Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Never Underestimate a Clinton. Hillary's Wins Puts ObamaMania on the Ropes


Something new and exciting is in the air. You can feel it. Sen. Hillary Clinton on Tuesday showed that she's a fighter, survivor and winner. In handily beating Sen. Barack Obama in the Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island primaries, she put an end to the ridiculous and premature assertions of Obama's presumptive-nominee status and that she should withdraw from the race as a result. That Obama's outspent her about 4-1 makes these wins even more significant. Frankly, the sense of entitlement from Obama's supporters is a bit arrogant. This is politics, and this year's contest is perhaps the toughest and most exciting in modern history. It's preposterous to suggest that Clinton should quit the race and hand over the mantle to her rival amidst such a hotly contested race. She trails only by about 150 delegates and is less than 1% behind in the popular vote. Can anyone truly say this is an Obama mandate? That he currently is the rightful heir to the throne, when in fact, the simple truth is, come convention time, he will fall far short of the 2025 delegates needed to ensnare the nomination? Sorry kids, but this horse race is not over, it's just beginning.

Clinton has so far bagged, among others, NY, NJ, Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Florida, Texas and Ohio. At this point, it's quite fair to say she will also win Pennsylvania on April 22, a state with 158 delegates to offer. She has the support of Gov. Ed Rendell, and voters there are firmly part of her base. These are the traditional big Blue states; the states Democrats must win, and historically do win in the general election. The states Obama has been acquiring along the way, including Kansas, Idaho, South Carolina and Mississippi, are Red states that McCain will win in November. But here's the rub: it's not safe to automatically assume that Obama, should he be the nominee, will take all of Hillary's Blue states. Given the "moderate" status that Sen. John McCain undeservingly enjoys and his attraction among Independents and Reagan Democrats as a result, can we be so sure that he will not win over voters in one or more of these key states? More troubling, are we to believe that race will not play a major role come November? When it's time to close the curtain and pull the lever, I suspect Obama will without question be hurt by the racial intolerance still rampant in America today. Remember gay marriage? Remember how so many Americans blinded by hatred of gays were literally driven to the polls in 2004? To think Obama will fare any better, or won't face a potentially worse onslaught, is incredibly naive.

I also worry how Obama's inexperience will factor into these same Blue-state decisions. A good friend told me Wednesday morning over breakfast that his die-hard Hillary-loving wife--an Ivy-League educated Manhattan Democrat lawyer--said to him Tuesday night that she'll likely vote for McCain if the choice is between him and Obama. I find this type of abandonment frightening.

So give Hillary her props. She had a very impressive showing Tuesday. Exit polls indicate she did well with women, the working class, Hispanics, white males and Independents. She's starting to build a broad coalition of Democrats. She's building momentum. She's demonstrating that voters are starting to view her as the more qualified steward of the economy and the more capable commander-in-chief. Safe to say, Hillary Clinton has finally hit her stride. The lady's got her mojo back.

Hillary had a great week. Obama did not. I wrote earlier this week that we should never underestimate a Clinton. They're fighters. They know how to win. As a friend and ardent Obama supporter said unwittingly to me Tuesday, "they play dirty, like Republicans." Bingo! There it is. That, in a nutshell, is what I like about Hillary's chances, not only against Obama, but in November against McCain. A Democrat who fights like a Republican is exactly what we need for Pete's sake. Haven't we learned from the past 14 years of Republican ass-whippings? Given the choice between a Gingrich/Rovian Democrat or a "why cant we all just get along" softee, as Obama's starting to resemble, I'll put my money on Newt and Karl, thank you. I like that Hillary's got junkyard dogs like James Carville and Howard Wolfson in her corner. These guys understand the political war we're in with the Repugs. There's a reason why Clintons are winners. To the contrary, Obama's not shown he has the political gravitas to fight hard; he lacks the fire in the belly. And he's been weakened this week by the Tony Rezko scandal; the Canadian/NAFTA memo brouhaha; and Hillary's "3AM" slam dunk national security ad. Her camp finally has figured out their road map. Finally understood how to frame the issues and get their candidate victorious. If he's to truly demonstrate his inevitable electability, Obama needs to stop whining about the "kitchen sink" he claims she's thrown at him and start showing voters he's a fighter too. Sorry ObamaManiacs, Hillary's going nowhere. She won't drop out, and she shouldn't. This is politics. She's proven this week she has lots of fight remaining in her. If Obama can't fight, he should get out, not her.

Clinton's victories Tuesday have brought Obama euphoria to a grinding halt. The winning streak is over. The momentum gone. He's losing all the big Blue states, and, as Clinton said Wednesday, "If you cannot win Ohio you cannot win the presidency." And she's right. No one gets into the White House without Ohio. My theory, as it has been all along, is that, while Obama's a great motivational speaker and inspirational, charismatic figure, politically he's an empty suit. And maybe that's what's surfacing right now. Maybe voters are starting to wonder whether there's any real "there" there. Wondering if Hillary's the safe bet because, at least with her and Bill, "we know what we're getting." They're starting to peel back the Obama onion, and maybe there's not as much there as some had hoped.

Consider the email I received Wednesday morning from another friend, an influential political insider and major New York Democratic fundraiser and heretofore Obama supporter: "I think that she had a very good week, he
also seems to flatten out a bit and get a little cautious/complacent. I
think that he didn't react well to her and it may be that he can't
counter punch as well as I thought. If that is case, then she may be best
nominee since as you know, I'm primarily for him because of my view of
his electability."
Consider this guy one of the so-called "smart" ones; someone who closely follows every square inch of the political landscape. If he's now on the fence, just think about all those uninformed voters who simply get their news and influences from Jay Leno? Is Obama about to become 2008's Howard Dean? Only time will tell.

Obama has been out stumping Wednesday pointing out that the delegate count is basically unmoved following Tuesday's primaries. "The results are a wash," he said. And he's right. But where he's wrong is in the bigger picture; that this race is not merely about delegates anymore. It's about super-delegates. I caution against thinking that these back-room power brokers won't ultimately view Clinton as the more likely candidate to beat McCain in November. These elite party officials are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that Democrats send the most electable candidate into the general election. The way the system works, the candidate with the most delegates going into the August convention is not the presumptive nominee. The candidate must have 2025 delegates. Again, Obama will fall very short of that number, as will Clinton. That means we're going to have a brokered convention, with the 330 unpledged super-delegates to-date, as well as those 600 already-pledged who could switch allegiance on a dime, rolling up their sleeves and basically making this decision. And it will be no slam dunk, as the ObamaManiacs would like us to accept. The kingmakers will be focusing on the entire political landscape...from momentum, to the big states, to overall electability.

Lastly, DNC chairman Howard Dean is now also faced with the inevitability of figuring out a solution to the Michigan/Florida problem. Those two huge, delegate-rich states have been unseated by the party over primary-scheduling dust-ups. Florida had a total of 210 delegates, including 185 that would have been at stake in Tuesday's Democratic primary. Michigan had a total of 156 delegates, including 128 that would have been at stake in its Jan. 15 primary. So far, voters in these two states have not had their voices heard. And that's a problem for the party. Dean is likely to work out do-overs in both, and if Clinton takes both again and picks up a disproportionate share of the delegates, the pendulum swings even further in her direction.

To be sure, the 2008 election is a political junkie's dream. Anything can, and likely will, happen.

One thing for sure, and just another reason why this down-to-the-wire slugfest is terrific for Democrats: all of the nation's media attention will be focused through August on Obama and Clinton. The dull-as-paste McCain will have to virtually get naked and run through the streets of D.C. in order to snag airtime.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Thank you.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

best and honest report or memo I've seen on the web,today,don't worry though,you'll have more than your share of obama people attacking you,for telling truth to power.progressives like you are far and few between, obama's people just like the 24 hr news stations are saying hillary can't come up with count,but they forget to say neither can obama,YOUR GREAT KEEP REPORTING

solarman said...

Andy, you are the best. You're writing skills are second-to-none and as usual you are spot on with this. Have you ever contacted Bill Maher to get on his Friday evening program? You really need to, or let us all know if you are willing and we'll contact Bill and HBO to get you on. From the past number of panel members he's had on, you would be a bright light.

bacci40 said...

i find it hard to understand why clinton supporters have no problem with her campaign's tactics during the past week.

i guess you people wont mind when the rest of the campaign becomes smears from both sides and stops talking about issues.

oh, and nice tip of the cap to the repug nominee at the expense of obama

so if hillary doesnt win the nom, i expect her to endorse mccain

when is hillary changing her last name to lieberman?

marilyn said...

Yup, here they come, one dumber than the other as proved by the onces above.

jack in Tampa said...

bacci40 doesn't know how to use caps, and the other Anonies just prove the mind set of the right wing party. Little surprise on the lack of brain power out there, but at least they are reading quality writing, keep going Andy you hit a nerve.

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head when you said it takes dirty politics to win. It is just more of the same crap that goes on each and every day in our country's political arena. I, for one, am fed up with the insincerity, lies, and dirty games. This country wants a campaign like the one that was being run by the Dems 2 weeks ago, before the Clinton camp began the mud slinging when they began losing. If this crap goes on, it will be more of the same when we need a refreshing change and new direction. It would be a shame for us to not have an articulate, well measured, statesman with a new approach to solving national and international situations. Clinton and McCain are more of the same politics with no hope of anything getting resolved. All we have is hope.

Barry Schwartz said...

What in the world is "Obamamania"? I have no idea what that could mean.

I do know, though, that before this primary campaign I had photos of Bill Clinton, including with Hillary and with Buddy, decorating my refrigerator, but when we got around to South Carolina I took them all down. I don't want to see either Hillary or Bill again in my entire life, though I doubt I will get my wish. So, yes, I could understand what one meant by a term such as "Clintophobia"; but not "Obamamania", that's just some vague Straw Man AFAICT.

BTW I was a Chris Dodd booster. Now Obama, but only since there were only he and Clinton in the race.

The Ostroy Report said...

I have been a guest commentator on Hardball, and would love to go on with Bill Maher. Feel free to make it happen if you think you can.
Andy

Anonymous said...

Maybe the two candidates need to get together and form a really unbeatable ticket!

Oldnovice said...

Well, I'm in Texas and I'd like to know exactly when Texas became one of those big BLUE states. After reading that, I could hardly trust the rest of the piece.

Anonymous said...

OLDNOVICE:

I remember when Texas was one big BLUE state. Perhaps Texas is just returning to its roots.

The prize is November. Hillary is not your enemy.
Don't be an Obama groupie. I'm tired of naive Obama supporters.

teknikAL said...

Andy,
remember this:
"And, Ari Berman wrote about this last spring:

A host of prominent Republicans fall under Penn's purview. B-M's Washington lobbying arm, BKSH & Associates, is run by Charlie Black, a leading GOP operative who maintains close ties to the White House, including Karl Rove, and was a partner with Lee Atwater, the consultant who crafted the Willie Horton smear campaign for George H.W. Bush in 1988. In recent years Black's clients have included the likes of Iraq's Ahmad Chalabi, the darling of the neocon right in the run-up to the war; Lockheed Martin; and Occidental Petroleum. In 2005 he landed a contract with the Lincoln Group, the disgraced PR firm that covertly placed US military propaganda in Iraqi news outlets.

Black is only one cannon in B-M's Republican arsenal.

Penn works for Clinton.

Black works for McCain.

And Black works for Penn." ~ by Joe Sudbay (DC)

Sorry, she is part of the insider machine.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lisa in Scottdale, AZ said...

Andy...

You conveniently fail to mention the single most important aspect of the contests in Ohio and Texas: Just three weeks ago Clinton held commanding leads in the polls...as much as 20 percent. Obama's momentum in the two to three weeks leading up to March 4 vaporized these leads, as evidenced in the negligible delegate advantage realized by the Clinton campaign on March 4, only further demonstrating the strength of his candidacy and the resolve of his supporters.

The Ostroy Report said...

Lisa... and what you are forgetting is how Obama outspent Hillary by at least 4-1. With that kind of dough going around, he should've won handily in both states.
Andy

Anonymous said...

Yes, Clinton's huge lead in Ohio and Texas evaporated. At best, it appears there was a net gain of 10 delegates for her. In order to for her to obtain this "win" she has started a extremely negative campaign. If this continues, it will be at great expense to the Democratic Party and ultimately the nation. Over the years, I have been an absolute and steadfast supporter and defender of the Clintons. My enthusiam for her candidacy stalled in South Carolina. I have waited for all of the years she has served in the Senate for her to stand up to George Bush. She has repeatedly disappointed me in this regard. And now, who does she (and her husband) go after?--Obama! Enough of the "35 years of experience". She did not even have a security clearance as First Lady! Hillary is in her second term of elected office. She is daily revealing herself to be mean-spirited and is using the worst possible tactics. (How Republican!) Today I saw how her campaign has darkened video of Obama to make him appear more dark-skinned. She repeatedly states that she and John McCain have more experience then Obama does. So, it seems that she believes the Republican candidate is better than the Democratic candidate currently leading in delegates! It is apparent that the Clintons want Hillary to win so badly that they have lost sight of the importance of getting a Democrat in the White House. Personal ambition is a strong drive; it must be hard to let go. But, as a supporter of the Clintons for all of these years--all I can say is: "How dare you! Have you no shame?" Look at the math. Please stop this insanity now!

Anonymous said...

Well, at least now I know never to trust Andy's reporting ever again. Anyone who can describe Obama as on the ropes when he only was down by 12 delegates but leads by over 100 delegates and also leads by hundreds of thousands of votes in the popular vote count is just being dishonest. Maybe they have a place for you over on Fox News Andy. I think you will like it there. I believe they are pulling for your candidate, Hillary Clinton too.

Anonymous said...

Why would you ever trust Ostroy's reporting? Look at the mission statement at the top of this website. Ostroy is a complete Democrat shill. Everyone knows you can't trust a Democrat any more than you can't trust a Republican.

Anonymous said...

At the time I was a passionate Howard Dean supporter and was devastated when he "caved" and didn't fight the press smear using his screams. However, in light of the mess he's made with his "RULES" I'm so glad he was never our president.

As far as the current race goes, I'm so thankful we have Ostroy to tell it like it is. And, in addition to everything he's said, I'd like to add that I, an Obama supporter, am beginning to have questions about Obama. Doesn't it look like he'll be another spineless Dem. in power? Why was he "Barry" until he met his Muslim father? As an adult, what religion did he convert from to be a Christian? Why does he continue to attend a church that is anti-white?

And, finally, what is being done about the threats delegates are getting forcing them to support Obama?

This is all troubling.

Anonymous said...

Lie much coward? Don't give us that "I am for Obama" and then spit out every poisonous Clinton propaganda talking point. This is not the Fox News website. People are not as stupid as you think they are here.

Marsha said...

Andy:

Thank you for this article. You can't count Hillary out. I'm tired of hearing all the vitrol against her. The Clintons have been fighting against all this crap for years. Yes, we've heard for years all of these scandalous things about them but NOTHING has been proved as FACT except that Bill was a dope who couldn't keep his pants zipped and lied about it. This is about HER not HIM, he can continue to run his successful NONPROFIT foundation. She's passionate and I believe her when she says she wants to do what is best for the Democratic party and the country. She and Bill have raised a beautiful smart daughter who has NEVER had a hint of scandal in her life (unlike the Bush girls). She made a personal decision to stay w/her husband, it was NONE of our business. And I think anyone in NY state would say she has been an exceptionally good senator. Did she make a mistake in voting the vote that took us to Iraq, yes. But so did a lot of other Democratic senators, and Bush and his people lied through their teeth during the whole process. Now she has the best plan to bring the troops home, she has the best plan for health care (she has learned from her mistakes) and she has the best economic plan.

I like Obama, he's a fresh new face who is smart and likable, but he is too green in politics. The Republican mean machine will chew him up and spit him out in nothing flat. I want to see a Democrat back in the White House. Our choices are two smart, qualified people. But Hillary has the experience to take on the Republican mean machine (cause she knows how they fight and can throw it right back at 'em). What I want to see is Hillary/Obama and they would be unbeatable. If they do a good job,with 4-8 years experience as VP Obama will be unbeatable in '12 or '16 in a presidential run, and he would still be just in his 50's. Come on people we have to come together. I love Hillary, but unlike a lot who I have seen on this blog, I will vote for Obama if he gets the nomination, because I want a Democrat in the White House. I want the Obama people to pledge the same, that they would rather see a Democrat in the White House than John McCain, be it Hillary or Obama. We have to stop this bickering and come together. It will play out.

Anonymous said...

Obamamania is STILL alive! He narrowed the 20 pt. lead she had over him in TX and OH in 2 weeks. Ohio is only the second state out of all the states she has won where she's won with a double digit lead. He has beat her in all the states he's won by an average of 33%!!! Obama also actually won Nevada having won one more delegate than her. We are two days out from the last primary. Obama supporters haven't suddenly crawled under a rock to hide, they are on the ground working for him. He esentially has won 13 states in a row. (this includes the TX caucus where he has ended up with more delegates than Mrs. Clinton) the big state that she's won are typically states that are blue anyway and will be blue still if the Clinton's don't manage to change the rules so that the princess can win.

Daniel Smith said...

I've just read the drivel that you, as a self-professed progressive, put out on your blog. I feel like I'm trapped in an Alice in Wonderland nightmare where for the first time since Robert Kennedy a democratic candidate comes along who doesn't try to emulate Repuglicans political behavior, doesn't try to triangulate, doesn't try to be Repuglican lite and he's condemned for not being the cynical realist that Hillary is. You've got to KIDDING. If I had a choice to vote for a Repuglican over a Repuglican I'd vote Repuglican every time. Give me a break. If Hillary winds up stealing the nomination, I'll vote for Nader. I can't believe you call yourself a Progressive. and no i won't write this as anonymous. My name is Dan Smith and I live in south Florida.

The Ostroy Report said...

Dan, I'm a self-professed progressive? Apparently you know more about me than I do. I'm not a progressive. I'm a realist. And the political reality that I, like you, have inherited is that Republicans fight like animals and do whatever they need to do to win. That won't change. Democrats have two options therefore: respond in kind, or adopt the Rodney King "Why can't we all get along" strategy and be the "smarter, more progressive, more intellectual, more above-the-fray party...and never win an election. Unfortunately in life, you don't get to choose your enemies, and you don't get to dictate how they fight. You either decide to fight to win, or you run like a coward. Unlike you, I understand that politics always has been and always will be a dirty game. It's the nature of the beast. Just ask John Kerry. That you'd run away and vote for Nader only proves your political naivite. Go ahead and make another protest vote and help put another irrational, war-mongering dangerous Republican fool in the White House. It's people like you who gave us eight years of Bush. That you'd go ahead and help do it again, after what we now know, is astounding.You're not a progressive, you're a regressive. You are one glaring example of why Democrats cannot win elections.

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton is an animal.