So is Howard Fineman ever right?
Almost a month ago I posted about MSNBC’s Howard Fineman premature dismissal of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Said Fineman,
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is teetering on the brink, no matter what the meaningless national horserace numbers say. The notion that she has a post-Iowa “firewall” in New Hampshire is a fantasy . . .
Today, Fineman’s piece, “Hillary Victorious; Pundits Eat Crow” , barely admits his mistake:
I wrote a piece the other day about the apparent implosion of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in New Hampshire. My editors asked me to put a “new top” on my piece once the results were in. Unless, of course, I was wrong, in which case I would go immediately to Plan B. This is Plan B.
Fineman goes on to enumerate what he believes are the reasons for Hillary’s unexpected turnaround yesterday.
It seems to me, however, that he leaves hints that he really knew she’d pull it off all along, specifically when referring to Saturday’s New Hampshire debate:
I thought at the time that Obama was mailing it in. He was flat and filibustering. Hillary got angry at one point, defending her record of accomplishment against the minimal achievements of her rivals. The conventional wisdom was that she hurt herself. I think she helped herself.
Notice how he “thought at the time” that Obama was mailing it in. He also mentions her “record of accomplishment.” Funny, two days ago he didn’t seem to feel that way:
The fact is, she doesn’t really have that much experience that is truly hands-on as an official. It was too easy for her opponents to question its validity.
Why he fails to point to Obama with the same accusing finger escapes me completely. And, significantly, what seems to be escaping all of the pundits is an acknowledgement that the country has become more centrist thanks to the divisiveness of the current administration’s policies. Many Democrats that were elected in 2006 in the south are not of the extreme left, but more conservative in several areas–namely, spending and security.
Yesterday’s results seem to reflect that as well: NH voters resoundingly embraced the more centrist McCain over Huckabee*, and edged out Obama for Clinton. I find it interesting that Edwards is the one with the message of “making one America again” of the “two Americas.” It looks to me like we are already “one America”–one that’s fed up with divisiveness.
(*It should be noted that Huckabee’s naming of an “Army for Jesus” probably didn’t sit too well with NH voters, either. Just imagine 40,000 Marguerite Perrins–and try not to shudder.)