The Daily Three: My Critics

1. The indispensible Brendan Nyhan's take on why party elders refuse to interfere with Obama is pretty convincing:

.....most party elders would prefer that Hillary withdraw but don't want to pay the cost of pushing her out of the race. There are two classic economic problems here. The first is that the collective benefits of pushing Hillary out are much larger than the individual benefit to any one party leader. Why would Pelosi or Reid risk becoming a hated figure to millions of Hillary's supporters? As a result, everyone is likely to sit back and hope that someone else will pay the cost of forcing her out.

The second problem is it's difficult to coordinate. If all the leaders could magically come together to ask her to withdraw, it might be less costly to them individually to push her out, but any effort to make this happen would inevitably leak, generating untold recriminations and infighting. The incentives to defect from such an agreement would also be strong. As a result, no one is likely to chance it.

For both of these reasons, it's likely that the race will go to the convention unless (a) Hillary decides to withdraw on her own or (b) the accumulation of superdelegate commitments after the primaries drives her out.

2. But why are the costs so high? A lot of Democratic voters are not supporting Barack Obama. Also, I'm beginning to be persuaded that Nancy Pelosi is doing everything she can to nudge Clinton out of the race, including the adoption of Barack Obama's superdelegate argument. The reaction by Clinton donors today is evidence enough that the Clinton campaign was really, really bothered by Pelosi's small intervention.

3. "Allies key to McCain's foreign policy vision." That's the CNN headline out of McCain's foreign policy speech in Los Angeles today. The BBC headlines: "McCain urges closer foreign ties" and features this quote:

"Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want."

Most other audiences are reading the speech as an affirmation of the necessity of the surge in Iraq. Meanwhile, the lead of most newscasts tonight will be violence in Baghdad and the expected battle between the Madhi Army and Iraqi/US forces. Read the full remarks here.