Electability Fail

John Cole invites us to look back unkindly at "Big Tent Democrat's" (aka Armando) gnashing of teeth about Obama's "electability" during the Democratic primary, and I had to oblige. I read TalkLeft during the primary, mostly as a lark, the same way I still read those hilarious PUMA blogs, So I certainly remembered how silly a lot of the punditry got. In BTD's defense, stupid arguments were made on both sides of the Clinton-Obama divide, and ultimately intervening events and the epic fail of the McCain campaign probably had a lot more to do with the outcome than favorability ratings of candidates from April. That said, please enjoy this trifecta of electibility genius from Big Tent Democrat. May he never cease making predictions!

First, on April 10th, and after months of arguing that Obama's "electability" in PA/OH/FL made him a toxic nominee, BTD made this startling admission:

At the end of the day, sadly and perhaps shamefully for me, I actually agree that Obama should be supported on elctability grounds. But I sooo detest the nasty Hillary Hate that sanctimonious Obama supporters like DeLong will display while feeding the most vile behavior. If they dropped the act, it would be much easier to swallow.

Interesting... 6 days later, he was singing a bit of a different tune.

The "Creative Class" is intent to be the bulwark of Obama Fandom, apparently utterly incapable of discussing the political realities in rational fashion. The reality now is Clinton runs better in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania than Obama. That is not to say Obama can not win in Ohio and Pennsylvania (he can't in Florida imo), but rather it is to say that Clinton would be more likely to win in those states (just as Obama is more likely to win in Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, etc.)

I guess he deserves credit for the caveats (nice call with FL, btw). This is a lesson in the futility of determining second choice preference from primary results I guess.

But wait! Just 4 days after that BTD had another thought:

As someone who has a preference solely based on who I think is more electable (due to the fact that there is, save for health care, not a dime's worth of difference between the two candidates on the issues), I have to quibble with Atrios. What would he have me base my preference on? Of course, it is only my opinion that Barack Obama is more electable, but I have no other issue to differentiate them on.

What has amazed me is the vitriol, a nice word would be passion I guess, that has come, from both sides, for two rather cautious, left center candidates who stand exactly the same on the issues (save for health care) and in the mainstream of the Democratic Party. There is nothing that I have seen that makes one preferable to the other, other than the electability calculus. So I disagree with Atrios on this.

So in the course of 10 days, BTD went from arguing that Obama was more electable, to "Obama will have a harder time winning the important states of PA/OH/FL/MI, to asserting that the only important difference between the candidates is their "electability" (and that's what he based his support for Obama on. I'm not sure precisely when he gave up on the Clinton-winning-PA/OH/FL as the only path to a blue white house, but apparently he did.. A fascinating series of punditry!

[I should add that this bit of fun aside, I'm done gloating about the election, and I'm DEFINITELY done with the primary. I still think PUMAs are funny, but other than that I'm done with it.]

[Updated to add:The quibble is that we spent months listening to the TalkLeft/Taylor Marsh/Alegre axis describing how winning PA/OH/FL was the only path to the white house for a democratic candidate, and that the winner of those primaries is naturally more electable. Big states. Swing states. Some states matter, others don't. I was pointing out that in the posts cited above, once Obama had effectively won the primary, BTD walked that back and said he was backing Obama for electability reasons, but that didn't stop him from making the same fallacious arguments about second choice preferences gleaned from primary results.]