The Campaign Spot

Is Obama ‘The Canary In the Coal Mine’ For the Hillary Campaign?

Over in the New York Sun, I’ve got a column about Republican strategists, and how they’re closely watching Obama. The editors of the Sun, rightfully cautious about quotes from unnamed sources, trimmed out a few comments from a GOP campaign guru about how he sees the new dynamics in the Democratic primary. Still, I find them thought provoking, so here’s what got left out:

“When Obama can get that many people left, right and center to stand up and salute, it’s the canary in the coal mine for the Hillary campaign.” This guru concludes Sen. Clinton “now has the uphill battle for the nomination, and while it’s not impossible for her to win the White House, it suggest the country is going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming into another Clinton presidency. It’s because they know she means at least four more years of the same – the psychodrama, the partisanship, division, the Republicans being angry and bitter for the next four years.”

This smart fellow concluded that after many years of intense partisan passions – since Bush’s election? Impeachment? The 1992 campaign? – the American people seem to be yearning for someone who is not “highly charged” – the anti-Howard Dean, perhaps.
Having said that, Obama faces a Herculean challenge before him. It’s a fine line between heroic and holier-than-thou, and a nice guy image is easy to lose; all it takes is one intemperate moment, one ad to be deemed “mudslinging”, one moment in a debate where a comment comes across as too harsh.


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