I was watching Matt Lauer interview Hillary Clinton this morning. Most of the questions were very much along the lines of "so, Mrs. Clinton, now that you're getting your bottom handed to you, how will you fight back and how can you possibly overcome this young, sexy candidate who's beating you." What a difference a caucus makes, eh?
Why I feel bad for Hillary:
Because she is and always has been smart enough to become President on her own. Without being Mrs. Clinton. Without having lived through what she's lived through. She didn't need to come second in the family. And forgetting all that - this is a woman who's enjoyed presumptions of strong victory who now faces presumptions of stinging defeat due to the results of one state and the likely results of one other - neither of which have significant populations (I mean quantitatively, not qualitatively). Even though the numbers should still matter, they won't. New Hampshire may be unrecoverable at this point - as may her hopes of winning the primary, let alone the presidency. It all seems screamingly unfair. If every state caucused or held a primary on the same day, the results would likely be far different (or perhaps not if Obama replicated his, by all accounts, stellar field organization nationwide). Sadly, though, no one jumps on a wheeless bandwagon, so even if the mathematical results of Iowa and New Hampshire are meaningless, we know full well that the practical results are conclusive.
Why I don't feel bad for Hillary:
When you accept the mantle of front runner nearly one year before the election and nearly that much again before the first primary, you should know damn well that EVERYONE - opponents and the story spinners - will hope desparately for your downfall. Because "Front runner continues running at the front" takes too many column inches. "Front runner falls" can be printed in much larger letters. You had to know it would come to this, right? Perhaps in future elections candidates will push states to return their primaries to reasonable months and days and refuse to really get started until closer to the actual election year. Too much time creates boredom and the candidate who doesn't get that deserves little more than the loss she ends up with.
None of this should be used to draw conclusions about my opinion of Hillary as a presidential candidate or my relative levels of support for her campaign. If you want to know, I don't want her to be the nominee and I don't think she'd make a good nominee, though she may make a perfectly reasonable president. But that commentary above is about the game, not the players. Well, it's a little about the players. I say this especially because I was chastized for giving Obama high marks last week and from this were drawn conclusions that I am backing Obama. I'm not. Yet. I don't have a favorite. Truly. I wish I did. I've long said that Edwards may get my old-skool-'04 loyalty vote. Unless things get really interesting in the next few primaries, my California vote won't matter anyway. Bottom line: at some point when I make up my mind, we'll definitely be in "do as I say and not as I do" land.