Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Was Super Tuesday Actually Fatal for Clinton?

I'm kinda leaning toward "yes" ...

I thought it was odd that Clinton seemed so eager to give her thank you speech so early last night. Usually it's a good idea to build some suspense and drama by letting the losers get their speeches out of the way. It just seemed so ... out of place. The conventional wisdom was that there were neither winners nor losers last night -- if anything, Clinton might have been able to claim a big PR victory with her solid win in California, but I think she had addressed her supporters before the results came in. Maybe she thought speaking in prime time would give her more visibility. I don't know ... it has a very forced feel to it, not unlike her concession speech in Iowa.

With the notable exception of New Hampshire, Hillary seems to careen through these primary nights listlessly almost like -- and I realize this is a weird analogy -- the ghosts in The Sixth Sense who don't realize they're dead yet. Sure, last night wasn't a knock-out, but this fight is clearly taking the wind out of her and Obama's strategy of "Clinton Attrition" is really taking a toll on her.

And now today there seems to be several indications that the Clinton camp is in serious trouble. When all the math is finally tabulated, Clinton will likely be ever so slightly behind in the delegate count. On top of that, she's in for a very long month. And here's the real kicker: money.

Last month when we noticed that Rudy Giuliani's senior staff was going to not accept paychecks we immediately started the Rudy Death Watch. Clinton's problem isn't that she can't raise money, it's that she's not raising enough. She was simply blown out of the water in January by Obama and the kind of people that have contributed to the Illinois Senator -- small donors who are no where near maxing out the legal campaign allotments -- can be tapped again and again. That's going to be a daunting thing to overcome.

I'm not ready to whip out the tarot cards just yet -- Rudy was a bad candidate running an awful campaign, Hillary's a decent candidate running a very solid campaign. But the longer this goes on the more likely it is that Hillary just won't be able to keep up.

MORE: See what I mean?


Rob M. said...

So okay, it does now appear that Obama "won" Super Tuesday, barely. The immediate next states (including us!) favor Obama. The money advantage is even bigger down the road.

But as long as Clinton doesn't crater, doesn't she still collect enough delegates to keep Obama from out-and-out winning the nomination? How dead is she if at the end of the day Obama doesn't have enough delegates?

I don't know, maybe still dead. This campaign is very strange...

Jb said...

That's the thing: The more people have been getting to know Obama the more they like him. The same isn't true of Clinton -- One could make the argument that she's been winning primarily on name ID, unfortunately for her she carries a pretty loaded last name.

The next month does not bode well for Clinton. It's literally for weeks of nothing but state that Obama should win -- and that means four weeks of gushing press for her opponent that he should be able to ride into the bigger March primaries. Clinton doesn't have to crater for Obama to win (and, frankly, with the machine that's she's probably got in the Dem party she probably won't). Obama just has to progressively better than her in primary after primary.

This election is wicked strange. It stopped being a horse race almost after New Hampshire and is now a bona fide chess match.