The Hillary Evolution?

It's hardly breathtaking news, but here's an enjoyable little lesson in politics for Machiavellians and political junkies:

Mayor-elect Michael Nutter last week wholeheartedly threw his support behind Hillary Clinton in next year's presidential race.

"Philadelphia, we need a friend in the White House," he said at an Electric Factory fund-raiser for the New York senator, before a crowd of about 1,000 people - including former President Bill Clinton.

That might be.

But several months earlier, Nutter left the distinct impression that Philadelphia might need a different friend.

At a mayoral forum at Central High School in Philadelphia last February, each of the five Democrats running in the primary was asked to predict the next president.

Nutter's answer: "I'll go out on a limb. Sen. [Barack] Obama." His response triggered a round of applause and whoops from the young audience.

Of course, that was before the Illinois senator distributed an e-mail to the supporters of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, one of Nutter's rivals in the race, asking them to contribute to Fattah's campaign committee.

Asked last week about why it was Obama then and Clinton now, Nutter said: "That was during the election campaign, and I certainly wish him well. I wish him the best. That's what campaigns are about. They evolve over time."

Campaigns evolve? That's a fun statement to interpret. Whose "campaigns" are we talking about? Nutter's, Obama's, or Hillary's?

When Nutter favored Obama, he was running for Mayor against a number of candidates in the Democratic primary. During the primary race, Obama had endorsed one of his opponents, Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah. So, while an obvious question is whether this is political payback against Obama for endorsing Fattah, that wouldn't really be "campaign evolution," because Nutter won the Democratic primary in May, and the general election in November was a mere formality in which the token Republican "opponent" got a pathetic 17% of the vote. So the fact that Nutter's Hillary endorsement came last week tends to rule out any possibility that this was part of his campaign evolution.

Nutter must therefore be talking about the evolution of either Hillary's or Obama's campaigns. What has changed since last February? The only thing I can see is that Obama has more of a chance than he did then. And if we assume that Nutter was speaking his true feelings and not pandering to the crowd, his statement about how campaigns evolve can only mean that Hillary's campaign has been able to reach out and touch him in such a manner that he cannot refuse them.

Might wannabe first-husband Bill's recent Philadelphia visit have had anything to do with what is being called a "key endorsement"?

I think Bubba wants back in the White House, and he wants it bad.

But is it evolution?

posted by Eric on 12.18.07 at 08:31 AM


Douche bags don't evolve. They only change their shape according to the pressures put on them, from the inside or outside. Pure physics, no biology.

But it's politics we're talking about, right? We're still waiting for a simple brain to evolve.

John Burgess   ·  December 18, 2007 10:49 PM

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