I'm not sure which of these columns or posts is the most unsettling.
Wins in two more states that "won't count": Wyoming on Saturday and Mississippi on Tuesday, would help, at least some.
The Powers flap is nearly as damaging as the Texas (popular vote) and Ohio losses as it puts him in a no win situation of how to do with controversial remarks from a valuable advisor (he stands by her he gets flack, he cuts her lose and he gets flack for appearing "weak"), and ultimately cuts him off from the services of that valuable advisor.
The shift in news reporting, based on the decline in violence across Iraq, has helped dilute a critical distinction in policy views and judgment between the candidates. Without anger over Iraq dominating the headlines, personality issues, and to a lesser extent, bread and butter economic issues, ascend in importance. But of course this has been true throughout the primary season, so it can't be the basis for the most recent downturn in Obama's prospects.
Brooks is certainly right that Hillary needs for this to be a "knife fight". How does Obama avoid or transcend this? I don't know. But he's the candidate of hope, of change, and of a different kind of politics. He obviously needs to get back to that. And I don't believe there's any virtue in either he, or his advisors, trying to gain mileage from the Clinton's tax returns or the Clinton library's donors. This isn't the kind of stuff that got Obama a place in the game's starting lineup. Deep six that stuff and get back to substantive policy distinctions and political change.