Hillary Clinton came out fast Tuesday night. At the first bell, she threw her best punch of victimhood from the hip with the intent of turning the contest to her favor from the get-go. She landed only air and this would set the tone for the entire fight. The early rounds consisted of Clinton attempting amateurish haymakers in the hope of landing the knockout punch she sorely needed. However, in each case, Obama deftly sidestepped the punches and effectively countered with quick jabs and short rights to Clinton's most vulnerable area, her credibility.
Clinton's inability to land in the early rounds seemed to take the steam out of her. She continued to pursue Obama in the middle and later rounds but with much less intensity. Obama, after building up his early lead, was content to box the remaining rounds. Clinton continued in pursuit but was unable to land any effective punches while Obama continued his effective fight of maneuver and short counters. The bout ended with Obama hugging Clinton and congratulating her on her effort while it was obvious to all that he had won a comfortable decision.
The fight that I described would certainly have been more entertaining than the debate that occurred. Hillary Clinton knew that she needed a big win to turn back Barack Obama's momentum and give her a chance to win the nomination. However, all of her attacks seemed small and petty.
She began by complaining that she always seemed to get the first question in the debates. She attacked Obama for his flyer in Ohio that criticized her health care plan, trying to imply that Obama's campaign standards were below hers (imagine that!). To this, Obama pointed out that his campaign's mailouts were very similar to the ones that the Clinton campaign had sent out criticizing him. He then added, "you don't see me whining about it." This pretty much set the tone for the early part of the debate.
After the first break, the debate seemed to settle down with neither side doing much more than defending their respective positions. Mrs. Clinton, needing something big, came away with nothing. Instead, she may have lost votes by her early attacks which gained no traction and rather made her look like the desperate politician that she is.
One of the interesting things about this debate was watching Sen. Clinton's eyes while Obama was speaking. There seemed to be there a combination of hatred and fascination. Hatred because he was beating her when she thought she was unbeatable. Fascination because nothing that she was doing could dent his armor. Obama has proven to be the perfect opponent to beat Hillary, much like Holyfield was to Tyson. He can effectively defend against her attacks and turn her weaknesses against her. As D. B. Jackson wrote, Hillary's attempt at making herself the victim was ineffective against Obama's superior victim status.
Personally, I think the contest is over now. Clinton had been fading in both Texas and Ohio before the debate. I expect this to increase and for Obama to take both states. Certainly, Hillary will not achieve the margin of victory that she needs to stay in the race.
It is not a question of if, but when.
-- Submitted by B. Bryant