I must confess I placed a small wager on Barack Obama to win the New Hampshire primary. I also must confess that I’m glad I lost.

As a result of Senator Clinton’s astounding victory (against all the pundits and pollsters) the Democrats now have a genuine two-person race on their hands. (John Edwards says he’s staying in until the convention but his influence will be less and less. Although I should point out that Edward’s staying in helps Hillary because it takes votes from Obama).

One result of the two-person race is that Obama will start to come under the kind of scrutiny that Hillary has endured for months. Up to now Obama has been happily riding the winds of change. But it’s just wind unless the candidate starts to flesh it out. « Where’s the beef? »

There is much speculation about the reasons for Hillary’s unexpected victory in New Hampshire. Was it her tears? Showing her more human side? Maybe. But my guess is that Hillary had the better ground game for getting out the vote in the state’s major cities.

So now the campaigns move on. To Michigan on January 15 where Senator Clinton will be an easy victor. Then to a sterner test in South Carolina on January 26 where half the voters are blacks. They like Hillary but will they vote against one of their own?

Who will win it all in the end? If I were placing another bet now I would have to back Hillary.

Are you glad Hillary won in New Hampshire?



  1. 1
    John Says:

    I’m not sure who will win in the end, but I’m glad there’s going to a race, so to that end, i guess I’m glad Hilary won last night.

    Why she won is no mystery. If Iowa and New Hampshire are any indication, it appears that the women voters hold the balance of power. In iowa, they were for Obama and in New Hampshire for Clinton. It was that simple. When you look at the numbers that was the difference.

    Why the women voters in New Hampshire lined up with Clinton rather than Obama was, as you say Neil, I’m sure because she began to show a more human side (vs. her reputation of being cold and calculated).

    Part of that human element came certainly with her display of emotion when discussing how hard it was to keep going, but I don’t think that was the defining moment.

    I think that came in the debate when the men seemed to gang up on her and the moderator asked Clinton the rather stupid question about how she would deal with the likeability factor where folks seemed to like Obama but not her. She responded (only somewhat tongue in cheek) that that hurt her feelings and Senator Obama responded by saying, « Ah, you’re likeable enough, Hilary. » I’m sure Obama meant it in a positive vein, but it simply came off as condescending and I can’t help but think that at that moment, many women in New Hampshire decided to show the boys just who was likeable or who wasn’t.

  2. 2
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    You mention that Hillary’s victory was despite the pundits and polls. This is what I found fascinating. Only 24 hours ago the question in the media wasn’t whether Obama would win but by how much: would it be a single-digit victory over Hillary or double digit. Virtually all the polls showed a substantial lead by Obama.

    When polls are done, the « fine print » always states something like: « …accurate to within plus or minus three points 19 out of 20 times ». Well, I guess this was an example of the 1 out of 20 times when polls are NOT accurate!

  3. 3
    Alex Thomas Says:

    So Hillary won in NH. Uh-huh. Didn’t John McCain win over Dubya in NH in 2000, only to fade into obscurity as the year progressed, until the coronation — oops, I mean, nomination — at the convention that year? The fat lady has yet to sing — so far, she’s only been screeching.
    They all talk about change. Yeah. Right. George Carlin had it right, when he said that « this country has been bought and sold already, and the guys in charge don’t give a flying *bleep* about you. It’s a big club, and you’re not in it. »
    No matter who wins, the American public loses. The government has outgrown the economy, the environment is on its last legs, the world drips in caustic contempt of the US foreign policy, and we’re arguing about who’s best suited to rearrange the deck chairs. We might as well elect Martha Stewart. At least, when the ship goes down, it will look nice, and that’s a good thing. Or is it?
    My name is Alex Thomas. Good night, and good luck — you’ll need it.

  4. 4
    Chimera Says:

    It doesn’t really matter who wins the primaries, because they are not the election. The primaries only give the parties’ organizers an idea of how well each candidate will be received when it comes to the actual election. Sorta like taking the public’s temperature without really waking it up.

    The party handlers are also judging the abilities of the candidates to face the public under stress (although it’s mild stress compared to what they will face if they actually get elected). And in that way, it’s a little like a beauty contest — who looks good under the lights of scrutiny.

    Whoever comes out on top at the primaries will not necessarily be the party’s actual candidate, either. The behind-the-scenes handlers don’t really care what the public thinks at this stage of the game. They’re projecting how well each candidate can be prompted to steer the public’s attitude (a) if they get elected, and (b) when a public-relations disaster strikes, as it always does.

    If you think of the purpose of the president as being less of a real leader and policy-maker, and more of a media spokesman for the real engineers of the country, you’ll have a more realistic view of the president’s actual job. And it has not so much to do with his intellectual capabilities as it has to do with charisma and public acceptance of the inevitable pats on the head.

  5. 5
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    N.H. is one round of an ugly battle. The Democrats and eventually all Americans are caught between a rock and a hard place. Whatever the outcome, at the end they will have to vote either for the first woman president or for the first black president. What a problem! Either way they will be called names. It’s a no win situation.

  6. 6

    Where’s the beef can easily be applied to the manufactured machine of Hilary Clinton. No, I do not think this is good. How another Clinton in the White House is a good thing for America is beyond me. That said, NH actually voted for an Independent: 44%. Though I am surprised they went for Hilary.

    I agree with Chimera and AT. Though if I’m American I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass what the world thinks. America has a completely different set of priorities to consider that we Canadians often take for granted given our lower to middle power status. Lucky us.

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