By the hostile reactions from the usual suspects. How dare they ask serious questions about Obama’s past associations with Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers or his association with the radicalism of Pastor Wright! They should have been lobbing softballs about how “universal” Obama’s healthcare plan will be!
Over at The Campaign Spot, Jim Geraghty wonders if Hillary Clinton didn’t knock Obama off his pedestal. Fat chance of that. To most of Obama’s supporters, Obama is the nominee, and Hillary has no right to compete even though Hillary has an at least plausible chance at winning the popular vote and neither candidate can win without appealing to the superdelegates. The reaction to last night’s debate is what I though it would be: it isn’t that Hillary Clinton has been telling Democrats that Obama is going to get creamed in the general, it’s that Hillary should stand aside and let Obama get creamed in the general. Sen. Clinton came perilously close to making that case last night, but never quite went there.
To be honest, Republicans should be exceedingly happy if Obama gets the nomination. Hillary Clinton could win the states that the Democrats need to win to take the White House. Obama has a ton of charisma, but is hampered by a total lack of experience, plenty of skeletons in his closet, and a tendency to actually say what he thinks. Geraghty is right, Team McCain should be very glad that the Democrats are embracing Obama, because the more they fixate on him the less willing they are to see his flaws.
UPDATE: Mitch Berg takes a rhetorical brickbat to the debate.