I never thought I'd feel sorry for Hillary Clinton. The truth is I don't. But I'm
grateful to her for removing a stigma from the guy I wanted to be president, Rudy
We have many months yet to go in this presidential election cycle, but already it's
becoming notorious for whopping misjudgments. Until recently, the stigma for having
run the worst campaign in modern history seemed to be a dead heat between my guy
Rudy, for forsaking the earlier contests to focus on Florida, and former Tennessee
Sen. Fred Thompson, who thought he could win the GOP nomination from his hammock.
But Hillary Clinton is overtaking them. How does one go from being the "inevitable"
nominee of the Democratic party to a rapidly sinking underdog?
It helps to have a charismatic opponent like Sen. Barack Obama, and to not be very
charismatic yourself. But most of Hillary's wounds are self inflicted.
The Clinton campaign raised a great deal of money fundraising always has been a
Clinton forte but has blown through it to little apparent purpose.
The Clinton campaign thought she would have the nomination wrapped up on Super
Tuesday Feb. 5, and had no plans for what might happen afterward, Hassan Nemazee,
Ms. Clinton's national finance chair, told the New York Observer.
A lack of bucks may explain why Hillary has not put more effort into Wisconsin,
which votes Tuesday, the last major contest until March 4, when Texas, Ohio and
Rhode Island vote.
Ms. Clinton hopes to construct a "firewall" in Texas and Ohio to change the
complexion of the race. In theory, this is possible, because almost all of Sen.
Obama's best states already have voted.
Sen. Obama's campaign has been fueled by the votes of blacks who in the Virginia
and Maryland primaries Feb. 12 voted for him by eye popping margins and limousine
liberals. Sen. Clinton's support has come from more traditional Democratic voters,
and from Hispanics.
Sen. Obama's strength among limousine liberals gives him a natural advantage in
caucuses, because limousine liberals attend them, and lunchpail Democrats typically
do not. (The only caucus Sen. Clinton has won so far is Nevada, where Hispanics
comprise a large percentage of Democratic voters.)
Hillary Clinton has won most of the biggest primaries New York, California,
Massachussetts, New Jersey but trails Sen. Obama in delegates chosen because he's
been creaming her in caucuses. For instance, on the weekend of Feb. 9-10, Sen.
Obama scored big wins in Washington state, Nebraska and Maine, winning 74 delegates
to Ms. Clinton's 32.
Hillary wouldn't be so far behind the eightball if she'd bothered to compete in the
caucus states. But she didn't.
"We didn't put any resources in those small states," Hassan Nemazee, Ms. Clinton's
national finance chair, told the New York Observer. The result is that instead of
losing caucus states like Kansas and Idaho by, say, 55-45, she lost them 73-25 and
To date, except for narrow wins in Missouri and Connecticut, the only primaries
Sen. Obama has won have been in states with large black populations. But only two
southern states Mississippi on March 11 and North Carolina on May 6 have yet
to vote. And only Hawaii Tuesday, Wyoming on March 8, and Puerto Rico will select
delegates by caucus.
Hillary currently has comfortable leads in the most recent polls in Texas and Ohio.
But her firewall strategy doesn't take momentum into account. If Sen. Obama wins as
expected in Wisconsin and Hawaii, he'll have ten straight victories going into March
4, and people in Texas and Ohio will start changing allegiance.
Hillary needs a stop to slow the mo. Wisconsin's demographics are favorable to her.
The black population isn't large. The Hispanic population is surprisingly large for
a state in the upper Midwest. Outside of Madison, where the state university is,
there aren't many limousine liberals. Most Democrats are blue collar workers with
traditional manufacturing jobs, Hillary's kind of people. Even a narrow loss would
be a victory of sorts, because it would look like a comeback after the drubbings she
took in Virginia and Maryland.
But until recently, Ms. Clinton planned to skip the Badger state. She didn't even
name a state director in Wisconsin until Thursday. If she loses badly, it will be
her own damn fault and it could be fatal.