Karl Rove's take on Hillary's win
Karl Rove gives his take on Hillary's big come from behind win in New Hampshire in today's Wall Street Journal. His basic premise? That Hillary's winning the beer drinkers and Obama's winning the wine drinkers, and "there are more beer drinkers than wine swillers in the Democratic Party".
Mrs. Clinton won a narrow victory in New Hampshire for four reasons. First, her campaign made a smart decision at its start to target women Democrats, especially single women. It has been made part of the warp and woof of her campaign everywhere. This focus didn't pay off in Iowa, but it did in New Hampshire.
Second, she had two powerful personal moments. The first came in the ABC debate on Saturday, when WMUR TV's Scott Spradling asked why voters were "hesitating on the likeability issue, where they seem to like Barack Obama more." Mrs. Clinton's self-deprecating response -- "Well, that hurts my feelings" -- was followed by a playful "But I'll try to go on." ...
Her remarks helped wash away the memory of her angry replies to attacks at the debate's start. His trash talking was an unattractive carryover from his days playing pickup basketball at Harvard, and capped a mediocre night.
The other personal moment came on Monday, when a woman in Portsmouth asked her "how do you do it?" Mrs. Clinton's emotional reply was powerful and warm. Voters rarely see her in such a spontaneous moment. It was humanizing and appealing. And unlike her often contrived and calculated attempts to appear down-to-earth, this was real.
Third, the Clintons began -- at first not very artfully -- to raise questions about the fitness for the Oval Office of a first-term senator with no real accomplishments or experience. ...
For someone who talks about a new, positive style of politics and pledges to be true to his word, Mr. Obama too often practices the old style of politics, saying one thing and doing another. He won't escape criticism on all this easily. But the messenger and the message need to be better before the Clintons can get all this across. Hitting Mr. Obama on his elementary school essays won't cut it.
The fourth and biggest reason why Mrs. Clinton won two nights ago is that, while Mr. Obama can draw on the deep doubts of many Democrats about Mrs. Clinton, he can't close out the argument. Mr. Obama is an inspiring figure playing a historical role, but that's not enough to push aside the former First Lady and senator from New York. She's an historic figure, too. When it comes to making the case against Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama comes across as a vitamin-starved Adlai Stevenson. His rhetoric, while eloquent and moving at times, has been too often light as air. ...
I think he's pretty much on the nose there. And when it comes to the long haul of the campaign, I would add that the "machine" within the party is largely controlled by Hillary's supporters.
Rove then goes on to make this observation about the contests going on in both parties:
With so many states voting on Super Tuesday, no candidate will have enough money, time or energy to cover all the contests. Burning in a single television ad in every Super Tuesday state will cost nearly $16 million.
Instead, candidates will pick states where they have a better chance to win and, by doing so, lock down more delegates. They will spend their time in cities with local TV and print coverage that reaches the biggest number of targeted voters possible. And they will spend their limited dollars on TV stations that deliver the largest number of likely supporters at the least cost. ...
At the end of Super Tuesday, it won't be just who won the most states, but who has the most delegates. In both parties, party elders and voters in later contests across the country will want to start consolidating behind a candidate.
Of course, no hint about "where" he's inclined to have party elders and voters consolidate.