June 3, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Obama claims nomination

There was no doubt that Barack Obama would get enough pledged delegates to win the Democratic nomination, and in his speech in St. Paul* tonight, he let everyone know that it's a done deal. Even though Hillary won the South Dakota primary 55%-45%, Obama seems to have won Montana by an equal or greater margin -- they're still counting the votes in the Mountain Time Zone. See CNN.com. Should Obama have waited for Hillary to face up to the cold, harsh reality? Was his declaration of victory premature? "Mission Accomplished?" smile

One has to give him credit for promising that Hillary will be at the center of his plan to nationalize health care. (Groan...) Still, I wonder how soon people will get tired of all [that "this is our moment" rhetoric Obama keeps spouting]. Inspiration grows stale very quickly in the absence of concrete achievements, and he remains a big question mark in that department.

Obama's speech was at the Xcel Energy Center, where the Republicans will hold their convention in early September.

Will Obama's belated decision to cut his ties with the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago neutralize one of the Republicans' most potent rhetorical weapons against him? (See Washington Post.) Only a little. He should have left that church long ago, and doing so at this late date may simply make him look weak, buckling under pressure after having stoutly defended Rev. Wright. The Catholic priest who has preached at that church, Rev. Michael Pfleger, is just as much of a nut as Rev. Wright, and it really makes you wonder about the influence of religious extremists on the Democrat side. I don't think anything the late Rev. Jerry Falwell or Rev. Pat Robertson said compare with the overt hate speech of Wright and Pfleger.

Is Hillary a sore loser?

Some of the media pundits complained that Hillary missed the opportunity to look gracious in this historical moment, but I'm not so sure. Having come so close in this primary race, I think she's entitled to let the process play out until the end. Her speech this evening gave no hint of bitterness, though she probably feels that way. What may raise questions is the way she hinted she might take the Veep position, presumably on her terms, in a sort of co-presidency. Would Bill become Secretary of State? Even though Hillary is probably better equipped to govern, with all her contacts and experience, having Bill hanging around making mischief would count as a major negative factor.