Despite our differences on John McCain, sometimes it’s uncanny how much Bruce and I think alike. Last night, before bed, I sketched out some notes for this post where I would note, among other things that the Clintons do best when, in my co-blogger’s words, “they are on the ropes.” Like him, I reluctantly admire the former First Lady’s tenaciousness while abhorring her partisanship.
It goes without saying that Mrs. Clinton had big night last night. She won Ohio and Rhode Island comforably and Texas narrowly, losing only in Vermont. Her campaign did what it needed to do to save her from political death. Last night’s results put to rest the absurd notion that she’s been running a lousy campaign. The problem wasn’t the campaign, it was the “product” they were trying to sell.
Where she succeeded last night was not by making that product more palatable, but in raising questions about Senator Barack Obama, the only remaining alternative to that product in the Democratic market. Her team succeeded in tarnishing his image, causing voters to wonder about his qualifications to be Chief Executive. In short, last week, she made Obama the issue. And in the final three days before the primaries, she did so with the help of a news media, finally awakening to its responsibilities.
As John Hinderaker put it on Powerline, people are starting to treat Obama like “a normal politician,” subject to the tough questions all politicians get. And with questions being raised, he has begun to look absurd under fire, particularly when he walked away from a press conference, whining that he already had to answer eight questions.
Given the recent burst of stories critical of Obama in the MSM, it’s no wonder late deciders broke for Mrs. Clinton. In Ohio, she “won those who decided three days before by 26 points.” She won comfortably among late-deciders in the Lone Star State. (I also read in several places that late deciders broke two-to-one for the former First Lady.)
Ms. Hillary won not by convincing voters of her strengths and by appealing to their hopes, but instead by waging an effective negative campaign (seems she has learned a trick or two from her husband). Hugh Hewitt believes she “was rewarded by throwing anvils at the young and lightly credentialed Illinois senator, and by drawing attention to the Rezko trial.”