Monday, January 28, 2008

Kristol Klear

In what has now become my favorite weekly op-ed, Bill Kristol annoys New York Times readers with his conservative insights on the 2008 race. This week's column addressed Bill's effect on Hillary in SC:
Hillary was ahead in South Carolina polls as recently as early December. And in fact, women made up 61 percent of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina, blacks 55 percent. If Obama was getting votes because of race and Hillary because of gender, Hillary had a perfectly good chance to win. Bill Clinton’s excuse is unconvincing and unseemly.
He's repeating the CW of the week, but his prediction for this week's action is interesting:
Right now, Hillary Clinton is ahead in the polls in almost all the big states voting. She is a tough and capable campaigner, and she may be able to hold on to those leads. But it is now clear that putting her in the White House brings a hyperactive Bill back in with her. Who needs it? Liberals and Democrats can get basically the same policies without the Clinton baggage, and in choosing Obama, they can nominate a more electable candidate.
So Hillary’s advantage in the polls will, I suspect, erode. The erosion could be hastened by the expected endorsement of Obama by Ted Kennedy on Monday. It could be helped further along if Al Gore hops aboard the Obama bandwagon later in the week. Meanwhile, Tom Daschle, the Senate Democratic leader during most of the Clinton presidency, is actively supporting Obama. Talk to Democrats in D.C., and it’s amazing how many who know the Clintons well — many of whom worked in the Clinton administration — are eager that they not return to the White House.
This week, the Clinton team will dump every bit of opposition research it has on Obama. We’ll see how Obama responds.
But the moment of truth could come at the Democratic debate Thursday, in Los Angeles. Edwards may have dropped out by then. If so, it will be a one-on-one showdown. Even if he’s there, he’ll be effectively a bystander. Will Obama hold his own?
I’d say that even if you’ve (understandably) skipped the previous debates, this is one to tune into. I had a dinner scheduled Thursday night. I’m canceling it. The Giants probably won’t beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. But this could be the week Obama upsets the Clintons.
There's no way Edwards drops out before Super Tuesday, but Kristol is right, Thursday is Custer's last stand. I'll definitely watch the debate, but I won't be canceling dinner...more likely, I'll order the pizza in advance...

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