Hillary Clinton says she's running hard at least through Super Tuesday, and I believe her. But if she doesn't win New Hampshire on Tuesday after last night's demoralizing third place finish in the Iowa caucuses, it won't matter. Her whole campaign is based on inevitability and milquetoast messaging ("Ready for Change"? Come on, Hil, you can do better than that), and once that inevitability is permanently tarnished -- which it will be if Obama (my pick over a year ago to win it all,) makes it 2-for-2 in New Hampshire -- she's toast. Expect a steady diet of her husband in every Granite State union hall and donut shop for the next five days to keep his wife's Presidential hopes alive. Nice statement for modern-day feminism that'll be.
On the Republican side, Mitt Romney was Iowa's big loser, getting routed by nine points by Mike Huckabee and his dollar menu campaign budget. Like Clinton, Romney's campaign was predicated on a resounding victory in Iowa. And like Clinton, the fact that it didn't happen means his whole candidacy now rides on winning New Hampshire. I don't think this will happen. Why? John McCain, who made a respectable showing in last night's caucuses despite putting little to no emphasis (less than Rudy Giuliani, who polled like a fringe candidate) on his finish there. A McCain comeback, as I've said before, should scare Democrats like no other scenario. Clinton, for one, kept her nose lodged so far up McCain's ass in the Capitol Hill press for the better part of four years following the 2000 elections that there's doubtless a treasure trove of supportive Hillary quotes for the McCain camp to trot out should those two face off in the general. New Hampshire, at this point, is wide open, and McCain's won there before. With all due respect to Huckabee and his campaign manager, Chuck Norris, this is all setting up quite well for the old soldier.