacked the glamour of a sweep, but last night, with the delegates he picked up in Montana and South Dakota and a flood of superdelegate endorsements, Obama sealed one of the biggest upsets in U.S. political history and became the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter to wrest his party's nomination from the candidate of the party establishment. The surprise was how well his strategy held up -- and how little resistance it met.
"We kept waiting for the Clinton people to send people into the caucus states," marveled Jon Carson, one of Obama's top ground-game strategists.
"It's the big mystery of the campaign," said campaign manager David Plouffe, "because every delegate counts."
Will "bitter" voters -- maybe not Amy Z. Quinn but people like her -- swing the fall election to McCain? They could. Here's a suggestion: I think a lot of Obama supporters might agree with virtually all of Clinton's backers that the nominating process that is a sometimes not-so-democratic (small "d") jumble of caucuses and primaries with confusing rules that in the end don't serve anybody. That said, maybe it would be better to channel some of that June anger into changing the Democrats' rules in August -- rather than ratifying the third term of George W. Bush in November?