Obama won and it was decisive. The NY Times is now reporting 55% to 27% for Hillary. Yes, you can take the approach that Bill Clinton did when he minimized the state’s impact by dissing its Black majority in the Democratic primary:
“Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice, in ’84 and ’88. And he ran a good campaign. Senator Obama has run a good campaign here, he has run a good campaign everywhere.” Bringing up Jesse Jackson in response to a question about Mr. Obama seemed to be another way of pointing out that Mr. Obama is black and at the same time marginalizing his importance, as well as South Carolina’s, since Mr. Jackson did not become the nominee.
But that seems truly unfortunate since any Democratic candidate, including his own wife, will have to do very well among Black voters to win the presidency.
Frankly, I’m amazed that Obama was able to take the body blows Bill and Hillary were trying to land last week and still win so convincingly tonight. When I read in yesterday’s Times that the Clinton camp thought Bill’s pugilism was working against Obama, I both bristled and worried. I bristled because it certainly wasn’t working with me (though I support Obama). In fact, I was fuming so much last night that I thought in anger I might find it hard to vote for her in November should she win the nomination. That’s how much the Bill-pounding was bothering me.
I worried too: “What if the Clintonians are right and Bill will help sink Obama’s candidacy?” Tonight, we have a definitive answer to that question. It didn’t work. At least not in South Carolina. We might hear from the Clintons that they’re rethinking this strategy (or we may not). Even if we do, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bill is wheeled out anytime they think some heavy hitting could inflict damage on Obama.
Though I don’t like the bullying, I have to say that it will toughen up Obama should he be the candidate. The Republicans will pull out all the Atwater-Rove tricks they can muster to kill his candidacy come November. If Kerry thought Swiftboating was bad, imagine what they’ll do (what they’ve already tried to do) with an African-American candidate. It will take one tough sonofabitch to withstand that.