Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Tightrope Dance

She is putting in 16-hours days in Indiana, talking about gas prices and creating jobs but very little about Barack Obama. On Fox News, she used only one word as a dagger.

“I think," Hillary Clinton said, "he made his views clear, finally, that he disagreed, and I think that’s what he had to do.”

Since the departure of Mark Penn three weeks ago, the Clinton campaign has smartened up under the veteran strategist Geoff Garin and, with considerable political aplomb, avoided the appearance of piling on during the Jeremiah Wright to-do.

"Clinton advisers," the New York Times reports, "have not held a bash-Obama conference call for a week now--after months when they held near-daily calls with reporters to pounce on Mr. Obama about everything, including Mr. Wright."

Murray Kempton once said that editorial writers come down from the hills after the battle and shoot the wounded. Political consultants have learned to be careful about appearing to do the same.

How badly has Obama been hurt? Can Clinton catch up? Next Tuesday's voting in Indiana and North Carolina will provide answers and what seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago, that she could wrest the nomination from him, now looks possible if not probable.

At least one issue in this campaign has been settled. Words do count.


Liza said...

I wouldn't say that it is probably that Hillary will wrestle the nomination. We had best hope not.

Hillary has already split the Democratic base down racial lines and that was before Wright's reappearance. She's lost the African American vote. She's getting around 10% AA in the primaries now, and she would pick up some in a general, but not enough.

Hillary cannot reunite the party she has split because she is not inspirational and the damage is done. African Americans will write in "Barack Obama" on the ballots.

Hillary would have to get massive support from Independents to prevail in November but that is possible because McCain is such a bad candidate. That's the only way she can win.

Larry Jones said...

I'd like to see the math that makes it possible for Clinton to "wrest the nomination" from Obama. He has won more popular votes and more delegates (she can't catch up), and he is gaining in superdelegates, most of whom are loathe to overturn "the will of the voters." Dean says he'll enforce the rules on Florida and Michigan, so they won't be a factor, no matter what spin the Clinton campaign puts on it.

Contrary to what you want to think, the race is over. Obama is still standing and looking more presidential than ever despite all the crap that Clinton and McCain have thrown at him, and it is only the racists, closet racists and others who were looking for any excuse not to vote for him who will be swayed by the attack ads and irrelevant side issues.

After Obama wins the nomination, do you intend to act as if McCain has a realistic chance in the general? Americans are more fed up with the Republican Party now than they were after Nixon. The GOP needs to go home for a while, lick it's wounds, think about what it has done, and try to rebuild for 2016.

I enjoy your writing and welcome your perspective, but this attempt to fabricate a "horse race" just makes no sense.

Liza said...

I totally agree. Hillary's only chance is with superdelegates and that is if she has enough oxygen to make it to the convention as a "candidate." The race for pledged delegates is over.

The superdelegates are breaking for Obama, finally, so that race may be over as well.

Obama will win NC, and even if Hillary wins Indiana, what does it really mean? It gives her some sound bites, that is about all. She'll landslide Kentucky and so what? Obama will win Oregon. But it's already over.

She'll keep arguing electability as long as she can, but it's not going to cut it.

The Democrats are starting to pay attention, finally, to how she has split the base and how she is alienating African Americans.

Larry Jones said...

Liza -- You really must click over to my blog and introduce yourself.