Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How to Catch Hillary

There was a moment in the debate last night that might well come to be seen as a defining point in the campaign. It was when Chris Dodd challenged Hillary for wanting to have it both ways on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Why? Because it crystallized a whole narrative about Hillary: the calculating, straddling triangulator.

Obama and Edwards have been calling out Hillary on the issues, but they have not extracted a narrative out of the issues. If they are smart, they will let the issues speak about their opponent. Every time Hillary hedges on a question with an eye on November (as she did on Rangel's plan, Social Security, and many other times last night) they will bring up decisiveness and conviction. It's the one chink in the armor of the Clinton franchise: both historically and in their current circumstance. Change vs. Experience is a dead draw, or favors Hillary. Authenticity vs. Calculation is a clear loser for her.

It's been observed that Democrats are not good at creating narratives... we'll see if Obama and Edwards have the guts, brains and finesse to pull this off. If they don't, they won't win the nomination, and they won't deserve to win.

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