Via Chris Masse and Don Luskin comes this analysis by Perry Eidelbus, which I think provides the best explanation for the recent increase in the the GOP’s odds for the 2008 presidential election. (Disclosure: ChicagoBoyz is a Tradesports/Intrade affiliate.)
Here’s the gist of Perry’s argument:
That was a very powerful speech. Pirro and her advisors came up with an exceptionally aggressive opening move: force Hillary to prove just how much she loves New York.
Who really believes that, should Hillary win re-election in 2006, she won’t start her 2008 presidential campaign soon afterward? Some political analysts believe that Hillary will be too old in 2012 to run for the White House. So if Hillary accepts the challenge, pledging to serve her second Senate term in full if re-elected, there goes her best chance at the presidency. Not taking the pledge will alienate some voters all across the U.S. (but how many?), as that will prove her “full-time work for New Yorkers” was a sham.
If she takes the pledge and breaks it, it’ll be like George H.W. Bush’s “Read my lips” disaster (notwithstanding that Congressional Democrats threatened a federal government shutdown to blackmail him into breaking that). Hillary no longer can count on mainstream media to hush up such a broken promise, not in this day of conservative news sources and blogs — ask Dan Rather.
Hillary is already on the defensive, and her campaign can’t resort to bringing up Pirro’s husband, Al Pirro — at least not directly. Republicans could rightfully claim double-standards if that happened, since it was generally considered taboo to bring Geraldine Ferraro’s husband in the 2004 campaign. And it would be perceived as truly nasty politics, not just in New York, but all over the country. Hillary needs every opportunity to soften her reputation, not solidify it.
IOW, if Pirro is as politically savvy as she appears to be, Clinton’s national position in 2008 will be weakened no matter how she handles the 2006 NY Senate race.
Addendum: Lex and I have been arguing about Clinton’s political vulnerability on this issue. (He is skeptical.) With his permission I repost this comment from one of his emails:
The pledge thing in itself is irrelevant. It won’t be difficult to respond. This comes up all the time, and the response is always the same. Say, I will do what I need to best serve the people of New York and just repeat that mantra. Everyone already knows she is running for president. That information is “in there”. You make the point, and move on. I don’t think it will do anything to Hillary. Everybody who likes her and everybody who hates her will be unmoved, and there aren’t many people left undecided about her. Some very small number of unengaged voters may be moved by it. The point is Hillary now has a scrappy and appealing opponent who will be difficult to counter, and who is going on the offensive early. That is the new news. Pirro is the story, not this supposed conundrum Hillary faces. You just brass your way through that.