February 29, 2008

Hillary: I Want My VRWC

What's worse in politics than being attacked? Being ignored -- and Hillary Clinton wants it to stop. She wants back into the national discourse after mostly being overlooked since the debacle of Super Tuesday:

There was a time not long ago when Hillary Clinton dominated the discourse in both parties’ presidential contests.

Now, she’s struggling to get her message out and remain part of the campaign conversation as the media and her remaining rivals, Barack Obama and John McCain, stampede toward a general election matchup that seems more and more likely. ....

Today, though, after a post-Super Tuesday string of wins by Obama, Clinton hardly draws notice from the Republican party. The daily barrage of press releases from the Republican National Committee almost exclusively targets Obama. McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, makes almost no reference to Clinton in his campaign appearances, instead zeroing in on Obama’s record.

Oddly, I had thought to write about this exact phenomenon at some point today. Over the last two weeks, hardly any releases about Hillary Clinton have found their way into my e-mail. The RNC's missives have focused on Obama exclusively, no mean feat considering his thin track record. Even blog readers have stopped sending Hillary material, a sure sign that she represents no real threat to either Obama or John McCain.

That makes Hillary pine for the days of her "vast right-wing conspiracy" fantasy. As Mike Huckabee once said, you know you're over the target when you're taking flak. When the flak aims at someone else entirely, you know you're over. Hillary needs some media oxygen to keep her campaign alive, especially in Texas and Ohio, but Obama has kept the spotlight on himself.

The example given by the Politico amply demonstrates this. Hillary thought she could capture some attention by announcing her February fundraising number -- a very impressive $35 million. It briefly created some buzz about a comeback, but Obama's campaign responded within hours that he had raised close to twice that much. Not only did that take the spotlight away from Hillary, but it reinforced the perception that she keeps falling further behind.

Hillary once complained about media-fueled controversies that surrounded her and Bill. Now she'd put up with a scandal or two if it managed to focus the media and the opposition in both parties back on her campaign. She has discovered that obscurity is worse.

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