The biggest victim in the entire Democratic nominating process, if some are to be believed, is the former frontrunner with the $100 million-plus bankroll, an early lead in every imaginable poll and a virtual lock on the nomination...admittedly, all before voting began and people started actually choosing the nominee. As she ponders whether to lose gracefully or just try to Theismann Obama's campaign, it's time to review how she got in this position.
Hillary Clinton has had this nomination stolen from her, wrested from her grip by the nefarious machinations of Everyone In The World. If one is to follow certain corners of our discourse where rationality doesn't seem to have the same grip that it used to, there have a been a series of grossly, hideously offensive slanders and slurs against Clinton that have not only cost her the nomination, but potentially distorted the fabric of our very nation.
Like, you know, face scratching.
There are many reasons I have little sympathy for the predicament Clinton finds herself in. Here's seven: 1.) She's A Fighter!
Hillary Clinton has been the target of grossly unfair attacks on her character, her gender and her person. At some point, she understood that, and she knew it was likely to continue. It was her willingness to fight those attacks head on that was part of her central appeal. Chris Matthews was going to say something sexist, Bill O'Reilly was going to say something incomprehensibly stupid, at some point CNN was going to credibly cover the rumor that she was the spearhead of a lesbian revolution aimed squarely at turning our future Boy Scouts into feminized castrati.
She promised the candidacy where, ironically enough, she'd be the chief practitioner of the Chicago Way. They pulled out their knives, she'd pull out her guns.
The problem is, it's turned into the campaign where if they pull out their knives, Terry McAuliffe grins his way onto Fox News and insists that if you count all the weapons, their campaign really has superior arms, and did he mention that they really are fair and balanced? And cute as a button?
What the fuck happened? The harshest salvos the Clintons have been able to manage is against the idea that Obama, the likely nominee, is in any way qualified to be president. The closest we've seen to that promised spirit is the dogged determinedness to deny in any way, shape or form that she could lose the nomination in any legitimate manner.
All I want is a nominee who'll pick smart fights. Clinton hasn't shown herself to be that candidate.
A candidate who's experienced shouldn't stop planning to win the nomination fight after February 5th. A candidate who's experienced shouldn't get caught unawares by a quarter of the nominating contests being caucuses. A candidate who's experienced shouldn't take one of the largest primary bankrolls ever assembled and go $20 million in debt. A candidate who's experienced shouldn't embrace an awful idea that the other party's candidate originated and then proceed to bash her fellow Democrat over the head with it...all to no particular avail.
I believe Hillary Clinton has years of experience, whether direct or proximate, that should make her a formidable leader and a fearsome opponent in the general election. The way she's done things so far makes me worry that Howard Wolfson is going to go on Meet the Press and declare war on Alabama just to shake things up.
Experience is only worth something if you learn from it. From what I've been able to tell, the main lesson Clinton's learned thus far is that you always hold the line, no matter how ridiculously out of touch with reality it may be.
3.) The Campaign
Mark Penn. Wasted money. Caught unaware by caucuses. Bogus vote math. Absolute and unyielding denial of reality.
You can tell a lot about how someone's going to run their office by how they run their campaign. Does anyone want to see this mess in the White House?
Hillary Clinton is losing because she ran a bad campaign, didn't raise the money necessary and got outplayed by her opponent.
4.) Her Respected Opponent
Did going scorched earth on Obama help? Did it do anything? Did dragging his name through the mud, pumping up Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright and how much white people allegedly don't like him make any positive outcome more likely?
Of all the bad decisions the Clinton campaign made, deciding that Obama was more The Enemy than John McCain was likely the worst.
5 and 6.) Lanny Davis and Geraldine Ferraro
In the castle of bullshit that the Clinton campaign has become, Davis and Ferraro are standing proudly in the turrets as the honor guard, preening for the world to see.
In Davis' case, he seems to mistake being an obstinate jackass for being right, having a crusade for being justified. Barack Obama's very existence seems to be an affront to Lanny Davis' world, and the Obama insistence on doing things or, really, breathing oxygen that could be used to support Hillary Clinton's campaign cannot be allowed to stand.
Ferraro's an embarrassment, prone to saying stupid and probably racist things, and, apparently, now a Reagan Democrat. (Really? Really?)
Both of them have given legitimacy, given at least the proximate nod of silence by the Clinton campaign, to the sort of unraveling rage that's beginning to define a lot of the Clinton true believers. For all the snide talk of "Obamabots" and the alleged cult-like behavior of Obama supporters (which was almost entirely overplayed), the increasing legitimacy of the Bible of Clinton (with the Gospels of Michigan and Florida and the Acts of the Superdelegates I and II) is far more disturbing than any reports of fainting at rallies or the overexuberance of young supporters.
7.) We'll Vote For McCain...We'll Do It, We're Serious!
One of the main reasons it's so hard to get good candidates for office is because almost every race runs the risk, however small, of loss. (In races where there's no chance you'll lose, you can generally find a proper candidate, but proper and good are not the same thing.) Few people want to go through the embarrassment and frustration of devoting your life to something, only to lose decisively and finally at the very end.
Hillary Clinton is going to lose. She will likely lose Wednesday. Everything that I've talked about, everything that has happened during this race, makes me very wary about her ability to bring her supporters back into the fold - a responsibility, incidentally, that does fall largely on her. And if they do wander away, if they do vote for John McCain over Barack Obama, it will be her greatest failure as a candidate and as a leader.
Obama used the word "periodically", which somehow became a misogynist dogwhistle. (I don't understand, either.) McCain called his wife a cunt.
Obama is pro-choice, wants to expand health insurance, preserve and strengthen Social Security, finance research into health issues that specifically affect women, address domestic violence, seek out pay equity and improve educational options for both children and adults. McCain is anti-choice, and thinks the rest of that crap should be left up to the free market or tax cuts, whichever satisfies more of the base.
A not insubstantial number of Clinton supporters somehow believe that a McCain presidency is preferable to an Obama presidency, largely because an Obama presidency would involve admitting that Hillary Clinton lost in something approaching a legitimate fashion. As of right now, I have no faith she'll be able to make that admission, let alone her supporters.
Hey, at least I lasted three hours before I started trying to piss people off.