What do Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton have in common?
Neither seems to have heard the old Kenney Rogers tune, the refrain of which goes:
"You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run."
Tuesday night's results from Wisconsin were stunning, and telling. But even more telling was what was going on behind the scenes. Taken together with the poll results, if Hillary Clinton took Kenney Rogers' advice above she wouldn't just walk away, she'd sprint for the nearest exit.
In case you missed it, here's what happened after the polls closed in Wisconsin.
Once it was clear to both campaigns that Obama had definitively won Wisconsin, the Obama folks let the Clinton folks know Obama would wait before he spoke to let Hillary speak first. Their assumption being that she'd concede the Wisconsin race and congratulate Obama for the win.
How little the Barackistas still understand the Clintons. Like Lucy in the Peanuts cartoon, she pulls the football away just as Charlie Brown goes for the kick. And so it came to pass, again -- Hillary, speaking before a crowd in Texas, launched right into a campaign attack speech.
Furious they'd been had again, the Obama campaign "big footed" Hillary by having Barack begin his speech right there and then. They knew that, as the winner last night, all the networks would switch from Hillary's speech to his -- and that's just what happened. Hillary was blacked out -- right in the middle of her pitch.
But it wasn't "ouch" for those of us watching on TV --- it was deal closer. We were instantly transported from Hillary's sing-song, robotic, entirely predictable remarks, to a soaring address by Obama. (Watch it here)
As I listened to Obama I turned to my wife and said, "it's over."
It was so clear... stunningly clear. The Obama folks may have cut into Hillary's speech in a moment of anger, but in so doing they created a contrast so startling in it's starkness that only the most lobotomized Clinton Moonies could have resisted it. The contrast was so immediate and so stunning it hit me like a truck.
The contrast forced the question on me, and I suspect millions of others who saw and heard it. It reduced all the noise and posturing of this campaign down to a very simple choice:
Did I want four years of more of the same -- the same poll-tested nostrums, the same all-talk, process-pablum that has, for the past couple of decades masked a failure of either party to govern -- the failure to solve real problems rather than use them as brickbats against "the other side?"
Was that what I wanted?
Or did I want the candidate who was giving this hard-boiled, as-cynical-as-they-come, crusty old reporter goosebumps every time he opened his mouth? Did I want the candidate that included me in his equation, the candidate who didn't just ask for my vote, but my help, should he win. Did I want the candidate that didn't tell me he/she was prepared to do it all FOR me "on day one," but rather that he could not do any of it for me, only WITH me.