I’ll be dropping a primary preview for both parties later this week, but in advance I wanted to give a few extra thoughts on the Hillary-Obama grudge match going on in Iowa right now.
1. Why I’m still not sold on Obama: he still doesn’t know how to finish. Bill Clinton pans him for being inexperienced and in response, he ends up reminding us how great he was. He had the opportunity to portray himself as the Washington outsider (George Bush’s “winning” tactic in 2000) and by comparison label Clinton as an old-style attack politician. All he had to do was point out that the true mark of idiocy is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. I’m willing to bet that would have been a huge hit with voters. At some point, he needs to learn to identify when he’s getting a fastball over the middle. If he wants to win in Iowa, he needs to use these moments to his advantage.
Two more points after the break…
2. It says a lot about Hillary’s strength that she started taking Iowa seriously months after everyone else but can still hold her own even when 1. Obama gets the most popular woman in the country to campaign for him, and 2. Edwards has been campaigning there since he finished second 4 years ago.
3. Hillary is playing the Nixon to almost everyone’s Kennedy. That’s exactly how its playing out with Obama and Edwards (if he didn’t come off as such a jerk, I’m convinced he’d have a shot), but even in the Republican race, every candidate is begging for her to be the nominee so they can look like the good guy. If she dropped out tomorrow, Democrats could win with Mike Gravel, because Republican voters just wouldn’t care enough to come out to vote.