Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

August 11, 2008

Harold Wolfson's Bizarre Logic

Wolfson insists that Edwards' cover-up of his extramarital affair cost Hillary the nomination:

"I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," former Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson told ABCNews.com...

"Our voters and Edwards' voters were the same people," Wolfson said the Clinton polls showed. "They were older, pro-union. Not all, but maybe two-thirds of them would have been for us and we would have barely beaten Obama."
First of all, notice the tabloidy spin Brian Ross and Jake Tapper puts in the first paragraph of this report, about how this charge "could exacerbate previously existing tensions between the camps of Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama". Huh? What does Obama have to do with this?

Second, saying that Hillary Clinton lost because of a man covering up his infidelity is an extremely tone deaf comment to make. Did Wolfson really want to go there?

Third, my mind reels over the alternate reality Wolfson is trying to sell here. As Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight points out, Hillary on average ranked last when Iowans were asked who their second choice was. This meant Iowa caucus voters would've likely picked Obama if Edwards was out of the picture.

Daily Kos and John Cohen pointed out additional polling data supporting this.

There is no way to accurately predict how the Edwards affair could've impacted the various moving cogs in the race. Claiming that Hillary would've won if it was revealed earlier is not only a stretch, it also minimizes the fact that her team ran a poor campaign.

Remember that she had an air of inevitability at the onset: the biggest war chest, the most formidable political machine, the highest name recognition; not to mention, you know, Bill. However, her campaign made a fatal mistake: underestimating Barack Obama.

By the time Super Tuesday rolled in and they realized the race was far from over, there was no plan B. By the time Edwards did drop out, Hillary lost to Obama in eleven straight primaries. By the time they tried to cover lost ground, there was simply not enough runway left.

Last but not least, there was one major issue that worked against Hillary: her vote for the Iraq war. Obama's opposition to the war provided a clear alternative. Wolfson, Penn and her other operatives won't admit this out loud, but Hillary would've had a better chance of winning if it was Obama, instead of Edwards, who was not in the race.

More reactions at Memeorandum.

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posted at 10:58 PM by Wonky Muse

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Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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