- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Woman trouble

“One of the Democratic campaign’s great misperceptions has been that Clinton held an overwhelming advantage among women voters. But that isn’t the case,” Time magazine’s Amy Sullivan writes at www.time.com.

“As expected, Clinton captured the over-65 vote, and Obama won over younger women. But women in the middle split almost evenly between the two,” leaving Mrs. Clinton with just over a majority of women’s votes, the writer said.

“So what does that mean? Clinton and her supporters have charged that sexism is responsible for her loss of the nomination. But it seems more likely that women themselves cost her the nod. The reasons more women haven’t voted for Clinton tell us something about the evolution of feminism and what the future may hold for female politicians.

“Clinton’s run has exposed a divide between what could be termed optimist and pessimist feminists.”

Optimist feminists, unlike the pessimists, “don’t question that a woman can become president or that it will occur in their lifetime.”

“When these women look around, they see themselves making up half of business- and medical-school classes. They are law partners, CEOs and university presidents. And they don’t want to rally behind a female candidate simply because she is a woman.”

McCain’s ‘insiders’

“McCain’s June 3 speech - designed to rob Obama of some media attention - might have been a good idea and it might not. But it was poorly written, badly staged and obviously a text McCain wasn’t comfortable with,” Human Events editor Jed Babbin writes at www.humanevents.com.

“McCain’s themes were good, but the speech made him sound petty, almost as if he were a challenger competing against an incumbent Obama,” Mr. Babbin said.

“So some in McCain’s camp convinced him to grasp for media attention on Obama’s night, and then pushed him to make a speech that wasn’t right for him. And then?

“These supposed ‘advisers’ and ‘strategists’ immediately leaked to the McCain-hostile press that the only problem was McCain, not the speech or how it was managed as a media event.

“All you need to know about these problem ‘insiders’ is in the Politico piece byJonathan Martin entitled, ‘McCain Bumbles Delivery.’

“Martin refers to people among McCain’s ‘inner circle’ who believe that ‘the visual and stylistic contrast with Obama on Tuesday night was both plain to see and painful in the extreme.’ He quotes one McCain adviser saying the contrast between McCain’s speaking skills and Obama’s was, ‘Not good,’ and ‘It’s never going to be his strong suit, and it will always be Obama’s.’ So McCain’s ‘inner circle’ believes that a guy who’s spent decades in politics doesn’t know how to make a decent speech? …

“How much do you want to bet that the guys who wrote the speech or convinced McCain to give it (or both) are the same ones badmouthing him to Politico?”

Out on a limb

“Well, I got the first part right,” Janet Daley writes in the London Telegraph.

“Regular readers may recall that all those months ago, when Hillary Clinton was a dead cert for the Democratic nomination andJohn McCain was the RINO (“Republican in Name Only”) outsider who had too many enemies within his own party to be a plausible candidate, I went out on a crazy limb and predicted that Barack Obama and McCain would be fighting each other for the presidency come November,” the writer said.

“So now for the second half of my prediction: that John McCain would win the general election.

“This bit may seem even more far-fetched … But I am standing by it. If anything, the events of the past few days have confirmed my view.

“Why? Because the historical point that should have looked like Obama’s irreversible moment of destiny - the vanquishing of his immensely powerful rival, Mrs. Clinton - did not, in fact, lift him into clear triumphal territory.

“Given the ecstasy of his own followers and the support he has had from the mainstream media in the United States, that event should have brought with it a sense of inevitability, an overwhelming tide of belief that he was now unstoppable: that the future belonged to him. It should, in short, have given him a real bounce in the polls. But it didn’t. What he got was a very small spike.”

Strange death

“For months, Democrats and the environmental lobby promoted last week’s Senate global-warming debate as a political watershed. It was going to be the historic turning point in U.S. climate-change policy. In the event, their bill collapsed in a little more than three days,” the Wall Street Journal said Monday in an editorial.

“Democrats failed to secure a majority, much less the 60 senators necessary, for a procedural vote on Friday morning that would have allowed the real work of amending the bill to begin. By that point, Majority Leader Harry Reid had already made it plain that he wanted the bill off the floor as quickly as possible - despite calling climate change ‘the most critical issue of our time.’ But not critical enough, apparently, even to let his members vote on the merits, much less amendments,” the newspaper said.

“The strange death of this year’s cap-and-trade movement was so unexpected that some are already predicting a shift in the politics of global warming. That’s premature.”

The newspaper added: “Even Barack Obama and John McCain backed away from a bill they claim to favor. Mr. McCain said he opposed it because it didn’t do enough for nuclear power, while Mr. Obama blamed the failure on Republicans. But the word on Capitol Hill is that both presidential candidates urged Mr. Reid to yank the bill, lest they get trapped into voting for higher energy prices.”

Changing the map

“Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama talks about changing the map in this year’s presidential contest. So do Republicans, who argue that Obama’s poor showing among some Democratic constituencies givesSen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) an opportunity to pilfer a couple of traditionally Democratic states in November,”Stuart Rothenberg writes in Roll Call.

“There will be changes, but don’t expect the 2008 presidential map to look wildly different from those of 2000 and 2004,” Mr. Rothenberg said.

“Barring a full-scale McCain meltdown or the public’s wholesale rejection of the GOP (neither of which can be ruled out), only a handful of states are prime candidates to swing from their traditional partisan bent in recent presidential elections.”

*Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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