Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Clearly, these trees bear no relation to this forest you speak of

Mark Penn, Sen. Clinton's chief campaign strategist, seems to be one of the stupidest people alive. This, at least, would explain how the presumptive front-runner has gone from 20-point leads in most states to being trounced in the primaries tonight. But his memo released today is equal parts hillarious and awful. Let's deal with the awful first:
Sen. McCain Will Run on National Security; Hillary Wins That Argument. When it came to national security, "strong and wrong" won out over "right and weak" in the 2002 and 2004 elections. With Hillary, that is not and will not be an issue...
Huh? The Democrats who voted for the war but, um, weren't Republicans lost in large numbers in 2002. Kerry voted for the war and lost in 2004. Clinton voted for the war and.... How does Hillary come out as having a stronger foreign policy than John McCain, without questioning the fundamental madness that they both agree on? (If you need a refresher, remember who voted to authorize war with Iran...)

Now, in fairness, Penn does make some reasonable points -- Obama's numbers, he argues, will go down while Clinton's negatives are already factored in. I disagree, but it's at least debatable. There's some other stuff here. But now, on to the hillarious:
Current Poll Numbers Don't Tell the Story of What Will Happen: Sen. Obama Routinely Underperforms While Hillary Overperforms.
Er, whuh? I mean, Penn's got a long list of polls he shows prove that Obama routinely gets lower results than his polls suggest. But -- seriously, WTF? Penn's sage advice has turned Clinton from the de facto nominee to someone who basically has to sit out primaries tonight and hope she wins by double-digit margins in Texas and Ohio, and the argument is that Obama has underperformed expectations? As recently as two months ago everyone, everyone expected Clinton to be the nominee, no matter who they actually supported. Now Obama's done so well that tonight's wins could put him ahead of Clinton in the delegate count.

With advice like that, no wonder she's in this mess.

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