Regular readers of Rightpundits will remember that I wrote a post that illustrated how Hillary Clinton could still pull of an improbable victory in the pledged, non-super delegate division, delegate count. To quote John McCain, “My friends, that ship has sailed”. She will still win Pennsylvania although her margin of victory will most likely not be anywhere near the 20% that she needs to convince the party that she is the only viable choice for the general election. In addition, the super delegates have begun to abandon Hillary Clinton’s cause, which places the proverbial nail directly in her coffin. So what really happened? How did an upstart with very little experience thrash the one-time presumptive Democratic nominee for POTUS? An examination of the time line for this never-ending campaign is needed to accurately assess what occurred. One final prediction (OK, probably not my last one) – as Hillary Clinton’s campaign implodes, Al Gore will exact his final revenge. That should be fun to watch.
Does anyone remember the CNN/You Tube debate in July? This was the one where Obama proposed, without condition, having direct discussions with every dictator in order to faciliate better relations with the barbarians of the world. Hillary smacked him down hard and looked Presidential in doing so. As it turns out, this was the high water mark of her campaign. It was the perfect opportunity to define Obama early as a neophyte who could not be trusted with the security and defense of our country. Yet, Hillary Clinton’s campaign let him off the hook. Surely, hindsight is 20/20 and it is easy to draw conclusions after the fact. It is instructive though for future candidates to examine the time period that began after this debate.
Barack Obama’s campaign developed a strategy that focused on his strengths. They figured out how to exploit his advantage with the young activists in the party by focusing on the states whose delegates were proportioned by the results of a caucus. Obama’s campaign also saw an opportunity with traditional red states whose democratic demographic favored him. Thus, he was able to pull off huge victories in delegate rich red states like Virginia and South Carolina. Yes, it is OK to state that African-Americans were key to his huge victories in the red south.
Obama’s fund raising strategy, taken directly from Howard Dean, was to build a wide on-line network of contributors that could be tapped again and again for funds. Essentially, like his proposals, the strategy was (and is) an inch deep and a mile wide. This fund raising strategy began in earnest well before the primaries started. Hillary meanwhile was fund raising with a typical 1990’s strategy of tapping the voters who could max out immediately. This strategy would have worked if she could have knocked out Obama in the first month. By not going hard after Obama prior to the Iowa Caucus, Hillary ensured that he would stay in the race for the long haul. The 3 am add should have been run before the primary season started. Combine that with the utterly inexcusable lack of a strategy on how to approach caucus states and the stage was set for an upset.
The candidate’s speeches after the Iowa caucus symbolized the appeal of the candidates. Hillary was shrill and defiant in defeat while Obama was uplifting and inspirational. I know that his stump speech has grown old but the first time one hears it, the speech is impressive. It is less so after the 3rd or 4th hearing but that is not my point. Obama’s victory served to launch him as a serious candidate while questions arose about Hillary for the first time.
Next was New Hampshire where Clinton had a 15 to 20 point lead prior to the Iowa caucus. After the shedding of a few tears, Hillary managed to squeak out a small victory and tried to act like Bill Clinton via 1992. Positioning herself as a comeback kid did not work in South Carolina where Hillary’s fund raising disadvantage started to become evident. Obama blitzed the state with a huge TV buy, and with the help of Bill Clinton’s racially polarized statements, Obama cruised to a huge victory. This was a key point in the campaign because several months prior, many in the African-American community did not consider Obama to be “black” enough, whatever that means. Bill Clinton helped to ensure that would no longer be an issue for the campaign. It is easy to forget that the Nevada caucus preceded the South Carolina primary. Does anyone remember that Hillary won the vote but lost the pledged delegate count in Nevada? Iowa and Nevada would foreshadow the Clinton campaign’s problems in caucus states. It is simply inexcusable that Hillary Clinton’s campaign did not devise a better strategy for handling caucus states and points to their arrogance in thinking that they would have no competition by February.
Super Tuesday only served to illustrate that Obama’s strategy was working while Hillary’s was doomed to fail. He won all the caucus states and most of the red states like Idaho and Georgia, which Obama took by a wide margin. He was now a truly viable candidate leading into the beltway primaries. Hillary’s funding problems were clearly evident during these primaries and Obama’s huge victories in Virginia and Maryland now solidified his status as front-runner. It was at this time that Hillary needed to lend her campaign $5 million while Obama was flush with cash.
The normal finger pointing took place at this time and the Clinton campaign brought in the annoying Maggie Williams to save the day. The calls for Hillary to withdrawal from the race for the good of the party became louder and louder. Then, something unpredictable occurred when Hillary’s campaign began to gain traction. Finally, Hillary decided that she should define Obama as an inexperienced, smooth talking politician who had received a free ride from the mainstream press. This had the added benefit of being the truth, a rarity indeed for a Clinton. The 3 am add worked in Ohio and Texas but once again the Clinton campaign’s futility with the caucus process hurt them in the pledged delegate total for Texas. Obama was also exposed, thanks to our Canadian friends, as a duplicitous politician in regards to his stance on NAFTA. The bloom was off the rose and Obama looked vulnerable. It appeared as though Clinton, despite running a horrible campaign, could actually pull this off. That is when she started to make references to pledged delegates switching their allegiances from Obama to her.
Hillary then received a gift from God in the form of Reverend Wright. Obama sat in the pews for 20 years listening to his spiritual advisor spew filth and hatred towards non African-Americans and the United States in general. Hillary was understandably cautious in addressing this issue since the press was finally beginning to vet Senator Obama and it was to her benefit to keep relatively quiet. Worse than staying with a church for 20 years that preached hatred, Obama was exposed as a liar. First, he claimed he never heard Wright preach such filth from the pulpit. Then in his “greatest speech ever told by any human being ever according to the msm”, he contradicted himself and admitted that he had heard the good Reverend’s hate speech from the pulpit. The mainstream press and the idiots at CNN and MSNBC ignored this obvious inconsistency and basically reverted to form concerning the softball coverage of Obama. At this point, the Clinton campaign should have gone into a full court press on the contradiction in Obama’s statements. If I were part of that campaign, I would have run an ad that first showed Obama on CNN where he denied ever hearing Wright’s nonsense, then I would have run the statement from the “greatest speech ever told by any human being ever” where he capitulated and admitted that he had heard Wright’s hateful speech before. Combine this with his NAFTA fiasco and a real theme begins to develop. Imagine the irony of a Clinton winning an election because of someone else’s blatant dishonesty?
Instead, Hillary let the issue pass. Then, in an apparent attempt to burnish her credentials as a Commander-in-Chief against Senator John McCain, Hillary’s utter lack of honesty became a huge story and, in effect, ended any chance that she had at winning the Democratic nomination for POTUS. The you tube generation, where facts can be checked at a moment’s notice, has not been kind to Hillary Clinton. What type of narcissistic, egomaniacal and pathetic person concocts a fantasy that has her (not to mention her own daughter) dodging a hail of bullets in a scene that never happened and could be so easily discredited? Really, this is just more of the same from Senator Clinton. Remember, this is a lady who claims 4 states, at last count, as home states. Also, one should recall during her initial campaign for Senator of New York, Ms. Clinton at various times pretended to have a Jewish background and an allegiance to a baseball team (the Yankees) despite all evidence pointing to no Jewish background and a life long commitment to the Cubs. Senator Clinton’s Rambo fantasy not only neutralized the negative effects that Reverend Wright had on Obama’s character but had the duel impact of destroying her edge with voters who regarded her as a more capable Commander-in-Chief than Obama. The 3 am ad has now been rendered meaningless.
Now as Hillary Clinton’s campaign implodes, it will be interesting to see how many rats jump from the ship. Already, the party leaders are pressuring her to quit while even previously Clinton committed super delegates like John Murtha are beginning to hedge their bets. Certainly Murtha knows to point his nose in the direction of the pork smell and that is not emanating from Hillary Clinton. The post mortem from the mainstream press will try to focus on the strength of Obama’s campaign as the reason why he was able to defeat Hillary Clinton. The real reason is that Hillary Clinton ran a historically inept campaign with a strategy that flawed and destined to fail unless she was able to close out the race by February. Her only option now is to (secretly of course) hope for a general election catastrophe so that Clinton can play the “I told you so” card and position herself, once again, as the only viable candidate for the Democrats in 2012. Somehow, I think the Clinton ship has sailed and we will not have to worry again about another Clinton holding the most powerful office on earth. At they very least, we can be thankful for that.