Johnson also said the Clintons were "involved in black issues" when Obama "was doing something in the neighborhood -- I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book." Johnson was, of course, referring to Obama's admission of teenage drug use. With Bill Clinton supporting him, he later insisted that he was referring to Obama's community organizing. The Clinton campaign should not be blamed for this comic dishonesty. In the Clintons' orbit, meretriciousness is as reflexive as a sneeze, and reflexes are not moral failures.
All this nonsense is, however, perhaps germane to something sensible occurring in the Democratic contest. Endorsements of politicians by politicians may matter little to voters, but they are indicators of the endorsers' estimates of strengths and dangers. So what do Sens. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and former Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado, and Govs. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Janet Napolitano of Arizona have in common?
Three things, actually. They are Democrats, they have been elected in red or swing states and they have endorsed Barack Obama.
In 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush carried North Dakota with 60.7 percent and 62.9 percent of the vote. A Democratic presidential candidate has not carried the state since 1964. Bush carried South Dakota with 60.3 and 59.9. It has not voted Democratic in a presidential election since 1964. Bush carried Missouri with 50.4 and 53.3. This bellwether state has voted with the winner in every election but one (1956) in the last 100 years. Bush carried Nebraska with 62.2 and 65.9. It last voted Democratic in 1964. Bush carried Colorado with 50.8 and 51.7. It last voted Democratic in 1992. Bush carried Arizona with 51 and 54.9. It last voted Democratic in 1996. Bush carried Virginia with 52.5 and 53.7. It last voted Democratic in 1964. Bush narrowly lost Wisconsin with 47.6 and 49.3.
The preference of those eight people for Obama surely has something to do with what Clinton's campaign reveals about her. It has had serial misadventures in the racial minefield of liberalism's own making. Its clumsy competition in the sensitivity sweepstakes makes it seem like a quaint anachronism. It reeks of the synthetic racial and other sensitivity-mongering of the last third of the previous century. Temperate Americans are surely thinking: Get. Over. It.