Cross-posted at OpenLeft
The debate on my blog about whether anything has really changed in the presidential race is interesting, although it doesn't really matter a lot at this point- either way, this thing is now done. My own view is that had Hillary won Indiana big and pulled off a big upset in North Carolina, it wouldn't have changed the basic pledged delegate math, but it sure would have spooked a lot of superdelegates, and it would have kept alive the negative media frame on Obama, so this really was her last chance. You can stick a fork in it.
The media and many political junkies are now bound to be fascinated by the how long will-Hillary-stay-in story. In my view, like the did-last-night-change-anything-debate, that is also pretty close to irrelevant. When you have no chance of becoming the nominee, even your attacks lose their punch because you don't have the same credibility: it's a little like Huckabee in the last few weeks of the GOP campaign - people just weren't paying much attention to what he had to say, and even when he won states, it didn't matter much anymore. Hillary Clinton is obviously a bigger name than Mike Huckabee, but the credibility factor will still erode the power of her attacks.
So here is what I now hope will happen:
1. That the Obama campaign team really have a new focus on putting together their general election team and strategy quickly. One of the things that really killed us in the 2004 election was that the Kerry campaign was so painfully slow to put together their general election staff, operation, and overall strategy. Weeks literally dragged into months without major decisions being made, and all the while Bush was moving into full attack mode. It was incredibly harmful.
The Obama folks need to be very focused on gearing up their operation now. If the primary team needs vacations, fine, put people you trust into planning mode. With our long-drawn primary, this needs to happen now.
2. That the Clinton people need to get used to the fact that Obama is the nominee. All the hyperbolic "he can never win the general" and the "it's not fair" stuff needs to stop right now unless you want a 100-years-in-Iraq, pro-life, pro-Roberts/Alito Supreme Court, 22% lifetime LCV rating, economic right-winger as president. To spend any time or energy at all nursing your resentments is the most fundamentally selfish thing you can do right now. I hate losing elections, I know how badly you feel, and how hard it is, but there is too much at stake to be selfish right now.
3. That all the avid Obama people who have been so obsessed with beating Hillary pat yourself on the back, and then get the hell over it. You've won the first round, get ready for round 2 because just winning the primary doesn't count for anything in the end. Gloating feels great, but it doesn't help Obama in any way, so put off gloating until he's actually won the real election. Keep giving to Obama, but help the DNC and VoteVets and other groups that are working on beating McCain, too. And be a big person, and reach a hand of friendship to all the Hillary people who you have been saying mean things to for a year now. We need them.
I know all of this is obvious, so apologies for that and for the preachy tone, too. But I just had to say it. We have a candidate. Now let's figure out how he wins.
Follow Mike Lux on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ProgressiveLux