Hillary's Good Week, Campaign Heats Up
by Jeff Dinelli
It's already been a very good week for Hillary Clinton. First came the news that she beat everyone in third quarter fund-raising, presumably even in online donations, since Barack Obama refuses to release those numbers, while Hillary has nailed down around 8 million. Then comes the Washington Post-ABC News Poll that has her with a 33 point lead over Obama nationally. As Chris Cillizza's analysis points out, her numbers among men, Democrats, and Democrat-leaning independents are all up compared to earlier polls. All education levels, white, black, "most inspiring" candidate, all these numbers are up. These two developments, fund-raising and shredding the competition in national polls, make for a two-headed Big Moment for Clinton's campaign. As Oliver Willis writes, "Either Hillary Clinton is going to absolutely destroy her Democratic rivals on the way to the White House, or John Edwards and Barack Obama need to find a way to wake up their sleepy campaigns."
Generally, how a candidate runs a campaign is a good indicator of how he or she would run the country. I'm certainly not the only one who is wondering right now, when is Obama going to start running a campaign? A presidential campaign is made up of push and pull, jabbing and counter-punching, momentum, debates. A politician isn't unlike a tight end in football, willing to do whatever it takes, diving into the scrums to clear a path for your running back or to protect your quarterback, and emerging from the pile grinning, even if there's blood on your teeth. And heading into Iowa and New Hampshire, two states still very much up for grabs, it's time to dive into the scrum. One opponent who gets it is John Edwards, who consistently fights Hillary and now is trying to muscle past Obama by contending the Illinois Senator is stealing his ideas. Tonight Edwards was on Keith Olbermann's show painting himself as the anti-war candidate, basically saying if you want our troops out now, vote for him, if you want a continuation of a failed policy, vote for Hillary. Facts be damned, truth is stretched, impression is everything. Iowa is going to be huge, and Hillary is said to be planning on hitting the small town circuit very soon.
All this for the right to take on whoever survives the Republican goonfest, which is led right now by an increasingly bizarre Rudy Giuliani. Mr. 9/11 can't talk about fund-raising, so he resorts to extremely strange math. Hillary's beating him by 5% in head to head polls on average, but his campaign inexplicably released some scenario where he beats her by 400-500 electoral votes, in a fictional landslide only a reality-deficient lunatic could conjure up. He then goes on to rip Hillary by comparing her to George McGovern, even though Rudy voted for McGovern in '72.
Strange days indeed. And despite the wild-card of Iowa looming, Hillary has to feel pretty good about where she stands right now.