Monday, January 7, 2008
The View From Second Place
This seems like a pretty effective approach for Hillary Clinton to adopt, although it's hard for me to get a sense of how it plays Stateside. The sudden turnaround in the race really can turn out to be a golden opportunity for Clinton, if she can avoid being perceived as too strident or desperate. Of course that's not easy given how outrageously the media tagged her forceful contrast of action and rhetoric at the debate Saturday as enraged and unhinged.
It's important to see how a candidate responds to reversals of fortune and setbacks, because those will certainly arrive once in office. She would probably do well to draw attention to that fact and make it a "meta-message" of the next few primaries.
During the long pre-primary campaign, I often read that Obama's "above the fray" campaign would work better as a frontrunner strategy, but that it made no sense given his longshot status. While he has managed to leapfrog Clinton for the time being, there's no guarantee things won't reverse again. At which point it will be very revealing to see how he reacts. I'll go so far as to say that I hope he doesn't ride a bandwagon wave straight to the nomination just to see exactly what he's made of when things don't look so rosy.