First, let’s get the night’s creepiest moment out of the way. Viewer discretion is advised (for those prone to nausea):
Now, onto parsing Pennsylvania. Herewith, some of the best bits from the blogosphere.
Lots of spin coming from both campaigns tonight. I’d say the real story is that this leaves us basically where we were.
—Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo
In the world of media narratives, how the press will talk about the primary campaign, it's true we're at the status quo. But in terms of who is actually going to win this thing, last night was actually a bad night for Clinton. Somehow she has to win a lot of delegates, and opportunities to do so lessen with each contest.
A fascinating wrinkle buried in the Pennsylvania exit polls is that Democratic voters do not appear to believe that Obama’s nomination is a foregone conclusion. Given Obama’s purportedly unassailable delegate lead, it was stunning that 43 percent of Pennsylvania voters said they believed that Clinton would be the Democratic nominee. Clearly, we have identified that proportion of the Pennsylvania electorate who never, ever turn on a cable TV news show.
—Walter Shapiro, Salon
But what is striking in the exit polls is the polarization on three lines: gender, race and age. It was dead even with men; but a massive advantage for Clinton among women. The racial difference is obvious as well. But what really leaps out is age. Obama lost every cohort over 40; Clinton lost every cohort under 40. Race also affects the generations in turn: 67 percent of whites over 60 voted for Clinton—a massive 24 point advantage. Among the younger generation, there is much less racial polarization: under 30, whites split evenly. This is a fascinating result. It appears to me as the future struggling to overcome the past.
—Andrew Sullivan, the Atlantic’s Daily Dish
Indeed, if you look at Obama’s vote in Pennsylvania, you begin to see the outlines of the old George McGovern coalition that haunted the Democrats during the ’70s and ’80s, led by college students and minorities.
—John B. Judis, the New Republic
There seems to be an ever-expanding list of rationales why the delegate counts in front of our faces don't actually matter, or don't actually exist, or are terribly misleading. There seems to be an ever-expanding list of supposedly devastating Obama faults, such as the supposed elitism of the black guy from Chicago (seriously?), and there is a cynical and mocking dismissal of political eloquence from a campaign that once counted the political eloquence of their former president as one of their greatest assets. People have muttered over the negative tone of the campaign of late: hell, go negative. It's about time the Democrats figured out how to competently go negative, even though so far they have only bothered to practice it against each other. More irritating is that the negative attacks presented are, well, stupid, and seem increasingly to be predicated on the notion that voters, the press, the pundits, and we political hangers-on are all idiots seeking to cling to the most shallow of accusations. The press and the pundits? OK, I'll give you that one. The rest of us, however, weren't born yesterday.
—Hunter, Daily Kos
Forget delegates and the popular vote for the Democratic presidential nomination. The most important thing Hillary Clinton gained by winning the Pennsylvania primary yesterday was a better argument—indeed, a much better argument.
—Fred Barnes, the Weekly Standard
There’s a saturation level that has been reached. We know the strengths and weaknesses of these candidates. We know what demographics they win against one another and what demos they lose. About half the Democrats in the country like Clinton and about half like Obama. She’s from the Northeast and he's from the Midwest, and they get a tilt in their favor in each of those regions. He can't knock her out because she's really good at campaigning, and she was swamped by him early because he's really good at campaigning. The level of competition is far higher here than it will be in the fall against John McCain, actually. So the superdelegates can make their choice. They could make it today.
The longer Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama get bloodied and bruised, the more superdelegates argue they want the fighting to end. If so, it’s within their power to intervene. So why don’t they?
—Alex Koppelman, Salon’s War Room
There is no doubt this contest is hurtful to the Democratic Party. But it might actually be helpful toward bringing Americans together. I know that sounds odd. But I think that this is actually helping bring Republicans and Democrats together... I personally find myself respecting Hillary more than ever in the past. My guess is, other conservatives feel the same way. Sure, she may be a socialist, but she is at least tough and doesn’t give up.... Is this the Hillary that liberals have always admired—but I was blind to because of philosophical differences?
—Matt Lewis, Townhall
And the Winner Is: John McCain
—Huffington Post lead headline
The Democratic candidates have been tearing each other down, but McCain has lost a little ground against Obama in the polls and is now slightly behind him. McCain has his work cut out for him, and so do conservatives.
—Editors, National Review
Get ready for Guam.
—Joel Achenbach, the Washington Post