Friday, July 20, 2007

Hillary's 1948 Wake-Up Call: Run Scared

The latest Presidential poll shows 63 percent of Americans think we will elect the first woman to be President next year. It’s time for Hillary Clinton to start worrying.

The stage could be set for a Republican to pull off what Harry Truman did in 1948 to the poll-anointed sure bet, Gov. Thomas Dewey of New York.

The parallels are there. With a big lead in the polls, Dewey ran an ultra-cautious campaign, making “The future lies ahead” speeches while awaiting coronation.

Truman took off on his “Give ‘em hell, Harry” whistle-stop tour, railing against a “do-nothing” Republican Congress and ended up the morning after election, grinning and holding up to the cameras a copy of the Chicago Tribune headlined, “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

Overconfidence can be a killer in American elections. Voters resent being taken for granted.

All this is brought up by the almost stately tone of the Clinton campaign thus far. It’s been gaffe-free, but will that be enough?

There is an outside chance that Obama may catch on with his new-generation appeal, but the greater danger for the former First Lady is appearing to be a too-cool Dewey (“the man on the wedding cake”) against a Republican underdog doing Harry Truman.

As an actor, Fred Thompson looks perfect for the part but any other nominee, including long-shot Mike Huckabee, could be prepped for the performance.

Sen. Clinton, while taking in the lessons of Truman, may also want to look at the campaign of the man from Arkansas who overcame the first George Bush with “the vision thing.” Give ‘em hell, Hillary.

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