The Clintons' strategy for the run-up to Super Tuesday is coming into focus, and there's something extraordinarily graceless about it. Both the ex-president and the New York senator led their Saturday night remarks with expressions of delight that "millions of Americans will make their voices heard" on February 5th -- Bill even gave a nasty little dollop of emphasis to the word millions -- as if the half-million-plus Democrats who turned out to vote in South Carolina were an accident of history. It may be good politics to spin tonight's electoral thumping as a small zit on the otherwise smooth face of Hillary's inevitability. But it's disrespectful, it seems to me, to voters and to the process. There was discourtesy, too, in Hillary's brush-off of the election night niceties: "I want to congratulate Senator Obama," she told a Tennessee audience, and then left skidmarks accelerating directly into her stump speech.
Back on the ground in South Carolina, Obama seasoned his soaring oratory with a few elbows. "We are up against the conventional thinking that says your ability to lead as President comes from longevity in Washington or proximity to the White House," he told the crowd, and: "We are up against the idea that it's acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election." It was good to hear him make it clear: He came to play. The Clintons will surely fight like cornered ferrets from here on out.