Media Deserve No Plaudits
The moderators of this week's Democratic debate are taking a beating for their performance, but the truth is, most of the media deserves a lot of criticism for the way it's covered this campaign. Consider, for example, how wrong its conventional thinking has been.
Here's just a partial list (and I'll be the first to admit that I've been off target, too, in some earlier prognostications):
--The nominees will be decided on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5. Pretty much true for McCain, clearly not for Democrats.
--States holding primaries much earlier will have a large hand in deciding the nominee. On the Democratic side, it's the last few states that seem to have more clout.
--To be taken seriously, a candidate will need to have raised $100 million at least by the end of 2007. McCain's campaign ran on fumes and credit cards, barely able to charter the Straight Talk Express bus.
--Hillary Clinton will smash all fundraising records. Obama has far outpaced her.
--Americans will be bored senseless by such a long campaign. Voter interest and new registration is breaking records.
--Former President Bill Clinton will be a huge asset to Hillary Clinton. His controversial comments on race and electability and pit-bull style of trying to push Obama into the rails hurt her -- and also cost him some of his respect in the party.
--Al Gore may step in and shake up the campaign. He's still on a Nobel peace prize high.
--Mike Huckabee is a joke of a candidate. He was not, winning some big primaries, endearing himself with social conservatives and scaring the party establishment with his momentum before he dropped out.
--Iraq will dominate as an issue with voters. To a degree it is, but economic concerns in a softening economy have trumped Iraq for Issue No. 1.
--It's almost impossible for a sitting senator to be elected. Clearly one will be.
--Hillary Clinton's initial vote on authorizing war with Iraq will dog her. Not nearly as much as many said.
This poor record means we should take the remaining predictions with a healthy dose of skepticism, including:
Obama has an insurmountable lead in delegates
Clinton is holding back some heavy opposition research on Obama for a late attack.
There's no way Clinton and Obama will share the ticket.
McCain's position on the war in Iraq will hurt him in November.
Young people will turn out in droves for Obama in November.
All true? Maybe. Or maybe not.