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What Now For Hillary?


A new Politico/CNN/LAT poll shows Hillary up by 17 points in California. That's five points above her average in a bunch of other recent polls.

This is welcome news for the Clintonites. But just one of the five sample days occurred after the South Carolina blowout. And the impact of the Kennedy endorsement won't be realized for a few more days. (Tomorrow's Florida vote, which Clinton should win easily, could cushion the blow--depending on how the media spins a state whose delegates won't count. Will MSNBC do live coverage with Matthews, Fineman, etc.? Doubtful. Update: Duhh. They'll definitely be there--to cover the very major GOP vote.)

Here's my question: What does Hillary do if her Feb 5 polls start to dive? What card is left to play? First Hillary did the strong woman, commander in chief, ready to blow people up thing. Then she rolled out mom and Chelsea, and even misted up, to show her human side. Then Bill climbed down from Mount Olympus and got his hands dirty (and is presumably now headed back up that mountain). The Clintons have now played the experience card, the cocaine card, the abortion-vote card, the Rezko card. What's left?

It's too early to say Hillary is in a nosedive. But the combination of the South Carolina blowout, the growing disenchantment among Democrats for the Clintons, and now the Kennedy endorsement, have created a sense of momentum for Obama that tops even his win in Iowa.

The difference is that, after Iowa, there were cards I could envision the Clintons playing. If Hillary really starts to sink, however, I don't know what's left in her hand that can save her.

--Michael Crowley