Bittergate: Going Forward

1. As one Democrat who opposes Obama points out, "elitist comments like these are like catnip for the GOP." It's not reality that drives these characterizations, it's perceptions. Without putting too fine a point on it, nothing energizes the conservative political machine more than the scent of liberal elitism. Think of John Kerry and windsurfing; John Kerry and dirty jokes at his fundraisers; and then the pivots to simplistic morality plays by Republicans.

2. But Obama is not John Kerry; he is not Michael Dukakis. 2008 is not 2004. Obama is certainly much more comfortable in his skin, more confident, more "agile," as one observer put it. "Let's see him fight his way out of this one."

3. It's going to be a helluva fight. The onus is on Obama to figure out how to explain his elitist-sounding comments, stand by them, and not come off as condescending, elitist-sounding, Dukakis-esque or patronizing. His campaign faces its biggest political test since Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Can he pass it?

4. Is this the moment where 80% of the remaining superdelegates switch to HRC? I doubt it.... but once again, this controversy is not one ginned up by Clinton. So you can't blame her for it.

Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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