By Josh Kardon of Portland, Oregon. Josh is the chair of the Oregon Steering Committee for Hillary Clinton for President. Previously, Josh contributed "Why I support Senator Hillary Clinton for President". [Editor's note: Josh is also Senator Ron Wyden's chief-of-staff, though Senator Wyden has not endorsed any candidate for President.]
January 8. February 5. March 4. Three dates. Three opportunities for Barack Obama to close the deal and solidify his status as the presumptive Democratic nominee. And three failures. New Hampshire, Super Tuesday, and Ohio/Texas were each points in this race when, against all odds, Hillary Clinton won. She was outspent -- sometimes by margins of 4-to-1. Political pundits predicted her demise and sharpened their epitaths. But Hillary prevailed.
April 22. Another missed Obama opportunity, another Hillary win. Another sign that one candidate has considerable strengths in must-win swing states, while the other isn't getting it done. At what point do activist Democrats acknowledge that Hillary's support is both wide and deep with the very voters who, together, can provide the long-elusive margin of victory for Democrats in the '08 presidential campaign?
Candidates outspending their opponents by over 3-to-1 give the winner's speech on election night 999 times out of a thousand. Candidates receiving months of embarrassingly one-sided coverage from progressive blogs, and a to-die-for, election-eve interview and a wink from kingmaker, Jon Stewart, are supposed to cruise to victory. But Hillary again demonstrated extraordinary strength with working class voters, Latinos, women, and Catholics, despite Obama's extraordinary material advantages. These voters, Hillary's voters, are the cornerstones to victory in essential swing states.
As we begin the primary contest in Oregon, Democrats need to also turn an eye toward the general election on the horizon. It's time to ask how someone who hasn't been able to win any of the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Florida in a primary expects to carry them in a general election. How can Senator Obama spend that much money and not close the deal? What does it say about Sen. Obama's viability as the Democratic nominee when he outspent Hillary by over 3-to-1 – much of that on fairly typical negative ads and negative mail – and still lost yet another must-win swing state? Is Sen. Obama truly "the One" (Oprah's words, not mine) or, in fact, another very talented, decent politician whose relative inexperience makes him the second best opponent against John McCain in November?
Obviously, Hillary started the Oregon primary with some catching up to do, and that process began three weeks ago. I want Oregon to know that Hillary intends to compete and compete vigorously in our state. If you are sick of losing in November and want to work for the candidate who is best prepared for this immensely complex job on Day 1, please check out our website and volunteer to canvass, call, or participate in house parties. Help select the Democrat with the best shot of winning back the White House. We have thousands of Oregon volunteers to keep you company, and as Hillary proved once again in Pennsylvania -- because ours is the Democratic Party -- a lot of people power can overcome a whole lot of money.
If you want change, there is one date on your calendar that should have the biggest, boldest, circle around it -- November 4. Who is best prepared to get the job done on November 4?