It’s My Fault If Hillary Loses

Today, on a conference call with the campaign’s finance committee, Clinton heavyweights were celebrating an impressive fundraising month. The campaign raised $35 million over the past 28 days, which is a Clinton record. Thirty-four million of it can be spent on primaries, which means they’re finding new donors and getting old, small-dollar donors to give again. Good news all around. Armed with this cash, Clinton’s ebullient aides said they were competing at full capacity in March 4 states. The only thing that could stop them: the media.

According to the Clinton campaign, if Hillary loses, it’s because the press is pro-Obama. For weeks they’ve been murmuring that the loves Obama so much that they may as well have that “Yes, We Can” video as their iPod’s background. Then, after SNL played mouthpiece , Clinton made her highest-profile complaint against the media yet—and it fell flat on its face .  

On today’s call, Harold Ickes acknowledged that Clinton has lost nearly a dozen primaries and caucuses in a row, but he didn’t let it deter his optimism. “The press in the main has given Sentor Obama a pass. They have not scrutinized him closely,” he said. He added that he expected the media to start hunting around Obama’s record now that he’s the front-runner and that once they do, Clinton could start to make effective attacks on Obama’s record. He didn’t say whether that would happen by March 4.

Here’s the thing—we haven’t seen press stories about Obama’s seedy past because there aren’t many more to be found. And the ones that have emerged haven’t stuck. We had the Rezko affair , the cavorting with “terrorists” imbroglio , and the completely false Obama-attended-a-madrassa flap . But that’s pretty much it. Part of the reason why Obama is running for president now is precisely because he doesn’t have enough skeletons in the closet to have his presidential hopes fractured.  

A lot of the alleged anti-Clinton reporting is really just fact. Case in point: Today’s fundraising call. Clinton raised a record $35 million—but that’s still 1 million short of the overall record Obama sent last month. Moreover, Obama is set to blast that number out of the water with a $50-plus million total sometime this week. This extends to reporting on polls —where she’s hemorrhaging support nationwide—and superdelegate defections—where there’s a slow but steady trickle toward Obama. Simply put, nearly all of the horse-race metrics favor Obama. Thanks to the two candidates’ similar platforms, this has become a horse-race election rather than an issue-based vote. That means Clinton gets shafted.

And in a horse-race election, complaining doesn’t work. You can only make the media feel guilty so often before they turn on you all over again. It leads to cable-news host blow-ups and New York Times columnists’ scorn . As Obama said at the debate, it makes her look like she’s whining —and voters (who include the press) don’t like whiners.  

Clinton’s folk will probably think I have proved their point by writing these paragraphs. If that’s the case, then Clinton really will lose on Tuesday. But not because of opinions, but because of facts.

Pissed off? Think I’m proving the Clinton’s point? Vent at my inbox * or in the Fray .

*UPDATE Feb. 29 7:30 a.m.: Originally I linked to the wrong email. My apologies if you incurred the wrath of the mailer daemon.