Holding The Line — For A Little While

(rotate picture above)

We were a bit surprised the Crown Prince failed to win Texas as you know. His focus today on actual pledged delegates is not illegitimate. But as GHWB learned from Iowa, ‘Big Mo’ often can turn into nemesis in an eye blink.

So let’s sort out what really happened. MSNBCNNFOX drum into our eyeballs relentlessly that HRC won a disproportionate share of late deciders. The collected wisdom? These voters — we are told — were ‘exposed’ to the HRC telephone ads as if the ads themselves were a toxic bacilus. Are we all not weary of the same consensus 25 pundits basking in their moment in the sunshine (even if feigned as mere duty). Of course, calculated contrarian posing pops up for personal self-promotion or in marionette response to desperate producers. All essentially effluvium.

Let’s put aside their talk. You know, that the HRC campaign went ‘negative’ in a ‘classic Clinton machine’ sort of way. And the corollary that the Crown Prince must don (sadly) the boxing gloves he heretofore avoided as a creature more noble than mortal politicians. Additionally, despite his enthusiasm, Rush’s impact on events likely is less than a rounding error in a precinct or two. On the last we agree. Where does that leave us?

The Stiftung is pleased (and somewhat surprised) that the Crown Prince suffered reverses precisely because for the briefest of moments: (a) the press, waking from its narcotic state, actually asked some typical questions about the Crown Prince’s actual positions; (b)he, by responding, descended from the clouds and appeared as mere typical biped seeking office; (c) meanwhile, HRC managed by savvy use of free media (to offset the Crown Prince’s larger war chest) to use up oxygen; and thus (d) we sense the barest glimmer of legitimate sobriety about a campaign surging on diaphanous bloviation. But only a glimmer.

As mentioned, we expected the Crown Prince to take Texas and thereby make HRC’s rationale particularly untenable. Yet his perceived blow halts a surging offensive that rollled as inevitable like the tide. A riposte and a reverse. Much of the ‘consensus’ wisdom now is Pennsylvania. To us it is just the latest line in a situation marked by fluidity. The Corporal responded to Junker Field Marshals’ cries for permission to retreat outside Moscow in December 1941, ‘Retreat to where? Will it be any warmer 75 kilometers back?”. Oddly, this now applies to both campaigns now. Absent capitulation — or union — the last stand lies in reconsidering Michigan and Florida notwithstanding Dean’s insignificant current stature.

The bigger question will be by what means and tactics do the parties get there? The $85 million reservoir in cash on hand today ensures a temptation to both for a slug fest. Can the Crown Prince recover after a season, return to his Olympian perch and renew previously unstoppable surge? Fresh and recharged? Is that even wise at this juncture? Or will he be forced (willingly or unwilling) to slug it out in the low road of terra firma? Logistically, we wonder if HRC can capitalize meaningfully on the perception of momentum change necessary for creating new actual ground truth. We are reasonably sure that the path to ‘victory’ (or glory) will not lie with substance or improved political discourse. The Crown Prince’s halt in Texas (to our surprise) and Ohio now creates the vision of a grinding war of attrition. HRC has the experience and capacity for prevailing; she lacks the in depth resources. The Crown Prince is unprepared personally and in self image terms for such brutality (again in our view); he has resources in spades.

So it is no surprise HRC opens the door for a peace treaty in the form of a joint ticket. It’s the best play given her cards and the party may overall benefit concentrating on McCain rather self-immolation. We’ll see how that plays out.

All of the political theater makes McCain’s strategy for visibility particularly interesting. There are only so many times a man can be on Leno.