Hillary Clinton rode to victory in the Pennsylvania primary by ten points and 200,000 votes last night. She thrashed Obama, nowhere more so than among those who were the subject of Obama’s critique of the Pennsylvania electorate before the San Francisco Democrats. According to exit polling reported by CNN, of the approximately 36 percent of the voters who were gun owners, 58 percent voted for Senator Clinton. Among Pennsylvania Democrats who attend church at least once a week, Clinton led Obama 59 percent to 41 percent.
In her victory speech, Senator Clinton touted retreat and defeat as a favor to those serving in the theater:
[A]ll across the world, our men and women in uniform, some on your second, third, or fourth tour of duty, you deserve a commander-in-chief who will finally bring you home…
And Senator Clinton threw in some bad history along with her support for defeat:
It was in this city that our founders declared America’s independence and are permanent mission to form a more perfect union. Now, neither Senator Obama nor I, nor many of you, were fully included in that vision…
It was the Constitution that was drafted, promulgated and ratified to form “a more perfect union.” It was the Constitution that made the United States “a more perfect union.” The preservation of the Constitution from assault by progressives such as Senator Clinton is indeed a permanent mission, but the formation of a “more perfect union” is not itself a permanent mission. And the derogation of the founders as not including blacks and women in their vision is a shibboleth, as Thomas West demonstrates in Vindicating the Founders (and the related online support for the book).
Senator Obama acknowledged the results of the Pennsylvania at a speech in Evansville, Indiana. He portrayed himself as the proponent of a cause that places him on a height from which the scrutiny and criticism to which ordinary presidential candidates are subjected becomes a “distraction” and “silliness” and “tit for tat”:
After fourteen long months, its easy to forget this from time to time to lose sight of the fierce urgency of this moment. Its easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit-for-tat that consumes our politics; the bickering that none of us are immune to, and that trivializes the profound issues two wars, an economy in recession, a planet in peril.
The gentlemen running Obama’s campaign are prominent among those caught up in the distraction and silliness and tit for tat so that the candidate can succeed in his mission to redeem the time.
There might have been a surprise winner in last night’s primary results. Pennsylvania runs a primary closed to registered party members. The AP reports that 10 percent of those voting Tuesday had changed party registration since the start of 2008 so they would be eligible to vote in the Democratic race. About half the party-switchers had been registered Republicans, while the rest had been unaffiliated with either party or were voting for the first time in Pennsylvania.
The AP story doesn’t provide the breakdown of the 10 percent of voters who changed their party registration to vote yesterday, but I wonder if Rush Limbaugh might have been the surprise winner in Pennsylvania. The results of the Pennsylvania primary appear to represent another triumph of Rush’s Operation Chaos.