She’s b-a-a-ck! In unexpectedly winning the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton more or less gave a well-manicured finger to the national press corps, which had for a week being writing the obituary on her once sure-thing campaign. Was it her near-teary confession on TV? Her debate performance? Her second X chromosome? Bloggers flog themselves for listening to pollsters (again), and conservatives worry that that dark cloud on the horizon is, as ever, the Addams Family of American politics.
Liberal Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal says: “Hillary Clinton’s victory felt to me an awful lot like a repudiation of the mainstream pundits who spent the entire weekend first dumping all over her and then playing the ‘Hillary in tears’ tape on practically a continuous loop yesterday. … There’s now a pretty good chance that, for the first time in my life, my vote in a Democratic primary will actually be meaningful. And it only took 30 years!”
Andrew Sullivan tempers his Obama obsession just a little: “No question: he and Michelle were getting a little cocky. Time to let some of the air out of that balloon. Again: fighting for it will make him a better candidate and a better president. In a long, drawn out battle with the Clintons, Obama will have a lot of cheering from the Republican and Independent sections of the crowd. If he beats Clinton not in a sudden burst of fervor, but in a long, brutal war for delegates, then all the more reason why Republicans and Independents will come to him in the fall.”
Slate’s own Emily Bazelon looks for reasons behind Hillary’s comeback at the XX Factor: “Since Iowa, Hillary has been for me the brainy girl who studies hard for every test and writes great papers, semester after semester. … Gender colors this image. It’s not the only lens to see the contest through, but at the moment, it seems a useful and inevitable one.”
The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait, who formerly predicted Hillary = Toast, eats crow at the Plank: “How did Clinton pull it off? Obviously it’s guesswork. I think she had her best moment of her political career Monday when she choked up defending herself. It was a lot like the moment before the 2004 Iowa Caucuses when James Rassman suddenly appeared, of his own accord, to tell the story of how John Kerry saved his life in Vietnam.” The waterworks have Mark Daniels at the Moderate Voice worried: “Now…candidates, who will do anything to connect with voters, may over-learn the lesson of Clinton’s New Hampshire win. They may clamor for time with Dr. Phil and Barbara Walters to demonstrate their ‘authenticity.’ The temptation may be especially great for Clinton.”
“So much in politics aspires to the cool and the rational,” reflects Peter Suderman at the American Scene, “yet so much ends up taking the form of entertainment: circus, tragedy, epic, melodrama. In the end, much of our national story hinges on the primal, the animal — tears, screams, skin color, beads of sweat and stuttered statements.”
Righty Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters doffs his hat to the New York senator: “She spent the last eight or nine weeks giving Barack Obama an opening for the nomination, and in New Hampshire she somehow found just enough strength to close the door on him. Make no mistake, Obama will continue to be a factor, but the momentum has come to a halt. Hillary has stopped the bleeding, and she can now hone the message and rebuild her lead on a state-by-state basis.”
Conservative Abe Greenwald at Commentary’s contentions thinks a win for Hillary is a win for the GOP: “Instead of a wildfire, her campaign is made of errant friction with an army of stokers paid to keep to the flame going into the next round. One must remember she started out this election with most of the country thinking unfavorably of her. She’s erratic and unliked, and capable of great gaffes that swing the electorate one way or the other on a daily basis. Plus, lately her husband has been there to pick up the slack if things start to go too smoothly.”
And Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard’s Campaign Standard sighs: “There’s a lesson in what happened in New Hampshire. It’s not that New Hampshire often plays a contrarian role in presidential races, voting in unexpected ways. We knew that. The lesson is that Hillary and Bill Clinton are survivors. Just when you think they’re not only down but out, they rise from the grave. We should have known.”
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo indulges in the “benefit of hindsight” with a Web video looking back at the week leading up to New Hampshire. At the Huffington Post, NBC anchor Brian Williams offers insight into the New England psyche to explain Clinton’s comeback. At Gawker, Nick Denton tweaks the British press for its “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment in reporting a Clinton loss.
Read more reactions to Hillary’s unexpected feat. In Slate, John Dickerson reported on Clinton’s victory, but not before waiting for the GOP returns with John McCain. The women of Slate can’t stop talking about Hillary in the XX Factor. And Trailhead analyzes the upset. Watch the election night lowlights.