Turn out the lights, Hillary!

Monday Night FootballFor the first 14 years of Monday Night Football, announcer Don Meredith would often break into song when it became apparent the game was all sown up. “Turn out the lights, the party’s over,” he would croon. In most cases you could just see by the way the losing team was playing, the reality and inevitability set in. It showed in their posture, and lack of intensity and fight. I think by the time the Democratic Kentucky-Oregon primary results are in tonight, it might be time for Hillary Clinton to get onboard the Democratic Party train (aka Barak Obama Express) and keep off the brakes. Her party is over!

On a personal level, this year’s primary season has been one of psychological richness. Although it is true that all political seasons are fertile ground for sociological examination and giving birth to new cadre of pundits and spin doctors, this one has been even more nurturing and complex. Having a woman and an African-American candidate as viable candidates for the highest office in the land is not only novel, but has been somewhat of a paradigm shift in how most Americans imagine elections. It’s too bad that, in the words of the Highlander, “There can only be just one.” This time, it appears the African-American has won “the prize.”

What I’ve been amazed and amused about, during this election cycle, has been the precipitance collapse of Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I say I’m amazed because, out of the starting blocks, she was the odds-on-favorite to take the cake – and eat it too. That’s not how it’s finishing. On the other hand, I’ve been amused because, well, I don’t trust her, don’t like her, and don’t think she would be good for the country. I see her as Richard Nixon in a pantsuit. Good riddance! Check out: BeatHillaryClinton.com

So, what happened to the preemptive favorite nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton? I found a blog that sums it up nicely, at least for me it does. It’s a blog written by Jim Buie entitled Why Hillary Lost in 2008. Read on.

  • After every election, there are two stories to be told, how a candidate and a political party won, and how a candidate and political party lost. Some of these post-mortems are formulaic, and not very insightful. As Bert Bennett, NC Gov. Jim Hunt’s political godfather, told Gary Pearce, “When you win, you did everything right. When you lose, you did everything wrong.”I am not persuaded by the stories about what a horrible candidate Hillary Clinton has been, what a horrible campaign she has run, and what a horrible person she is, as if that explains her loss. Yes, her vote to authorize the Iraq war in 2002 hurt, as Charles Krauthammer noted. It’s true she offered shifting personas and shifting messages, making her seem too calculating and self-conscious. She didn’t give many inspirational speeches, too often used hackneyed language, came across sometimes as a scold, and didn’t attract the votes of women under 40, who flocked to Obama. It’s probably also true, as Marie Cocco writes, there was some misogyny in the harshly negative reaction to Hillary:

    “There are many reasons Clinton is losing the nomination contest, some having to do with her strategic mistakes, others with the groundswell for ‘change.’ But for all Clinton’s political blemishes, the darker stain that has been exposed is the hatred of women that is accepted as a part of our culture.’ ” Read her column.

    Perhaps more to the point, as Mona Gable wrote, Hillary simply wasn’t “the right woman at the right time.”

    Ironically, if she won North Carolina instead of losing it by a near-landslide, she probably would have shifted momentum and gone on to win the nomination. But she didn’t. Why? She would have had to cut into Obama’s strong support in the black community, in the university communities, in rural areas, among military families in places like Fayetteville and Jacksonville. She simply did not win enough support among her supposedly core constituencies — senior citizens, women, and white working class voters. Many of those voters in NC voted for Obama.

    Karen Tumulty of Time cites five critical mistakes made by Clinton: She misjudged the country’s mood by campaigning on experience in an election when CHANGE was most important; she didn’t master the rules of the primary and caucus system; she underestimated the caucus states; she relied on old money; and she never counted on a long haul.

    Even so, she ran a strong campaign. E.J. Dionne observed that “the Hillary Clinton who has emerged from these primaries is a stronger and more independent figure than the candidate who once hoped she could parlay the past into the White House. Her future depends on discovering a new role, even if it is not the one she had originally hoped to play.”

    In my view, the main reason she has lost the Democratic nomination is that she is an old face, a legacy candidate, who does not represent enough of a sense of change when the mood of the electorate (in the Democratic primaries, at least) has been for CHANGE — not only a change of faces, but a change from old ways of doing things, a change away from the passive observation of politics (via television), financed by big-time lobbyists TO participation IN politics (online), financed by small contributions from a vast network of supporters. She has also suffered politically from the public’s “Clinton fatigue,” and desire to “turn the page.”

    Perhaps if Hillary had done more grassroots organizing in the caucus states she could have beaten Obama in enough of them to take the lead in delegates and shift the momentum her way. (She won the popular vote in Texas — barely — for example, but Obama won a larger number of delegates.) Given the proportional representation of the Democratic primaries (not winner-take-all like the Republicans), and the enthusiasm of Obama supporters, she was going to have a hard time shaking him under any circumstances, and he had more staying power. Even so, she did not do badly — capturing about 47.5% of the popular vote to Obama’s 49.3%.

    Instead of “why Hillary Lost,” a far more relevant question is “why Obama won” because I really think he is winning the nomination far more than she is losing it. And that’ll have to be the subject of another post.

    Related:

  • An Obama-Clinton Ticket?
  • What Obama Owes the Clintons (Time)
  • Gender Issue Lives on As Clinton’s Hopes Dim (New York tTmes)

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4 Responses

  1. […] out the lights, Hillary! jhwygirl wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWhat I’ve been amazed and amused […]

  2. Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

  3. I believe your very good article is too kind to Hillary Clinton. I find nothing even remotely philosophical or conciliatory about Hillary – her legendary and abject distain for other people notwithstanding. It is a lawyerly tactic to besmirch one’s opponents; but in politics, it is the voter who tries the facts. As politicians know: you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. But you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time. The people ultimately decide. Nonetheless, this obscenely affluent harpy will be with us in some capacity or other for the foreseeable future: http://theseedsof9-11.com

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