Hillary's lead drops by a third since debate debacle

Savor the clip one more time.

In the past fortnight Hillary Clinton has gone from inevitable to evitable as the Democrat nominee. I still think it’s hers to lose, but she’s doing a good job of losing it and rivals are starting to take due umbrage at the Clinton camp’s response.

On Monday, in defense of his wife against political critics, Bill Clinton cited the “swift boat” television ads of the 2004 presidential campaign that questioned John Kerry’s patriotism and the campaign commercials in 2002 that suggested Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia was soft on terrorism.

Obama told The Associated Press he was “stunned” to hear Clinton make the comparison…

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, another candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, called the Clintons’ response to the debate “outrageous.”

“To have the former president come out and suggest this is a form of swift boating … is way over the top in my view,” Dodd said in a telephone interview…

But the “swift boating” attack may be dividing Clinton’s own camp.

A senior adviser to Sen. Clinton’s campaign, speaking only on condition of anonymity, said the former president’s remarks were not part of campaign strategy and in fact were considered counterproductive by the her advisers.

Is it unfair to note how hilarious this all is? Clinton had a bad performance in the latter tenth of one debate. She had been solid up to that point, but one of the two segments in which she tried and miserably failed to pull off a Bill Clinton style triangulation has become the takeaway. And it’s become the takeaway in part because she and her own campaign have made such a huge deal of it. They seem to see the episode as Hillary’s “for it before I was against it” moment, and in the sense of the primaries they may be right, but still, she did have a 33 point lead going into that debate. If they had not unleashed Bill Clinton and if they had found a way to treat it more as a bump in the road than a brick wall, she probably wouldn’t be projecting this image of desperate incompetence.

And that image is contributing to shaving about 10 points off her lead over Obama. They have time to right the ship, and being Clintons it’s only a matter of time before the Comeback Kid II meme gets cranked up, but the whiff of desperation that started last week may linger well into next year.

To which I can only say, heh.

Update: Via Ace, Hillary’s lead in New Hampshire is narrowing too. And a majority of Democrats there are pronouncing “Do not want” on the Hillary/Spitzer licenses for illegals gambit.

At some point, all this noise might start echoing a bit. If it becomes a standing wave it’ll drown out anything else the Clinton juggernaut tries say or do.