Archive for the ‘Hillary Clinton’ Category

Hillary Will Win FL–Will the US Notice?
January 29, 2008

The Clintonistas are out on the talk-show rounds, arguing that her expected FL win will be a big story. Cong. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) contended on MSNBC that Florida will be the first big and diverse state to weigh in on the Democratic contest, and therefore, its verdict carries weight.
Fair enough–IO, NH, NV, and SC are small. Michigan has voted, but only Hillary’s name was on the ballot there.
In Florida, she’ll almost certainly roll up a lopsided win. All the latest polls show her up 20 points. None of them were taken after Barack Obama’s big SC win, or after the big names in the Kennedy clan proclaimed the Illinois Senator the rightful heir to JFK’s New Frontier legacy.
But Monday’s Quinnipiac poll makes it appear the Clinton votes in FL are pretty firm. 82% of her supporters here say there’s little or no chance they’ll change their minds. Only 69% of Obama’s FL backers are similarly firmed up.
Certainly, the announcement that Clinton will hold her primary-night party at the Signature Grand in Davie is a clear sign she expects to win, and wants to focus attention on Florida, after 4-1/2 months of avoiding public appearances here like the plague.
She’s after a coast-to-coast platform to proclaim her win, to proclaim FL’s long-neglected Democratic votes now have real significance. Will pundits and headline-writers across the country be impressed?
It seems unlikely. Almost all the pre-primary coverage of Florida focusses on the incredibly tight race between John McCain and Mitt Romney. When I asked NBC’s Tim Russert about the significance of a Hillary win (we had Russert on a Sunday-morning special on the primary), he repeated the prevailing pundit wisdom on the subject– that FL’s Dems are taking part in a meaningless “beauty contest” that will give the Clinton campaign no boost, heading into the 22 primaries on caucuses on February 5th.
Indeed, the only way the Democratic result here might get major media attention is if Obama comes within 10-points of Clinton. An unexpectedly close tally might lead to a spate of “momentum” stories about the Obama campaign.
Clearly, the Clinton folks think that’s a remote prospect, so she’ll be here to claim her moment in the FL sun.


Prediction– The Pledge Will Hold
January 16, 2008

The Democratic contenders have stayed out of Florida, under their pledge to punish Florida’s against-the-rules re-scheduling of its primary (FL, essentially, performed what we called “cutsies” back in grade school, cutting in the primary line before Super Tuesday, Feb 5th).
Now, the Obama campaign is muttering by leaked memo that Hillary’s people may be about to go back on the pledge. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that won’t happen.
Here’s why– the race here doesn’t seem to be close. The Quinnipiac poll this week had Clinton 20-points up on Obama. She doesn’t need to come here to win.
He doesn’t need to break the pledge and come here either, because a loss in FL can be dismissed by the Obama people as– “Hey, we didn’t compete in Florida– no biggie.” Look how little buzz Hillary got for winning Michigan last night– her serious opponents weren’t even on the ballot there.
But where it is close– really close– is Nevada, which holds its caucuses soon. And South Carolina, which votes on the 26th (three days before FL does) is also not a runaway– polls there show a substantial but not insurmountable lead for Obama there.
And in NV & SC, voters take that pledge thing seriously. When Obama said hello to some reporters who’d gathered outside a FL fundraiser a few months back, a Las Vegas paper did a serious piece questioning whether he’d broken the pledge. Those early states want to keep their place in line, and want to see FL punished for “cutsies”.
So– put yourself in Hillary’s place. Will you risk losing a couple of points in the next couple of states– where things are close and crucial– to come here and try to pad your 20-point lead? Winning in NV will help her more in Florida, in terms of momentum and excitement, than holding a couple of events on Miami Beach.
True– the Clinton campaign looked into holding a low-$, big crowd fundraiser at the Miami Beach Convention Ctr. just before our primary. That was apparently the source of the Obama campaign’s concerns.
But even such a fundraiser– technically legal under the Pledge– would not play well in all-important NV & SC. So Hillary will do a pair of under-the-radar, no-press-allowed events on Miami Beach this weekend… tucking away another $750,000 but not actually meeting anyone Floridians for free, or singing to anyone but the choir.

People Perplex Pundits– Again
January 9, 2008

For the 2nd week in a row, I’m enjoying watching electoral results roll in (about 38% of NH’s vote has been counted as I write this), and enjoying the surprises they bring.
Last week, the big news was the victories Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee, both of whom surged late.
In the 5 days since, pundits aided by near-perpetual polling have come close to declaring Hillary Clinton politically dead, and close to declaring Barack Obama the Nominee, perhaps the presumptive President. They couldn’t stop talking about Obama’s overflow crowds in NH. Brian Williams showed us the Senator’s reaction to seeing his face on the cover of Newsweek.
Pundits– particularly on Fox News Channel– interpreted joking remarks by Bill Clinton (“I can’t make her younger or taller”) as an attempt to alibi a coming double-digit rout. They declared that Sen. Clinton’s choke-up in a Portsmouth coffee shop was a sign she foresaw devastating defeat, and that many voters would be turned off by her unexected display of emotion.
Cable TV, as always, was quickest to render judgment– 24 hours a day of news/comment certainly gives pundits plenty of rhetorical rope to work with. But consider this clever but suddenly hollow-sounding lead in the Times of London dispatch– “As she watches her support melt away, the horror on the face of Hillary Clinton sometimes resembles that of C.S. Lewis’s Snow Queen on seeing summer return to Narnia. ” Artful prose, but NH may have brought winter back.
Wow– on the tube, with 47% of the vote in, Chris Matthews just admitted he’d been premature in burying Hillary Clinton. MSNBC’s exit polling is showing that NH voters who decided in the last couple of days were evenly-split between Obama and Clinton. The same exit-polling shows, unlike in Iowa, Sen. Clinton got the lion’s share of women’s votes.
It makes me think that a lot of women might have responded like Joy Behar, one of the hosts of “The View”. When I saw the Portsmouth diner scene being replayed on that show this morning, I turned the sound up to hear Behar bemoaning media savaging of Hillary and her campaign, and heard her call for a “woman’s backlash” against such ganging up.
I asked my wife about it– she’s kind of a Hillary fan, but has no truck with her near-tears episode in New Hampshire. “I’m not opposed to women showing emotion”, she said, “but it’s not what I want to see in my leaders.”
But Sally may not be typical– with 56% of the vote in, NBC’s Political Director Chuck Todd is now saying the choke-up in the diner might well have driven lots of women voters back in the Hillary camp.
Well, you’d think the whole point of this posting is– only a fool would hazard any guesses about what’s to come. That said, I would draw some conclusions, based on what we’ve seen so far.
For the second contest in a row, Democratic turnout has dwarfed Republican. “Change” is everyone’s theme. Obama– “Change we can believe in”. Clinton– “An agent for change.” McCain talks about how he’s long advocated change in Iraq strategy, while Romney claims nobody from inside Washington can “turn Washington inside-out”.
In a fall campaign, all of this would seem to point to a Democratic year.
Also– though he can rightly claim “two silver medals and a gold” (the former Olympics organizer’s way of describing second-place finishes in Iowa and NH and a little-noticed win in Wyoming’s caucuses), Mitt Romney is not looking good, coming out of NH.
Massachusetts pols OWN that primary. Mass. Sen. John Kerry won last time around, as did Mass. Sen. Paul Tsongas in 1992, and Mass. Gov. Michael Dukakis four years earlier. Hey, even Amb. Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts took NH as a write-in candidate in 1964, though the moderate Brahmin was quickly buried by the conservative Goldwater revolution.
Apparently, Romney’s the first Mass. pol to ever not win in NH. Maybe his name will be enough to carry Michigan next week (Mitt’s father George was governor there), but it sure looks like the quick-start, big-buck Romney strategy is going nowhere fast.
The good news– no one’s pulling away in the Republican field, and it looks like Florida will be really interesting– Giuliani, Huckabee, Romney, and McCain could still be in serious contention.
OK– NBC’s just declared Hillary the winner. Time to log off, with the usual advice– “Stay tuned.”