The Legacy Of A Strategic Decision

Barack Obama's victory in Wyoming tonight is an opportunity to remind of the Fundamental Strategic Error committed by the Clinton campaign, an instance where we can link an actual strategic decision made by the campaign to the current delegate predicament it finds itself in.

That is, of course, the decision to allow Obama to run up the popular vote margins in the states holding caucuses, thereby directing an artery of delegates directly into Obama, one that Clinton seemed singularly uninterested in, and as later contests proved, incapable, of, clashing.

There were very few Clinton staffers except for a handful who were aware of the delegate math problem early on, and their advice was largely ignored by the campaign high command, which did not plan for, or envision, a campaign lasting beyond February 5.

Also, Bill and Hillary were seared by the experience of Iowa, which they found profoundly undemocratic.

Also, the campaign ran out of money before the Feb 5 caucuses.

Also, Obama's supporter profile lends itself to the type of Democrat who caucuses.

No matter; bypassing the caucuses hurt Clinton more than anything; more than the race stuff before South Carolina (whatever that was), not the puncturing of the expectation of the inevitable; not even, sorry Steve Hildebrand, your genuinely magnificent field organizations -- no single factor has hurt Clinton more than this decision. ** Please don't read this paragraph as suggesting that the caucus decision is the single most important reason why Obama has done well -- it's just the biggest reason why Clinton seems not to be able to catch up, even though she's won the largest states.

Mr. Obama will pick up two delegates tonight, according to CBS News.