In Can Mrs. Clinton lose?, Peggy Noonan writes,
|We know she is smart. Is she wise? If it comes to it, down the road, can she give a nice speech, thank her supporters, wish Barack Obama well, and vow to campaign for him?|
|It either gets very ugly now, or we will see unanticipated–and I suspect professionally saving–grace.|
|I ruminate in this way because something is happening. Mrs. Clinton is losing this thing. It’s not one big primary, it’s a rolling loss, a daily one, an inch-by-inch deflation. The trends and indices are not in her favor. She is having trouble raising big money, she’s funding her campaign with her own wealth, her moral standing within her own party and among her own followers has been dragged down, and the legacy of Clintonism tarnished by what Bill Clinton did in South Carolina. Unfavorable primaries lie ahead. She doesn’t have the excitement, the great whoosh of feeling that accompanies a winning campaign. The guy from Chicago who was unknown a year ago continues to gain purchase, to move forward. For a soft little innocent, he’s played a tough and knowing inside/outside game.|
|The day she admitted she’d written herself a check for $5 million, Obama’s people crowed they’d just raised $3 million. But then his staff is happy. They’re all getting paid.|
|Political professionals are leery of saying, publicly, that she is losing, because they said it before New Hampshire and turned out to be wrong. Some of them signaled their personal weariness with Clintonism at that time, and fear now, as they report, to look as if they are carrying an agenda. One part of the Clinton mystique maintains: Deep down journalists think she’s a political Rasputin who will not be dispatched.|
|The biggest problem for the Republicans will be that no matter what they say that is not issue oriented–“He’s too young, he’s never run anything, he’s not fully baked”–the mainstream media will tag them as dealing in racial overtones, or undertones. You can bet on this. Go to the bank on it.|
|The Democrats continue not to recognize what they have in this guy. Believe me, Republican professionals know. They can tell.|
I don’t know. Obama hasn’t had an embarrasing blow-up yet, as most campaigns eventually do. He’s not perfect. It’s going to happen.
And on the bus last week here near Boston, I overheard a lively political discussion among acquaintances that was all about the comfort they felt with Hillary, and even their affection for her. I’m reluctant to dismiss that.
But my gut says Peggy’s right. And I think it has to do with the matter of “change”. It’s hard to say “change” is what you’re about when you’re proposing a series of four presidents with just two surnames between them.
One thing I didn’t expect to see, going into this election, was how absolutely smart Hillary is, and how much she knows about pretty much everything that comes her way. I’ve never been a fan; but I’ve been truly impressed by her.
But it *is* time for a change. We all know that. Most of us want it. And there’s just one candidate that actually represents it, and is likely to make it happen.
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