While the so-called mainstream media (MSM) continues to salivate over a potential Hillary-Rudy general election match-up next year, they, as usual, are missing the real story of the race: It is quite likely neither of them will be their party’s nominee next year.
Let us examine the state of the race as of today:
Hillary had nine months of almost-constant positive press. Since she began the campaign in February, the MSM has fawned over this supposedly-smartest woman in the world. While Barack Obama and John Edwards faded away a bit, she was afforded non-stop softball coverage.
But now that has changed; he run of good press has reversed. She is now headed into a vortex of negative stories that feed into one another. First came her inability to take a clear stand on Gov. Spitzer’s idiotic plan to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens. (Spitzer, by the way, has come under such attack that he now admits he might withdraw the idea entirely.)
That contretemps morphed into a related problem for Hillary: her constant double-talk, where she takes ambiguous positions on issues and leaves listeners confused over what she just said. This Clinton-speak is her and Bill’s trademark, and it is now hurting her.
The this past weekend came another potentially-defining revelation: the Clinton campaign has been planting questions in her audiences at her town hall forums around Iowa. At least two people have admitted to being approached by Clinton staffers for this purpose.
In Iowa, where the caucus-goers are politically sophisticated, this type of activity could hurt her very badly. It fits into an emerging picture of Hillary as a cold, scripted, unlikeable, manipulative, say-anything candidate. And she is running against two guys, Barack and Edwards, who are all too happy to pound her now that she is in trouble.
Hillary’s other problem, as a friend of mine points out, is that she is trying to run a traditional Republican campaign in the Democratic primaries. In other words, a “my turn now” campaign devoid of any substance and resentful of any challenges. And like past GOP candidates who have relied on the incumbent president or a past president to endorse them, Hillary repeatedly runs back to her husband when trouble looms.
The history of Iowa is crucial here. The final few weeks are the whole story. So a campaign wants to be on an upward trend going into the holidays and the Jan. 3 caucuses.
In 2004, Howard Dean was as far ahead nationally as Hillary is today; and he was substantially ahead in Iowa, too. Then he began to slip in December as voters took a look at his general election viability. Seeing this slippage, Dean got testy at a questioner at a Town Hall forum, and he was finished! He deteriorated almost overnight and lost. In Iowa, what goes on at one campaign stop is reported statewide almost instantly.
That is why this planted-question story may become a huge problem for Hillary in the next weeks to come.
With seven weeks to go, Barack Obama is on the upswing, Edwards is static and Hillary is in trouble.
The Iowa outcome may end up like this (with all three within a few points of each other):
If that is how it ends up, she is almost finished before we even get to New Hampshire.
Again, the national polls are totally and completely meaningless. Mitt Romney is, today, in a commanding position to win the GOP nomination going away.
How, you ask?
The answer is the same every four years. Look at the state polls of the first four contests: Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, and South Carolina.
Guess who is ahead in each and every one of these four states?
And tell me the last time a candidate won both Iowa and New Hampshire and did not go on to win the nomination?
Rudy’s strategy? He doesn’t have one. He is in love with himself and thus can’t see that his plan to have Florida bail him out on Jan. 29 is almost four weeks too late. He will have suffered a string of defeats before then and have zero momentum. He will be toast.
Of course Tim Russert, Chris Mathews and the rest ignore history, ignore the facts on the ground and thus they are missing the real story here.
Conclusion: Forget Rudy; he isn’t making it. Mitt can already see the finish line but the MSM is so consumed with trivialities like Pat Robertson’s endorsement that they can’t see what is happening. Plus, the Hillary story is so big that Mitt is flying under the radar right now, which he must like as he has a solid lead in Iowa and just wants to keep it and run out the clock.
Hillary is in big and growing trouble.
She may not make it past New Hampshire.
And plenty more surprises await us.
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