Very readable article in the Melbourne 'Age' by an Australian journalist living in the USA and covering the US primaries. To my mind it sums up the situation better than anything else I've seen so far in the press; and it's full of quotable passages.
"Hillary strikes back, and the Democrats are in a bind - Guy Rundle
"PRIVATE Eye magazine is wont to satirise sudden about-turns by newspapers with a sort of fake correction: "Phrases like 'spoilt disloyal royal' were a misprint. We, in fact, meant to say 'Diana, people's princess, irrecoverable loss'." In that spirit, it would be tempting to blame previous suggestions of Hillary Clinton's imminent demise on mechanical failure.
"Following her victory in three of four states at last Tuesday's primaries, she ascended the podium with the slightly crazed demeanour of Lady Macbeth with a chainsaw, to claim the victory for anyone who's ever been written off..."
"Put simply, neither candidate has a chance of gaining sufficient numbers from pledged delegates alone, and Clinton has no real chance of overtaking Obama's majority. However, if she came close, she might well field enough of the unpledged "super-delegates" to take her over the line, at which point many of the people Obama drew into the process might not even bother to vote. On the other hand, there is an unknown number of socially conservative Democrats — the sort who swelled Clinton's Ohio numbers — who would vote for McCain before Obama, a decision based not on race but on a lack of identification with a young, visibly bookish, even somewhat effete, upper-middle-class man, and a doubt as to his leadership abilities.
"Thus many continue to believe that Clinton is the preferred candidate — even if she has to be imposed by the Convention. But it isn't hard to see why that possibility has already produced promises of resignation from some party activists. Clinton doesn't do much to stop people hating her."
"If Obama is the eventual victor, he may have to abandon a section of that vote and focus on carving his majority out of people who have hitherto rarely bothered to vote. Democratic party heavies believe that he may be able to do that, but that he could also crash spectacularly, delivering the liberal nightmare: the first intelligent, flexible, hardworking, personally honest Republican president since, well, Eisenhower. Obama would either get 55% — or 45%. Clinton, they believe, is more a solid 51% person, and that's why they're backing her.
They're probably right, but an Obama campaign would be so damn interesting it's hard not to hope for it. The skinny Kenyan kid from Hawaii who went through the far left trip, locked himself in an apartment for a year to read Nietzsche and the Bible, and took the tactics of community organising to the national stage, is by far the most knowing of all the candidates — less self-made man than man-made self. His campaign has worked because he understands better than most the immense distance between power and people in the US."
Posting it for no better reason than that it's a good piece of writing, I enjoyed reading it, and I hope that others do too. If it sparks some interesting discussion, so much the better.