Note: Within one hour on another blog (http://pennsylvaniaforjohnmccain.blogspot.com/), I got visitors from Canada, Portugal (two), Japan, and Spain, as well as several from the U.S. I have no idea what brought them, but I hope they return often. My main blog is at: http://camp2008victorya.blogspot.com/.
Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, a traditional back-slapping, arm-twisting Philadelphia politician and staunch backer of Senator Hillary Clinton. Rendell is thoroughly corrupt and (of course) a great fundraiser, but on the positive side, he's generally amiable. Who wouldn't be?
I started writing today's column, and then the power went out (destroying what I'd written) for two-plus hours. Ah, the wonderful (?) weather of western Pennsylvania in winter. At least, it didn't destroy my capacity for alliteration!
Much to the amazement of most of us who live in Pennsylvania, the April 22 primary here this year will really matter, at least for the Democrats. We are the last big state left that hasn't yet held a primary, although people in Florida (a huge state) and Michigan might disagree. Those two states, stripped of their delegates by the authoritarian national Democratic Party, are in political limbo.
(Oops, the power went out again, proving that this probably isn't my day!)
The Pennsylvania Primary will be an important one. Knowing what I know now, I expect the person who wins a majority of the votes will be Hillary Rodham Clinton. There's no reason she shouldn't do as well here as she did in Ohio. I predicted (see below) that she'd win that state by a comfortable margin, which she did. (I also predicted she'd win Texas by a relatively narrow margin, and she carried that state by almost 100,000 votes out of roughly 2.75 million cast.
(There are problems with the Obama Campaign that even the notoriously clueless media are starting to pick up on. Mrs. Clinton has been attacking him on his thin national security credentials and his shaky views -- whatever they are -- on NAFTA. After taking off like a rocket, Obama shows some signs of falling like a rock. He is not a credible candidate for President, although he may end up with the nomination.)
If Pennsylvania will be significant in April, it will be profoundly so in the general election. This is a state that's difficult for Republicans to win -- Gore carried it in 2004 and John Kerry won by a small margin in 2004 -- but it's one that John McCain probably has to win if he's to prevail next November.
Why? Because Ohio, the state that put GWB over the top in 2004, is looking as if it will go for the Democratic candidate (probably Obama). In presidential races that Republicans win, they generally have to carry Ohio. However, that state's generally miserable economy, especially in manufacturing, could put it in the Democratic nominee's column.
Pennsylvania is an unusual state in its politics. The Democrats have a big registration edge, but many of the Democrats here -- including in Beaver County, where I live -- are moderate or even conservative. The state has a huge number of military veterans, many of whom will be attracted to John McCain, who of course is a veteran and a former POW.
The key for Senator Obama will be the Black vote in Philadelphia and, to a lesser extent, in Pittsburgh. The rest of the state -- literally every county other than Allegheny and Philadelphia -- should go for Hillary Clinton. The Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, an old-time back room, arm-twisting politician, is strongly behind Senator Clinton, and his support will help her.
Gov. Rendell has a big mouth. He said a few weeks ago that a good segment of Pennsylvania white Democrats wouldn't vote for a Black candidate. He's probably right, much as I hate to admit it. Look for Rendell, a Super Delegate, to make other colorful statements in the next seven weeks. He claims he doesn't want the vice-presidential nod, but many of us don't believe that.
Much more on Pennsylvania to come. If you're a real political junkie, buy a copy of Michael Barone's The Almanac of American Politics, 2008 edition. Barone knows a whole lot about Pennsylvania and its unusual politics.