Crunch Time for Hillary Clinton

For most of the past year, Hillary Clinton has based her campaign on three assumptions; inevitability, the gender gap, and her experience. In the next four weeks, she will have to retool her campaign if Iowa is any evidence, because those assumptions may very well be misplaced or even false.

The argument of inevitability may or may not be proven right in time. However, in the game of expectations, Hillary Clinton's performance in Iowa was dismal. When looking at the inevitability argument, Hillary Clinton's performance against her own self-generated perception was pathetic and all attempts at cheerleading differently fall flat in the face of the fact that 70 percent of the record Democratic turnout in the Iowa Caucuses voted for some one other than Hillary Clinton. In many other early states, Hillary Clinton has a substantial lead in the polls, but if the anecdotal evidence around my own home and life are any indication, the vast majority of voters in the primaries have yet to make up their mind. Thus in order for Hillary Clinton to do well in the expectations and inevitability department, her performance tomorrow cannot simply be to win, she must win in New Hampshire convincingly and that may be harder than she thought 10 days ago.

Clinton's second assumption, that of being able to benefit from a gender gap, was always a dicey proposition. As I have discussed in other posts, Hillary Clinton has had a woman problem from the get go. In short, there are three groups of women voters for Clinton. The first are her ardent supporters; people who truly believe she is the best person for the job. The second group is those who might be convinced she is the right person or who support her for some reasons that outweigh reasons not to support her, i.e., the doubters. The third group are those women who will not vote for Clinton no matter what and no matter how much of a Democrat they are. This third group has a visceral reaction against Hillary Clinton that would rival the most ardent Republican and has little to do with her politics or positions but is based entirely on their perception of her as a person and as a woman. I suspect this third group is probably larger than anyone, including Hillary Clinton or her pollster Mark Penn knows or would like to admit.

Part of Hillary Clinton's vulnerability among women became evident in Iowa, when Obama got more support among women than Hillary Clinton, particularly among independent women. Whether that trend continues tomorrow in New Hampshire is, of course a different story. But when your chief rival gets more of the women vote (an "Oprah Effect?") than the first woman with a real chance to win a major party nomination, there may be something wrong either with your message or your assumptions. This is the question that Clinton and Penn must be addressing now.

Finally, there is the experience assumption. One of the most interesting demographic notes to come out of Iowa was the desire among Democratic voters there for a change. Now of course that change can mean a great many things, but it seems as though a large chunk of voters are prepared to sacrifice "experience" for "change." Like it or not, and try as she might, Hillary Clinton does not represent change as she is a legacy of a time, and indeed may have been mid-wife to, the divisive politics of polarization and personal destruction that has come to dominate the public square. The voting public in Iowa may have suggested that the time of polarization is coming to an end. There appears to be a feeling that "change" doesn't simply mean a change in party in the White House, but is more broadly a change in the tone of Washington political discussion.

Assuming you count her years as First Lady as "experience," an assumption I am not ready to admit, Clinton is certainly the most experienced among the Democratic frontrunners. But the experience she talks about is not one that younger voters, those of Generation X and Y, are ready to adopt. The political era of the Baby Boomer, at least as it is personified by the Bush and Clinton families, may be in decline.

Of course, as David Remer pointed out, Iowa may be the outlier in political trend setting. But my gut says that if Hillary Clinton is to win the nomination, she will have to address the fact that her assumptions will not carry the day. Over the weekend, the turmoil in the Clinton camp became clear and the confidence of Obama was likewise clear. While Clinton has to win tomorrow in New Hampshire, Obama only needs to keep it close, a solid second place in one of the whitest states in America will put Obama in a strong position heading into Nevada and South Carolina.

Posted by Matt Johnston at January 7, 2008 11:21 AM
Comment #242464

If the media keeps playing the clip of Hillary trashing the voters in Iowa she won’t go anywhere.

She has been campaigning as if it is her ‘god given right’ to become the first woman president.
Her ‘experience’ is her downfall.
Like many other career politicians she talks about how hard she has worked for the ‘people’, and all she has done, but we are still discussing the same issues & problems that have been around for decades.
If these politicians have worked soooo hard and done sooooo much …why are the issues of the 70’s & 80’s still the issues in 2008???

Posted by: dawn at January 7, 2008 12:44 PM
Comment #242470

There is no doubt that HC lost any aura of inevitability in Iowa but there are some misconceptions in your argument.HC was hardly the “midwife” of the divisive politics of polarization and personal destruction” but rather the target.How much taxpayer money was squandered investigating her by Starr,finding nothing? There are still RW websites accusing her of lesbianism(God forbid) and murder. Her reputation has been repeatedly swift boated by the Rep machine. Evidence of this is the number of people you mention that would never even consider voteing for her for any reason even though she is the moderate among Dem frontrunners.
Secondly,and more importantly,you have miss- identified the major change the electorate is calling for. It is not a matter of tone,although that would be nice,it is a matter of curtailing the extent of corporate influence of Washington policy and returning control of the country to the citizens. This is an anathema to the Republican establishment but it is why Edwards,Obama,Huckabee and Mc Cain are doing so well.It is also the reason we will see a Democrat in the Whitehouse. The Rep establishment will stranggle Huckabee in the cradle. Mc Cain if they allow him the nomination will loose because of his war positions and weak support from many Reps due to his somewhat sensible position on immigration.

Posted by: BillS at January 7, 2008 1:37 PM
Comment #242481

Hillary just had
a megalomaniacal crying jag while talking with a group of women on the campaign trail in New Hampshire.

Stick a fork in her nation, she’s got to be done now.

Who wants a president who cries? Especially when the tears are over the fact that she’s worried because she has fallen so far behind in all the NH polls? This is pathetic.
We the People of this nation have had so many real reasons of our own to shed tears and to worry during the Bush years - such as tears for all our dead and wounded soldiers, and worries for those who are still there being made to fight an unnecessary war and maintain the illegal occupation of Iraq, for example. A war incidentally, that Hillary has been supporting all along, in order to appear tough enough to help her in her campaign among moderate Republicans.

Hillary choking up over the fact that her message isn’t (and likely, won’t be) resonating with enough of the voters in her own party to return her and Bill to the White House is just so shamefully self-centered and transparently narcissistic.

Btw, if anyone was wondering what kind of serious, heartfelt question might have set Clinton off in such a way, here it is:
“As a woman I know it’s hard to get out of the house and get ready. Who does your hair?” asked Marianne Pernold, a freelance photographer.
Clinton began talking about her hair (admitting she does have some help), then launched into the overly emotional, whining tirade captured in the above video.

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 7, 2008 3:02 PM
Comment #242482

Nonsense.”meglomaniacal crying jag”? That is not what I saw. Outside of a sideways jab at Obam,I saw a tired human being under a lot of stress. This was not as damageing as Deams whoop or Muskie’s tears.BTW I am NOT an HC supporter in particular.

Posted by: BillS at January 7, 2008 3:19 PM
Comment #242484

BillS, does she honestly think this nation can’t go on and do well without her becoming our next president? That is what I meant by megalomanical. I’m sure she is very tired, but that doesn’t cut it on this. Most of the presidential candidates are certainly exhausted by the grind of being on the campaign trail.

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 7, 2008 3:28 PM
Comment #242491

Come on. There is not or ever has been a serious presidential candidate that did not believe the moon and stars have conspired to propel them to office. Thats typical. Who eles could get through the process thats evolved or for that matter,know what to do with the power the office controls?Face it ,the best,and wisest person for the office would not accept it at gunpoint. My guess is he or she is a rancher somewhere but your guess is as good as mine. My point was you are making too much of that appearence.

Posted by: BillS at January 7, 2008 4:05 PM
Comment #242493

I don’t get it either BillS. But then again, I didn’t get that whole Dean thing either.
Heaven forbid a politician look human once in a while.

Posted by: kctim at January 7, 2008 4:25 PM
Comment #242494
There is not or ever has been a serious presidential candidate that did not believe the moon and stars have conspired to propel them to office. Thats typical. Who eles could get through the process thats evolved or for that matter,know what to do with the power the office controls?

I don’t view confidence in the ability to lead the nation as megalomania overall. I view the impression of someone thinking that they are the only person capable of doing that (and do it well) as such. That is the impression that Hillary was giving me when I viewed her tears and the comments that accompanied them.
I tend to choose candidates that strike me as having a strong underlying commitment to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and to We the People. Among the front-runners, I get that sense from Edwards and Obama, but not from Clinton.

My point was you are making too much of that appearence.

You’re entitled to your opinion, but I don’t think so. Like I said, if she had been asked a question regarding the war, or something about our troops in Iraq, and had shed a few tears, the incident would have struck me very differently. That it came about after being asked a frivolous personal question hit me in a totally different way.

Just my take on it, that’s all.

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 7, 2008 4:30 PM
Comment #242495

What’s inevitable is Republicans counting Clinton out, saying a lot of c*ap about her they wouldn’t say about anyone - even if it were true - and her getting back up again and continuing the fight. Her response to losing in Iowa is to hold all day question and answer sessions that most of us wouldn’t be able to take half an hour of, and then going to the debates. Time and time again this woman has been put through the wringer, including her marriage, and each time she gets back up again and makes it work. You would think at some point some of you would respect her for it, or at least learn not to count this woman out, but I guess not. She’s not inevitable - She’ll do whatever it takes.

Posted by: Max at January 7, 2008 4:31 PM
Comment #242496

Wow! We agree on something. Is this that famous “change in tone” the MSM is talking about?LOL

Posted by: Bills at January 7, 2008 4:33 PM
Comment #242499

No “change in tone” here BillS. I still don’t trust or respect her and still believe her winning will be just as harmful to this country as her husband was.
I just find playing off emotions for gain to be silly.

Posted by: kctim at January 7, 2008 4:39 PM
Comment #242506

During Hillary’s tearful response to a journalist’s question she said:

“You know, this is very personal for me. It’s not just political it’s not just public. I see what’s happening, and we have to reverse it.”

No one asked the obvious ‘follow-up’ - - “what’s happening in your eyes that we have to reverse?????” And from what I can determine by watching the media tonight, no one will ask it.

I’m guessing that her answer - - if she actually answered it - - would not agree with many others’ who are concerned about our direction. That, of course, never occurs to her, because like most liberals she has the ‘right’ answers.

Maybe her tears were the result of being tired, and afraid she was losing her chance; but in some ways she reflects the real problem The ‘change’ the public wants is not what she thinks.

Posted by: L. Davis at January 7, 2008 7:58 PM
Comment #242507

As a graduate of an all women’s higher education institution, no one would like to see a woman President more than me, HOWEVER Hillary Clinton is not the standard to set this milestone. Any look into her campaign dollars and one will find too much $$ from the military industrial complex!

Translation: More of our hard earned tax dollars will be spent on Iraq contracts, because she is OWNED by these contributors. Please, educated woman of American, I beg you to do your homework and make the most informed decision!!

Posted by: AmandaN at January 7, 2008 8:45 PM
Comment #242508

Since this story about Hillary and all the comments that follow the “story” are in the Republican blog, I can’t help but conclude that all the comments are sighs of relief that you don’t think your candidate could possibly win against Hillary.

Otherwise, why would you care about her candidacy?

Posted by: Rachel at January 7, 2008 9:49 PM
Comment #242513

I would agree Rachel, and if kctim’s fears of us going back to the condition we were in during BC’s administration, with HC in the lead, then “bring it on”. Would be like a sunny day stroll in the park compared to what Dubya has subjected us to.

Posted by: Jane Doe at January 7, 2008 10:49 PM
Comment #242516

AmandaN says
“Any look into her campaign dollars and one will find too much $$ from the military industrial complex!”
That is exactly why Hilary is in trouble, she isnt change she more of the same. She took money from Murdoch of all people. We are slow but we are wising up to the problem with corporate rule.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 7, 2008 11:33 PM
Comment #242517

‘I can’t help but conclude that all the comments are sighs of relief that you don’t think your candidate could possibly win against Hillary.
Otherwise, why would you care about her candidacy?’

Posted by: Rachel at January 7, 2008 09:49 PM

‘I would agree Rachel’
Posted by: Jane Doe at January 7, 2008 10:49 PM

It has nothing to do with that.
Read AmandaN’s comment above.

It’s the Dems(& independents) who are dismissing HC at this point.
Maybe it is the Dems that don’t believe she can win or should win.
The media is helping Obama beat Hillary.
Republicans shouldn’t be celebrating HC’s demise.

How many people on BOTH sides are MORE concerned with WINNING than making sure the RIGHT person ends up in the oval office?

Listen to the voters being interviewed … ‘I am voting for -insert name- because he/she has more ‘electability”. or ‘I want to vote for the winner.’
Hardly anybody talks about voting in the best person for the job.
I liked Tancredo .. he was the first man out.
Biden seems to be an honorable man. He’s out.
Dodd … no thanks.
Our media has the process of covering the elections backwards. They should be talking about the candidates who are behind the front runners.
Why do they choose to cover the top 3? Is it because it was too expensive to follow all of those that began the race?
We the people have been gyped again.

Look at the ‘leaders’.
First we are told who already has name recognition.
Then we are told something about a certain candidate’s personal life that makes them ‘stand-out’.
If a candidate doesn’t have something that makes them a ‘story’ they won’t ever get off the bottom.

Hillary - former first lady, has shot at being 1st woman president - Is America ready for a woman?
Obama - went to the dem convention and gave an amazing speech - the son of an immigrant who became the new ‘rock star’ of the democratic party - Is America ready for a black man?
Edwards - he is a fighter for the poor(because he got rich by winning a lawsuit) and was already a candidate for VP

Guilianni - 9/11 mayor, America’s mayor
McCain - a war hero, was bashed by Bush in previous campaign
Romney - a mormon. Is America ready for a mormon?
Huckabee - comes from same place as Clinton, governor of Arkansas like Clinton - Is America ready for a Baptist Minister?
Ron Paul - wouldn’t even be mentioned if he wasn’t anti-Bush and made millions in a brief period mainly through small contributions via the www.

The debates were awful due to the fact that they only let the front runners speak.
There should have been a debate without them or one with them sitting there with their thumbs up their … or even 2 debates with the front runners split up.

The media is choosing the candidates AGAIN and everyone? is ok with that?
The polls have to stop. At least until all of the candidates have gained some sort of name recogniton. The media would have to talk about them in place of discussing the lates poll.

The best candidate for the job probably never had their name mentioned.

Posted by: dawn at January 8, 2008 12:01 AM
Comment #242520

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t want HC to win because I know who she is not because I think she can win the GE. I know Obama is supossedly farther left but at least he really will be different if the Dems expectedly win. A wild card if you will. Lets shake things up a bit.

I liked Tancredo too. The way I looked at it was at least he had one idea. He was focused on the border and I figured if he got elected he’d have to at least accomplish one good thing for sure.

Posted by: andy at January 8, 2008 1:50 AM
Comment #242531

Hillary’s tears choked emotions may have been real, but, her choice of words regarding it being personal were stolen verbatim out of John Edwards mouth in a debate earlier in the week. Puts a whole artificial taint on what was likely genuine human emotion combined with shrewd political calculation both coming out at once.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2008 3:50 AM
Comment #242532

andy, sounds very unwise to me, to elect that much power without a high degree of confidence in how that power will be used and for and against whom. All political decisions in this country result in some benefiting and others not, or losing.

I like Obama’s philosophy. I still don’t know what his vetoes will be aimed at, or what whether his budgeting will increase, decrease, or keep deficits near where they currently are. I still don’t know where he stands on border security. I still don’t know any details about how he intends to drive health care costs down, which he must, in order to provide universal health care through Congress without bankrupting the nation as my generation retires.

The man is long on lofty generalities, and way too damned short on specifics to get any confidence from me. In fact, that except for Ron Paul, I find this true of all the other candidates. And I know Ron Paul would be worse than GW Bush, though until Paul announced, I would not have thought that possible.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2008 3:57 AM
Comment #242542

Aw, come on Jane. I was on hills side over this emotional thing and was just being nice.

Your “stroll in the park” statement isn’t what the Iowa voters voted for though is it. They voted for change, not the same.
The sad part is, for every person like you who fears Bush, there is another person who fears another clinton regime just as much, and they too will vote against the opposite party and settle for the status quo.
Things will not change.

“Puts a whole artificial taint on what was likely genuine human emotion combined with shrewd political calculation both coming out at once”

I agree David. I just hope it was genuine and not just another play at “crunch time.” If people take it as genuine, then she may gain some sympathy votes but if they take it as fake and see it as “business as usual,” she may fall hard.

Posted by: kctim at January 8, 2008 9:39 AM
Comment #242551

I agree with VV. The emotion over her poll numbers is hard to take. Can she really believe she is so much better than Obama that she needs to cry for our future?

If she does get a bump in the polls from emotion. Look for Romney to start dialing up the tears.

Posted by: Schwamp at January 8, 2008 11:28 AM
Comment #242560


The sad part is, for every person like you who fears Bush, there is another person who fears another clinton regime just as much,

WRONG! One of HC strenghts is that most people look back on the Clinton years favorably.Historic economic expansion,low unemployment,relative peace,a balanced budget,even a surplus,rising wages,booming stock market ,efficieny in government function,lowering poverty rates,welfare reform that rewarded work etc.If Bill Clinton was allowed run,he would still be a very popular president.

Posted by: BillS at January 8, 2008 12:47 PM
Comment #242563

clinton lovers did not vote for Bush and will not vote Republican in 08 no matter what. To them, the corruption of that regime was ok, they didn’t care about those rights that were abused so it was ok, the war against a country which posed no threat to the US was ok because the UN gave its permission etc…
Most of those who support Bush did not vote for clinton and will not vote for another no matter what. The corruption is ok because its not as bad as clintons, the rights abused are for national security and the war is with the US interests not the UNs in mind.

hillary’s strengths are that she is a woman and that liberals will vote against Republicans no matter what.
Its “crunch time” for her now, against Obama, but once she is up against the Reps, her corruption, her being a so-called “moderate,” and her being an insider will all be forgiven by those who vote for party, not country.

Your view of the country today, is the same view many had then.

Posted by: kctim at January 8, 2008 1:03 PM
Comment #242566
The debates were awful due to the fact that they only let the front runners speak.

The debates are awful because they’re not actually debates…they’re glorified news conferences where candidates are allowed to provide a few soundbites…we deserve a real debate, but who is willing (TV station OR candidate) to actually push for a real debate??

Posted by: Rachel at January 8, 2008 1:47 PM
Comment #242584


The reason why the best person for the job has never had their named mentioned is the for the very reason that the best people don’t have the time or energy to run for office the way we make presidential candidates run.

They would probably rather be doing something to actually improve the country.

Posted by: Matt Johnston at January 8, 2008 5:20 PM
Comment #242608

David…I will not be electing any of the Dems. I guess what I’m saying is if the majority of the country decides to put a dem in the White House I will have no choice but to hope for the best.
The thing about Obama that really scares me is the one issue I’ve seen him be specific about. He says he will retreat our troops. HC goes back and forth on the issue which leads me to belive she would be the better choice between the two for the war on radical islam.

But the thought of having to listen and look at Hillary for 8 years is too depressing. I guess maybe it’s the dems way of payback for Bush. When does Chelsea turn 35? She lived in the White House also so she’s plenty qualified. (shes giving her speech right now…she just thanked NH for giving her a “comeback”…puke)

But I do think both are more beatable than dems want to beleive.

Posted by: andy at January 8, 2008 11:10 PM
Comment #242648

Can’t let you get away with that. What corruption? Ken Starr spent millions of taxpayer money going over every transaction had been involved in for the previous 20 years. Best he could come up with was a fib about a BJ.
If you belive it our right to shoot at federal agents or molest children then you are correct that the Clinton administration violated those rights.
If you believe international cooperation and responibility to end a genocide is wrong then you are correct in not supporting a president at such times but do be surprised if most Americans do not go along with you.

VV et al
A surprise to me. Seems that those tears helped give HC a win,especially among women.

Posted by: BillS at January 9, 2008 1:04 PM
Comment #242659

Really BillS? Thats weird man.
All corruption allegations against clinton are to be ignored because the Starr investigation only came up with a “fib” in your eyes?
Allegations bad-Investigation good, is that how it is? If so, which investigation and court ruling has proven the lefts screams of Bushs’ corruption since day one?

Tell me, why do you ignore anything negative about the clintons, but believe everything bad about Bush? Why did so many want clinton impeached, but are quite now?
Unfair BS partisanship is why.

There is a Bush hater for every clinton hater and there is a Bush defender for every clinton defender and you both want EVERYBODY to believe your side is based in fact and that the other side is just making things up.

And the “if you believe…” game? I won’t bore you with just how easy that goes both ways, especially with the liberal agenda.

Posted by: kctim at January 9, 2008 2:14 PM
Comment #242839

I’d be crying too if I were Hillary and the Democratic Presidential contenders.

A recent Jan. 2008 poll released by Gallup shows steep declines in approval ratings for the Democratic Congress between Jan. 2007 and Jan. 2008.

According to Gallup, the Democratic-led Congress started the year in Jan. 2007 with a 35% approval rating. Recent polling shows an approval rating at only 23%.

But perhaps the big story is that not only did the approval rating for the Democratic Congress go down, but the disapproval rating went from 56% in Jan. of 2007, to 71% disapproval in Jan. 2008.

That is a fifteen percent increase on the disapproval side given to the Democratic-led Congress from voters last year.

This could spell trouble for the Democratic Party when it comes to undecided and moderate voters.

Other significant numbers show that Democratic approval numbers are low across the board.

Congressional approval among Republican voters was 28%
Among Independent voters, only 14%
And among Democratic voters, only 27%

Independent voters could really hurt the Democratic Party this coming election. There seems to be little evidence for all the hyped claims of wanting Democrats in the White House.

The Democratic Congress also scored low in all geographical regions, never scoring higher than 25% approval even in the extremely liberal Northeast.

G.W. Bush’s approval ratings dipped as well in the Gallup poll.
During 2007, Bush began the year with a 37% rating and ended at 32%. However, there was virtually no change in his disapproval ratings, moving only slightly from 60% to 63%.

An interesting statistic is that Bush’s approval ratings were at 76% among Republicans, which means the base is relatively happy, unlike that of the Democratic Party.
Among Independents Bush scored 20% approval, and among Democrats only 7%.

While Hillary and other Democratic candidates are talking about connecting so well with the elderly, especially women, the Gallup poll does not reflect this.

Among those over 50 years old, Bush’s approval ratings average at 35% while the Democratic Congress’ average approval ratings among the older generation are less than half that at 15%. Where are all those little old gray-haired ladies that Clinton keeps saying will come out voting for her in droves? The poll sure doesn’t reflect her claims.

The only age group in which the Democratic Congress scores higher is among the 18 to 30 year olds at 36%; to Bush’s 24% approval rating.

This may explain the massive push by the Democratic Party to register new voters and compel, (bus), the college crowd out to the polling places. We have seen a significant focus on youth from the Democratic Party in the primaries.

Once the age of 30 is surpassed, the polling data shows that Bush nearly doubles the Congressional approval rating in every category.


Posted by: JD at January 11, 2008 11:44 PM
Comment #244984

We need to put the Democrats back in the White House to change what’s going on in our country. The faltering economoy is Bush’s fault because he has spent nearly over 3 trillon dollars funding the Iraq War and has focused on that instead of fixing our darn economy. Look at how high the damn prices are with gasoline, food, water, education, heating and natural gas and so on. Well, guess what? It’s all about this darn war in Iraq which he shouldn’t have placed us in to start with! Because of that, I felt that this economy was never right to begin with since we started this nonsense in Iraq four years ago.

Barack Obama should be president for many reasons. First, he would call for equality of distribution of justice to both races. Secondly, he can fix our economy since President Bush ruined it by spending lots of money on the Iraq fiasco. Thirdly, he could fix the health care system not only for seniors, but for all Americans. Next, he can offer equal education to children of all races. He can do a better job than President Bush because I’m completly displeased with how Bush handled his second term.

Posted by: James Daniel Reid at February 9, 2008 9:03 PM
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