Like Napoleon they had thought it would be a quick campaign. Like Napoleon they had thought it would be over by now and they would be spared the harsh winter. Like Napoleon retreating from Moscow, the forces of the Empire find they must now, in order to prevent encirclement, trudge north to Ohio. They may find the snows of Ohio as unforgiving as the Russian winter, for the forces of globalization have come down on Ohio like a harsh north wind off of Lake Erie. Here Hillary will have to defend NAFTA, and with it the miserable record of the last three administrations, her husband’s included, and their abject failure to protect and defend the American economy.
Hillary has now been thrown back on her heels, desperately trying to draw some distinction between her and her errant husband. The opening came in a flier circulated by Obama which quoted an article by Newsday suggesting that Hillary had believed the agreement to be a “boon” to the economy. Hillary protested that she is fighting to change NAFTA, and she wasn’t in the Senate when the treaty was confirmed. The fight ostensibly is between Hillary and Barack, in which Hillary holds that she didn’t say that NAFTA was a “boon”, but—and the paper agrees—it was merely the paper’s characterization of her belief. But the real purpose of her heated response was not so much to call down Obama on the content of his literature as it was to try to draw a strong distinction between her current position and that of a husband who looms ever so large over the campaign. As the economy deteriorates almost as rapidly as her political fortunes, her ‘record’, such as it is, becomes an albatross about her neck. It is left only for Barack to wrap Hillary in the NAFTA accord and throw her overboard. Can Hillary retreat with her tattered forces, regroup and make a stand on the banks of the Ohio? It depends. She is trying to buy time, issuing a strident complaint about an Obama characterization of her health care program, accusing him of using “Karl Rove” tactics. These are obvious acts of desperation driven by the dire straits in which, having lost 11 consecutive contests, she now finds herself. Now reduced to reaching into the Republican cesspool and hurling it’s contents, to making the most scurrilous charge imaginable, Hillary is buying time so that she can salvage her battered army and make good her escape from Texas north to the Ohio. “Meet me in Ohio”, she said, “let’s have a debate there about your tactics...” No Hillary, there the debate will be about NAFTA and your husband’s role in getting it adopted. Here the debate will be whether or not-- and if so how much-- you disagree with your husband and his headstrong pursuit of globalization. Here you must understand that your fate does not rest so much on your ability to draw however imaginary distinctions between yourself and Obama, but on whether you can draw distinctions between yourself and Bill. That is can you, for the first time, stand alone.