Thursday, October 1, 2015

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: The Next Comeback Kid?

In late January, 1992, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton’s presidential
campaign appeared to be over. His personal life had become
public scandal, and the experts in Washington, DC were saying he
was kaput. At about that time, I ran into one of the senior titans of
the national Democratic Party who knew I had predicted two years
earlier that Clinton would be the Democratic nominee, and he
assured me that Clinton was finished. I told him he could not be
more wrong.

Today, 23 years later, there is general consensus among the media
and political experts that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
has no chance to win. Their absolute certainty was shaken a bit
after Mr. Christie’s strong performance in the second GOP debate
at the Reagan Library, but the consensus remains.

Look at the polls, they say. Christie is at 1% in Iowa, virtually at the
bottom of the competing pack in this first electoral event of 2016.
Overall, his numbers improved slightly nationally after the Reagan
Library, but he’s still near or at the bottom of the top ten. Look at
his negatives, the experts say. Remember the bridge “scandal,"
they add, as if to make disputing them pointless.

But what do they say when six of the top Republican figures in
Iowa, including close allies of the longest-serving governor in the
nation, Terry Branstad, have just endorsed him?

What do they say when figures such as Rick Perry and Scott Walker
(the latter only weeks ago leading the pack in Iowa) withdraw so
early from the contest, leaving fewer sitting and former governors
in the race?

This is not to say that Governor Christie will be the Republican
nominee. But with large numbers of delegates to be counted from
eastern and northeastern states, the goodwill and alliances he made
while campaigning for fellow governors (when he was Republican
Governors Association chair) in 2014, his demonstrated fundraising
ability, and, most of all, his exceptional communications skills, it
seems ludicrous to suggest he cannot yet re-emerge in this contest.

In the 1992 New Hampshire primary, Bill Clinton only came in
second. He then declared himself the “comeback kid.” He
apparently did not believe the negative pronouncements of his
party establishment, his party expert consultants, and the media.

We all know what happened next.

Copyright (c) by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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