Traveling through Chestertown, Maryland up to Wilimington, Delaware and then on up to New York was roughly the route that George Washington used to take when making the journey from his home at Mt. Vernon up to Manhattan. That’s what I’m doing this morning — and part of it in the car, where I’ve been listening to post-debate reactions on various Pennsylvania radio stations.
I didn’t get the debate turned on until 8:30 pm. Quick reactions. I thought that what I saw of Hillary Clinton last night was extremely impressive. She really knows her issues — and I’ve begun to develop a knee-jerk negative reaction to Barack Obama’s response style in debates. The contrast between his brilliant oratory in speeches and his ability to respond to questions clearly is profound and depressing. But that’s just me perhaps.
And how strange it was to hear Obama make the statement that “Israel’s security is paramount” while in contrast Hillary Clinton rode to the rescue of the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the UAE, and other states in the region if confronted by increasing Iranian bellicosity and aggression. Hillary gave the “no false choice” response — and that used to be turf that I thought Obama basically owned, at least until recently.
Obama seemed on the defensive to me in the parts of the debate I saw — and the Hillary Clinton that performed last night seemed refreshed, serious, studied. This Hillary hasn’t been on display for a bit.
I know it’s increasingly less and less likely — but as I think that Barack Obama is going to pull off the nomination, I really think his team needs to either offer Clinton the VP slot, even if she rejects it, and then put Durbin and Schumer on hold and offer Hillary the Senate Majority leader slot.
I don’t see a real pathway for Hillary Clinton to win given the numbers we are seeing in the Pennsylvania and other races — but what is absolutely clear is that Obama’s possible win will not be one in which Clinton was vanquished.
He is going to have to accomodate her franchise in some important way — and his team had better be thinking about that, or they will probably suffer a very serious political insurgency that undermines them in the coming battle with John McCain.
I’m off to New York now on the AMTRAK to New York to moderate an evening book party and reception for my colleague Parag Khanna and his new book The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order. The Washington Note is supporting this reception tonight — and if any readers would like to attend, zap me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the attendance information. I need full name and affiliation (if any) for the building security folks.
— Steve Clemons