This seems like a moment. Barack Obama is used to drawing big crowds, but he’s seen nothing like the some 75,000 people who gathered along the Portland waterfront to hear him speak.

The Swamp paints a picture: “The crowd covers the lawn here at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, from the streetside entry gates down to the Willamette River. Portland fire officials estimate 60,000 people are packed inside the park proper and another 10-15,000 are watching outside the gates. Spectators are lining the bridge behind Obama and watching, bikini-clad, from boats on the river.”

Change is coming, and it’s wearing a bikini, apparently. It also drinks soy lattes — Oregon is organic oatmeal honey wholemeal sourdough eatin’ country, so the large crowd isn’t as meaningful as if it were in, say, Kentucky, where Hillary is currently attempting to work her magic.

But the results from Oregon and Kentucky — set to trickle in our time tomorrow — just don’t have the same air of anticipation that have preceded the other Democratic primaries. Maybe it’s the sense that Hillary’s political obituary has already been written, and that people are impatient for the real fight. Or maybe that’s just the media’s spin, which is what Clinton would argue. 

Either way, competing with the image of 75,000 people screaming adoringly for Obama is a tall order for the candidate who won’t quit.

McCain’s starlets. Did anyone catch John McCain’s two appearances on Saturday Night Live this weekend? He was sort of funny if a bit wobbly and a tad, you know, old. He’s really trying to court the youngs, isn’t he? What with the SNL and that horribly awkward Dwight Schrute reference on The Daily Show. Oh and the hip, young celebrity endorsements! He’s got them from reality TV Hills girls, and now he’s roping in soap star annoyance Leven Rambin. Read more about the influential brainless young starlets that he’s got in his camp, after the jump. — Gawker

Hillary should be proud. It was clear that the 17-month campaign had taken a toll on Clinton, but at the same time has been incredibly transformative. She famously announced after winning New Hampshire that she’d found her own voice. But, in fact, she has kept finding it and refinding it — until now, finally, she seems to be more in touch with her own message, instead of the message Mark Penn’s poll numbers told her to adopt. And in doing so, she has redefined and taken over the Clinton brand. Forget welfare reform, free-trade uber alles, and third-way DLC-economics. Since hitting her stride in Ohio, Hillary has transformed the Clinton brand into one that represents working-class Americans. Because of this, she is the Clinton who will now be most relevant to the country’s future. — Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post

McCain’s perception problem. McCain has built his reputation in Congress on fighting special interests and the lobbying culture, but he has been criticized for months about the number of lobbyists serving in key positions in his campaign. Until recently, his top political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., was the head of a Washington lobbying firm. Black retired in March from BKSH & Associates, the firm he helped found, to stay with the campaign. Davis ran a lobbying firm for several years but has said he is on leave from it. — The Washington Post

Culture wars are all the conservatives have left. Modern movement conservatism was also fundamentally based on three things: low taxes, anti-communism, and social traditionalism. (“Small government” was never more than a fig leaf.) Today communism is gone (and Islamofascism has failed to rally the troops in the same way), taxes literally can’t be lowered any more, and s-x-and-gender fundamentalism has become an albatross that’s rapidly producing a generation of young voters more repelled by conservatism than any generation since World War II. Even in the late 70s, there were plenty of traditionally liberal goals still to be fought for. Not enough to build a winning coalition around, but still something. Modern conservatives don’t even have that. The culture war is pretty much all they have left, and its clock has run out.The Washington Monthly

Lay off my wife. Barack Obama has ordered Republican party activists to leave his wife alone after a foretaste of the rough ride to come if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination. The Democrat senator for Illinois sent out the blunt message: “Lay off my wife” after the Tennessee Republican party released a four minute video on YouTube, rehashing comments that Michelle Obama made during campaigning in Wisconsin in February. — The Times UK

Get more Crikey, for less

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

Join us this week for 50% off a year of Crikey.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
50% off