The Obama Phenomenon and the 2008 Presidential Campaign

Discussions of and about the historic 2008 U.S. Presidential Election
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Voronwë the Faithful
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Great speech by Edwards. Even better by Obama. Both reached out to Clinton.

For her part, Clinton made a statement that it would be a "grave mistake" for her supporters to choose McCain over Obama. The RNC immediately put out a statement saying "Just as Sen. Clinton herself has questioned Obama's qualifications to be president and enact change, so do many of her supporters."

And so it begins.

Does anyone think that Edwards' endorsement actually means anything at this point?
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Post by halplm »

no, especially as he was obviously just waiting until someone was the winner.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

It does seem that way, doesn't it?
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Post by yovargas »

I usually doubt if any endorsements actually mean anything at any point.
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Post by Primula Baggins »

In what sense, Voronwë?

It doesn't clinch the nomination for him, no.

But it puts Obama back at the top of the news, and it links him with someone who's got real credibility with lower-income whites. Notice that Obama said he would support Edwards' anti-poverty initiative—maybe that means Edwards will be doing some campaigning for him.

I was struck by Obama's line toward the end, something about, "You'll join with John Edwards, and Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic Party. . . ." All named together; not the way one would speak about a direct opponent. He's trying to frame it as over, and he may be successful.

Edit: I prefer to assume that Edwards knew his endorsement would help reunify the party once a winner had emerged, and that it might be harmfully divisive if he endorsed early and endorsed the one who didn't emerge with the nomination. I mean, there are perfectly good reasons for waiting until now, not just venal ones. :)
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Post by axordil »

It's not so much that Obama got it as that HRC didn't. What is icing on the cake for him to some extent would have added some oomph to the "I'm more electable" argument she's been making. And it also gives that sense of the party coming together.
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Post by nerdanel »

halplm wrote:no, especially as he was obviously just waiting until someone was the winner.
I agree with this, and I feel little respect for Edwards after what was the most obviously insincere displays of politicking we've seen in a long time. (If he is sincere in endorsing Obama, I dispute Prim's assertion that there was any good reason for him to wait. I think this was all about securing a nice role in the next administration for himself, period, full stop - but I'm happy to be proved wrong.)
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Post by vison »

I think he should have done it when it would have meant more. Better late than never.

His hair looks nice.
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Post by Cerin »

I agree with Prim on Edwards.

First, he didn't want to endorse because he didn't want to influence what he thought would become the voters' clear choice once he himself was out of the way (he admits he was wrong, wrong, wrong about that).

Then he didn't want to endorse because he wasn't sure which candidate he supported.

Then I agree that he didn't want to endorse because it could potentially contribute to the divisiveness.

Now it seems to me, he endorsed so as to mitigate the divisiveness now that he believes the outcome is inevitable.

But then, I like Edwards, so that undoubtedly colors my interpetations.

edit

Now I have to go hunt down those speeches.
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Post by Primula Baggins »

Well, mileage does vary, doesn't it? :D

There were indications he was backing Obama back at the time of the NC primary ("I just voted for him"). Doesn't it seem possible that he didn't want to put his thumb on the scale? Whether it would have made any difference or not, it might be perceived as, "Obama couldn't make it to the nomination on his own."

There's also a fairly strong rumor that his wife is for Clinton. That can inhibit a man a bit. ;)

Edit: Cross-posted with Cerin.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

vison wrote:His hair looks nice.
Well, it should, for $400. ;)

I agree that better late than never, and I suppose it helps begin the process of reconciliation. But I really fear that Clinton's attacks are going to have a lingering effect that no effort at reconciliation is going to overcome.
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Post by Primula Baggins »

I do like Edwards. I mean, he started out his speech by mentioning that he'd been promised a jet ski and hadn't gotten it yet. :D

That whole hair thing was ridiculous and undignified. I'd bet if we priced out any prominent politician's haircuts/dos, especially right before a TV appearance, we would not find that they went down to the barber shop on the corner and paid ten bucks. Not unless it was in itself a photo op.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
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Post by Cerin »

Voronwë wrote:But I really fear that Clinton's attacks are going to have a lingering effect that no effort at reconciliation is going to overcome.
This doesn't make sense to me, when I think about it.

It would mean that Clinton's attacks are responsible for the animosity between the two camps of supporters, and I don't believe that's the case. I think the fervor of both candidates' supporters (which leads to overreactions and umbrage taken), and the extreme closeness of the race, and the stark demographic divisions, are what generates the animosity.

If you want to test this idea, I suppose you could go back to conversations that took place at the beginning of the race, and see if you perceive the same level of animosity evidenced then, before the attacks on Obama. I seem to recall people hating Hillary with as much zest and determination then, as they do now.
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Post by axordil »

I seem to recall people hating Hillary with as much zest and determination then, as they do now.
I didn't hate her. I didn't support her, but I didn't hate her. I confess at moments I veered closer to hate, when her campaign did (as I saw it--I don't expect everyone to see the same). But I am willing to make allowances for the nature of the season.

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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Cerin, I am referring to the RNC statement that I quoted above. I think that is going to be consistent theme of the general election. More so than usual.

Edit: Ax, I still think that Obama is going to win. I've said that consistently for months.
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Post by Holbytla »

An "attack" is only effective if it is against something that is substantive.
If there is no tagret, there can be no attack. Well there can be but they will be ineffective. The only ones that hurt are the ones that hit something.
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Post by Cerin »

Cerin, I am referring to the RNC statement that I quoted above.

No wonder it didn't make sense to me! :D
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Post by yovargas »

I prefer to assume that Edwards knew his endorsement would help reunify the party once a winner had emerged, and that it might be harmfully divisive if he endorsed early and endorsed the one who didn't emerge with the nomination. I mean, there are perfectly good reasons for waiting until now, not just venal ones.
Yeah, but that would be an entirely uncynical POV and what would be the fun in that?
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Post by WampusCat »

I suspect that Edwards told Obama weeks ago that he was willing to endorse him whenever the campaign thought it would be most helpful. That time happened to be now.

There has been a steady stream of endorsements trickling out lately. The timing could well be choreographed by the campaign for maximum effect.
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Post by Inanna »

I go with wampuscat on this - Obama's campaign timed this well.
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