Can’t Close the Deal

A TNR commentator flips the argument around:

For all of Hillary’s brand recognition, institutional advantages (including the ferocious support of a former president), fund-raising head start and inherent appeal to the party’s core constituency (working class white women), she finds herself on the ropes, in debt and having to go hugely negative just to stay alive. Does any sane Democrat really think that this is a viable alternative to Obama?

Hillary could have sealed the nomination with a victory in Iowa’s kickoff caucuses, thereby stifling the nascent Obama phenomenon. Instead, the candidate of inevitability bumbled to a third-place finish, attributing her loss to a series of bizarre handicaps*.

A second opportunity to close the deal surfaced after Iowa, with Clinton advisers publicly anointing February 5th as Obama’s Waterloo. Hillary herself boasted, “It’ll be over by February 5th.” Lulled into a false sense of complacency, the Clinton camp then failed Common Sense 101: have a back-up plan.

Super Tuesday arrived, and the promised knockout blow failed to materialize. Without a Plan B, the Clinton forces staggered through the rest of February, ogling Obama’s eleven-contest winning streak and pledged delegate lead.  The discussion then switched to “staying relevant” rather than “closing the deal.”  Given two prime opportunities to secure the nomination, the Clinton campaign squandered both.

*Such as Bill’s absence from the state during his two presidential campaigns.

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