Monday, July 02, 2007

$31 to $21: Obama Wins 2nd Inning; Hillary Destined to be Fly in the Ointment

Spinning like a top doesn't trump reality, even for The Donald himself, who recently heard "You're fired" from the network carrying The Apprentice. So, Hillary's 2nd quarter fundraising, as good as it is, isn't good enough and all the spinning in the world won't change that reality. Senator Clinton excels in the big-buck neighborhoods, the Manhattans and the Hollywoods, but she continues to lag in the hinterlands, in the flyover precincts and caucuses where primaries are decided and where voters line up for the elections that matter.

Recent reports of the candidates' 2Q2007 hauls make for interesting reading. Senator Obama pulled a $31 million rabbit from his hat, outdrawing the former first lady and her husband by $10 million of primary green. More importantly, Obama has drawn his money this year from more than 250,000 contributors, a truly newsworthy number, with an average contribution of less than $230. That's big, that's powerful, and that's a voting block that's not available to Hillary.

As the Canticle made clear on April 12 and as democratic master strategist James Carville agreed on April 20, Mrs. Clinton's most glorious political position is behind her.

What about Obama? Senator Obama has the current lead in terms of dollars, numbers and supporter enthusiasm. He is the obligatory fresh face for this election.

Unfortunately fresh faces don't necessarily do well as time passes. Ask Edwards. Ask Dean. Dean? Yes, the money-leader, numbers-leader and fresh face from last time.

Most strikingly, six months of intense electioneering and almost $100 million have changed nothing. According to Real Clear Politic's Poll Average Chart, Hillary's ratings within her own party have not moved a single percentage point since February 2. Obama has done better, and pundits point to his 30% rise since the beginning of February as meaningful. Perhaps so, but all that rise happened in February. Since the end of February, he's down a point. Even leaving the trend aside, or arguably, the flatline, a current rating of 23% doesn't move one into the White House, or even into the lead.

The second and third tier candidates haven't done any better, they've flatlined, too. Taking them out of the race and distributing their followers evenly between the two leaders again changes nothing. It is difficult to see a candidate emerging victorious without a deal being struck to tilt the table.

The most intriguing outcome with high potential is for the party to put both of them on the ticket. Let them both contribute their strengths in order to create a very formidable ticket.

The fly in that ointment is Hillary.
You see, if the Democrats want to win the White House with Hillary on the ticket, she'll need to be in the second slot. Her negatives with the general electorate are just too high.

The best ticket for the liberals: Obama/Clinton.

Will the former first lady accept the number two position? She'll say "no" if asked today, probably with expletives added. She's been number two, spent eight years as number two and had it up to here with number two. Besides, number two might be number three, after Michelle.

The question is, "What will she say next summer in Denver, after she'd had all Spring to rant and rave in private?"


Anonymous said...

I am not convinced Hillary will lose the nomination ... her selection is like the GOP pick of Dole in 1996, an inevitabilty based on the inability of challengers to overcome the frontrunners inertia, despite the candidate's flaws.

But if you are right about Obama+Hillary, since it makes perfect sense for Hillary to pick Obama, we can in any case look forward to a Hillary/Obama ticket from the Dems.

Likewise, I'd say it is a better than 50/50 shot that Thompson and Romney team up once they figure out which of the two goes on the top slot.

McCain is toast and Thompson's candidacy robs both Rudy's campaign ("we need an electable guy") and Romney's campaign ("the frontrunners arent conservative enough") of raison d'etre.

The GOP nomination is become far more interesting question of the two.

Bob Leibowitz said...

Good points.