Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is It Over for Senator Clinton?

Smoke Screen by Jean Pierre Jacquet.And, if so, why? Was it her negatives that sealed her fate? Would the voters have been satisfied with Clinton as a candidate if Obama hadn't come along? Was it his exceptional charisma or would other candidates have achieved the same thing? If Al Gore had entered the race, would he have pushed her off the podium too? Was it Obama's unique message of hope and transformation? Was it his race, which took the expected constituency of African-American voters away from her. Did she seem like old hat? Like we were electing her for a third time?
Was it her personality once people got a good sample of it in the debates. Was being a woman harder to overcome with voters than being African-American? Their message was virtually the same. She would seem like the more experienced bearer of that message. Was it her history that did her in? Were Bill's remarks in South Carolina the death knell? What do you think is the single greatest reason for her probable failure? I feel sad for Hillary Clinton. Sometimes you do everything right and something still derails you. Look at Ted Kennedy. Wouldn't he have been a great President?

19 comments:

Jim Winter said...

For me, it was simple. She went into this expecting a coronation, then crossed the line too many times in attacking Obama.

Obama's campaign, along with Edwards', McCain's, and Huckabee's, all come off with the candidate saying, "I want to be president." Hillary's seems to come with a sense of entitlement, and the campaign trail is already littered with the corpses of campaigns based on the candidate's sense of entitlement. (See Romney, Mitt; Giuliani, Rudy)

It's not a matter of gender or race or even ideology. This year, more than ever, if you think the presidency belongs to you and the process is merely an inconvenience to be endured, you will not be president.

Look at the restraint Barack Obama has shown and all the ugly babies with loaded diapers McCain's had to kiss.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Did Bill get her support during the Monica scandal by promising her the Presidency? Maybe that's where the entitlement came from. A deal was cut and she never dreamed he couldn't deliver on it. Or that her excellent qualifications and experience would not be enough. Again, see Ted Kennedy. It's something beyond competency and entitlement, I guess.
Only the Republicans seem to play that way.

christammiller said...

I do think it's premature to say "She's done." There are still Texas and Pennsylvania, and Ohio, I guess.

The sad thing about her sense of entitlement is that I do think it came from a more honorable place than GWB's did. Talk about unqualified! That boy was crowned. Hillary would not be accepting a birthright - she really does believe she is the best person to run the country.

However, "run the country" is such a subjective phrase. I do think she's in love with power, and she has missed it over the last 8 years. The Senate could not provide it the same way the White House can. And I think that's what comes through most of all, and why all these different factors have converged to make her so unpopular.

That said, there is a huge gap of time between now and June 3. A lot could happen!

Graham Powell said...

I think the difference is that Hillary is running to be the Democratic nominee, while Obama is running for President. He's reaching out to a wider audience, and he's focused on the big picture, not on day-to-day tactics.

I do feel kind of bad for Hillary. She's worked her whole life to get into this position, and now some guy no one had heard of until a couple of years ago is going to take it away from her.

Todd Mason said...

I'll reiterate...Obama tends to appeal to those who at least prefer to think of themselves as thoughtful, intellectual folks. Clinton, who's hardly done, tries with somewhat less elan to present herself as the pragmatic machinist. Of course, even senior Bush was able to grab onto Reagan's supposedly visionary coattails and beat the charisma/vision-free supposed Pragmatic Technocracy of Dukakis.

Patti, she's not particularly "qualified," certainly no moreso than any of the other surviving major-party candidates, all of whom have actually served in more elective offiices longer than she has (and that includes my pet inevitable non-noms, Gravel and Paul). And Jim's correct, her attitude of I'm IT (see also Dole, Bob) is not conducive to actually winning voters to one's cause...particularly when there's little reason to see her as a crusader for anything...particularly not feminism.

Inasmuch as Ted Kennedy is no more responsible nor uncorrupted (he brings home the pork bigtime, including in such manners as to allow Massachusetts-based pharma to dump drugs on the Third World the FDA wouldn't let them sell here) than his brothers, I don't think he'd been a particularly good president, no. The enthusiasm of the Kennedy family, for the most part, for Obama is part of what makes me wary of him, since they do seem to emphasize style.

Of course, good presidents are a pretty rare commodity, despite the hagiography. It would be hard for even Huckabee to be worse than W, however (he does seem to resemble W in too many ways, except he's clearly less unintelligent).

TM said...

Al Gore would've splintered the largely institutional support that Clinton has depended on. Without Obama, I suspect Clinton would've had a much easier time securing the nomination. Among a handful of largely-white men, they stood out.

pattinase (abbott) said...

All of the things we might have considered strengths in Hillary have turned out to be deficits: Bill, her assuredness now seems like arrogance, her debating skills seemed canned, robotic, her policy wonk background seems like she doesn't get the bigger picture.
I'm sorry, Todd but Kennedy has voted on the right side of almost every issue for forty years. Only Boxer and Durbin are more liberal. I can't help but think he'd be a good president. Money doesn't preclude this.

TM said...

He's voted on the right side of a lot of issues, yes, but that doesn't absolve him (for me) of his respoonsibility in a number of matters, from the obvious to the less well-known. There is a strain of remarkably reckless arrogance in the Kennedy men, and they are not free of involvement in various sorts of unsavory business.

And that's among our current senators, you mean. Sadly, though, our current senators are a pretty dispiriting lot, though I do like Durbin and Boxer a Lot better than most.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Me, too but we're way out there, I'm afraid.

TM said...

Despite my stridency, you know, I don't think we are. We and our fellow-travelers just aren't particularly well-represented, for what I think are pretty obvious reasons. There aren't really That many Limbaughs out there, either, but gosh aren't they overrepresented.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I heard some shocking figure today about how many conservatives listen to a talk radio station on a daily basis.

TM said...

Partly, I think, because almost no one else speaks to them in a way they want to be spoken to (about issues in a digestible and non-dull way...CNN sure isn't, for example), and because a lot of "Dittoheads" don't want to think too hard about anything. I suspect that without the constant repetition of the Rushes, more of those folks might actually realize that they might not really want to subsidize millionaires all their lives.

Anonymous said...

In substance her message may have been the same as Obama's. But through her own ineptitude or his cleverness, it has come to seem he's for hope and she against.

And she has felt obliged to appropriate several of his themes or even lines.

Maybe part of the story is that he's even smarter than she is, and that she was wrongfooted by failing to anticipate his candidacy and its strengths, in part through a sense of entitlement.

But--it's not quite over. The latest poll, taken the 11th and 12th, shows Clinton up 17 in Ohio

pattinase (abbott) said...

It's barely possible that Ohio, who gave us President Bush in 2004, will help her now. There's some odd dynamic in that state. But I bet the polling is off again. The tide turned at some point. Seeing him is believing apparently.

Steve Allan said...

America is more sexist than it is racist. However, Obama is dynamic, there is no denying that. Not only would Clinton have sailed into the nomination without Obama, but John Edwards would still be in the race; or at least through Super Duper Tuesday. Yes, race is a factor here, but not a huge part of it. I heard some pundit say that when Jesse Jackson was running, he was running for the President of Black America, while Obama is running for President of the US. You can say that Obama is energizing blacks, but that is only because he is energizing everyone - hell, Hillary is energizing people as well. WE had record turnouts for both Hillary and Obama when they came to Maine on Saturday - thousands were turned away at the door - and then all the caucuses were reporting that attendance was up tenfold over previous years. And we gave Obama a huge victory. I can't speak for the Maine black population, but both Jamal and Dave were very excited. :) Get it? We're pretty white up here.

Hillary isn't finished. Texas and Ohio can turn the tide and end the thing in a tie with the superdelegates crowning her in August - which would be a huge huge huge mistake. The Republicans have done a fantastic job of disenfranchising voters, I don't think the Dems need to help them out. But I still think the ultimate ticket will be Obama/Hillary - unbeatable; even if McCain does the strategically smart thing and appoints Condeleezza as his running mate.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I doubt that she will take VP and it's fun to think you'd round it out. Oh, the fact that you'd think a woman and a black man would make a good ticket gives me so much hope! Thanks, Steve.

Josephine Damian said...

Patti: This race sure ain't over yet. But I think Bill has been Hill's biggest liability for a really long time.... we'll never know how it would have played out if she was running as a divorced woman. Ted Kennedy? I think his fate was sealed that night 40-odd years ago when he drove off that bridge....

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yeah, Chappaqudick sure was an ass-biter. Lucky not to be indicted; unlucky that he never got to prove he was rich and drunk.

Josephine Damian said...

Patti: Last night the CNN pundits were showing how Hill and Obama already have so many delegates, that neither she or Obama can reach the requiste amount for a slam dunk nomination. The convention looks like it'll be a free-for-all - I'm still trying to figure what make certain delegates "super."