“Almost every wrong prediction about this election cycle has come from those trying to force the round peg of this year’s campaign into the square holes of past political wars,” writes The New York Times’ Frank Rich today.
“The year 2008 is far more complex — and exhilarating — than the old templates would have us believe,” says Rich.
The Jeremiah Wright scandal didn’t sink Obama the way pundits thought it would, the Clinton machine failed against all conventional political wisdom, and McCain can’t spin Iraq to his advantage.
And despite the economic pain and the fiasco in Iraq, there’s a sense of optimism. “For all the anger and angst over the war and the economy, for all the campaign’s acrimony, the anticipation of ending the Bush era is palpable, countering the defeatist mood.”
So while the country salivates over the prospect of farewelling their spectacularly unpopular President, George Bush spent the weekend in his home state, walking his daughter Jenna down the aisle. Nothing like a wedding to give people the warm and fuzzies. We’ve included some highlights. The photos are disappointingly understated, the Texan souvenirs are not.
Let it go Hillary. The tenacity that even critics praised suddenly looks tawdry. The persistence against impossible odds appears anything but noble. Long after the party is over, Clinton’s refusal to go home is taking on the trappings of a sad spectacle. Her inability to accept defeat is not, it seems clear, about public service or even politics. It is merely personal. — Michael Goodwin, New York Daily News
McCain’s challenge. Bush’s troubles have sent voters fleeing from his party. In 2004, 47 percent of Americans leaned toward the Democratic Party, with 44 percent leaning Republican — a 3-point difference. Today, it’s 51 to 38 in favor of the Democrats — a gap of 13 percentage points. To win, McCain will have to pry away a lot of voters who currently find the GOP unappealing. Obama (or Clinton), by contrast, will have only to avoid alienating those who are already favorably inclined to a change. Issue after issue also promises to hurt Republicans. — Steve Chapman, RealClearPolitics
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Hillary deathwatch: Superdelegates continue to trickle in for Barack Obama, and John Edwards says Clinton probably can’t win. Polls continue to favor Clinton heavily in the next two primaries. But observers increasingly wonder, what’s the point? Lacking inertia, Clinton dips two-tenths of a point to 2.1 percent. Ever since Obama gained a solid lead in pledged delegates in the weeks after Super Tuesday, his supporters have leaked hints that he has won the private commitments of dozens of superdelegates, particularly in Congress. Every Wednesday morning after a primary, the media would await news of a major shift in superdelegate migratory patterns. It never came. — Slate
And moving right along… With the Democratic nomination now in its endgame, it’s time to speculate on that question that makes politicos weak at the knees: who will be tapped to be vice president? Unlike the top job, there is no election here, and it’s the first big choice that we get to see the candidate make about his cabinet. So, who will Obama pick? Will he favor someone with experience like Joe Biden? A Western governor like Janet Napolitano? Or will he satisfy the media’s desire for a dream team and try for the Obama/Clinton ticket? — Will Thomas, The Huffington Post
Jenna Bush special extra:
Creepy. Jenna and Henry are really married! But the very private 92-degrees-outside Texas wedding at the livestock pond at least offered George W. Bush another chance to do something embarrassing on the dance floor. Guess what song Jenna and Daddy chose for their special dance? Creepy yacht-rock f-ck ballad “You Are So Beautiful,” that’s what. — Wonkette
The leader of the country is the father of the bride. In March, Mr. Bush warmed up the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce by joking about the “difficult spending decisions” and “sensitive diplomacy” that are a part of wedding planning. In a commencement speech last weekend at a Kansas high school that had been ripped apart by a tornado a year earlier, he thanked 18 seniors for rescheduling their graduation ceremony so it would not conflict with his daughter’s big day. — NY Times
Obama endorser marries Jenna. On Saturday afternoon, the Hager family hosted wedding guests at a barbecue in Salado. The wedding, which began at 7:30 p.m., took place on the Bush ranch, before a white limestone altar erected next to a man-made lake. The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston officiated at the ceremony. Mr. Caldwell, a longtime religious adviser to Mr. Bush, has endorsed Senator Barack Obama. — The Huffington Post
President offspring wedding facts 1. President Bush’s daughter, Jenna, is not the first twin to be married while their father was in the Oval Office. Andrew Jackson Jr., a twin boy born to President Jackson’s sister-in-law, was adopted at birth by the president and his wife, Rachel, and raised as their own child. He married Sarah Yorke in 1831 while his father was president. 2. President Nixon’s daughter, Tricia, is the only child of a president married in the Rose Garden. — AP