Meet the new neighbors
If you're already suffering from "primary fatigue," the ailment that causes you to avert your eyes from the television when you see Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain or Mike Huckabee on the tube, your life just got worse. By virtue of her victories in Ohio and Texas, Hillary Clinton has had her campaign rejuvenated, and Pennsylvania is the next target of her and Obama's affections. With no other major races on the primary calendar between now and our April 22 vote, the Democratic candidates can turn their full attention to us, the lucky voters of the Keystone State. Both contenders have millions upon millions to spend on television ads, direct mailings and phone calls to us while we're trying to eat our dinners. They also will be appearing here in person, again and again and again. And don't expect them to be very friendly about it. In the run-up to Ohio and Texas, Clinton rolled out a TV ad essentially saying that if we vote for Obama and he becomes president, the terrorists will eat our children. If she thinks that worked, we'll be having that message force-fed to us over the next six weeks. You and I will be able to recite the Clinton and Obama stump speeches after unavoidably absorbing them through aural osmosis. But when the vote in our state is over, the political landscape is likely to be virtually unchanged. Obama, even after the setbacks in Ohio and Texas, maintains about a 100-delegate lead over Clinton, and it would be virtually impossible for her to catch him by the time the primaries are over, barring a major disaster for the Obama camp. (Recommended reading: Jonathan Alter's piece on "Hillary's Math Problem" at newsweek.com) Clinton will continue to beat the dead horse on the seating of non-delegate delegates from Florida, where no one campaigned, and Michigan, where she was the only candidate on the ballot. It's hard to imagine that happening, barring a Bush 2000-style legal battle. So, then, it comes down to the superdelegates. Clinton will lobby them with the argument that she's won all the big states and is the only one who can win them against McCain in November. Obama will counter that he's the guy who has collected the most delegates through the actual voting process, and the superdelegates should follow the "will of the people." It should be fun to watch, even more so when the candidates are no longer pestering us.