The Perfect Storm Benefits Clinton
1) The NAFTA memo. The timing of this memo and the confusion surrounding it was a factor. Though it is clear that no inconsistency existed between what an Advisor said to Canadian officials and what Obama had said all along, all most voters heard was there was some memo that may lead to some doubt on Obama’s position on NAFTA. The Obama campaign did not react fast enough or clear enough to fix this damage regardless of the non-issue it is.
2) Bloody Obama: Rush Limbaugh did in fact have an impact and help manipulate this election. There were Republicans that asked for Democratic Ballots to vote for Hillary to “bloody up Obama.” Despite the fact this is illegal in Ohio there is evidence many did just that.
3) Hillary’s whining about press coverage: Amazingly it worked. It became a press story and got a number of news outlets to not only report stories on the fairness of the coverage but in my opinion make an effort to over compensate for the perceived unbalance. There was no doubt a very clear change in tone the last week in the coverage of Obama.
4) The Red Phone ad. This didn’t even run in Ohio yet the news media played it over and over and over and over. This was the best free airtime the Clinton campaign could get.
5) Racism: Obama has never used race as an issue in this campaign and I applaud him for that. And though it is a fact he has gotten a very high percentage of the black vote there has not been a significant vote against him because of his race. That was not the case in Ohio. Exit polls showed that those that considered race an important factor went to Clinton 62%.
6) Sexism: Hillary has used her sex as an issue in this campaign. There were a number of commercials aimed clearly at women; there were many statements in her speeches aimed at women. The exit polls showed she gained a very high percentage of women.
7) Smears: Hillary successfully got coverage complaining about unfair campaign tactics, making herself the victim when in reality it was her campaign and she herself tossing the smears one after the other. The NAFTA memo, The Kenya garb picture, the red phone Ad, some attempt at claiming Obama voting with oil companies, and her clear attempt to leave doubt on Obama’s Christianity. Obama attempted to run his campaign with class and stay out of such silliness. Unfortunately some of the silliness worked.
Was all of this enough to have changed the out come? It’s hard to say but it could have meant 1 or 2 delegates. The good news is this storm looked nasty but in the morning we see little damage. Other then bragging rights, the score remains the same.
These factors are unlikely to combine in the way they did this week again. The rumors will be clearly debunked; Obama will handle new ones with more speed and forcefulness. Pennsylvania is a closed primary so Rush will not be a factor, The racial attitudes of southeast Ohio are becoming less evident in most other parts of the country, and I suspect Obama will not be such a nice guy when it comes to attacking Hillary as he has been. Get ready to hear about tax returns.
Within a week Obama will win 2 more states in a row. Thats 14 out of 17 since Super Tuesday. This storm will be long forgotten.