It’s generally accepted that April 15 isn’t a day to book travel on any seafaring vessel, and that appears to be the case for metaphorical ships as well. The news today was nothing but bad for the Clinton campaign and it looks like the holdouts are starting to size up the life rafts.
It looked as if Hillary might have one last shot to get some traction against Obama when he crooned “Nobody Does It Bitter” to the Pennsylvania electorate via a private fundraiser in San Francisco. Then came all manner of smoke and conflagration and a lot of righteous indignation on the part of Hillary and Senator McCain, when they took part in a curious tag-team that can’t possibly help the Democrats this fall. It makes sense in this Olympic year to consider that when a boxer looks like they might lose in the qualifying round they generally don’t ask the Russians if they can come over and try out. Put another way, it’s like being a teenage boy being rousted by a neighborhood bully only to look up from the flurry of punches and seeing an aunt you don’t like very much joining in the pummeling.
In the end, all of that fire signified nothing. Obama never flagged in the daily tracking polls, and he shot out to a five-point lead in Indiana, according to a poll released today. Maybe they really are bitter and are hoping for something that will get that God monkey off their backs. “Please Lord, for the love of all that’s holy, please give me a well-paying job. With all due respect, I just can’t do another church service. The goddamned cookies and the punch afterwards and the fake sincerity. And I hate getting up on Sunday unless there’s an Eagles game on, and I sure as hell don’t shower and get dressed up for that. I want to work all week, yell at my kids at a restaurant rather than around the dinner table at home, and do coke and whiskey on the weekend, just like an old Merle Haggard song.”
The February fundraising reports came in and said that Obama outraised Hillary in ZIP codes with populations 30,000 or lower. That’s a whole of bitter bucks there. Sure, that was February, but early polling says the only townies who are taking Obama to task for his comments are the eight that Hillary has hired to grouse in her commercial that she had on the air about an hour after Obama’s gaffe went public.
Now the surrogates are starting to, if not bail, waver in a big way. Massachussets Representative Barney Frank said today that the loser, whomever that may be, needs to step aside the day after Puerto Rico.
Ed Rendell is seemingly the last high-profile friend Hillary has in the party next to James Carville (and he’s more about supporting his old friend Bill than Hillary). He hasn’t been cracking a sternum diving onto Obama to support Hillary’s Bitterness Offensive the last few days. He’ll concede this might cost Obama a few points, but isn’t going to sway momentum that much. This is a significant tipping point, when your friends start to slip. It’s only another handful of news cycles before they all but admit that you’re probably hanging onto this ledge far too desperately, and maybe it’s just time to let go. The firemen have the airbags set up, it’ll be a soft landing, and you won’t get hurt, and no one’s going to blame you for letting go. So…just…let go.
This ship is taking on some serious water. A Washington Post /ABC poll has Hillary’s negatives at 58%, up 18% in January when her high negatives were seen as one of her biggest liabilities. And she’s losing ground in electability, perception as the stronger leader, that she understands people’s problems, ability to bring change (step off sister–there’s only one person bringing the change in this race, and that’s the man who bought the rights to the word), etcetera. The only surprised is that she hasn’t plummeted further in honesty and trustworthiness.
To make matters worse, she just lost the Springsteen endorsement. This might mean the official end of the San Francisco flap. Bruce Springsteen is the Pied Piper of the Bitter. If he’s on board, there’s a whole lot of flannel and oily baseball caps that aren’t far behind.
Unlike the real Titanic, this wasn’t cheap rivets that were the SS Hillary’s undoing. Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson may be sleazy, but they aren’t cheap. In fact, she blew through $150 million by the end of February. She just didn’t plan on sailing past the first port, and with the crew she had left she would have been better off hiring Joseph Hazelwood to keep her vessel seaworthy.
In the end, it may be just her and Bill at the helm. For what it’s worth, though, she hasn’t done a bad job with the deck chairs.