Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hillary's Rise Surprise

My good old friend and former college roommate David A. Todd makes fun of me for being slightly off in my prediction (in my post "Change?" below) of the winners in the New Hampshire's primary last Tuesday.

Well, Dave, I am in relatively good company, because nearly every pundit from left to the right and sea to shining sea called it wrong, and now there is a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking.

But a couple of very well written pieces enlighten us as to what may have been at the root of Hillary's surprising success.

So here they are.  One from the NY Times by David Brooks, and one from the Wall Street Journal by Karl Rove on how it was that Hillary pulled it off.

By the way, a bit of good news:  Both the Times and the Journal editorials are no longer available solely to paid subscription holders.  They are now free, and available to all.

Here is an excerpt from the Brooks piece:

This election isn’t only about change, it’s about surprise. Here are the top 10 surprises of New Hampshire primary night, 2008:


4. Working-class women stuck with Hillary. The secret to her success, and the reason she may win the election in November (if she gets that far) is that less-educated women like her. Better-educated women are ambivalent, but the so-called waitress moms will stick with Hillary through thick and thin.


9. Crying works. I have no data to back this up. But Hillary’s human moment must have helped. Expect Romney to cry a river of tears at the next press conference.

Obviously, there are 8 other good points you'll have to read about by following the link.

Here is another good excerpt.  This one from the Wall Street Journal piece.

Mrs. Clinton won a narrow victory in New Hampshire for four reasons. First, her campaign made a smart decision at its start to target women Democrats, especially single women. It has been made part of the warp and woof of her campaign everywhere. This focus didn't pay off in Iowa, but it did in New Hampshire.

Second, she had two powerful personal moments. The first came in the ABC debate on Saturday, when WMUR TV's Scott Spradling asked why voters were "hesitating on the likeability issue, where they seem to like Barack Obama more." Mrs. Clinton's self-deprecating response -- "Well, that hurts my feelings" -- was followed by a playful "But I'll try to go on."


Third, the Clintons began -- at first not very artfully -- to raise questions about the fitness for the Oval Office of a first-term senator with no real accomplishments or experience.

Former President Bill Clinton hit a nerve by drawing attention to Mr. Obama's conflicting statements on Iraq. There's more -- and more powerful -- material available.


The fourth and biggest reason why Mrs. Clinton won two nights ago is that, while Mr. Obama can draw on the deep doubts of many Democrats about Mrs. Clinton, he can't close out the argument.

But read the whole thing.

I was right about one thing:  I stated that eventually voters would see through Obama's shallow and emotional rallying cry for "change."  Change to what?  Evidently the voters in New Hampshire saw through that sooner than I thought voters in general would.  Nonetheless, I admit my prediction was wrong.

So that's my excuse and I am sticking to it.

My friend and fellow blogger Dave feels a sense of pride because his predictions on Iowa were a slightly better than mine were on New Hampshire.  Just let me say, at least I don't throw hamburgers on the ground!

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