Tony Blankley

Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro has declared her candidacy for Senate in New York. She immediately took aim at the incumbent: "I am running against Hillary Clinton ... "

 As a resident of Chappaqua in Westchester County (by the way, I'm told, very unreliably, that Chappaqua is an old Indian word for separate teepees), Ms. Clinton already has Ms. Pirro as her county prosecutor. Now, Ms. Pirro is about to unleash her considerable prosecuting and public relations skills exclusively on behalf of Ms. Clinton's political demise. This will be a campaign that should be edifying to watch (particularly if you like World Wide Wrestling pay-for-view events).

 Democrats and the Hillary folks don't appear to be worried about re-election, while too many Republicans seem to be willing to give Hillary a pass. They are both wrong in their judgments.

 While the junior senator from New York holds an impressive opening poll advantage of 63 percent to 29 percent over Pirro, this is a campaign well worth vigorously fighting. Hillary R. Clinton has nowhere to go but down in her re-election bid -- and how far down is yet to be determined.

 Moreover, her re-election campaign result will inevitably be seen as either an impressive or not impressive launch of her presidential campaign. Hillary is likely to grow to hate that 63 percent-29 percent advantage she currently holds, because any win much under 60 percent will likely be something of a letdown. Anything under 55 percent will be judged a near disaster -- inevitably resulting in the obligatory campaign shake-up just as she enters the 2007 presidential launch. And, of course, if lightning strikes ...

 While I have long believed (and stated) that Hillary is a formidable candidate for president, she also has formidable dangers to avoid. As the unquestioned leader in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, and as the holder of a 34 percent advantage in her Senate re-election campaign, she will almost inevitably deploy the strategy of "sitting on a lead." There is probably no more dangerous stratagem in American politics.

 Of course, her campaign advisers will not call it that -- even to themselves. But it is damnably hard to avoid sitting on a lead when you have a real lead. During my decades in politics (before I took to providing color commentary for the passing parade), I had been involved in many races in which either my candidate or our opponent sat on a lead.


Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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