That may sound a bit underwhelming (or underwhelmed) but while things are still being drawn out by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the likelihood is that Barack Obama will be securing the nomination in relatively short order. Which I’m more than fine with, really — the hypercheerleaders for him were sometimes a bit guileless, which I always find amusing when it comes to politics, but I’ve heard it argued, and quite understandably, that you need to be cheerily positive to some degree or another to succeed in American politics in general, and if that’s the case then Obama’s got it in spades and so do a lot of his supporters. It’s all good there, and we’ll see what goes from here.
But it’s a slog. A big ol’ slog, half a year. I’ve hammered my larger points about what will determine the election home often enough on here that I’ll spare you for now (but maybe not later). Instead it’s interesting to see what other undercurrents are up for grabs right about now. For instance:
- As I linked yesterday, John McCain made a speech about judicial philosophy and making sure to appoint the right sorts of judges and so forth. The issue of the Supreme Court is a massive one that I’ve not ignored, but I admit I’ve underplayed a bit, partially because I see it as an issue that mostly drives those who are invested in the judicial process more fully than I. It isn’t only that, of course, and regardless whether or not you care about constitutional originalism as a theory or not, it’s the practical applications that have mattered to many people.
But what’s interesting is how the speech has been received by its putative audience, the judiciary-interested right — badly. Or at least, with deep suspicion. Andy McCarthy at NRO:
The Gang of 14 deal killed more judicial nominations than it saved. It elevated senatorial privilege over constitutional duty. It protected senators who didn’t want to stand up and be counted. It took off the table in 2006 what would have been a winning issue for Republicans. And once the Democrats won the midterm elections, it ensured that Sen. Leahy could take things from there — slow-walking nominations into a record number of vacancies he is waiting for a Democrat president to fill. There’s bipartisanship for you.
If McCain really wants to open up this debate again, good luck
There’s plenty similar out there. McCain’s got a long road to walk, at least with this bunch. It may not matter at all in the end, but we’ll see.
- Where the real paranoia among the GOP seems to be, though, lies in the House:
…in a closed-door session at the Capitol, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told members that the NRCC doesn’t have enough cash to “save them” in November if they don’t raise enough money or run strong campaigns themselves….Cole, on the defensive in the wake of special election losses in Louisiana and Illinois, pointed his finger Tuesday at his Republican colleagues, telling them that they had been too stingy in helping fund party efforts. He also complained that the Republicans ran weak candidates in both Louisiana and Illinois — a charge Cole made despite the fact that, as NRCC chairman, he could have played a major role in choosing the party’s candidates if he hadn’t made the decision to stay out of GOP primaries.
In his meeting with members, Cole distributed a document showing that even former Republican political guru Karl Rove had badmouthed Jenkins, according to GOP sources. It’s not clear whether Cole meant it as a criticism of Rove or of Jenkins.
The idea of the GOP having less money than the Democrats onhand amuses me — shilling for big business openly (as opposed to privately — which plenty of Democrats are happy to do, it should be noted) should have brought them greater rewards, you’d think. Alack.
- Finally, the current administration is reminding all of us why we loved them so:
The Bush administration has not found disaster recovery files for White House e-mails from a three-month time period in 2003, according to court documents filed this week, raising the possibility that messages sent before and after the invasion of Iraq may never be recovered.
The White House chief information officer, Theresa Payton, said in a sworn declaration that the White House has identified more than 400 computer backup tapes from March through September of 2003 but that the earliest recorded file was dated May 23 of that year.
That period was one of the most crucial of the Bush presidency. The United States launched the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, and President Bush declared the end of major combat operations on May 1.
Payton and other officials said that older e-mails could still be contained on the tapes because of the way the files are dated.
Of course. Did I mention the raid on the Office of Special Counsel?
How much of any of this remains as even an undercurrent in six months is unclear, still. Long, long ways to go yet. But for now, the narrative at least got a little sharper. The better for the various unkindest cuts to come.