Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Hillary’s Wilderness Campaign

One point about Hillary Clinton’s dire situation hasn’t received enough attention: her need to win both the Texas and Ohio primaries on March 4. A split-decision next Tuesday will be as damaging to her campaign as two defeats. Today’s Real Clear Politics average of the latest polls shows Clinton 8 points ahead of Obama in Ohio and 1.5 points behind in Texas. Polls in both states have shifted in Obama’s direction over the past week. According to Marc Ambinder, Clinton’s advisors now “figure that a loss in Texas is as likely as a win in Ohio.”

To put this problem of needing two big victories in military terms, Clinton’s position is like an army that needs to stretch its forces to defend the entirety of a long front, facing an opponent that can mass its troops for an assault on the point of its choosing. The similarity to Robert Lee vs. Ulysses Grant becomes stronger considering that Obama, like Grant, has more troops and more firepower. His campaign organization has shown itself to be more nimble and disciplined than hers over the past 8 weeks. He spent five times as much as she did on television advertising in Wisconsin. His financial advantage over the next week will be smaller than that but still considerable. With that advantage Obama can put extra ads on the air in Texas, if that continues to look more promising, while spending enough in Ohio to pin Clinton down there and prevent her from shifting resources to Texas.

Facing this tactical challenge, Hillary’s army in not only running low on bullets but, as you would expect after losing 11 straight battles, suffering morale problems. Patrick Healy reported in the New York Times that some Clinton campaign staffers are “burning out.” Some have “taken to going home early — 9 p.m. — turning off their BlackBerrys, and polishing off bottles of wine,” he writes, while others “have taken several days off, despite it being crunch time.” Mike Allen and John Harris reinforce that point in today’s Politico, portraying a campaign team “consumed with frustration and finger-pointing” that has “slipped into full recriminations mode.” The campaign has become “a grim slog,” they write.

Military history teaches that most tactical dilemmas are begotten by strategic blunders. We’ll give Michael Barone the last word on Hillary’s: “The way Clinton has run her campaign – like the way she ran health care reform in 1993-94 – undercuts her claim to be ready for the presidency from day one. In both cases, she had no fallback strategy, no Plan B, in case her best-case scenario failed to come to pass.”

Discussions - 5 Comments

American Leadership Project a 527 made up of money from maxed out Clinton donors is doing its part to even the money and ad game in OH and TX. Just b/c she isn't raising as much doesn't mean money won't find a way...although the cost of each vote is quite high for Hillary these days (much like Romney).

I heard the death rattle of Hillary Clinton's campaign this morning--I knew it was coming before then . . . but I actually heard it this morning. It was the sound of my ordinarily apolitical husband cracking up in peals of laughter as he caught sight of her on the morning news. He called me in exclaiming, "Look! Quick! Come see how angry she looks! Is she trying to lose even more votes?" he asked. Yes, indeed, did she look deranged. She looked mystified as one looks when she's about to lose something she had every expectation and reason to believe she would win. The next shot showed Obama looking calm and cool as a cucumber--oblivious to her attacks. She can no longer mask her anger and seems completely undone. It will be interesting to see how she appears in the Ohio debate. I predict it will be a disaster for her. I don't think she can keep herself together. Her handshake at the end of the Texas debate where she claimed to be "honored" by her contest with Obama was also telling. If that wasn't a "Methinks the lady doth protest too much" moment, nothing ever was.

I finally see the lights going out on HRC... I credit myspace and youtube for actually delivering for Obama. At first I was inclined to dismiss the internet noise because I noticed the degree to which it did not work for Ron Paul. Of course Ron Paul never appealed to more than 2% of "conservatives". I didn't expect the young grassroots people to actually vote for Obama. I knew he was popular I just didn't know that he was popular among those who actually voted. I read Mark Penn's book and was impressed... I should have figured that a lot of Ron Paul internet supporters would defect and become "Obamacons" when it became clear that Ron Paul had no shot of influencing the GOP. Will Libertarians vote Democrat? I suppose if they are primarily anti-war and caught up in "change" then the answer is yes. Austrians could do worse than to side with a constitutional law type from Chicago(at least hypothetically)...So that is one bad micro-trend for Hillary. I am still not sure that Mark Penn has the wrong ideas...I just think that he might have had the wrong implementation...

One of Mark Penn's amazing statistics was that 9 out of 10 legal hispanics have a family member who is an illegal...and thus without "health insurance"... HRC was really going after that hispanic vote... but with the Republican front runners (McCain/Huckabee) both "moderates" on the immigration front a lot of what was putting wind in the Clinton sails has had time to die down... Instead it is another immigrant group that has entered Texas in sufficient numbers recently that has achieved Hurricane strength especially in Houston... those New Orleans folk. Hillary will probably still win the hispanic vote in Texas...but the hispanic vote is less fired up than it was at one time... another bad micro-trend for Hillary. Plus the Obama campaign is more suited to capitalizing on Micro-trends than the more scientific top down Hillary machine. I suppose it is one thing to identify a trend and another altogether to be able to capitalize on it. In a certain sense Obama is the anti-Hillary who is capitalizing on everything she identifies because he is not making it quite as obvious that he is identifying it. The bottom line is that with McCain in focus as the republican nominee a lot of the Clinton message looks like a tired middle of the road calculated reasonableness... Compared to Obama or McCain HRC is middle of the road on the war and on experience and on protectionism with a husband who signed NAFTA...

In order for Hillary to win Texas she would have to regain some of the black vote while simultaneously fueling the hispanic vote...she would also have to prevent the independent republicans who hate her from turning out against her...and secretly mobilize republicans on the grounds that she would be an easier candidate to face. The problem is that the black vote is fiercely loyal to Obama and that black/hispanic tensions make it hard to achieve both objectives simultaneously. In addition even if McCain decided to throw a bone to the anti-illegal immigration republican base and thereby stir up republicans and pro-HRC hispanics, the idea that HRC might win Texas because hispanics turn out to vote on mass would trigger a lot of anti-Hillary "Texicans" to vote for Obama. So things look bad in Texas...

At this point if Hillary wants to stay in the race and try to win over blacks and hispanics she has to play the Florida card... The idea that the democrats would choose a presidential candidate in an election where the votes in Florida are not counted this soon after Gore v Bush... Or she could try to show statistically that the vote total for Obama includes too many independents/Obamacons that aren't really "democrats" and don't really plan on voting for the democrat in the national election, that contra Obama this is a perfect time for sensible superdelegates to use discretion.

That "absolutely honored" business was so patronizing. Honored by what? As if she was in the presence of royalty. Puh-leeze. "We're going to be fine," as she looks straight at Obama, hoping for his nod of agreement; he does not return the gaze. Why does she even bring this stuff up? Bill Clinton, I read somewhere, actually finds people to pay him $450,000 per speech. Earth to Hillary: you're married to a former president, you are a senator from one of the largest and important states of the American union, your daughter is gainfully employed, and you're a woman of faith. You better be fine if you do not get the nomination or become president! Unbelievable what all of these debates end up producing when the candidates run out of stuff to say.

Don't you know at the next debate she will find a way to repeat that she spends her every waking day, every breath that she takes, every molecule of her being "working" to make sure every American has the chances that she has had. Alas, this work does not require her to preside over a people more free to go about their own business; instead, it will require the likes of her and likeminded federal meddlers to "help" folks who for some reason are unable to work and thrive on the basis of the equal protection of their own God-given liberty. Neither Obama nor Clinton believe that protecting individual liberty should be the hallmark of constitutional government. Neither will get my vote.

Lucas is so right about the way Hillary looked at Obama hoping for a nod of approval and not getting it. THAT may have been more damaging to her than her subsequent expression of anger--it probably also explains it. THAT was more expressive of self-doubt than McCain's manly acknowledgment of "I lose" (if he can't convince people of the importance of the war) noted yesterday. Can you imagine her peering into the face of . . . say Vladimir Putin, blinking her botoxed doe eyes and voicing a pitiful, "We're going to be fine"? Those are the words of someone who has been kicked to the curb one too many times. And her actions since give evidence of why she's been kicked to that curb. Between portraying herself as a victim and portraying herself as a strong woman, there's always been a lingering doubt in the minds--even of people otherwise disposed to agree with her--that perhaps on some level she deserved to be Bill's victim. Perhaps there's just something vicious and nasty about this woman that no reasonable man could tolerate. Pulling out the turban picture and the blatant racial politics of South Carolina support this suspicion. Her soft edges are mittens on her claws. Obama's refusal to make eye contact with her and validate her victimhood was devastating. No wonder she's in a rage. She just got dumped and no body's going to feel sorry for her this time.

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