McCain seems awfully happy with Tuesday's results

With the Democratic race continuing for at least several weeks, the GOP candidate couldn't be more pleased.

Published April 23, 2008 9:03PM (EDT)

In the Wall Street Journal today, Gerald Seib argues that there's no reason to wrap up the Democratic presidential race: "Toughness and resilience are important attributes, and that is what a long campaign instills in a candidate ... There is an intangible benefit to fighting through all the primaries: Like two-a-day practices at a football training camp, the process develops a kind of toughness that is beneficial."

Sure, this argument had merit when we heard it after the New Hampshire primary, nearly four months ago. But after 16 months of campaigning, does anyone seriously question the "resilience" of either Democratic candidate? Aren't Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, after 16 months of campaigning, "tough" enough?

Indeed, if the underlying premise of Seib's argument is true, why aren't there more questions about John McCain's "toughness and resilience"? After all, he won the Republican nomination over a month ago, and barely had to break a sweat doing so. Those selfish Republican voters apparently denied their nominee the "intangible benefits" associated with "fighting through all the primaries."

I can't imagine why McCain doesn't seem especially bothered by this.

In fact, it's worth noting that McCain actually appears quite pleased with recent developments.

Republican John McCain's presidential campaign is content to let Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton fight on.

The prospect for an even longer Democratic battle resulted from Clinton's defeat of Obama in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, meaning the contest is likely to last at least another two weeks until May 6, when North Carolina and Indiana vote.

As top McCain adviser Mark Salter said, Democrats should "take their time -- don't rush."

Bill Kristol added some words of advice for the Clinton campaign this morning: "Fight on!"

I'm going to assume this isn't some kind of reverse-psychological ploy. McCain and his allies really do want to see the Democratic race continue.

Consider a thought experiment. If you're a consultant/strategist at the Republican National Committee right now, are you worried that a prolonged Democratic process is going to help Dems with voter registration and battle testing, or are you doing the happy dance that the Clinton-Obama fight is going to continue for the foreseeable future?

By Steve Benen

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