Post-New Hampshire thoughts

–Even though I was hoping for another Obama victory, I can’t help feeling pleased at the reality check that pundits and pollsters received from actual voters. And yes, that includes the extremely minor pundit who wrote last week:

If Obama beats Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire next Tuesday (which looks a lot more likely now than it did before last night), it’s hard to see how she can recover to win the nomination. If she had a couple of weeks to campaign she might pull it off, but four days probably isn’t enough.

–Whoever ultimately wins the Democratic nomination, I think it’s good that he or she will have had to fight for it and will have a few battle scars. It will be good preparation for what is likely to be a far nastier campaign against the Republicans in the general election.

–I found it a little disturbing that towards the end of last night, Obama’s campaign seemed to be pinning its hopes for victory on votes from college and university towns. Obama needs to find a way to expand his base beyond the young and the college-educated. In New Hampshire Clinton clearly had more appeal to older women and lower-income voters. I heard part of a question-and-answer town meeting that Hillary conducted with voters last Saturday, and was reminded that she has an impressive grasp of public policy affecting ordinary people. I suppose some pundits and Obama supporters dismissed this as boring wonkishness, but I think it may have paid off for her among voters to whom these issues matter.

–I can’t agree with Eric Lee that John Edwards still has a realistic chance of winning the Democratic nomination, although I agree that labor union support is likely to play an important part in the upcoming big-state primaries. Most of the labor endorsements so far have gone to Clinton and Edwards. But if Obama gets the support of the powerful culinary workers union in Nevada, it will give him a strong boost there.

–McCain’s victory in New Hampshire emphasized the wide-open nature of the Republican nomination contest. McCain may not do so well in other states where illegal immigration is more of a concern among Republicans, and where his support for a pathway to citizenship for illegal migrants (derided as “amnesty” by his opponents) is likely to make him vulnerable.