Four theories to explain Hillary's stunner.

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Jan. 9 2008 5:04 AM

Hillary Stuns--Four Theories

Bonus 5th Theory just added!

(Continued from Page 41)

Is Hillary Cool with Edwards winning Iowa? That's Rich Lowry's intriguing suggestion.

As Major Garrett noted on Fox News a little while ago, Hillary is probably going after Obama so hard in Iowa because she can afford to have Edwards win there in a way she can't with Obama. ...

For one thing, she needs to keep Edwards alive to split the vote against her. ... P.S.: But why might Hillary be so confident that Edwards is not a threat in the long-run?  Some scandal  she thinks might bubble up? ... 3:12 A.M.

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Rethinking Early Primaries: If Peter Beinart is right and Hillary's appeal, even within her antiwar party, has perversely fallen as Iraq has faded from the news  ("Iraq played to Clinton's biggest asset: her reputation for experience and strength") what happens if Dems reject her next month--and then Iraq, Iran, or some other foreign policy crisis happens over the summer before the election? The Democrats would find that their early-primary schedule will have led them to nominate the wrong candidate for Election Day--i.e. a candidate like Obama who plays better in peacetime. ...

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It may be time to rethink the stone-carved CW that it helps a party to settle on a candidate early. Historically, prolonged, exciting, bitter nomination battles have tended to weaken nominees--Humphrey in 1968, for example. But there are counterexamples (in 1976 Jimmy Carter hardly wrapped it up early) and complicating circumstances (Carter in 1980 and Mondale in 1984 would have lost even if they'd faced no primary challengers). More important, the Feiler Faster Thesis  suggests there is effectively more time between June and November in which a party can patch things up and change the story line. ... Unless it has already nominated the wrong person way back in February. ...

P.S.: The FFT also suggests that the public mood about what sort of candidate is "right" is more likely to shift between February and November than it did back in 1968. ...

P.P.S.: As if on cue, the CW appears to be under assault on the related issue of whether the early primaries will, in fact, settle the nomination. Charlie Cook and Dick Morris both suggest Hillary could weather early setbacks and still win. And the FFT suggests she has enough time, even with a front-loaded schedule (Yepsen notwithstanding). But I'm not quite buying it. Hillary in fightback mode is, so far, not a pleasant sight. ...

P.P.P.S:--A Plan So Crazy It Just Might Work: Still, this is kind of brilliant, from Morris--

There is only one way for Hillary to shift the focus onto Obama or John Edwards: lose.

1:46 A.M. link

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