After Super Tuesday, analysts tell us that what happened is that everything got more confused. I think the only thing that got more confused were the analysts. Things seemed pretty clear to me.
It seems abundantly clear that John McCain sewed up the Republican nomination. The two saddest people in America today are Mitt Romney and Chris Kelley - Romney for doing hugely more poorly than he needed to that he is now considering dropping out, and Kelly who won't have Romney around to write Mitticisms about with scathing ridicule. Mike Huckabee is not getting the Republican nomination. First, he's so far back in delegates and polling numbers that he's closer to Ron Paul, and second, he's Mike Huckabee. If he stays in the race, it's because he's trying to build up visibility for 2012, God help us. (Literally.) John McCain will be the G.O.P. nominee - by default and being the lesser of eight evils, as the others fell away under the pressure of reality crushing emptiness.
The Democratic situation is, of course, different. Not much more than a month ago, experts thought that Super Tuesday would answer all questions for the Democrats - and one can almost make the case that it did. Just not the way experts thought. (Yes, I'm being quite facetious, but with a hint of truth underneath.)
The results of Super Tuesday simply didn't confuse the Democratic race as much as the reports are trying to say.
For starters, although the Republicans have two wings that are split with anger to the point of red-zone hatred, the Democrats just have two candidates who voters haven't decided between. There's nothing confusing here. While there are exceptions on the fringes, most Democrats would happily accept one or the other at the top of the ticket.
But the Democratic race got less confused in another way, as well. While on the surface Tuesday's results made things tighter, and it stopped the tsunami that Obama's campaign appeared to be (whether it actually was a tsunami or not), Barack Obama was much-helped by the night.
Only a month ago, Hillary Clinton was supposed to clean-up on Super Tuesday and end the race. As the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday, "This night was supposed to be Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's coronation. Months ago, when she had the pedigree and the name recognition, the money and the endorsements, it seemed a lock that Super Tuesday would be the day she wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton herself predicted as much in December, at a closed-door reception for donors in Sacramento. It didn't happen." And it wasn't just that it didn't happen, but consider: Barack Obama won 13 of the 22 races, something that is a far bigger story than is being reported. Yes, Senator Clinton won some big races - but she was supposed to win those, even Massachusetts.
Additionally, Senator Obama's campaign may not be a speeding steamroller, but it clearly has momentum, still. And with some big races ahead and time for him to build on that momentum, there's no reason from recent history not to expect that he will build on it. Also, as an analyst noted, the longer a race goes on, the more it favors the challenger - it says the voters refuse to settle on the frontrunner.
Finally, not only has Obama's fundraising been powerful, but he keeps picking up more endorsements than Clinton, especially in Congress, all of whom are Super Delegates. If this does go to the Convention, as it appears, Obama is more likely therefore to be the one with momentum and Congressional support.
To be clear, Tuesday night didn't make Barack Obama the winner - Hillary Clinton's campaign remains its own powerhouse - but it gave him much more out of Super Tuesday than analysts are suggesting. When your big news is that you slowed someone else's tsunami, that's hardly the headline you were hoping for...especially when you had recently expected that headline to be announcing your ascension to the gates of Valhalla.