Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Ghost of Mondulls Past

Jay Cost over at the Real Clear Politics Blog has done some cogitating on what went right for Team Hilla last night in New Hampshire. Hillary prevailed, Mr. Cost maintains, because she "won many elements of the traditional FDR coalition."
Boiled down, St. Barack of Obama took the swells: Demo voters with college degrees, high income Democrats, first-time voters and independents. Of course we know now he has the hearts of the Lefty scribblers and the chatterers -- all the Baby Boomers pining for Bobby Kennedy and Camelot. This last part no doubt explains why so many of us thought it was game over for Hillary.
Mrs. Clinton, however, did better with voters who were downscale on both the educational level and the income bracket -- non-college educated people, and persons making under $50,000 per year; with union voters and senior citizens. "Clinton's is the type of electorate that has delivered Democrats the nomination again and again." Cost suggests that a strategy calculated to appeal to this group of voters shows the way ahead for her -- that is, the traditional, meat-and-potatoes Democrat, Hubert Humphrey, Fritz Mondale way.
I like it, but I'm betting this is a hard crowd for Mrs. Clinton to win, long run; and, for her, a counter-intuitive road to take. See, Mrs. Clinton and her crowd want Obama's voters. They want to be the new Camelot: the choice of Hollywood and the rest of the elect; the swells and the chardonnay drinkers. The support of the Chevy drivers and the Bud drinkers is taken for granted.
Tums and Pepto-Bismol will do a land-office business selling antacid to chattering-class Hillary strategists who have to convince people they'd never invite to the Clinton inaugural ball that Hillary can relate to them. Meanwhile, Hillary will hack-off the true-believer liberals and the chattering classes, and store up plenty of trouble for the general election season.
Still, Mr. Cost is probably right, and for the moment, she needs to tack this way. I suppose it's unlikely that Hillary would follow the Fritz Mondull strategy straight into oblivion come next November, but, hey, we can hope.

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