Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hillary Clinton & The Power of Four

And so after enough "turning the corner" spin to level a small city, endless speculating over how many Republicans limbaughed over to vote for her and the effect that a most excellently timed "Saturday Night Live" appearance might have had, Hillary Rodham Clinton picked up a mere four delegates after the five primaries and caucuses last week and will lose more than that today in Mississippi.
That's right, sports fans, four delegates.
This reality check seemed sure to get lost in the strum und drang over rezkos, red telephones, naftas, middle names beginning with "h" and rampant fearmongering, but then there has been another twist in this most improbable of campaign seasons even without the blessing of New York Times op-ed wordmeister Frank Rich, who took the weekend off:
Clinton's haughty public declarations that she's still the one and ferocious behind-the-scenes efforts to do anything short of kidnapping to woo committed Obama delegates while throwing everything at him in what was quickly dubbed a "kitchen sink" strategy are backfiring.
They are backfiring because most American reporters, while perhaps not as proficient in math as the Japanese, can count. They know that it is probable that Clinton will fall further behind Obama as the must-win Pennsylvania primary on April 22 looms larger, and that she will have to win that state by a landslide -- which not even Punxutawney Phil believes that she can do -- to remain competitive by the end of primary season.

Most of these reporters also know something else:
Clinton is desperate and the more she pushes back against Obama instead of trying to take the high ground the more she will be portrayed as the kind of person that Samatha Power described her in an unguarded moment.
This is not to say that the Obama campaign doesn't have problems beyond now being short an outspoken foreign policy advisor. But if the candidate and campaign keep doing what they have been doing so well -- staying on message and not getting rattled -- it is hard to see absent a monumental gaffe or Clinton literally resorting to kidnapping delegates how they won't maintain the upper hand.
Frank Zappa astutely remarked that "you can't be two places at once when you're nowhere at all," and that becomes more apparent as the Clinton campaign unravels.

A delicious example: Clinton has claimed incessantly in recent days that Obama doesn't have the chops to be a commander and chief while her spokespieces float the idea of him being her running mate.
All that and The Power of Four.

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