A Win for Obama — Or Is It?

By Mark Mooney

Jan 26, 2008 8:06pm

As Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, jets off to Nashville and leaves the palmettos of South Carolina far behind her, it seems clear that judging by the harsh assessments out there, Team Clinton would not win a Beltway Elites Caucus this evening.

"The Clintons are in the process of doing the impossible: making the 2008 election a referendum on them, rather than on the Republicans," opines the Economist.  "And the Republicans are inching towards nominating their one candidate, Mr. McCain, who has broad popular appeal. If what ought to be a stroll in the park in November becomes a real fight, then the Democrats will know who to blame."

"Were the conservatives right about Bill Clinton all along?" asks New Republican Jon Chait in the Los Angeles Times.

Matt Bai of the New York Times Magazine re-examines  his Dec. 23 assessment that Bill "Clinton doesn’t like to play an overtly political role anymore; he enjoys the statesmanlike aura that surrounds any ex-president, and he is not about to undermine it, even for his wife’s campaign.” Bai says "When I saw Mr. Clinton speak in Walterboro, S.C., yesterday, his ‘statesmanlike aura,’ which had been blinding when I saw him a few months ago, seemed to have dimmed."

"Billary loves to whine about the ‘politics of personal destruction,’" says Colby King in the Washington Post. "But Billary’s campaign has taken to the low road."

"The Clintons’ Patronizing Strategy," headlines Newsweek’s Jon Alter  "The latest attacks on Obama insult voters’ intelligence."

The question is whether tonight’s is a Pyrrhic Victory for Mr. Obama.

That’s if the Clintons have succeeded in their "larger campaign to polarize voters around race and marginalize Obama (in the insidious words of one of her top advisers) as ‘The Black Candidate,’" as the incisive Ron Fournier writes.

What do you think? Or do you reject the premise entirely — as no doubt President Clinton publicly would.

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