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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Monday, February 11, 2008

Clinton's "Giuliani problem."

Here are the top political headlines this morning:

(AP) Obama basks in crowds, momentum, (Reuters) Obama rides momentum before "Potomac Primaries" (AFP) Clinton shakes up campaign, reeling from losses, (NYTimes) Maine to Obama; Clinton Replaces Campaign Leader, (WaPo) Clinton Replaces Top Aide Amid Losses, (USAToday) As Obama cruises, Clinton retools campaign.

Clinton looks to be facing three weeks of ugly headlines leading into her now must win states of Ohio and Texas. Is she now facing the "Giuliani problem?"

Later: Is Obama starting to sound a little cocky to anyone else?


  • The thing is Hillary's actually doing very well -- it could be argued, better than Obama -- she's just not being worshiped as the saviour of the Dem Party, as was thought. Secondly, she has a real chance to bring it home in TX, OH, and PA. At least according to the talking heads in the media.

    I agree the campaign shake-up looks Giuliani-esque, but on the ground her supporters seem to be loyal. I don't think she's actually lost support to Obama, just that Obama keeps attracting independents and non-old-school Dems.

    Although my prognostication record is 0, let me boldly go on to predict that Hillary will be the Dem nominee. Age-wise this is probably her only shot at POTUS, unless McCain wins in November. The DNC -- broadly speaking -- probably likes her predictable, establishment roots better than Obama's independent thinking. She gets the heartstrings vote from the party faithful. I don't mean that patronizingly. I mean the classy job she did just holding her head high during Bill's very public shaming for being and utter cad... That alone is worth a few Super Delegates right there.

    If she is the nominee, does she win against McCain in November? I don't know. The Dem base, including those who've supported Obama, will be there for her. But all those independents and youth voters? I just don't know if they show up. I know there's a world of difference between McCain and Clinton, but there's enough commonality for the marketing types to sell this as two variations on the same establishment theme.

    By Blogger -epm, at 10:39 AM  

  • I will buy your argument, although her "doing well" is slipping a bit looking at the national polls, they're almost tied in the most recent.

    And, yeah, she's winning in Texas and Ohio in the polling right now, but my question is whether that will hold up through three weeks of bad coverage.

    I could certainly see her winning, but I think she's going to have to find some momentum to survive.

    (And my reading is that the Democratic establishment is split with alot of them looking at Obama's potential for drawing new voters which helps the party across the board. Also, I think many see a real oppotunity to unseat the Clinton/DLC dominance, and to some, Kerry, Kennedy, etc, they think that's a good thing.)

    LAst, I think she does win against McCain although she'll have to do it tighter. I just don't see how in this year, a Republican wins after agreeing with the Bush Iraq policy, the Bush economic policy....

    That will all be in the ads in September/October.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:57 AM  

  • The further into the primaries we get, the less predictive the national polls become. That's because have the country's already voted and those delegates are "locked" in. A voter who voted for Hillary in NH may answer a national poll in support of Obamba, so... I don't know where I'm really going here except that today's national polls don't affect yesterday's primaries/caucuses.

    The news in the next three weeks will shape perception, no doubt. I have now idea what we'll see in the next three weeks, but if the Clintons feel threatened I bet we'll see some negative stuff coming from their camp. Here's the thing: can Hillary spin "desperation" to her advantage in a way no other candidate could? I think yes. At least to the extent that it shores up her base.

    You want to see a sea-change in the media game? Get Edwards, Richardson, or... Gore to endorse a candidate. That would be interesting (though I don't think Gore comes out for anyone before a nominee is all but certain).

    As far as the Party and super delegates goes, I think I might have been conflating the DLC with the DNC. I think you make a good argument regarding the antagonism between the Clinton/DLC and the broader Democratic establishment.

    By Blogger -epm, at 11:19 AM  

  • I'm still predicting train wreck... not all the way to the convention, but close. It's hard to see how either side gets over the top without Michigan/Florida, and it's hard to see how they clean that up without serious ugliness.

    And as far as the superdelegates swinging it for Obama to save the party or to neuter the Clintons...
    the thing they have to think about is, what if they swing it to Obama and then he loses in November? Then they're in deep s***. If the superdelegate system was designed to keep an insurgent candidate from taking over the party and leading it to defeat (a la McGovern), then it would seem that now is the time for that system to work.

    I think most of them will be very cautious UNLESS Obama wins or makes it very close in OH/PA/TX.

    By Anonymous TG, at 12:38 PM  

  • Again, a good point on the national polls having less meaning, but it is significant in a "feel" sense that they've tightened to near parity. A mood has changed. Whether that affects individual primaries....?

    I don't think Gore will endorse. Richardson to Clinton and Edwards (probably to Obama) are far more likely, but I don't think a Richardson endorsement would have that much heft. It doesn't bestow her with anything she doesn't already have and he's not big enough on his own to make a difference.

    If Edwards endorsed Clinton, that would be huge because it would give her "outsider" cred and be a surprise turn against the presumptions and thus momentum.

    (Regarding the Clinton/DC break. It'a not altogether there, but there are alot of people who for various reasons would like to see the Clinton's have less power. )


    TG, I'd take your bet. I maintain that at some point, there will be a critical mass reached by either Clinton or Obama and the superdelegates will work out whatever it takes to make the popularly elected candidate the winner.

    But, yeah, something has to be done about Florida and Michigan first. I think that's too big of a what if to be left out there.

    I think they'll likely hold caucuses or figure out some other way, but I'm pretty sure the current delegate counts won't be allowed in.

    My opinions. Who knows.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 2:00 PM  

  • I mostly agree with you on the endorsements. However any endorsement will give positive press to the recipient.

    If the hypothetical endorsements go counter to conventional wisdom, does a Richardson-Obama endorsement help Obama at the polls? In TX, maybe?

    An Edwards-Clinton endorsement would be seismic because it's so counter to pundit c.w. Though I would argue the conventional presumption that Edwards leans toward Obama is probably based more on manly gut feelings than any real analysis of policies and governing styles.

    The question with any endorsement: Does this cause voters to switch allegiances? Do Obama supporters leave him for Hillary, or vice versa, depending whom Edwards endorses? I don't know. The respective bases seem pretty dedicated... and is Edwards already yesterday's news in the minds of independent/casual/new voters?

    (My questions are mostly rhetorical and not meant as a challenge for you to answer, Mike. Though I welcome your insights).

    By Blogger -epm, at 3:41 PM  

  • I just don't think Richardson carries that much weight.

    And, I see the value of endorsements more in their ability to shape the coverage rather than directly influence voters.

    Occasionally you'll get one that sort of opens a group, like the Gallegos endorsement for Obama down here in Texas (he's a big hispanic honcho in the valley and Laredo. He won't directly bring voters, but he might make them look twice or think its okay to vote Obama.

    In general, though, endorsements are most valuable for the media coverage. You get a postive story filled with quotes about why you're great.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 4:05 PM  

  • look for the HRC surrogates to spin the "cocky Obama" crap...code words!!! {uppity;too big for britches;take down a peg; etc}. Clinton's do anything to win! Race baiting is never off the table...

    Leading in national polls, swept the weekend caucasus' and primaries...yep he should act downtrodden, lucky, and fortunate to the MAN...

    I don't buy it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:07 PM  

  • I haven't seen "cocky" Obama being pushed by anybody, it's just an impression I got watching some clips of a speech in MAryland.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 6:12 PM  

  • The charges of racism in response to any criticism of Obama play well in a Democratic primary, and Obama's camp has used that very effectively... in the general election, I think that tactic will be far less effective and quite possibly detrimental.

    By Anonymous TG, at 12:18 AM  

  • I don't know. It depends on how explicit they make it. If they directly charge racism, I agree, but if they can somehow get the media to create that effect, it still works.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:59 AM  

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