THE PLANK NOVEMBER 5, 2009
Remember all the talk about Hillary's "inevitability strategy" a couple years ago, and (with the benefit of hindsight, of course) how dumb it was? Well, reading these couple grafs from today's NYT story on Bloomberg's narrow election, it seems like the same strategy pretty much won him the race:
As the city’s political establishment tried to understand the huge gulf between the cocksure rhetoric of the mayor’s campaign and his showing at the polls, Bloomberg aides said that they had relentlessly promoted the mayor as invulnerable in the race when they knew differently, saying it was the only way they for them to keep the Democratic establishment from rallying behind Mr. Thompson.
Said one top Bloomberg campaign adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect internal discussions: “If a poll had come out showing that the race was within five points, Barack Obama would have swung into town, the United Federation of Teachers would break for Thompson and Mike Bloomberg would not be mayor today.”
On Election Day, this adviser said, “everybody woke up and saw what we saw. We are lucky to have seen it first.”
Some of this, of course, could just be spin/ass-covering by Bloomberg's team of highly paid advisers, who undoubtedly feel the need to justify their paychecks after eking out a surprisingly narrow victory. But, if the Bloomberg team really did know their guy was vulnerable and managed to bluff everyone into thinking that he wasn't, then they're damn good poker players--and, while Hillary's original campaign strategy obviously didn't work for her, it not might be as dumb as everyone thought it was.
P.S. It seems worth mentioning that former Hillary strategist (and former TNR blogger) Howard Wolfson was one of those advisers on Bloomberg's payroll this year.