Monday, January 28, 2008

Oh, No! 0-8!:Mrs. Clinton Goes to Springfield...

Alas WMassP&I is in its remote blogging mode right now.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton came to Springfield today supposedly at the behest of Cong. Richard Neal, an early supporter of Clinton's. She spoke for while at the Blake Arena at Springfield College. According to The Republican and Urban Compass, Clinton was quite late coming from Hartford, the site of her first campaign stop in New England for the day. Some reports suggested that the Hartford event was less crowded, but The Washington Post said it was "packed."

According to Urban Compass, the crowds thronged at Springfield College forcing many to be turned away. The Blake Arena can accommodate about 2000, but some estimates appear to suggest that 3000 were present inside. Either way, several hundred stayed outside to catch a glimpse of Senator Clinton when her motorcade arrived. Urban Compass reported that City Councilor Kateri Walsh and her husband, Daniel, left before Clinton arrived returning to their car in the, surprise, surprise VIP, section.

The bulk of Clinton's speech, as gathered from The Republican and The Washington Post seemed to focus on reversing the nation's fortunes after the disastrous Bush presidency. She hit some notes about the economy. Introduced by Cong. Neal, Clinton praised Neal's efforts to bring peace to Northern Island and the British Isles.

A comment on Masslive brought up the significance of Clinton's stop in Springfield. Arguably, as it is unknown whether the campaign will bring Clinton back to Mass before Feb, 5, choosing Springfield is reasonable, allows a pop in Connecticut, also holding their primary a week from tomorrow, and blunts Sen. Edward Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama. In all fairness, the choice probably had more to do with Neal's encouragement. Clinton could have just as easily gone to Worcester, whose hometown Congressman Jim McGovern supports Clinton, too.

Despite a weak second in South Carolina, Clinton is still very much in the game. Not to minimize South Carolina, but it is not necessarily indicative of anything except that the Democratic voters of South Carolina have truly transcended South's racial stereotypes. The state is very different than Northern states or even its neighbors North Carolina and Georgia. It is not, economically, anyway, as emblematic of the "New South." With an election that will be about the economy on our hands, this is crucial.

As for the Kennedy endorsements, it is difficult to know what effect they will have. Obviously, Ted Kennedy calling Obama a worthy heir of his brother's legacy, echoing his neice Caroline Kennedy's Sunday New York Times Op, will mean something to some people. However, how much will vary according to what people think of Ted Kennedy, JFK, and the course of history. People may love JFK, but they may not love Ted Kennedy, for whatever their reasons. Kennedy's annoucement was in Washington, DC, not Massachusetts where Clinton still leads. In addition, JFK's daughter's endorsement should carry less weight than Teddy's. Tragically, Caroline was only 6 when her father was killed; she says people ask her how they can live out her father's ideals, but truth be told, she can only go on what others have said. Furthermore she has always guarded her privacy, which is her right. This kind of blows the lid off of that.

Fmr. MD Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, both children of the late Robert F. Kennedy have endorsed Hillary Clinton. Bizarrely, some news outlets have remarked on the lack of unity among the Kennedys as if they all think as one mind to begin with.

This race is definitely heating up. Clinton could still clinch the nomination February. Or Obama could. Or it could keep going up until every body's in Denver. With any luck, Edwards will abandon his quest before then and not try to act like a kingmaker at the convention.

Obama needs to move past the rhetoric, hope, and optimism and provide more concrete details, otherwise once in office, he will quickly find his agenda, like JFK's, stalled and face Democratic losses during the 2010 midterms as JFK did in 1962.

For Clinton to win, she must stay on message and her husband, Bill, has to cool down. He is still very useful, but he needs to use those great people skills. His sniping has worked here and there, but it is connected to the loss in S.C.
*Neal photo from wikipedia. Hillary Clinton @ Spfld College by Heather Brandon/from Urban Compass

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