Clinton vs Obama Is Like Ali vs Frazier
Between 1971 and 1975, Ali and Frazier fought three times. Ali lost the first and won the next two culminating in the Thrilla In Manila in October 1975. Those three fights made a lasting impression on me, the first one coming when I was 10, the last one coming when I was 14.
Those two heavyweights, including the greatest heavyweight of all time, went at each other for 14-15 rounds. It always seemed to go back and forth. Ali would win the early rounds, then Frazier would get strong and take the middle rounds, and then whoever was still standing in the late rounds would emerge victorious.
And that's what's going on in the Democrat primary battle between Hillary and Barack. They are giving each other all they can take and then some. And both are taking it and firing back with all they've got. It's fun to watch.
Yesterday morning, I was pretty sure Obama was going to deliver the knockout blow by taking California. But he didn't. You can almost hear Barack say Ali's famous line to Hillary at the end of last night:
Hillary, they told me you was all washed up
And you can almost hear Hillary growl back:
Michael Micah Marshall summed up Super Tuesday best for me. He said:
But I think all these competing scenarios make one point clear. The only arguments for one side or the other being a winner here come down to airy and finally meaningless arguments about expectations. And the result tells a different tale. It's about delegates. It's dead even. You've got two well-funded candidates who've demonstrated an ability to power back from defeats. And neither is going anywhere.
The flip side of the proportional representation in delegates is that not only does it allow a challenger like Obama not to get put away early, it also makes it difficult to put away an opponent late. The conventional wisdom is that Obama will do well in this weekend's and next Tuesday's contests. But if he does, proportionality will reign there too. It's hard to see where this doesn't go all the way to the convention.
Contrary to most pundits' opinions, I think this is incredibly helpful to the Democrat party and to the country as a whole. We are going to see more of these two fantastic candidates in the coming month. Maybe we'll get a situation which they'll both have to react to that will be telling. We'll get to see them start to tool their messages against John McCain who appears to be the Republican nominee. We'll get to see them debate each other some more (hopefully).
I don't think we'll see this get very negative. Obama has built his whole campaign on a positive message and he's sticking to it. He turned the other cheek in South Carolina and showed Hillary that going negative against him didn't work. So now it's all about the candidates, their positions, and how they'd govern. As it should be.
The Gotham Gal and I have not given to either candidate yet. I am going to talk to her at breakfast about giving the max to both of them now. They've earned it.
I'm hoping that we'll emerge with a Hillary/Barack ticket at the end of this. That would be very hard to beat. But regardless of whomever emerges from this epic battle victorious, it has been well fought and I will be thrilled to support them.