Friday, December 14, 2007

The {Possible} Fall of Hillary

After starting to doubt his long held belief that the Hillary campaign would eventually implode, Kos writes that he may not have been off base after all:

Hillary has put together a sort of "coalition" team of consultants and advisors, spanning the ideological spectrum of the party. My reasoning was that this coalition would hold so long as she was in the lead. But as the other candidates got better known and she started slipping, that coalition would fray and they'd start using the press to fight their internal turf battles, further accelerating her decline.

Well, the initial decline (like Lieberman's in 2003) didn't happen. Even as Obama and Edwards became better known, Clinton increased her leads. She was defying gravity. Her debate performances were stellar and she was running a tight ship. She had effectively eliminated her Iraq vote as a negative. And given how safe Obama was playing it, I thought, "Damn, she's going to pull it off."

But then Hillary made mistakes, the biggest being her Iran vote -- suddenly telegraphing to everyone that she had not, in fact, learned her lesson from the Iraq debacle. It's a vote I'm sure she wishes she could have back, because suddenly her campaign was on the defensive, and -- this was a shocker -- she stumbled (and a gleeful press piled on). And now, as her poll numbers are sagging and her inevitability in serious doubt, the second half of my prediction is starting to play out.

Kos uses this great quote from Ezra Klein:
When the rationale for your campaign is that you're the frontrunner with the experience to win, losing your lead in the polls doesn't only put you in second place, it actually shreds the argument for your candidacy. What we're beginning to see here is how underdeveloped the arguments for Clinton were when separated from her aura of inevitability.

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