Timing is everything. This is perhaps never more true than in politics. Oprah's three day palooza earlier this month for the Obama campaign was as well-timed as the long-awaited wedding or baby is on a hit TV show during sweeps week. And there's no doubt that in the aftermath Obama's had some big names jumping on his bandwagon with great abandon. With the Iowa Caucus just two weeks away we won't have to wait very long to see whether the big O was the beginning of America's "love story" with Obama as Matt Taibbi put it.
The one thing that is certain right now is that Obama's done a convincing job of taking the spotlight away from Hillary. However, by doing so in such a spectacular fashion, he may almost have succeeded in doing something that just a month ago most would have considered an impossibility and cast Hillary as the underdog. It's an unusual role for her but one that may just be the most useful to her right now, if she's able to manage it.
Not that Obama accomplished this alone. Up until last week when the The Des Moines Register gave her its endorsement, referencing her "readiness" and "determination," Clinton's been having a rough ride, experiencing a series of missteps one does not usually associate with a campaign we come to expect to run like clockwork. Hillary's "inevitability" has finally and resoundingly been called into question. But is this a bad thing?
Americans detest a coronation. But they love a good comeback story. Mitt Romney has sensed this of late and after spending more money in New Hampshire and Iowa than anyone else, is attempting to cast himself as the underdog against Huckabee's recent rise. John McCain, for his part, seems to be experiencing the real thing.
Not that Hillary should be taking her cues from Mitt Romney. Nor is it advisable for her to attempt a re-do of her questionable tactic of playing the victim. Lord knows nobody wants a victim for President. But embracing her recent challenges and dips in the polls and highlighting the fact that she's been down before, and managed to pick herself up, might not be such a bad idea (she hit on it a bit during the last debate when she said that you don't get change by "hoping for it...you get it by working hard"). Nobody's perfect, after all. And everyone likes an underdog. With a little finesse and some humbled words (albeit, not something she's ever been known for) she may be in the perfect position to cast herself as the comeback kid of '08.
Plus, it ain't easy at the top, something Obama may be about to discover.