by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
January 9, 2008
IS IT ALL OVER BUT THE CRYING?
BRADENTON, Fla. -- When Sen. Hillary Clinton escaped from oblivion last night, did she only delay a later day of reckoning with voters who have tired of her? Frankly, I doubt that things will be ever be as bad for her again.
I think that after her obligatory win in Michigan on Jan. 15, where she's the only candidate on the ballot, the hot freshet of tears that warmed up frozen New Hampshire may also nurture the cane fields and gently rolling hills of South Carolina, but not with the same effect they had up north.
Sen. Barack's people have built a substantial organization there among the grassroots gathering places of the state's older black women: the beauty salons. And if those same women of a certain age who decamped for the Clinton campaign on Tuesday show up for Obama on Jan. 26, the blow she suffers there may look nearly as devastating as the one Sen. John McCain suffered in the 2000 campaign.
Winning back any substantial part of the black voting population that was swayed to Obama by his big win in Iowa is probably impossible for Hillary; "It's been a long time comin'," as they say, and it ain't coming back. Obama starts Jan. 10 with an 11 AM campaign rally in Charleston, and I'm convinced he won't leave the state until he wins it Hillary is not scheduled there for the next few days).
Bu he won't catch up with her enormous lead in Florida, where the Democratic delegates don't count in anyone's totals until after a nominee is chosen, and she will probably trounce him pretty handily in the other big-prize states, New York and California, and duel him to a standstill in Illinois, where she was born and which he represents. Other than a substantial win in South Carolina and a possible win with the Culinary Union's endorsement on Jan. 19 in Nevada, I don't see a future in the White House for the cool black guy with the big ears and the Harvard resumè.
It's just as logical to dismiss his chances as it was to dismiss Hillary's until 8 pm Tuesday. Barack lost 14 points of an 41% - 29% lead recorded by the CNN /WMUR poll of 788 likely Democratic voters concluded on Jan. 6, and even though his showing against a candidate as well-heeled and well-organized as Hillary Clinton was extraordinary, there is no upside left. Nobody watches the other states after Iowa and New Hampshire have gone - unless they live in them - and that means that there's no mileage in covering them for the huge network crews and press corps that followed the two of them around in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Major Garrett, a reporter for Fox News, put it more bluntly talking to Shephard Smith on Friday night, Smith noted that Garrett had canceled his reservation on the Clinton press plane and climbed aboard the Obama aircraft instead, and arret explained forthrightly that was the action was there now. He'll have to talk his way back onto the Clinton plane as it wings toward Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida, California and beyond. My guess is he won't get off it when Barack takes South Carolina, because the smart money in the next big state is on the voters of Miami Beach and their warm friendship with the Clintons.
Now, the dullards will complain that there never was a "hot freshet of tears," just a little choke in the voice and possibly a very modest glistening of one eye in Hillary's response to a female freelance photographer who recognized her endless uphill struggle for what it is. But that didn't matter to the vast number of women who "broke" at the last minute for Hillary over Obama, who had captured those same women in Iowa. Whatever was there was enough to open their hearts again, and join her longing to theirs.
For Obama, I'm afraid - as we said in our home - "It's all over but the crying."