With Sarah Palin’s star in the ascent, John McCain’s presidential campaign is riding a wave of popularity that has taken him from presumptive loser to front-runner in national polls. Over the past week political analysts and pollsters have seen state after state tip from leaning Republican to solidly Republican. Similarly, Florida, which was recently a toss-up state, now looks to belong to McCain. Obama’s electoral lead has now been narrowed to a mere six votes. Most astute observers attribute this surge exclusively to Governor Palin, whose charisma, conservatism and lifestyle have attracted Americans in droves.

Obama has appeared positively stumped on the question of how to combat the so-called “Palin Effect.” If he attacks Palin directly, he will come across as a bully. The initial negative media blitz on Palin created a tremendous wave of sympathy for her and a backlash against the culprits, namely NBC, that has served as a valuable lesson for the Democrats. The McCain campaign has also been keen to drive this point home to Obama, in the event he had forgotten it, with their ferocious attack on his “lipstick” gaffe, which, while silly, is a case study in the protective aura that seems to surround the Republican vice-presidential nominee. Obama’s criticisms of Palin have been tentative and fleeting, focusing primarily on her short record and conservative views. But Obama is beginning to realize that the “inexperience” attack only serves to contrast his even shorter political career with hers… and she’s only running for the VP spot. So what is Obama to do if he’s to snatch victory from the jaws of Sarah Barracuda?

Fight fire with fire. Or in this case, lipstick with lipstick. Only Hillary Clinton can stand up to Sarah Palin without fear of a backlash. If she were to mobilize her notorious attack machine against the Alaskan upstart and show the bumbling Obama amateurs how it’s done, Obama may see a shift in the polls in his favor. Clinton has the necessary credibility, experience and pair of X chromosomes to stem the tide. But where is she? She’s been conspicuously absent from the campaign trail since McCain named Palin as his running mate, despite her pledge to unwaveringly support “her candidate,” Barack Obama, at the convention in Denver. Her window of opportunity to put Palin in her place is quickly dwindling, too. Her silence is telling.

Hillary Clinton has faced a public shaming unlike any in her political career (even after the Lewinsky scandal she came out clean), and, adding insult to injury, this time the perpetrators were part of a vast Left-Wing conspiracy. After her narrow primary defeat, her party forced her to swallow a bitter pill; concede her place in history to a young, inexperienced junior Senator. Then she was passed over for the vice presidential nomination (a wise choice by Obama, who would have regretted seeing her preside over his hastily-arranged impeachment trial in the Senate). Nevertheless, Clinton has done everything they’ve told her to do, bringing supposed party unity and healing wounds. But if they think she’s going to help Obama win the election, they’ve got another thing coming. The fact is that Hillary has her eyes on 2012, an election she is confident she can win. She has been deftly balancing the preservation of her image as Democratic Party loyalist with the subversion of the party’s candidate. And she has to be laughing on the inside, watching Obama the Clinton-Slayer clamoring for her help as he faces annihilation at the hands of a woman.

Oh, Hillary will be dutiful as she must be and offer lukewarm criticisms where needed, but you will not see her deliver the killing blow that the Obama campaign is praying for. Rather, she will stay her hand and polish her “I told you so” speech after the Democrats lose yet another presidential election to what was supposed to be a paper tiger GOP.

1 comment:

Hariolor said...

All truth - astute.

How telling, indeed, that Hillary and her supporters have quietly faded back into the woodwork while Obama is put through the political wringer. Even the "former" Hillary supporters who appear on the various news talk shows are more interested in contrasting Palin with Hillary, rather than contrasting her with Obama, or more appropriately, with Biden. No, they too recognize that it will be a battle of the fems in 2012, and they're gearing up already.