When Talking Heads Stop Making Sense

   I’ve always thought Howard Wolfson is a guy who can “spin” in his sleep.  The former spokesman for the Hillary Clinton campaign can build a reasonable-sounding argument even when the facts are thin.  I think his latest claim– that Clinton would have been the nominee if John Edwards hanky-panky had come to light last year– smacks of wishful thinking.

“I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee,” Wolfson’s quoted as telling ABC, adding– “Our voters and Edwards’ voters were the same people. They were older, pro-union. Not all, but maybe two-thirds of them would have been for us, and we would have barely beaten Obama.”  

   Well, maybe.  But Clinton– thanks in part to Wolfson’s relentless spinning– was regarded as a near-inevitable nominee, as 2008 began.  I suspect those who didn’t caucus for her in Iowa had some reason not to support the front-running former First Lady.  If Edwards hadn’t been in the race, they might well have scattered in many directions– Obama, Clinton, Richardson, Biden, Dodd…

   Though he supposes a radical electoral re-write, Wolfson himself seems to appreciate the folly of his speculation– “At the end of the day you can play the what-if game endlessly, and you can play both ways you know. If Senator Clinton hadn’t gotten teary eyed in New Hampshire I think Senator Obama would have won New Hampshire and he would have been the nominee in January. So there are a thousand different ways you can play the what-if game but I do believe that the result would have been different had this become public a year ago.”

   Well, as long as we’re playing that game, how about this– if Wolfson and others running the Clinton campaign hadn’t blown out their campaign budgets in the early going, she might have had the financial wherewithal to come back from the defeat in Iowa.  What if the Clintonians hadn’t ignored usually-red states where Obama rolled up huge margins?


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