Marc Ambinder brings the science:
One Clinton donor and two prominent surrogates said they had been led to believe the campaign that by that if Clinton were to lose Iowa, she would have placed a close second to John Edwards, a candidate viewed as eminently beatable by the Clinton operation.
But such is the lot of major Clinton donors. And in truth, despite a healthy measure of kremlinology,the truth is that the campaign does not have a strategy to turn away the challenge Obama has posed.
In Iowa, one Clinton adviser, speaking before the caucuses, said that were Obama able to turn out independents and Democrats in the number projected by the Des Moines Register poll, “he deserves to be the nominee.”
It seems to me that the leaks about plans to attack Barack Obama as too liberal don’t make much sense as a strategy. But they do make sense as leaks that filter out in the absence of a strategy. I’ve long taken the view that Clinton’s status as someone whose perceived as much more liberal than she really is is a fatal weakness in her candidacy “except, perhaps, for the faction of her advisers whose views are probably too right-wing to be associated with the Democratic presidential nominee, unless they can latch onto the one candidate both blessed and cursed with an undeserved reputation for liberalism.”
In the absence of a clear comeback strategy, some of those folks are perhaps letting their liberal-hating id flow out a bit.