May 13, 2009

"Could Hillary Clinton have grabbed Edwards' loyalists and won early, stage-setting contests in Iowa..."

"... where Barack Obama emerged as a contender with a stunning win, or later, in the South Carolina primary?"

36 comments:

Revenant said...

Would Edwards' supporters have broken for Hillary? It seems to me that Obama was a lot closer to Edwards on the issues.

Joseph Hovsep said...

No. Edwards supporters were not clearly closer to either the Obama or Clinton camps. And as early as South Carolina, it had already become a two-way race.

Lem said...

Let me try this speculation stuff...

If Edwards had not had an affair he would the vice president of the United States.

Beth said...

I agree with Revenant. That's the trend I noticed here in Louisiana among people I knew that were following Edwards. When he dropped out, they went for Obama.

But still, Hillary's team let her down. If anyone ought to have had a nose for the cheating, ego-maniacal politico, surely it would be Hillary. Why didn't she have anyone doing bimbo research? Seems she would have someone with experience in her Rolodex.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Lem--He might have been AG, but not VP.

john said...

Joseph - that would have been worse.

blake said...

The media picked the candidates. I don't see how that was ever going to change. They picked McCain. They picked Obama. From that point, it was a foregone conclusion.

Jason (the commenter) said...

If Edwards' supporters didn't have Edwards they probably would have went with another non-Obama/non-Clinton candidate. Edwards was just a place holder.

If Hillary wanted to take out Obama, all she had to do was talk about his Reverend early on.

NPR wont say that though. NPR wont say lots of things, that's what makes them so funny.

former law student said...

Part of Edwards' attraction was that he was not Hillary. Plus some of his vote came from those who wanted more of a bleeding-heart liberal than Hillary, who was an MOR type Democrat, like her husband.

Joseph Hovsep said...

blake--the media seemed to clearly favor mccain in 2000 too.

garage mahal said...

Would Edwards' supporters have broken for Hillary? It seems to me that Obama was a lot closer to Edwards on the issues..

I think that was the CW, but I can't think of any issues Obama was more aligned with Edwards on. You could make the case Hillary was. Certainly her health care proposals were.

blake said...

Joseph--

Media 2000 <> Media 2008

David said...

Well, who knows? How can they possibly know?

It's irrelevant. The point is that Edwards and his wife-accomplice were campaigning on a lie. Not a peripheral lie, but one central to the campaign message: the caring loyal man who would care, care, care about the people.

He cheated his wife. They cheated the voters together. How their voters would have broken is beside the point.

Do not buy her book. Pray for her, hope for a miracle to save her life, but do not buy her book. Do not reward her fraud by purchasing her book.

Has she apologized? No, and she won't.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I think that was the CW, but I can't think of any issues Obama was more aligned with Edwards on.Iraq--Edwards said it was a mistake. Clinton never pulled back from her support for the invasion. That was an issue I cared a lot about and my candidate preferences were, in order, Obama, then Edwards, then Clinton. I think I am probably a bit representative of the netrootsy liberal type, although they/we aren't necessarily really that big a percentage of primary voters.

Joe said...

Actually the media was in love with McCain until he shut them out before the Republican convention. There's no doubt in my mind that the media wanted an Obama-McCain election and got it.

I'm not sure there was anything Clinton or Romney could have done to secure their party's nomination, which both would have done had the press stayed neutral. (Had the press gone after Obama and McCain in the early primaries the way they went after McCain/Palin after the convention, both would have lost. Obama because he was an empty suit, McCain because he's an asshole.)

srfwotb said...

Sure it's possible, but I dislike post-mortem hypotheticals. I already went through this in real time.

I vaguely remember those Iowa photos of Obama and Edwards canoodling @ Hillary's expense. It made me see Edwards as a bit more skeevy than I had just the moment before - before any revelations. He was already sucking up to Obama - it was an oily, smarmy move full of posture and body language.

(My bil is a big Edwards fan and a truly good guy, so I've always tried to override my gut reaction for his sake.)

John Lynch said...

Of course she could have. Without Edwards, all those voters could have gone either way. There's a million things that would have happened differently without John Edwards running for President, and any of them might have put Clinton over the top. Or maybe not.

But she didn't. We can make a lot of verbiage of what could have been and why, but we won't know for sure one way or the other. I think it's safe to say that having Edwards in the race certainly didn't help Clinton, but that's about it.

Revenant said...

I can't think of any issues Obama was more aligned with Edwards on.

Can you cite an example of a policy difference between Edwards and Obama? I genuinely can't think of any.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"But still, Hillary's team let her down. If anyone ought to have had a nose for the cheating, ego-maniacal politico, surely it would be Hillary. Why didn't she have anyone doing bimbo research?"

This could NOT have come from her, or ever be found to have come from her. Not after what she herself had publicly tolerated. No-win for her to have outed him.

TosaGuy said...

Without Edwards, HRC finishes second in Iowa instead of third, which would have been fine with her. Coming in second in a close IA race to an IL senator is not a crushing defeat. Such a loss can be successfully spun.

However, HRC coming in third meant that more than 2/3 were against her and that completely stripped away her campaign's veneer of invincibility. Once that was gone, she had nothing left.

Eric said...

Obama's biggest weakness early on was the fear he was unelectable because he was a black guy, even though he clearly dominated in the charisma department. As soon as he was well enough known to have accurate national polling a lot of people who were supporting Hillary and Edwards because they wanted someone "electable" switched to Obama.

I don't think there's anything Hillary could have done.

Eli Blake said...

Yeah, a bunch of apparently self-serving campaign workers who were willing to blow up their own campaign (but only if their candidate actually was about to win) and who get quoted about that anonymously, over a year later and only when Elizabeth's book is in the news.

Just the kind of people I'd want working for me if I was running for office, NOT.

So the brief answer to your question above is, "no."

The only long term effect of this is that all of Edwards' former campaign advisors will now be under a cloud of suspicion (because the source was anonymous) meaning that they probably won't get hired to run another campaign.

rhhardin said...

My feeling is it will be a long time before we elect another black man.

Frivolity will have to find another form.

Modern Otter said...

The media picked the candidates. I don't see how that was ever going to change. They picked McCain. They picked Obama. From that point, it was a foregone conclusion.Not convinced. A September 2007 issue of Time did a cover story on the next First Spouse. Pictured were Bill Clinton, Ann Romney, Elizabeth Edwards, Judith Nathan (Giuliani) and Michelle Obama. No Cindy McCain. And Time's still a pretty big "they."

Eli Blake said...

Otter,

Keep in mind that McCain had self-destructed in June 2007, having built up a huge political machine but not having raised the funds to pay for it. By September it was an active question why he was still running at all.

The fact that he came back and won the Republican nomination is less a testimony to his refusal to quit than it is a testimony to how truly weak the rest of the Republican field was.

In fact, Republicans like to claim that their mistake was in nominating McCain but I actually think he lost by less than Giuliani, Huckabee, Romney or Thompson would have lost by.

former law student said...

My feeling is it will be a long time before we elect another black man.

Frivolity will have to find another form.

Heck, it's been a long time since America elected a Catholic. Is this another reaction to frivolity?

blake said...

Otter--

2007 was different. They didn't have any sense that this (completely inexperienced and unqualified) person had a chance. In fact, he shouldn't have, had they done their putative jobs. 2012, sure.

Eli--

Well, of course you think that: You're a liberal! It's like a conservative saying, I think the Dems could've won by more if they'd elected Hillary or, IDK, Jim Webb?

Might even be true.

FLS --

Catholics are not a protected class. Was the last Catholic elected frivolously? Maybe. Certainly that election was another in a long line of bad choices we've gotten from the two party system.

rhhardin said...

Heck, it's been a long time since America elected a Catholic. Is this another reaction to frivolity?

The logic doesn't reverse.

But I'm thinking that America decided to give Obama a benefit of the doubt that it would not have given to a white man.

Now it knows better.

The next black guy will have to prove he isn't Obama in addition to running for President.

JFK has no equivalent stigma; in fact Republicans cite him here and there with approval on taxes.

traditionalguy said...

Edwards was the un-hillary for many dems. They thought he could win. Obama had the majick of the Smile going strong by the time they figured out what had hit them. Hillary was hated for her early arrogance that the job belonged to her.

EnigmatiCore said...

OK, I can understand why Elizabeth is trying to rehab Johnny's public image. Although, if she is as gravely ill as his campaign was quick to exploit, I doubt she would be around for any comeback (funny, she's acting almost like she will be around... let's come back to that one in a few years and hope my cynical side is correct, ok?)...

But why are others? That's what I don't understand.

EnigmatiCore said...

"2007 was different. They didn't have any sense that this (completely inexperienced and unqualified) person had a chance. In fact, he shouldn't have, had they done their putative jobs. "

Actually, had they been doing their jobs, Elizabeth Edwards would not have been.

The rest belonged, as did McCain's wife.

Eli Blake said...

traditionalguy:

Edwards was the un-hillary for many dems. Hillary was hated for her early arrogance that the job belonged to her.

I was heavily involved in last year's campaign as a Democratic activist, and it is much more complicated than that.

There were two main reasons that Democratic activists were ready to support virtually any of the other candidates than Hillary.

The first was Iraq. She voted for it, and unlike Edwards (who also voted for it in 2002) Clinton would never admit she made a mistake and continued to vote for war funding and other pro-war votes well into 2006. There were even Republicans (most notably Chuck Hagel) that beat Hillary to the punch in realizing that the war was a huge mistake.

The second was, that thanks to George W. Bush's bumbling incompetence on many fronts, last year Americans were ready to hand a mandate to a Democrat like at no other time in decades. So under the circumstances we as Democratic activists were ready to look for someone who would really implement a true liberal agenda, as opposed to throwing away the mandate we knew we'd get from the voters on four or eight more years of relatively limited, small-bore Clintonism. We wanted change that is big and bold, and we got it.


And I might point out that I (and others) predicted early on that Clinton was in trouble based on polls in late 2007 that showed her getting right around 50% of the primary vote, Obama at about 27%, Edwards at about 10% and the rest of the field stretched out from there. I wrote then that Hillary's 50% was a ceiling, and that once candidates started to drop out after the early primaries the supporters of the other candidates would coalesce around Obama, Edwards, Richardson or whoever the last non-Hillary candidate standing was.

AllenS said...

Doesn't matter. Hillary's numbers took a nose dive when she came up with the dogging sniper fire story.

By the way, how's Elizabeth Edwards' cancer doing? When that was announced, it sounded like she only had months to live. Now, she seems completely cured. She certainly isn't suffering from the effects of chemo.

AllenS said...

Maybe dodging.

Trevor Jackson said...

Eli's right. The people who supported Edwards in Iowa, as the linked article suggests, had Obama as their second choice. In fact, at my caucus in Iowa, when it was overwhelmingly obvious that Obama was going to gather more delegates than all other candidates combined, some Obama supporters moved to stand with Edwards.

Democrats in Iowa were as much anti-Hillary (and all she appeared to represent at the time: in bed with lobbyists, endless war, capitulation on core principles) as they were pro-Obama or -Edwards.

If Edwards hadn't run, Richardson or Biden would have finished second in Iowa. Few were willing to give Hillary a chance.

traditionalguy said...

Eli blake... thanks for the insight. My Dem activist friends actually thought Edwards had a chance, and they "knew" that Obama was secretly Muslim.