Sunday, February 24, 2008

It’s Not Over Until the Fat Lady Sings

Last Tuesday’s (Feb. 19) presidential debate demonstrated the strength of this year's democratic candidates. Clinton and Obama provided thoughtful policy analyses and solutions, and clearly laid out their visions for America. Post-debate consensus from political pundits and the media was that Clinton failed to deliver a “knock-out” punch to blunt Obama’s momentum. As Clinton’s leads in the polls have shrunk to statistical insignificance against Obama in Texas and Ohio, many now believe the democratic contest is over. Notwithstanding Ted Kennedy’s attempt, in his broken Spanish, to serenade the Obama crowd with a popular Mexican song in Laredo, TX last week (sounds like someone was choking a cat), the fat lady has yet to sing.

The Clintons have successfully weathered many storms in the past largely due to their political shrewdness, patience and flexibility in retooling their strategies and approaches. When friends and foes pronounced their deaths, they always managed to comeback and win. Moving forward to the March 4 battleground states – Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and VermontClinton’s strategy is two fold. First, her conciliatory tone at the first of two debates in Austin last week was to strategically lower expectations and signal to the media and Republicans the possibility of an Obama presidency is real. This will increase media scrutiny and Republican attack on Obama. Second, in the coming week and second debate, Clinton will sharpen and zero in on her criticisms of Obama on policy differences, mainly healthcare and economy. This will force Obama into a defensive posture and off message as Clinton portrays herself as a populist and fighter.

Finally, Clinton has strong ground operations in Texas and Ohio to match Obama’s, and as New Hampshire demonstrated, they matter in close contests. If I were Ted Kennedy, I probably would not attempt to sing again, at least not yet and hopefully, not in Spanish.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Oh dear... there should be a rule against politicians singing... This is almost as bad as the Karl Rove rap...