Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Closing the Deal

We all know what happened in Pennsylvania, electorally speaking, by now. Which is, for all intents and purposes not much.

What I can't seem to get is how the media is somehow painting Hillary as the "underdog" in this election. I read one article where a Hillary pundit was asking "why can't Obama close the deal." Are they serious?

I reckon it is a tough sell to have the Clinton name brand, 16 years of public spotlight on you, the prohibative favorite at the start of the season and having everyone and their mother know she'd be running for President this year.* I guess there was just some trouble running as the "change" candidate and the "experience" candidate when you've been a part of a government that has failed its nation for almost two decades. I mean, that's a tough climb.

But underdog? Will someone from the sports bureau please contact the political editors?

That's like saying the Michigan Wolverines were underdogs in the Big House to Appalachian State at the start of the fourth quarter. The metaphor is apt: Michigan, one of the most storied programs in college football history, a high pre-season ranking, all the key players back, possible national championship run, all those oodles of Big 10 football "experience" vs Appalachian State; a division I-AA team brought all the way from North Carolina to open the season in Michigan's house.

And we know how that ended, don't we? Appalachian State kept just ahead of the Wolverines when it counted. But they weren't able to "close the deal" until the final play of the game. Blocked field goal. Delerium. Pandemonium. Couches burning in the North Carolina mountains in raucous celebration.

One of the greatest college football seasons in memory ended months later: Michigan needing a new coach, Appalachian State with another national championship.

Close the deal? Hillary and her people thought this would be a coronation. She had everything going for her at kickoff. Obama is the underdog until he wins the nomination, because Hillary was supposed to win. every. thing. Her people just didn't count on having to play a full game.

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2 comments:

Dreadful Rauw said...

What amazes me is that everyone is missing the point that Hillary was supposed win PA by 20 or so points. The story of the campaign has been that the longer it goes on, the better things get for Obama and the worse things get for Hillary. Is there a single state where she has improved her numbers since the beginning of the campaign? And if Obama's numbers improver over time, wouldn't we want him in the national campaign?

Dante said...

Hilrod is the underdog going by the only definition that matters. The sports books all have Obama favored to win. Like it or not, Hillary is the underdog. Anyone with a better payout than 1-1 going against someone with worse payout than 1-1* is the underdog.

I think with those kind of odds, you'd be crazy to not take Hilrod but that's where the betting is right now. And that's after Pennsylvania.

Hilrod is going to have to get some love from the party elite to overcome Obama at the convention but losing the vote every which way you can (except for the big state issue which is largely being ignored) and still walking away with the nomination thanks to these "super" delegates is going to cause a slight rift between the Democratic party and its voters.

Hilrod's only chance at a solid nomination is to get Obama to agree to be her running mate and I just don't think that's going to happen.

* Odds:
Hilrod - 3-1 to 4-1 depending on where you look
Obama - 1-5 to 1-7 depending on where you look