Posted Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008, at 11:15 PM
It's been at least 45 minutes since MSNBC announced Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire, and it still doesn't make any sense.
The narrative has not changed since Iowa. Barack Obama had the message "Americans" believed in. His crowd sizes were huge in New Hampshire. Pollsters were enamored with his numbers. Obama and Clinton's debate performances were both praised, but the mainstream media didn't think the momentum shifted.
All of this matters because those are the metrics that affect public opinion. And public opinion affects how voters vote. Or so we thought.
So, what the hell happened? Well, something triggered New Hampshire voters that didn't trigger the media nor the pollsters. There's nothing else we can think of outside of The Diner Sob . These may be the most famous tears that never fell from an eye. There's just nothing else that explains this drastic, 15-point shift besides Clinton's moment of vulnerability. (Obama was favored by 10 points coming into tonight).
Or it may be even simpler. New Hampshire voters just decided to flip the bird at Iowa. In the process, what they really did was say eff you to the media, the pollsters, and conventional wisdom. I pondered
whether this might happen a couple of weeks ago
, but I based my prediction on the assumption Clinton would win Iowa and New Hampshire would support Obama out of stubbornness. At this point, I probably shouldn't be surprised I had it all wrong.