She's Come Undone?

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Feb. 13 2008 6:31 PM

She's Come Undone?

Bloggers wonder whether Hillary Clinton's campaign is dead, analyze the potential McCain/Obama face-off, and watch as Roger Clemens goes to Washington.

She's come undone? Has Hillary Clinton's sweeping loss in the Potomac primaries doomed her campaign? Or is there, in the words of Alberta Hunter, "some gas left in this old jalopy yet"?

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Matt Cooper, at Portfolio's Capital, notes: "If her trends continue like this she'll resemble Huckabee--a boutique candidate, catering to a small portion of the electorate. In fact, she's worse off than Huckabee who did much better versus McCain than she did against Obama. ... Clinton could come back. But tonight Obama put together a winning majority." 

The New Republic's Marty Peretz is not as optimistic at the Spine: "She will dismiss and dismiss. And then others will resign. There will be bloodshed in Billaryland. Already, super-delegates committed to Hillary are reconnoitering. This is the beginning of the end." James Fallows parses her speech Tuesday night in El Paso, Texas, and he's unimpressed: "She has not had the grace to mention Barack Obama's name, nor his existence or success. Not as 'Senator Obama,' not even as 'my worthy opponent in the contest for our great party's nomination -- for this battle we all believe in to change the course of the nation's future' and so on. This on a night when he has just trounced her fair and square." And former Clinton adviser Dick Morris, at RealClearPolitics, is more forceful: "Just as with Giuliani's supposed Florida firewall, Hillary's will crumble as Obama's momentum carries him forward to the nomination. Before 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 opponent."

How did Hillary get to this point? Shaun Mullen at the Moderate Voice has a few ideas: "Clinton has been a lackadaisical campaigner with a muddled message, nowhere more so than about the deeply unpopular Iraq war. Her husband alienated and did not attract voters at a crucial juncture. There are the aforementioned money woes. She waited too long to dismiss a campaign manager who was valued for her loyalty but lacked political smarts, while a deputy campaign manager has now resigned in what looks to be a fullblown shakeup as Clinton's viability hangs in the balance." Not so fast, says liberal Matthew Yglesias: "Obama's put together a string of impressive wins, but it's still the case that in the Democratic Party women outnumber men, whites outnumber blacks, working class people outnumber college educated professionals, and senior citizens outnumber under-thirties. Under the circumstances, Clinton continues to be in a strong position."

Meanwhile, Erica Jong is packing her bags over at Huffington Post: "I give up. If I have to watch another great American woman thrown in the dustbin of history to please the patriarchy, I'll move to Canada -- where they live four years longer than we because they have universal health care. Or Italy -- where Berlusconi played at being Mussolini but life is sweet anyway and people take vacations in August and at Chanukah (Christmas or Diwali or Kwaanza) and Passover (Easter)."

Read more about Hillary's losses in the Potomac primaries. The women of Slate hash it out at the "XX Factor."

McCain vs. Obama: With Barack Obama directly addressing John McCain in a speech Tuesday and McCain indirectly addressing Obama, bloggers analyze how the potential matchup should be schemed. 

"The challenge to McCain will be considerable," says conservative Jennifer Rubin at Commentary's Contentions: "[G]et past the very attractive Obama packaging and get voters to focus on what Obama is actually proposing (e.g. withdrawal from Iraq, end of the Bush tax cuts)." But Ross Douthat, noting the current lack of support for military action in Iraq and tax cuts, disagrees: "[T]he GOP might have at least much luck going after Obama's 'packaging,' which is ideal for a Democratic primary but possibly less so in a general election, as they would going after him on taxes and Iraq. (Do Americans really want to put a 'world man' in the Oval Office? Do they really want to pick a President based on his potential appeal to young Pakistani Muslims? Do they really want to vote for a guy whose campaign has become a vehicle for an 'indie-yuppie political fantasy'? etc.)"

Ana Marie Cox, blogging at Time's Swampland, relates what one Republican adviser has told her about McCain's hidden advantage over Obama: "[T]he press will stop giving Obama a free ride in the general. McCain will be out there, holding court on his bus or his plane, providing unfettered access to both reporters and voters, and journalists will no longer be able to ignore Obama's lack of access and lack of interaction with real people. In fact, it'll be the only thing they talk about."

Liberal Ezra Klein seconds the concern: "Obama's allergy to taking questions -- both from the press and from voters -- is actually an undercovered part of this campaign. Where Clinton does townhalls, Obama holds rallies. Where McCain constantly hangs out with reporters, Obama has little to do with them. They like him, to be sure, but if they continue to feel frozen out, that could change."

Read more about the potential Obama-McCain matchup. In Slate, John Dickerson presents the candidates' best arguments  against each other.

Mr. Clemens goes to Washington: Roger Clemens faced the heat Tuesday when he testified before the House oversight and government reform committee about allegations of steroid use.  

"We were going to live blog it," writes Will Lietch of Deadspin, "but the notion of having a job that would require us to live blog something off C-SPAN3 scared us off. Sorry."

The Big Lead, a sports-media blog, reports that Republicans were largely defending Clemens at the hearing while Democrats were on the attack: "But the endgame is that nobody's going to court to fight this because you can't nail Clemens for perjury unless there is a smoking gun, and that doesn't exist."

Read more about Roger Clemens.

Alec Mouhibian is a writer in Washington, D.C. His blog is the Lucky Frown.