Rich Galen

from the Vail Valley Business Forum--Vail, Colorado

We’ve discussed this before, but polls taken in August are something less than determinative of a result in a caucus or primary in the next January or February.

Nevertheless, if a poll is taken it is better to first than seventh. In the latest Gallup poll, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) comes in first with 42% of those polled and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del) comes in seventh with about one percent if Al Gore is included.

That’s not the worst news for Biden. If you take Al Gore out of the survey, at one percent he has half of the support of Dennis Kucinich (D-Mars) who, at 2%, slides in ahead of both Biden and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn).

Gore, by the way, continues to receive support from 15% of Democrats and Independents who lean Democratic.

But that’s not the interesting thing about this poll and other recent national polls. What is interesting, and what has become regular chatter among many national political reporters is the fact that while Clinton has been edging up in the polls; Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) has been stuck in the low to mid 20’s.

According to the Gallup analysis, Clinton has “stretched her mid-July 12-point lead over Illinois Senator Barack Obama to 22 points.” The latest poll (without Gore) has Hillary at 48% and Obama at 25%.

The Clinton campaign is, in real terms, the fourth or fifth George W. Bush campaign.

The strategy of the Bush campaigns was to raise not just a boatload of money, but to raise a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier full of money and simply continue to wash away his opponents’ support.

Bush did that in 2000 and 2004. Arnold Schwarzenegger adapted the concept in his re-election campaign last November (which was populated from the top down with former Bush staffers including The Lad who was deputy to campaign manager Steve Schmidt) and got about 56% of the vote as a Republican in Blue-State-California.

The 2008 campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) was supposed to be another massive fund-raising and tsunami-level power campaign. Unfortunately the money didn’t come in and the campaign had to reorganize in July.

If you examine the overall look and feel of the Clinton campaign it is very much like Bush-Bush-Arnold: Huge staff, incredibly active and nimble communications operation, enormous fund-raising capability, lots and lots of candidate appearances and steadily increasing numbers while her opponents are reduced to swimming upstream.

The bloom began to come off the Obama rose at the first debate when he fumbled a fairly simple question about how he, as President, would react to another terror attack on the US homeland.

Comments about meeting with anti-American dictators and launching an attack on Pakistan have eroded the support of even those anti-Hillary Democrats who otherwise agree with him on the war in Iraq.

While TV talking-heads keep saying this will be a “change election,” the flat-lining of Obama’s campaign since his lack of depth in foreign affairs has become a centerpiece of the Clinton campaign tells me that even Democrats understand we are a country at war.

That means … this is going to be a National Security election. Again.

In that Gallup poll Hillary leads Barack among those 55 years and older – the group most likely to vote – by a whopping 31 percentage points: 51-20.

Those AARP Democrats learned their politics during the turbulent 1960’s so they should be more willing than younger groups to listen and respond to Obama’s anti-war message, but they are clearly signaling they understand this is not the time for on-the-job training.

The Clinton campaign, of course, will not say this aloud, because her staff doesn’t want to get drowned in the Left wing blogatorium which is inhabited by young and very young Liberals who are likely to make a lot of noise in August, but not very likely to vote in January and February.

Clinton will pivot to a tough – very tough – foreign policy stance the second she has the nomination in sight because she knows this will be a National Security election.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the Gallup Poll; a Mullfoto which is a throwback to the ‘60s; and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

Also, if you haven’t yet, you should check out the Mullblog!. There is interesting stuff there and, you can respond for the whole world to see.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.