James Forsyth

Is there a way for Hillary to recover from this defeat?

Is there a way for Hillary to recover from this defeat?
Text settings
Comments

To understand how deep a hole Hillary Clinton is in following Barack Obama’s crushing victory in the Iowa caucuses, think what you would advise her to do. Going negative on Obama would likely rebound on the Clintons: the Democratic primary electorate do not want to see the first serious black contender for the White House kneecapped. They have no policy trump card to play—the argument about the differences between the health plans of the two candidates is too wonky to really resonate. While the electability argument went up in smoke last night as independents flooded into the Democratic caucuses to support Obama. Just to compound Hillary’s difficulties, John Edwards is aggressively attacking her at every opportunity.

There are two things that spring to mind that could revive the Hillary campaign, but both are out of her hands. One is a game changing gaffe by Obama. The other is an event that makes Americans want a president who is above all, tough. This is something that worries the Obama camp and it is hard to see how they counter it which explains the hyper-aggressive way they reacted to news of the Bhutto assassination.  Obama in his speech (which you can see here) looked and  sounded—cliché alert—presidential but he did not come across as tough which Hillary does. 

The Clintons are formidable political operators and strategists and it seems reckless to write them off but her concession speech tonight (available here) hardly suggested that they have any idea how they are going to recover from this blow.  Having been at the Obama and Huckabee events I’ve only just watched it properly and it really is uninspiring especially when compared to Obama’s soaring address. It is also striking how shell shocked Bill Clinton looks.  

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

Comments
Topics in this articleSociety