Hillary Rodham Clinton thoroughly routed Barack Obama in West Virginia Tuesday but it hasn’t slowed Obama’s march to the Democratic nomination for president. He picked up two more superdelegates today.
So what’s the deal? Time magazine, in this week’s issue, asserts Clinton “made at least five big mistakes” in her quest for the nomination. Here they are:
1. “She misjudged the mood” – that is, Clinton was slow to see the country embracing “change,” the theme of Barack Obama’s campaign, and clung to the old incumbent’s strategy of “running on experience, preparedness, inevitability – and the power of the strongest brand name in Democratic politics.” Voters weren’t buying it.
2. “She didn’t master the rules” – that is, she let loyalty to her trump skilled campaign leadership. Her chief strategist, Mark Penn, wasn’t even versed well enough on Democratic rules. He predicted that an early win in California would put Clinton over the top in delegates because she would pick up all the state’s 370 delegates. But Dems, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, so she wasn’t going to get all of California’s delegates.
3. “She underestimated the caucus states” – Clinton thought she could win by taking the big states but Obama trumped her by piling on delegates in smaller, caucus states. She helped kill her chances by ignoring those constituencies.
4. “She relied on old money” – Money was her Achilles Heel. Obama tapped into a new, small donor base on his Web site while Clintion clung to the old fundraising ideal, the big donor. It wasn’t enough.
5. “She never counted on a long haul” – Clinton underestimated Obama’s appeal and staying power so she had no strategy beyond an early knockout punch. As far back as Feb. 21, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was spotted in Raleigh, N.C. He told the News & Observer that the state’s primary, then more than 10 weeks away, “could end up being very important in the nomination fight.”
Clinton operatives didn’t see it – and neither did most of us in North Carolina at the time. But we did turn out to be very important indeed.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Posted by The Observer Editorial Board at 12:26 PM