Obama's Clinton ProblemYesterday, I pointed out that the Barack Obama campaign was beginning to manifest signs of a late-summer collapse, very similar to what happened to Michael Dukakis in 1988. If the Rasmussen poll wasn't enough evidence to prove the point, then the bad blood between Hillary Clinton's camp and Barack Obama ought to tell us something:
Does Barack Obama think he needs the Clintons’ help this fall? And do the Clintons really want to give it to him?
The answer to both questions seems to be a resounding “no.”
And this could very well be the reason why a slam-dunk Obama victory in November becomes a down-to-the wire race against John McCain.
Sure, Bill and Hill can act like spoiled children. And they certainly played rough during the primaries. But Mr. Clinton was a popular two-term Democratic president who led in comparatively prosperous and peaceful times.
As for Mrs. Clinton? Well, she got more (registered) Democratic votes in the primaries than Obama.
Let's translate all of this: These two people do not like one another, and I would venture to say that the feelings between former President Clinton and Barack Obama probably border on outright hatred. Howard Fineman pointed out that he's been covering President Clinton for years and has never "seen him seething with so much anger." What's more, Hillary Clinton is being quite open about the fact that she feels she has done more than her part to help raise money for Obama, but he hasn't returned the favor in helping her retire her campaign debt:
In a private meeting in Washington last week with her top fundraisers, Hillary declared that she had kept her end of the dollar-for-dollar agreement with Obama, raising $500,000 for his campaign.
Those of you who have been operating under the illusion that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are going to run on the same ticket may now divorce yourselves from that fantasy. The trouble for Barack Obama lies in the reality that he needs Clinton voters in order to beat McCain, and at least 30% of those who call themselves "conservative Democrats" say they will vote for John McCain. Many of these people voted for Clinton in the primaries, and it is not inconcievable that other Clinton voters will also support McCain if they believe Obama is either not up to the job, or that he is somehow less than honorable.
Barack Obama's campaign is in trouble. He does have time to turn that trouble on its head, but so far, he has been too busy speaking in platitudes and saying "yes we can," rather than dealing with the problems on his own political center and addressing issues in a serious way.
The race in November will be one of those all-nighters yet again.