Dick Morris and  Eileen McGann

Yes. Certainly. Absolutely. Undoubtedly. She can. In fact, Hillary, even in defeat, demonstrated the viability of a female candidate for president.

Hillary lost because she is Hillary and because she was outsmarted by Obama. She lost despite being a woman, not because of it.

In the early going, before Obama began seriously to challenge her, Hillary was winning easily in all the national polls. There was, indeed, a sense of inevitability to her impending triumph. This consensus was not illusory; it was based on solid polling data and very real advantages she had at the time in funding, name recognition, field organization, and political momentum. Hillary lost because of a myriad of factors, none of which had to do with being female:

1. She unwisely predicated her campaign her experience credentials. In a Democratic primary, particularly with its aversion to the dynastic interchange of Bushes and Clintons, change, not experience was the sine qua non. By stressing experience to an electorate that wanted change, Hillary badly misjudged the mood of the electorate.

2. Obama shrewdly realized that, since he might lose some of the contests in big states like New York and California, he needed to raise his money from sources that would not implode as his chances of victory seemed to ebb. So the Illinois Senator exploited his star power and charisma to raise money online from individual donors contributing small amounts. By the end of the primary season, he had amassed more than one million separate donors. Because of the financial independence this afforded him, Hillary could not score a first round knockout after she won the big Super Tuesday states. Obama survived to win eleven straight caucuses and primaries in mid size states.

3. Hillary focused too much on television advertising to develop a mass voter base in the primaries and not enough on the field organization she needed to get the warm bodies essential to carrying caucuses. By cultivating university students, in particular, Obama was able to beat Hillary in caucus after caucus, eroding the lead her primary victories had given her.

4. Faced with the need to substantiate her claims to experience, Hillary blundered and committed a series of gaffes in which she demonstrably overstated her role in events that ranged from th3e Irish peace process to the economic recovery to the resolution of the Bosnian civil war. Already beset by doubts about her integrity, spawned by two decades of scandal, Hillary’s credibility was shredded by these mistakes.


Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

Dick Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of 2010: Take Back America. To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to www.dickmorris.com