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Why only an almightly scandal will stop Hillary

November 12, 2007

Ignore the controversy over planted question and focus on the allternatives.

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Hot on the heels of the ‘scandal’ involving a fundraiser and the criticism of her performance in the recent debate, there has been speculation that her opponents may have finally found her Achilles heel. However, I disagree with this analysis. Hillary is still above 40% in the Rasmussen tracking poll and she enjoys substantial leads across the board, she has the money and the best organisation that such funds can buy. She clearly understands the importance of the early states and has been campaigning hard in Iowa and New Hampshire. I also believe that the continuous Republican barrage against her over the past few years has inoculated her against any blowback from such common and minor misdemeanours as planting questions. Finally, Hillary has the biggest asset that any candidate has, her husband Bill Clinton.

In addition to all these assets, there is one ‘inconvenient truth’ that Democrats have to acknowledge, namely that the alternatives to Hillary are pretty mediocre. As his comments over Pakistan demonstrated, Barack Obama is both inexperienced and immature, which is clearly what is not needed in these turbulent time. According to Kerry’s campaign manager Bob Shrum, Bill Richardson was forced to withdraw his name from consideration as Kerry’s running mate because of rumours about his private life. John Edwards might be a serious contender if he was the centrist, mildly populist, Edwards of 2004 rather than the person who is trying to out-scream Howard Dean. I don’t think a draft Gore campaign would work (although I am still going to hold onto my Gore contracts just in case) and Biden and Dodd would have been credible candidates 20 years ago. Of course, if you want to be absolutely sure I would consider betting on a Clinton withdrawal before the end of the year (though in-between the spread on Intrade), since the only thing that would stop her would be a scandal that is so big that it completely destroys her, and given that my name is not Paul Staines, I don’t believe that will happen.

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