Ceding The Point

When a considerably lucid Youtube questioner asked the Democratic candidates if they would be willing to meet without precondition some of the most notorious dictators of the world, and Obama answered he would, one has to wonder what was going on inside Hillary Clinton’s head.

Most likely, it was something to the tune of, ‘I got him!’

The two Democratic frontrunners had, until then, been shadowboxing and dancing around each other; there had been no major spats, no direct blows that survived more than one or two news cycles, no fireworks at all, really, despite this nagging feeling that the first shoe had to drop sometime.

And then she saw it, her opening. Hillary, put in a precarious position, has spent much of her time in national politics trying to put forth the appearance of being strong on foreign policy and national defense, but not overly hawkish so as to incur the ire of her base. This is undoubtedly the result of two things, the first being the stigmatism that Democrats are soft on defense, but also, as a woman, she had to be a better man than the men.

So she leapt into the fray, later calling Obama “irresponsible,” and “naive.”

Where there hadn’t been much more than sparks in the battle for the Democratic nomination between the frontrunners, there was now fireworks that engulfed a week’s worth of news. And, with right wing politicians and pundits lining up to support Hillary over Obama, along with a recent poll that showed Obama fairing a little better than Hillary on his answer among primary voters, it had looked like Hillary had overplayed her hand.

And now, perhaps ending this particularly chapter in the Epic of Barack vs. Hillary, it looks as though Bill Clinton is calling for a cease fire.

We can never know if the comments he made to the DLC were at Hillary’s bidding, or if she will have his balls (more than she already does) for it, but the distinction that the former president makes, that they are not all that far from each other in their stances, does have the ring of a sought after truce.

And if so, it would have to be a truce that also falls as a point ceded to the Obama camp.

For those who are not overly fond of horse race, the entire exchange should be heartening. While often times the feud took on the appearance of a mudslinger’s shootout, it was actually, believe it or not, about substantive policy, and not about a haircut or the family dog, or a raid coat.

For those who do follow horse race, I think this is an incredibly telling point in the primary race for the Democratic nomination. Now, Hillary is still poised to win, but we’ve seen three things in just the past week alone that shows her to be more vulnerable than the inevitability argument would have you believe.

1) Obama just stood up to one of the most cunning politicians on the national stage today, and arguably won the day.

2) His debate performance from last week was significantly improved over prior showings, and for the first time in four debates he clearly outshown most of the stage and even Hillary.

3) After hitting a plateau in poll tracking overall poll tracking this summer, following last weeks’ debate, Obama is again trending upwards. (Note: When I cite Pollster, it is important to know that the tracking you see is an amalgamation of many different polls, and due to the conservative calculations of the numbers, often times trend shifts are shown retroactively. In otherwords, while it looks as though Obama’s been trending upwards for a while now, this has only been confirmed within the last week).

We got a lot of time before voters hit the polls early next year, and if Obama can force the ex president into ceding a couple more points on behalf of his wife, it could look very good for the freshman senator.

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