Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday in South Carolina

Remember how the national media flocked to South Carolina looking for campaign fliers accusing John McCain of having a drug-addicted illegitimate daughter with ties to al-Qaeda?

Who knew she would turn out to be Michelle Obama?

So begins my Boston Herald column today on the South Carolina Democratic Primary. The primary that Barack Obama will winning.

According to The State newspaper in Columbia, trends indicate a record turnout for the SC Democratic primary, which is misleading since this is only the third presidential primary the state party's ever had.

And as predicted, the primary has turned into a race-based trap for the Obama campaign, set with cynical brilliance by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Barack will win, and will seal his identity as the "black candidate." According to Fox News, some polls how Sen. Obama getting as little as 10% of the white vote. 10%!

Game, set and match.

Jim Geraghty at the Campaign Spot expresses some confusion over the Clinton strategy:

I can't quite figure out the Hillary strategy in South Carolina. To me, you either conclude that you're not going to make up the gap in the polls, skip the state, and argue that South Carolina doesn't matter against the backdrop of all of the high-delegate states on Super Duper Tuesday. Or you put all your resources in and you try to deal Obama a terrible blow in a state he ought to win...To me, this hybrid approach is the worst of both worlds - just enough effort to demonstrate that Hillary wanted to win, not enough effort to really make a dent in Obama's lead.

So why is she (sort of) campaigning? Because if she abandons the state and loses, she's just playing the Giuliani card ("I'll get 'em in Florida!) and the loss doesn't count. But if she and her husband storm across the state begging for votes and still get crushed--by losing 90% of the black vote--then she lost because "it was a black thing."

In fact, the bigger she loses today, the better she does tomorrow.