Hillary Clinton Blooms, Barack Obama Swoons, John Edwards Croons

Update: United Transportation Union endorses Hillary.

The United Transportation Union today (Aug. 28) became the first labor union in America to endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States.

“It is a high honor and a distinct privilege to be the first labor union in making this endorsement,” said UTU International President Paul Thompson. “The UTU has a long history of picking winners early. Hillary will be a president that America’s working families can count on. Time and again, as a United States senator, she has stood with us.

The UTU intends to devote our considerable resources to encouraging our 125,000 active and retired members, their families, friends and neighbors to register to vote and cast ballots on Election Day 2008 for Hillary.”

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Hillary Clinton is in Bloom, Barack Obama is in a Swoon, John Edwards Croons.

Hillary Clinton has been blooming beautifully since she announced she was running for President. She is Ready. She is ready to lead and ready to bring about needed changes. Her poll numbers reflect the affection and respect Americans have for her.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama is in full swoon. Here is the Chicago Sun-Times on fad of the month Obama:

As he makes his run for president, Barack Obama often talks about his background. [snip]

For months this strategy had little variation. Over and over, during the winter, spring and early summer, in stump speeches across the nation, Obama talked about his uniqueness, his understanding of the world outside America and his idea of knitting the country together in a common cause, eliminating the rancor and divisiveness that had been polarizing the country, particularly since George W. Bush entered office.

And he got huge crowds out to see him, as he is so often wont to note in his speeches: 12,000 people in Springfield to hear his presidential announcement speech; 20,000 people in Austin, Texas; 10,000 people in Iowa City; thousands and thousands everywhere he went: to Oakland, Calif., to Las Vegas, all coming to hear what Obama described as his message of hope.

Norma ObamaWe noticed in Obama’s Daily Show appearance that Obama loves to talk about the large crowds coming out to meet him. Obama loves to be loved. Obama talked about those large crowds as if they had happened recently, as if they had happened the day before. But like silent screen star Norma Desmond living out her lost years of stardom on Sunset Boulevard, Obama’s days of glory have seen the sun set.

And it worked well, initially. He was considered a fresh voice, a candidate of the young, someone in the mold of John F. Kennedy. And then the crowds started to dissipate. Obama didn’t do as well as his aides had anticipated in the presidential debates and forums. He paused a second or two too long at times. He seemed awkward. He made a few gaffes. A poised Hillary Clinton was often declared the winner.

A few gaffes? More like a gaffe a day – all the while this “honest” candidate pretended that they were not gaffes.

And when he went to the Iowa State Fair in mid-August, the local television station had a booth in which fairgoers were invited to show support by putting corn kernels in jars. Clinton had 4,342 kernels in hers; Edwards had 3,523 in his; Obama had 2,846 in his, less than Republican contender Mitt Romney.

The polls have also reflected Clinton’s national dominance. CNN’s in early August: Clinton 40 percent, Obama 21 percent. Rasmussen’s in late August: Clinton 39 percent, Obama 23 percent. People were getting to know Obama, but they weren’t certain about his ability to don the presidential cloak.

Noting old poll data not consistent with the latest polls, the Sun-Times notes that Obama’s hopes lie in tearing down Hillary and running away from debates.

And this is what Obama is holding onto as he shifts the gears of his strategy, taking bolder attacks against Clinton (note his description of her as “Bush-Cheney lite” on foreign affairs); retreating from many debates and presidential forums; presenting more detailed policies, as in his recent outline about how to resurrect a New Orleans still suffering two years after the debacle of Hurricane Katrina.

Meanwhile the Washington Post hammered in another nail which shows the political calculation that drives Obama’s flowery talk.

Sen. Barack Obama had hired Pete Rouse for just such a moment.

It was the fall of 2005, and the celebrated young senator — still new to Capitol Hill but aware of his prospects for higher office — was thinking about voting to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice. Talking with his aides, the Illinois Democrat expressed admiration for Roberts’s intellect. Besides, Obama said, if he were president he wouldn’t want his judicial nominees opposed simply on ideological grounds.

And then Rouse, his chief of staff, spoke up. This was no Harvard moot-court exercise, he said. If Obama voted for Roberts, Rouse told him, people would remind him of that every time the Supreme Court issued another conservative ruling, something that could cripple a future presidential run. Obama took it in. And when the roll was called, he voted no.

“Pete’s very good at looking around the corners of decisions and playing out the implications of them,” Obama said an interview when asked about that discussion. “He’s been around long enough that he can recognize problems and pitfalls a lot quicker than others can.”

Pete Rouse is the Outsider’s Insider, a fixer steeped in the ways of a Washington that Obama has been both eager to learn and quick to publicly condemn. The meticulous workaholic rose through three decades of unglamorous legislating to become arguably the most influential Democratic aide in the Senate when he worked for then-Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.).

His familiarity with Washington makes him somebody whose judgment I trust,” Obama said. And yet this is the Washington of “cheap political points” and “petty” partisanship that figures prominently in Obama’s public speeches these days. “I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington,” Obama tells his audiences. “But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

As Obama’s star falls steadily in the polls, Obama’s poll numbers are meeting those of that crooner of popular but meaningless speeches which contrast so sharply with his record – John Edwards. Today’s poll numbers show that Edwards is now tied or at least closing in on Obama.

Soon Hillary will earn with actual votes the Democratic nomination. Obama and Edwards will sit at home reliving old glories and enjoying happier memories. Like the disgraced fake pop duo Milli Vanilli all they will have are memories.

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