Hillary’s Diminishing Returns
There is dissension in the Hillary Clinton camp. Top aides have been in arguments, shouting back and forth about differences in strategy. Should Clinton come on strong? Should she go negative? Should she be upbeat and positive? Here’s my answer: Stop campaigning.
The evidence is overwhelming that since Super Tuesday, the minute Clinton steps foot in a state, her numbers start to plummet. Of course, Barack Obama has something to do with it. He’s a phenomenon, a political version of Roy Hobbs, “The Natural” of Bernard Malamud’s wonderful novel, whose physical repose is TV perfect and who will, when the time comes, provide a jarring visual contrast to the much older John McCain. Obama is nearly as good as he thinks he is.
So it could be that Clinton would have lost the Democrat nomination even if she was a gifted politician. But she has no such gift. Her smile is strained. She is contained. She seems unknowable and for all but women like herself, there is that melancholy Billie Holiday air about her — all those songs about a suffering woman. Most of us would prefer Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” the upbeat theme of Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign.
It might seem surprising that Clinton has turned out to be something other than a brilliant campaigner. But consider her record. Back in 1999, she entered the New York Senate race in the manner of Marie Antoinette entering France — to be ultimately crowned queen. When Clinton announced an interest in running, every other Democratic candidate — Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, even Al Sharpton — took it as an order to vanish. The strongest of these, Rep. Nita Lowey, graciously stepped aside, as if Clinton was the real McCoy and a six-term member of Congress was an undeserving interloper.
Hillary’s last stand will be at the Alamo.