Every time the Hillary Clinton team speaks there is a severe lack of rounded perspective to their explanations for things. Over the past 24 hours the latest idea being advanced by the Clinton campaign is that if the John Edwards sex scandal had come to light in late 2007 or early 2008 she would have been able to take advantage of the nomination fight, and prevail as the Democratic nominee. Not so say the experts.
Assuming this is the actual breakdown of how things would have split among Edwards’ thirty percent, this scenario would have given a little more than 50 percent to Obama and a little less than 40 percent to Clinton, guaranteeing him a double-digit Iowa win.
It’s also likely that Obama may have snatched somewhere closer to 60 percent, given that Iowa had already turned into a two-person contest. But maybe Joe Biden or Bill Richardson would have popped up on the radar in an Edwards-less field.
The idea that Clinton’s standing would have somehow improved in Iowa without Edwards is just not supported by data or observation.
Both Edwards and Obama were running as populist change agents. They pigeon-holed Clinton as the status quo politician.
If anything, Edwards’ relative strength with labor unions kept Obama from getting key early endorsements — backing that could have secured an Iowa blowout and possibly a victory in New Hampshire.
If anything, Edwards was the reason why Obama didn’t rule the roost pre-Super Tuesday.
But I want to touch on another aspect of the Edwards story that no one seems to be paying attention to in Clintonland.
Had this affair come to light during the Democratic primary process, it could have potentially destroyed Hillary’s candidacy.
Why? A smooth-talking Southern politician getting caught having an affair with an eccentric “blonde” woman? Sound familiar? Exactly.
An Edwards revelation in late 2007 or early 2008 would have forced Hillary and her campaign to relive all things Monica and Gennifer and Paula.
How helpful would that have been? You think the cable pundits were tough on Hillary because of her gender? Imagine a world where Bill’s paramours were front and center once again.
Talk about feeding into Obama’s “turn the page” message, wow…This would have been a Rev. Wright-level issue for Hillary. In order to save her candidacy, she would have been forced to give the “Bill speech” or sit down with Dr. Phil and explain why she stayed.
Of course, count me as someone who always thought she should have given this speech anyway.
A number of Obama’s key supporters were with him simply because of Clinton’s baggage. If these folks could have heard Hillary explain how she planned to distance herself from Bill on these issues, they might have been won over.
We can go on and on about these Edwards “what ifs,” but it seems there are more anti-Hillary scenarios than pro-Hillary ones in an Edwards-less race.
As I said, the Clinton team lacks rounded perspective.