Sunday, May 04, 2008

Andrew Sullivan for Unity Ticket

Stop the presses; hell has frozen over and the beast is riding high in a new sleigh.
I never thought I'd even consider it; but times change; politics shifts, and in the roiling flux of this American campaign, a bold unifying gesture could make the Democratic ticket — and an Obama presidency — unstoppable almost overnight. It's still highly unlikely, but so was JF Kennedy running with Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan running with the first George Bush.

The rationale for a fusion ticket is the same as for any grand political compromise. Very few people in Washington believe that Barack Obama can now be denied the Democratic nomination. Even after the past month, as Hillary Clinton has hung in there, as the scandal about Jeremiah Wright (Obama's firebrand cleric) scandal has battered the post-racial Obama brand, and as white Reagan Democrats have proven resistant to a new young black freshman senator, Obama has actually increased his number of delegates. Clinton simply cannot overcome the edge he built up in February and March, however cruel his April turned out to be. And the superdelegates — who will ultimately decide -- have also been slowly trending his way.

And the raw truth is: Clinton's victories in Ohio and Pennsylvania and persistence in states such as North Carolina and Indiana, which vote this Tuesday, have kept Obama from closing the deal definitively. Worse: the demographics seem to be hardening into a difficult dynamic for him. White working-class women — crucial to Democratic marginal states — remain resistant to his charms. Hispanics are also iffier than they should be. Somehow, the Clintons' brutal assault on his brand, aided and abetted by conservative media outlets, such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, have managed to dent this unifier a little.

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