Why Hillary Will Lose
By: Dick Morris
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, February 14, 2008
Hillary Clinton has blown an almost sure
shot at the Democratic presidential nomination. Having surrendered the
lead to Obama, she is not likely ever to regain it. It is a fantasy
that the Ohio and Texas primaries will be a “firewall” to contain the
flames of enthusiasm for Obama and reverse her defeats of February.
Just as with Giuliani’s supposed Florida firewall, Hillary’s will
crumble as Obama’s momentum carries him forward to the nomination.
Hillary lost her first primary or caucus, she lost the dialogue with
the Obama campaign vis-à-vis the totally misguided decision to focus
her message on experience, surrendering the ground of change to her
The more she tried to emphasize Obama’s
inexperience, the more she seemed to fence herself into the status quo.
That it was the status quo ante of the Clinton years, not the status
quo of the Bush administration, made less and less difference as the
She ran on a message perfect for a
Republican primary — experience — and abandoned the key to winning a
Democratic primary — the message of change — to Obama.
decision to rely on special interest political action committee and
lobbyist contributions and to seed her war chest with the checks of
maxed-out donors gave substance to Obama’s contrast of the status quo
vs. change. With her chief strategist a lobbyist and her top campaign
team all in the business, she was awash in associations that crippled
her ability to fight for change.
Obama became the attraction in the race
while Hillary recited her laundry list of proposals with a deadening monotony.
She could have waged a grassroots,
small-donor, Internet campaign of change based on being the first woman
running for president with a serious chance of victory. The charisma
could have been hers, the excitement hers and the novelty hers. But by
embracing experience and pretending to be safe and tested, she deadened
the excitement her candidacy could have generated.
She got a
reprieve by winning in New York/New Jersey and in California/ Arizona
largely on the strength of Latino and immigrant voters. Their
concentration in five key states (75 percent live in California, New
York, Illinois, Florida and Texas) gave her a draw on Super Tuesday.
But too many of her votes come from Hispanics who fear blacks and from
older whites who harbor residual racial feelings. Her and Bill’s
heavy-handed attempts to polarize the election racially died on
Super Tuesday in an avalanche of votes from white states like Utah,
Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota, and the like.
the election turned from Super Tuesday to the heartland, where there
are few Hispanics or new immigrants, Hillary’s campaign has lost its
momentum and its prospects of victory. Obama’s victories in Maine,
Nebraska, Louisiana and Washington state, and his probable wins in
Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, show how complete is his mastery of states
without immigrants blinded by the Clinton name to sustain it. Hillary’s
hopes for victory in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North
Carolina are a fantasy. The Latino population in those states is well
below 10 percent and not enough to carry her to victory.
super-delegates will not be enough to reverse Obama’s primary and
caucus victories and they will run for cover and join the Obama
Besides losing the rhetorical battle, Hillary
have nowhere near the money that Obama will have. Her preparations for
a short war based on maxed-out donors and old politics were
disastrously shortsighted, while Obama wisely cultivated online
contributors who can regenerate with the click of a mouse.
Barack Obama beat Al Gore to the punch and jumped into the presidential
race while the former vice president was still deciding what to do, it
seemed that Hillary had virtually wrapped up the nomination. While Gore
could have beaten Mrs. Clinton, it seemed unlikely that a senator with
two years’ service under his belt could do so.
But the mistakes
and strategic errors of the Clinton campaign gave Obama an opening that
he exploited masterfully. It is Obama’s charisma that is winning this
election, but it was Clinton’s mistakes that opened the door.
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