If Barack Obama’s win in Iowa was something of an unexpected upset over Hillary, then Hillary’s defeat of Barack in New Hampshire was, according to all the poll data coming out yesterday, even more so. Hillary Clinton managed to beat the pundits and make this race a whole lot more interesting. Good for her, and good for our democracy. In this year when Democrats are out raising, out spending and out voting Republicans by two-to-one margins, we can finally afford to have a real debate about what the Dems are going to bring to the party this year. And in this year when the field is so over abundant with talent, maybe that debate will bring to light real changes that this country desperately need.
I just got done watching Barack Obama’s speech after his second place finish in Iowa. He was gracious enough to congratulate Hillary Clinton at the outset, but peppered throughout his speech was some pointed rhetoric aimed squarely in her face:
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. That chorus will only grow louder in the weeks and months ahead. We have been asked to take a reality break, we have been warned against giving the people of this nation false hope, but in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.
Ooh, damn. Now the question is: what is the next step for Barack Obama? His campaign has been based on positivity and hope, and while Bill Clinton seems to believe there has been more body checking we haven’t heard about, the public persona of the campaign has not engaged in too much aggression. But as high-minded as he might want to be, Hillary is going to get increasingly personal, and any Republican contender will be worse. His speech last night hints at a more aggressive stance in defense of change that he might take on in the future, it will be interesting to see what happens.