With friends like Air America…

OK, somebody please clear something up for me: exactly whose side is Air America’s Randi Rhodes on? (Hat tip: Radio Equalizer, via Hot Air.)

“Friends with all the teenage boys?”  Are you kidding me?  Does Rhodes really think she’s helping Barack Obama by casting Sarah Palin as a closet child molester?

I’m wondering if the same air of “inevitability” that did in Hillary Clinton and her supporters during the primary may well be choking Barack Obama’s bid now.  Explanation below the break.

In the run-up to the Democratic nomination, Hillary’s strength showed in the primaries.  However, the structure of the caucuses, in which Obama’s activist core could exert more influence per attendee, worked against her.  By the time this occurred to her campaign, Obama had won twelve straight contests and nearly every single caucus (of the non-territory caucus states, Hillary in the end won only New Mexico).  Hillary came out swinging hard to turn the momentum back in her direction, and made a good show of it, but succeeded only in delaying what had become the new “inevitability.”

Just as the Clinton campaign failed to take into account the fact that Obama could use the nature of the caucuses against her, so has the Obama campaign failed to take into account the fact that he hadn’t sewn up the election yet.  Even after his nomination, in general-election terms Obama still wasn’t much more than the handsome “not-McCain” who could work magic with a TelePrompTer.  His supporters outside his base came from McCain’s failure to give them a positive reason to vote Republican.  That failure has been remedied to a great extent with his selection of Palin as his running mate, strengthening his reformer credentials, reassuring conservatives, and matching Obama’s youth and fresh-faced vigor.

One parallel between the faltering Clinton (primary) and Obama (general) campaigns is that at the first signs of implosion, they started campaigning ugly, taking the kitchen-sink approach in trying to find something to stop the advance of the opposition.  Now that independents, undecideds, and disaffected GOPers (not to mention a good deal of angry Hillaryites) are letting go of their soft, grudging Obama leanings and gravitating toward McCain/Palin, the Democrats are seeing for the first time that this presidential election could slip away.  Randi Rhodes, the walking definition of “campaigning ugly,” is a manifestation of the ensuing panic.

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