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May 09, 2008

Comments

Because she'd already been vetted... And not enough Democrats had reason this time around to pretend she'd passed the vetting process.

Fortunately for an interesting fall, Obama hasn't been yet. But that's good, you always learn more from making new mistakes than old ones.

Clinton's new strategy: drop out of the race on Monday. Be "surprised" at still winning WV on Tuesday by a double digit margin. Re-enter the race on Wednesday as "Comeback: Episode III"

Then drag the race to the convention on a combination of "Obama couldn't close the deal, even when I stepped out of the race/whitey votes for me!"

publius: this is stellar.

Very well said. More generous to her than I feel like being, but that's a good thing.

Now it's up to Obama to win, because if he does your New Progressivism and the fifty state strategy will prevail as the new conventional wisdoms of the party. On the other hand if he loses...

YOur essay raises has an intersting question: given HRC's obvious committment to the convventional unwisdoms of the past, why so much support from people who were progressives and critics of the party leadership over those very unwisdoms prior to her candidacty? I think the answer is female identity politics.

I also think that HRC could have successfully stimied Obama and reinstituted the old guard thinking if she had just run a better campaign. it turns out that she is not a good manager and that she is hamhanded, clueless, treats the voters and the press as if they are too stupid to see through spin and consistantly makes decsions that sacrifice long term benefits for shortterm goals. In other words, she wasn't fully vetted--I think that most Deomcrats had no idea that she would turn out to be an inept compaigner.

I was generally OK with HRC as a canidate right up until she started in with arguments that just insulted my intellegence, I've had enough of that the last 8 years.

It started with her pretending that the FL and MI primaies should count, despite the agreement reached prior to the votes in those states. It was such a transparent about face. Then there was the, um, unique experience of being called an elitist by the wife of the guy who lived in the White House for 8 years and has made $100M since.

I came around to Obama because he seemed like the only one who was willing to have an adult conversation with voters - not treat them as a bunch of rubes easily distracted by black preachers, arugula and meaningless gas tax policies.

Why did Clinton fail?

Two words:

Mark Penn.

Clinton is the candidate of the DLC, also known as "the Republican wing of the Democratic party". Their motto seems to be "we're just like Republicans, only better". That's a loser of an attitude if there ever was one.

Clinton also had the big name, big bucks consultants who engineered the Democratic Party's successes from 1994 to 2004 [/sarcasm]. When Clinton is out of the race, they'll scurry over to Obama; I hope he tells them to take a flying leap.

I honestly don't think Clinton failed, as much as Obama just won. Sure, we can look into problems in her campaign now. We can talk about disarray, confusion, but we would not be talking about those things if her toughest opponent had been John Edwards.

Nine out of ten election cycles, she would have been the nominee. She just happened to run the same year as someone who is truly gifted politically in that once-in-a-generation kind of way.

I guess everyone has a different pander that drove him/her away from HRC.

Mine, oddly enough, was her support for the flag-burning constitutional amendment. Given her background, I simply could not believe that she honestly believed that the Constitution needing amending to allow States to prohibit flag-burning.

After listening to conservatives talk and blog about her (yes, I have conservative friends -- I work in Orange County, CA), what I find so astonishing about her senatorial career and run for President is just how tone-deaf her panders were. She seemed to select precisely the issues designed both to aggravate her liberal base and NOT to persuade the people she was reaching out to of her hawkishness / political centering.

Weird.

Publius:

That is a very cogent analysis. But it ignores one simple fact that was why, in my opinion, that Hillary was never going to be the nominee or President: the high negative rating she held when entered the race that never substantially dropped.

When Hillary declared as a nominee for the presidency, she was--as you point out--extraordinarily well known. And she possessed a 45 - 48% negative rating. This doomed her candidacy from the beginning. Had she been able to lower her negative number, she might have had a chance but because she was so well known, and because her behavior as a candidate is consistent with the prior behavior that (rightly or wrongly) causes half of the country to dislike or despise her, there was a substantial opening for another candidate to sweep the rug right out from under her.

I, too, would have supported Hillary if she was the nominee because she would be a vast improvement over McCain but I am very happy that we have an outstanding alternative to her candidacy.

"Then there was the, um, unique experience of being called an elitist by the wife of the guy who lived in the White House for 8 years and has made $100M since."

It is worse. $100 million last year.

It is worse. $100 million last year.

Um, no, $20 million last year.

Still, at half a million a pop, it would only take Bill 22 speeches to earn back the $11 million hillary loaned to the campaing. I bet he could do it in a month.

I think this is a good explanation of a very complex process--its not that "the war" or "her war vote" mattered to *everyone* --clearly it didn't--but it hamstrung her efforts to seize a major portion of new voters, angry voters, change voters. And that fed into many of her later missteps, the kind that turned of people who started out by thinking they would vote for her (for lots of different reasons). The harder she tried to get traction with the electorate over and against Obama the more mistakes she made on a number of fronts each of them alienating key parts of the generic voter herd. People who didn't like the race baiting? people who didn't like the tax pandering? people who didnt like the anti elitist talk? people who didn't like the dissing of small states? people who didn't like the whining about caucuses? people who didn't like the strong arming of superdelegates. The list goes on and on. But she never would have had to start scraping the bottom of the barrel of campaign activities and strategies of she hadn't have a) voted for the war, b) refused to repudiate it and c) refused to associate with the DFH's (imaginary and real) who oppose it now. She would have had other battles to fight, but I think she could have overcome them.

aimai

That said, she is a committed progressive

Prove it. What has she done in the past few years that makes her sooooo progressive. By her deeds shall ye know her -- I know her as anything but "progressive". (I'd say she should be committed, but that might be construed as an attack on women.)

Beyond Iraq, it was the PATRIOT Act, Military Commissions Act and others. For fear of not seeming hawkish enough, she caved in on torture, extraordinary rendition, denial of habeas corpus and domestic spying. The flag-burning stance was a vacuous pander, as are her censor-Hollywood, video games and music BS. Hillary simply failed to stand up for what I thought were her values.

She calculated that general election viability required her to be a macho, macho-hawk.

This is a side point, but how do we know that macho macho hawkishness isn't just what she believes in? I mean, is there any evidence that the hawkishness was pandering? Couldn't we assume instead that the later talk about Iraq withdrawal was pandering?

There are a lot of people in this country who think that the guiding principle of American foreign policy should be a willingness to use our military to blow up people thousands of miles away at the drop of a hat. I think they're wrong, but they definitely exist. I think one can make case that Bill Clinton was among them. And I think there's a case that Hillary was as well.

Maybe Clinton really does have no core beliefs whatsoever and really has adopted every single one of her policy positions as part of a calculated plan. But maybe she just likes the idea of sending the air force to bomb people.

Iraq may have predisposed Hillary to failure, but the turning point itself was: her failure to specifically define the role that Bill would occupy.

After New Hampshire, Bill emerged, rampant in red faced, potato nosed glory, and he dominated the press and the debate in all the ways that frustrated/entertained us all last winter. His presence, undefined, served only to reawaken all of the negative memories that even the most ardent Clinton supporters harbor from the 90's.

It would have been manageable, if at the outset, everyone had been alerted and understood, that Bill, lovable truant Bill, would continue to be Hillary's life partner, but that he would hold no formal role in her Administration, and that whatever he said - if understandable given their 40 year relationship, was attributable to him, I think Hillary could have gotten those last couple of steps and strangled Barack in his crib.

The sight of Bill, over and over again, stepping in do-do, though, without a clearly defined role, was enough of a hiccup to bring her down in the end. (There was a cartoon in February, in the Onion I think, where Bill says 'ef-it, I am running for President myself'.

at the risk of sounding ridiculously New Age-y, i think we are at a moment where history turns.

Obama's acceptance of the Dem nomination will be on 8/28, 45 years to the day MLK gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. i dunno, that gives me goosebumps.

and i think this is all too high-minded and fantastic for a hard-nosed grind-em-down "fighter" like Hillary. she thinks there's SOMETHING she can do to turn it all around, but she can't. it's beyond her control.

she, like Obama, are being moved by the current of events, and the only choice she has in front of her is how ugly her reputation will be based on how much she stands in the way.

i've never really believed in Fate or anything like that, but i'm starting to feel differently now...

She lost me completely in 2005 when she co-sponsored legislation outlawing flag-burning. I've never even been tempted to burn a flag, but that move was blatant pandering. It made me suspicious of everything she'd done up to that point. It robbed me of confidence in whatever she'd do thereafter.

“Obama promises a brighter future.”

Yes he does. Two comments:

1. Clinton hasn’t lost yet.
2. Obama doesn’t have the strength to make good on his promises. Ironically, I think that Hillary might be strong enough to pull the US out of Iraq. The exit of the United States from Iraq would move Obama from theory to practice. He isn’t strong enough to accept accountability for the images that would emerge. Watcbing your orders as President result in genocide and images of children being killed is a lot different than organizing communities. The imagery would be awful.

I must agree with Jeff's 1:41 post and GreenDreams as well.

How is Hillary progressive? Maybe when she's speaking out one side of her mouth to get elected she seems progressive.

Her actions and votes are anything but.

ARA:
You are right: Clinton was/is a victim of the Obama phenomenon.

(Yeah, that's right -- for the smart asses in the audience -- I just played the Victim Card.)

:):):)

UGH:
You probably misspoke. But if not, get your facts straight: Bill and Hill made $110 million over nine years (not in one). Senator Clinton recently released her tax returns -- remember?
And that still wasn't good enough for the Obamabots and the MSM.

As far as loaning her own campaign $10.5 million of her own money, why would anyone -- Democrat, Republican, Obamabot or Orville Redenbacher -- be upset about that?

Actually I think I was the one who misspoke. :)

BTFB - you're confusing me with someone else.

He isn’t strong enough to accept accountability for the images that would emerge. Watcbing your orders as President result in genocide and images of children being killed is a lot different than organizing communities. The imagery would be awful.

thanks god that's not a problem for the current occupant of the white house.

I never much like Hillary. This wasn't a problem: I normally don't "like" politicians much. But back in the 90s, she always seemed to be both involved in a lot of the minor semi-scandals, often in the role of The Enforcer, which she seemed to take to to an extent I didn't particularly like; and to have a tin political ear, and not to have any of Bill's more engaging qualities. She was generally said, by people who met her, to be wonderful one on one, but, eh.

I also thought she got a very bad rap on other counts -- e.g., I could never see why people assumed she stayed with Bill out of ambition -- can't two complicated people possibly be in love? I don't see why not -- etc. But the fact that she got a bad rap didn't mean I had to like her more generally, or so it seemed to me.

That said, when this all started, I thought: OK, she's smart, hardworking, and apparently knows her policy stuff; we could do a lot worse.

Watching her attempt Nixon's Southern Strategy has not been particularly edifying, imho. I agree with publius, though, that in a different era, she would now be the nominee.

One more reason why I like the netroots. ;)

I think that a lot of us -- or at least me -- heard echos of the claim that people who opposed the war were "unserious" every time she argued that her early support for the war, and Obama's early opposition, was irrelevant. Maybe if we hadn't been so consistently dismissed for the last five years we wouldn't have minded her early support as much.

And BOB:

"He isn’t strong enough to accept accountability for the images that would emerge. "

Do you have any evidence of this? The way he just dissolved in tears under the strain of the Jeremiah Wright stuff? The way Clinton was able to throw him off balance with her attacks time and time again? The way he has consistently folded under pressure? Or what?

This is a side point, but how do we know that macho macho hawkishness isn't just what she believes in? I mean, is there any evidence that the hawkishness was pandering? Couldn't we assume instead that the later talk about Iraq withdrawal was pandering?

The assumption is that she valued getting elected more than staying true to her core beliefs, even if those core beliefs included hawkishness. I still don't understand how she made such a big miscalculation, though. I mean, if I were her, I would have worried much more about winning the nomination than about winning the general election. The Iraq war was obviously a big deal to the democratic base. We she didn't strongly repudiate the war vote, and show regret and contrition is beyond me.

One additional Iraq connection: her complete detachment from reality, much like the current occupant. Her campaign has been doomed for months, but certainly doomed now especially after Indiana/NC. And yet she continues - "full speed ahead" - completely unaware (or, more likely, blatantly disregarding) the facts on the ground. We've seen the consequences of such decision-making. No thank you.

(Additional related point: Much has been made about Obama supporters being a "cult" and treating Obama as "the Messiah". It's worth noting that Clinton's only argument for staying in the race is that, despite the results of the entire primary process in favor of Obama, SHE IS THE ONLY ONE that can save us all from McCain in November. What is more cult-like or Messianic than that?)

Contentless italics banisher

Bill, your comment might be totally hilarious if:

1. We didn't watch another Clinton sitting in the Whitehouse during the Rwandan genocide doing absolutely nothing and suffering zero consequences, and

2. We didn't watch the current President suffer zero consequences when half a million plus Iraqis were killed

Look, Americans don't really care much about furners in far off lands dying. They certainly don't care enough to extract a political price when their own government is complicit in genocide (see Timor, East). Everyone here is enough of a grown up that we can move past fairy tales where Americans are united in their belief in the shared humanity of all people.

I don't think she has ever given me a reason to vote for her.

Aren't you forgetting when it looked like Senator Obama could win, he started receiving something like 95% of the black vote. If Senator Obama was white and had the same views on Iraq, Senator Clinton would be the nominee.

This is a great piece and I agree with most of it. But the one thing I'd critique is that while all these reasons contributed to losing progressives, progressives weren't the only, or I'd argue even the primary, reason she lost. African-Americans were. (I think you tried to avert this question by pointing to the increased importanc eof the progressive movement--its "rise"--but to me this still doesn't account for it).

It was losing both parts of Obama's eventual coalition--progressives and African-Americans, each for different reasons--that she lost. Now, in my opinion, she'd have lost the latter even if none of the controversies came up. It was not her supposed race-baiting that did her in with blacks--it was her lack of respect for Obama and near-total dismissiveness of the possibility that he was a legitimate candidate and not an accident of historical forces working against her.

What I would say tied both reasons--Iraq and this disparagement of Obama--together, is, in a word, arrogance. Refusing to apologize for her vote and refusing to recognize her opponent (or any of his victories) stem from a arrogance and stubborness that, fittingly, is a real disqualifier for the office--not a mere distraction from her qualifications.

She lost because she failed the commander-in-chief test of temperament and the wilingness to listen and reconsider.

publius,

Very good analysis. I like the way that it highlights the way that Hillary's campaign was hamstrung by a misfit between conventional political tactics and the very specific and historically contingent aspects of this year's contest. Along those same lines, I think the unprecedented levels of Democratic turnout (especially in the early contests) played havoc with the accuracy of the polls, creating another source of weakness for a conventional poll-driven campaign in competition with a grass-roots movement style campaign.

One thing I think you overlooked was that thanks to the crimes and follies of the Bush administration and the failure of the GOP candidates (except for Ron Paul) to run against Bush’s record, in this year’s contest we had a larger than usual body of independent voters and disaffected Republicans who were willing to look at a Democratic candidate with fresh eyes and either reregister as Dems or vote in open primaries for a Dem.

One element of Obama's success was that given a more ideologically diverse voter base (compared with past progressive insurgencies) he was able to run both to the left and to the right of Hillary on different issues, so she was not able to shift the contest in either direction on issues without leaving him room to expand his coalition into the space vacated by her movement. If he had run as a purely progressive candidate from the start, she could have moved to the left to poach from his base and box him in, and then tacked back to the middle in the general election (c.f. Mondale in 1984). That option wasn't open to her because he also possessed a center-right voter base which would have expanded if she had moved left on issues.

This may explain why the contest devolved into an exercise in tribalism and identity politics as strongly as it did, because fighting it out on issues was a sure way for Hillary to lose. Usually the progressive candidate is the one who gets boxed in on issues, but this time it was the establishment candidate who found themselves stuck in that trap

It pains me to say it, but Iraq is single-handedly responsible for the progressive revival that America seems to be experiencing.

yup.

for me, 9/11 was the spark, but Iraq was the acres of dry timber.

9/11, and the govt's response, was the single reason i started paying serious attention to, and picking sides in, politics. before that, i was just an Election Day Dem. after, i was plenty interested, but, my interest was still confined to 9/11-related issues.

once war in Iraq started up as a topic, that changed. my deep opposition to the war, crashing up against the constant and wide-ranging demagoguery over Iraq from Bush, Fox, the warbloggers and all the rest, fanned that little spark. and now i spend so much time on political blogs, i'm sometimes amazed i still have a job.

and, like you say: Clinton put herself on the wrong side of Iraq, for a lot of people. and that puts her on the wrong side of basically the core reason why i pay attention to politics.

her loss. (hopefully)

Your analysis really rings true to me Publius. I think that a logical extension of it is the unfortunate way that race has played out in the later stages of the campaign. People are always, to some extent, prisoners of their background. In the time and place where the Clintons developed their political skills, the idea that a black man could win a majority-white constituency was laughable. And I think she still believes it to be impossible, much as she adopted right-wing concepts like flag-burning bills as necessary gestures.

It's really looked to me, for quite a while, that both Clintons have been sending up signal flares and shouting "America will never elect a black president! There are too many racists!" Except that they can't quite find the right words to say it.

I also have absolutely, positively, no doubt that they have had pollsters tell them that there is still a significant group of racist whites in the Democratic party, and even suggesting coded ways to reach them. When you're desperate, you reach for what you can. And that desperation is a mix of personal ambition and a real fear for the party and nation in the fall. I think it's a misplaced fear, but it is a real one nonetheless. This interpretation, I think, explains the peculiar and tortured dance that both Bill and Hillary have been doing in the past few months. It's like watching a Greek tragedy.

In short, Clinton didn’t realize that a new alternative base of support would exist in terms of money, votes, and activism. She thought she only had to nail down establishment support to win. That said, I don’t really blame her for this assumption — the progressive revival is an exciting development that would have been hard to predict in 2002, that winter of liberals’ discontent.

No, but it should have been easier to see after the 2004 primary. Sure, Dean lost, but he changed the game, and those who didn't see what was coming next lost out. Obama inherited much of that, and Edwards tried to--he was just the wrong person at the wrong time.

This really has been a battle of old vs. new--even down to the demographic groups that each candidate appeals to. Forget the working class numbers--Clinton appeals to people over 65. That's where her wins have been coming from.

I think DrDave at 1:19 yesterday has it right. Clinton lost (if she did) because she started out crippled. Not mostly her fault IMO, but she was successfully demonized for 15 years. She did a pretty good job of rebranding herself, enough to get more supporters than I expected, but a) a lot of people got interested in Obama primarily (no pun intended) because he was the front-running Not Clinton candidate, and b) she never cut into her negatives enough to convince superdelegates she was electable.

Let's bear in mind that her much-more charismatic and qualified husband, running as an incumbent who had done a pretty good job, barely squeaked out a second-term victory, with a lot of help from a third-party candidate. Clinton's much-touted appeal to blue-collar voters never amounted to much among the swing-state independents. That fact leaves superdelegates hoping very hard for a viable alternative.

The real question has always been, is Obama a viable alternative? Clinton would have lost sooner against any other candidate. For all the talk about how Obama would never have won without the black vote in Southern primaries, it is equally true that if Obama had not been in the race, his votes would have gone mostly to Edwards, and the superdelegates would have had zero hesitation in pronouncing Edwards electable -- because he isn't black.

ditto what cleek said.

Fortunately, I am self-employed.

Great post, though the number one reason why she lost was that the Obama campaign was that good.

"(See, e.g., Karen Tumulty)."

Perhaps you meant to this?

"It pains me to say it, but Iraq is single-handedly responsible for the progressive revival that America seems to be experiencing."

If you wrote "largely," I'd agree with you. "single-handedly" seems quite plainly wrong to me, however. There'd be no "progressive revival" without all the history of progressivism's movements behind it, and there are hundreds of threads that contribute. Absent innumerable progressive/left organizations and efforts and movements and invidivual evolutions, of the past twenty years, and more, there's be no "progressive revival" just because we had a war, I think. Afghanistan didn't, by way of counter-example, lead to a "progressive revival" in the Soviet Union, did it? Would you argue that all that is required to cause progressive movement is a war and only a war, as you are arguing here?

If so, why?

"In essence, the New Progressivism created a structural alternative to obtaining power through traditional establishment means."

Yes, but did the war do that single-handedly, in a vacuum, and would it have happened if there were no pre-existing sentiments and movements in the country prior to 2002? Really?

Dept. of mixed metaphors: "If Iraq put the heat-seeking missile in the water..." it would sputter out.

Why did Clinton fail?

Two words:

Mark Penn.

If only the czar knew!
I guess everyone has a different pander that drove him/her away from HRC.

Mine, oddly enough, was her support for the flag-burning constitutional amendment.

I started with the attack on free speech because it's just video gamers, and they don't vote, in 2005, myself. She threw my vote, and the notion that she supported free speech, away then. I only was willing to vote for her after that as a last resort.

She wasn't the last resort.

"'I have developed legislation that will empower parents by making sure their kids cant walk into a store and buy a [book] that has graphic, violent and pornographic content,' said Clinton, a possible 2008 presidential candidate."

That's a deal-breaker for me. Speech is speech is speech. And a pander that gives away free speech, because it's only comics/rock-and-roll/videogames/movies/content/whatever the content, is a pander I could never live with.

A couple of things...

First a nitpick:

If Iraq put the heat-seeking missile in the water, then Clinton’s instinctual defensiveness gave it a high-profile target.

You put heat-seeking missile's in the air, not water :-)

And more substantively:

We watched on with growing anger as Democrats publicly supported a policy they privately opposed simply to reinforce a Reagan/hawk narrative that progressives were increasingly rejecting.

Year after year the Democrats in Congress play along with Bush on the war in Iraq. I think that it's questionable under those circumstances to assume even a majority of Democrats actually oppose the war.

Can I just confirm that I haven't missed anything and that, as of this time, Clinton hasn't officially lost the primary?

Can I just confirm that I haven't missed anything and that, as of this time, Clinton hasn't officially lost the primary?

Anarch - it's like that scene in Wag the Dog where the opposition candidate declares the fake war over and automatically Robert DeNiro as the President's spin-meister goes "Oh no, the war's over." And then Dustin Hoffman's character goes, "what? wait, how can the war be over, it's not even a real war?"*

It doesn't matter what reality is, just people's perception of reality. But yes, you're right, it isn't actually over, and when Clinton wins WV by 25-30 points (or more) it will all shift to "In a remarkable turnaround, Hillary Clinton, whose candidacy was declared all but over by pundits everywhere after primaries in North Carolina and Indiana last week, has stunned Barack Obama by an unprecedented 35 points in the West Virginia primary, breathing new life into a campaign that had been left for dead** less than a week ago." Blah blah blah, for another week, at least.

*actual dialogue may, and probably does, differ from that portrayed here.

**oops, I did it again.

When people complain about your metaphors, Ugh, you should just tell them to get off their high horses.

Irony of ironies that I should be the one to rise to Sen. Clinton's defense against GreenDreams' false accusation: She did not vote for the Military Commissions Act.

Her floor speech in favor of the amendment to restore habeas corpus protections to the bill (the amendment failed narrowly) was one of the best of that day, and one of her best ever.

That speech was shoulders above Sen. Obama's, which was solely a pragmatic case for how preserving habeas helps us in the effort to prevent terror attacks. Perfectly appropriate among the array of strong arguments being made, but not exactly inspiring -- and something well short of the moral argument I expected from the candidate who lectured other Democrats about openly having religious faith inform their policy views.

Every Senate Democrat but one (Nelson of NE) voted for the habeas-preserving amendment. Sens. Clinton and Obama voted against the final MCA bill. Shamefully, twelve Democratic Senators voted to erode the most fundamental of our legal protections, and to retroactively legalize torture and other criminal acts of the Bush administration. Sen. Clinton was not among them.

publius' analysis is insightful, but not relevant. Every factor publius mentions could be true and every other thing that happened in the campaign could have happened the exact same way and Hillary could have stil taken the nomination if she'd had ANY plan or made ANY effort to contest that string of post-Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses. Event if Obama still won them all, if she could have just chipped away at his margin of victory (55% to 45% instead of 65-35 and more), Obama would never have built up a significant delegate lead. And without that lead, Hillary's institutional support would likely have been enough to carry her over the finish line.

Mike

In other odd metaphors, Tumulty: "Obama, on the other hand, was a train running hard on two or three tracks."

That doesn't sound as if it would work well. Anyone ever see a train do that? I think it's called "derailment" when a train leaps off one track, and it's not usually desirable. A train running on two or three tracks at once wouldn't seem to be an actual possibility, let alone desirable.

If only magazines, unlike blogs, had editors to catch weird metaphor choices like that.

Anarch: "Can I just confirm that I haven't missed anything and that, as of this time, Clinton hasn't officially lost the primary?"

Which primary? There are eight left. (Plus some later caucus stages to produce final national delegates in some caucus states.)

She'll likely win Kentucky and West Virginia, if she's still running.

"Can I just confirm that I haven't missed anything and that, as of this time, Clinton hasn't officially lost the primary?"

With 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter of game 4 of the playoff series against the Lakers, the Denver Nuggets hadn't "officialy" lost either. Theoretically, something could have happened in that last 5 minutes to kill or physically disable enough Laker players so they would have to forfeit the series to Denver.

Mike

At this point, since primaries will be completed by the beginning of June, I hope she stays in thru then.

First, I know I got a thrill casting a primary vote that actually had a chance of mattering. Every Democrat should have that chance.

Second, people are turning out for primaries in record numbers. Obama seems particularly well positioned to get those primary votes to the polls in November.

Third, the ongoing primary keeps giving Obama lessons in how to respond to mistakes and attacks. He hones his skills with each response.

Fourth, it keeps McCain off the air except for his gaffes. By contrast, Obama gets lots of free positive air time, including (on NPR) long segments of his speeches. I get re-energized every time I hear him speak.

Can I just confirm that I haven't missed anything and that, as of this time, Clinton hasn't officially lost the primary?

Anarch,

FWIW, I see the HRC campaign as currently in the same position as the German Army on the Western Front in June 1918. They haven't lost yet, but there is no longer any plausible path leading to ultimate victory for their side.

Hillary should print "It's only a flesh wound!" signs for her next rally.

Nun shall pass!

A bit off-topic, but I'm hoping that Clinton's shenanigans cost her big time in the long-run. It would do my heart good to have the net-roots and the blogosphere find a progressive woman to challenge her for her Senate seat when it comes up again (2010?). With no seat of power, she vanish from the political stage, of as much signifigance as Dukakis.

=====================

As far as loaning her own campaign $10.5 million of her own money, why would anyone -- Democrat, Republican, Obamabot or Orville Redenbacher -- be upset about that?

What's the collateral? What happens if she defaults? I'm somewhat opposed to candidates giving themselves money (although, ideally, they should only be able to give what any other person can). But loaning your campaign money is so ethically-challenged (a phrase we hear about the Clinton campaign a lot, isn't it?) that it should be illegal.

“I could no sooner turn my back on Reverend Wright…”

Don’t get me wrong, we should leave the streets of Iraq. A strategic retreat to a remote airbase in the desert would be an appropriate strategy. The water in Iraq would find it’s own level and we could deal with the emergent Iraqi leadership, one way or another. The Middle Eastern process of water finding its own level, starting out from scratch, is very ugly though. In this era of instant images being telecast to all corners of the world from cell-phones, it would be even uglier.

The Obama who could not turn his back on his Reverend ended up turning his back on his Reverend when the Reverend accused Obama of playing politics. Reportedly after taking a poll.

That same Obama is on record refusing to commit to a complete Iraq pull-out by the end of his first term. I He could not handle the imagery that would result from a US withdrawal because his orders would be directly responsible for the carnage.

Carnage on your watch is harder to stomach than a political accusation in a primary. Especially when you order it as President. Obama does not have the strength to order it.

Just a prediction.

She lost Bill. Let go.

The Obama who could not turn his back on his Reverend ended up turning his back on his Reverend when the Reverend accused Obama of playing politics.

when a friend turns out not to be the person you thought he was, it's quite acceptable to change your mind about him.

are you really complaining that Obama changed his mind about someone who turned on him ??

No Cleek; just a little concerned that it took Obama twenty years and one month to figure Wright out; it took most of the rest of us about one month. Judgment is an important quality for a President.

More appropriate to my premise is the example of how quickly Obama folded in the face of resistance.

Carnage on your watch is harder to stomach than a political accusation in a primary. Especially when you order it as President. Obama does not have the strength to order it.

Thank god the current occupant of the white house had the stomach to order carnage. and not only order it, but relish and revel in it. Feels good!

publius, your post pretty much encapsulates all of the reasons I wasn't for Clinton. There's one thought that didn't get mentioned, the issue of dynasties. If she ran and won, the last 20 years would be Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton, and that's way too much like a monarchy for my tastes. And we've seen how well electing somebody based on their last name works out.

Brick Oven Bill,

You could argue that it's because we didn't have the twenty years that we were able to figure it out in a month.

"When people complain about your metaphors, Ugh, you should just tell them to get off their high horses."

I think there's a joke I'm not getting there: what's this mean, he wondered curiously?

I agree that Iraq did her in. It gave Obama enough space to gain momentum with those who were truly disillusioned with Iraq, and Congress's role in enabling it. It is fully to his credit that he took advantage of it.

It pains me still to see how many women, in particular, are willing to justify Clinton's acquiescence in the AUMF and associated authoritarian measures, on her need to prove her toughness in order to run for presidency. For Clinton, apparently, a progressive society begins and ends with whether the person in the top spot (her) has progressive ideals, and isn't the sum of all the steps along the way that add to or detract from what constitutes an open and progressive society, including, most importantly, not resorting to secret tribunals, torture and other monstrous positions in the pursuit of national security.

But I doubt if I am alone in realizing that progressive domestic policies are difficult if not impossible to achieve so long as our national self image, is bound up with aggressive foreign intervention and the need to spend disproportionate resources on it. The policies that Clinton pursued along the way to promising progressive deliverance have made it that much more difficult to achieve. In the long run, a more progressive society might be more open to female presidents without requiring that they be even more hawkish than their male counterparts, because hawkishness will not be viewed as a paramount virtue.

just a little concerned that it took Obama twenty years and one month to figure Wright out

seems pretty presumptuous to claim to know the intricacies of the relationship between a man you don't know and his church which you've never been to.

any chance you don't actually know much at all about that relationship, and you're just interpreting what you think you know in a way that suits a narrative which pleases you ? any chance at all ?

I think Mike Bunge has a fair point. I mentioned in another thread that I thought one big problem for the Democrats has been poor organization. That was true of the Clinton campaign.

While publius' points are insightful, I agree with Mike that a well-planned, well-run campaign would have made Clinton a winner, New Progressivism aside. The simple realization that it was not going to be a walkover would have helped her a lot.

I think there's a joke I'm not getting there: what's this mean, he wondered curiously?

It's a reference to my Eight Belles comment in a previous thread (I presume).

Jeff:

What's the collateral? What happens if she defaults?

It's just a financial transaction. If they give the money, they cannot use future fundraising to repay themselves. It is very common for pols with personal wealth to loan it to their own campaign for this reason. If they go bust in their political career, then their loan is never repaid. It becomes identical to giving it.

"It's a reference to my Eight Belles comment in a previous thread (I presume)."

I kinda figured, but don't quite get what the joke is in you using a horse metaphor, and the suggestion that you use a horse metaphor. I'm not following what the actual joke is in "you should just tell them to get off their high horses."

Haha, use that metaphor again?

No matter; I confuse easily sometimes, and I frequently think things are funny that other folks don't, in turn. Humor is damned subjective. Thanks.

UGH FROM 2:16 --
If I previously confused you for someone else, I apologize. I've only been blogging for a week now and doing this while at work is an invitation for confusion.

Loved your response to Anarch (3:26) -- The MSM is indeed Wagging the Dog right now: Perception trumps reality.

However, like Anarch, this Clinton supporter is aslo frustrated. After all, what really changed on Tuesday? Obama won North Carolina, as expected, and Clinton won Indiana, as expected.

Bottom line: He still hasn't won a blue-collar, swing state and she can't win a state w/ a large African-American population.

What's changed?

publius: this is stellar.

Indeed. I think this may be Publius’ best post in my short history here.

And hey, even the often-abrasive contrarians have moderated their comments(!)
LeftTurn, good to see you. I was wondering only yesterday about your absence.

More maybe later...Anyway, good thread.

To clarify: I know that Clinton has an essentially non-existent chance of winning the nomination. The reason I asked is because I didn't know whether Clinton had formally withdrawn from the race because, if not (as seems to be the case), I'd say that publius is being... a touch premature in some of his phrasing -- with Ugh's scenario at 3:33pm being almost exactly my prediction of what's going to happen.

[FTR: this prediction also makes me very, very sad.]

What's changed?

Apologies for sports metaphor, but there is a difference between being two touchdowns down at the end of the first half and being two touchdowns at the 2 minute warning.

BTFB: What's changed?

It's really more of the same. She didn't "win" IN, she tied. She lost NC pretty badly. There's no way for her to win, short of superdelegate collusion.

Obama gave her an opening for a graceful exit, with his speech in NC, calling for everyone to work for the nominee (easy for him to say, sure, but he didn't have to mention it) and complimenting Clinton several times. But, no; she's still got to whine about MI and FL when everyone has said those are dead, dead, dead.

What will it take to get her out of the race?

Bottom line: He still hasn't won a blue-collar, swing state and she can't win a state w/ a large African-American population.

Assuming these things are true, why would they matter? Do you believe that performance in the primary tells us how candidates will perform in the general against McCain? I mean, if Clinton gets the nomination, do you really think African Americans will refuse to vote for her or will vote for McCain instead?

bedtimeforbonzo, I'm also a Clinton supporter and I think the issue is exactly that nothing's changed, and consequently that Obama has this thing pretty much locked down.

I should add that even though I would have preferred to see Hillary Clinton get the nomination I'm looking forward to voting for Barack Obama and I think he'll be a good president. What I don't understand is why people who ostensibly support Obama aren't trying to get him elected. Attacks on Clinton and attacks on Clinton supporters don't seem all that likely to me to help build enthusiasm for Obama among those who currently support Clinton. What's the thinking behind that, exactly?

Bedtime:
How do you spell M-I-S-S-O-U-R-I?

How do you spell I-O-W-A?

"He still hasn't won a blue-collar, swing state"

You're asserting Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming, Washington, Nebraska, Minnesota, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, Colorado, Maine and Wisconsin, don't count, along with having the majority of pledged delegates, and about to have a majority of superdelegates, having today tied in superdelegates?

Why?

Indeed, it's been practically impossible for Clinton to win the nomination, absent Obama being killed, for many weeks. What's changed, indeed?

I mean, if Clinton gets the nomination, do you really think African Americans will refuse to vote for her or will vote for McCain instead?

If you'd asked me that a week ago, I'd have said no. After the USA Today interview, I do believe many would let stay home or write in Obama's name.

"She didn't 'win' IN, she tied."

Yeah, she did. She won 644,594 votes, 51% percent of the vote, and most importantly, 38 delegates, while Obama won 630,399 votes, 49% of the vote, and 27 delegates.

I'm not a math whiz, but while it's certainly fair to say that it was a reasonably close election, "tie" has a specific meaning, and 38 to 27 is not a tie in any base ten arithmetic I'm familiar with.

If it had been a Senate race, there wouldn't be a recount, or a run-off. One person won, and it was Senator Clinton. That's by law. It's not a matter of subjective opinion.

What I don't understand is why people who ostensibly support Obama aren't trying to get him elected. Attacks on Clinton and attacks on Clinton supporters don't seem all that likely to me to help build enthusiasm for Obama among those who currently support Clinton.

Who are these mysterious "people" that "support Obama" but "aren't trying to get him elected"? Can you name some names? And can you explain what they've done that constitutes an attack on Clinton or Clinton supporters? Because that sounds very serious indeed. If you know something about attacks on Clinton, please explain so that I can contact the Secret Service.

What's the thinking behind that, exactly?

Who are you addressing this question to? Me? publius? God? I can't really speak on behalf of this unnamed group of people that you're so worried about. Since I have no idea who you're talking about, I can't even speculate on their motivations.

Gary, it's not 38 to 27. It's 38 to 34 (on demconwatch.)
The split was 50.4% to 49.6%.

The only thing that got Hillary into serious contention was the undue deference that is paid (in both parties) to "heirs apparent", even if their inheritance is a poisoned one. The true measure of Obama's strength is his ability -- if only by a hairsbreadth -- to overcome that built-in advantage.

But if the word was "Iraq", the name was "Bill". Love him or hate him, eight years were enough. (Of course eight years of Bush have been eight too many.)

"The split was 50.4% to 49.6%." -- Chester

So that's a tie, then?

Obamath, right?

"Gary, it's not 38 to 27. It's 38 to 34 (on demconwatch.)"

My link seems to have fallen out. It was to here, and I goofed it, anyway, as it says 623,294 and 36/32. I accidentally looked at the numbers for -- oops -- McCain, not Obama.

Delegate numbers can be a bit tricky for a bit. MS-NBC claims it's 38/34, for example. The WaPo currently calls it at 41/38. Etc.

No one reports equal numbers, however, for Clinton and Obama in Indiana, whether in delegates or popular vote.

"The split was 50.4% to 49.6%." -- Chester

So that's a tie, then?

Obamath, right?

That's an interesting technique: hallucinating responses, and then replying to them. Enjoy debating straw people often?

She got my attention with her position on landmines. So much for all that Children's Defense Fund nonsense.

Excellent analysis.

Obama's win can be attributed to one simple thing: he raised more money. This is a very well-thought out essay on why that happened and why Clinton wasn't able to siphon off enough from Obama's pool of donors to get the win.

I think that in the long run the fact that Obama was able to pump money out of so many people does speak well for his future as the President. In terms of the campaign, it is true that the candidates' interest is pretty mercenary, but I think it carries over into their voting patterns.

You can explain many of Clinton's "bad" votes in terms of "Well, X will vote for me (and contribute money) if I vote this way, but Y won't vote for me anyway if I don't. So X it is." Obama likely thinks the exact same way, but sees the overall state of the country better. In a sense, he panders just as much as Clinton, but has a better sense of how something that plays well in one state might hurt him in another.

She didn't win by enough of a margin to change the dynamics of the race Gary, which I think is the implied intent.

I think it's probable that much of the money raised via the net for Obama came from people who were bothered by Clinton's Iraq vote and her subsequent "explanations" for it.

And don't pull me into the "Indiana tie" discussion, I was only trying to correct the numbers.

Good post.

I think there is one element of Hillary's Iraq problem that bears remembering; the was for the war.

And I don't just mean she voted for the AUMF. She was a clear and convincing advocate for it. Others, like Kerry and Edwards, fell in line, but Hillary was there whipping them.

"I remember what it was like to be at the other end of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and I wish my husband had that executive power sometimes." Yeah, thanks a lot, Hillary.

I don't think her long silence on the war and her refusal to say she made a mistake to vote for it were the consequence of political calculation, so much as an indication of her right-of-center foreign policy.

Somewhat O/T;

I believe that Iraq is all about the oil and we should just admit it like we did in the First Gulf War. Paul Chefurka has authored a series of eye-opening papers about Peak Oil. His work seems to be independent scholarship and is excellent. He comes to some disturbing conclusions about energy and the future. Highly recommended reading:

http://www.paulchefurka.ca/

Always fun to see BOB come up with statements for which he has nothing to base the statement on, i.e the 20 year statement. Oh well.

publius, although I agree that her Iraq vote was a hindrance, I don't think it was the fatal blow. However, it was, in a way, tied into something you missed, which did hurt her, despite the media basically giving her a pass on it after 2-3 days.

Because of her vote on Iraq, she had to work to create an picture of her that would pass muster regarding foreign relations. She overreached, with her stories about Ireland, Bhutto, and most of all Bosnia. This undercut her "trust me, I have the experience" push.

After 8 years of a President who you couldn't trust, this, IMO, created a major problem for her.

Again not fatal however.

Obama ran a textbook campaign, whereas she ran a textbook campaign if you were running against no major threat. Consider all the advantages she had: major name recognition, major financial backing, a surrogate who just happens to be one of the most popular former Presidents in the last half century, the backing of the Democratic machine in most major states, a front loaded primary season which couldn't have been better positioned for her.

In fact, if many of the states that voted on Super Tuesday voted on a staggered basis, she wouldn't even be as almost close as she is right now.

The final thing that lost this for her was the race baiting that took place. Sure it may have won her some white votes, but she blew any chance she had (which initially was considerable) to at least average 25% of the AA vote.

What I don't understand is why people who ostensibly support Obama aren't trying to get him elected.

aside from donating a bunch of money, spreading the good word among friends and family, and ya know voting for him... what else is an Obama supporter supposed to do ?

should i have gone over to Talk Left or H44 and engage the friendly persuadables in reasonable conversation ? any chance i could've convinced the people who say he's a radical-muslimAmerica-hatingBlack-powerCommunistRepublican-litePanderingElection-stealingMisogynistElitist that no, really, they should put all their fncked-up whack-job mouth-foaming lunatic conspiracy theories aside and vote for the guy, cause i said so?

Further to the IN tally, whatever the necessarily official count and thus delegates, the Children of Limbaugh are likely to have supplied the difference (admitting that it’s a known unknown, and guesses run both ways).

Upthread I said ‘maybe more’.
One of the elements I wanted to deal with has been given some leverage by a link at bhtv.
Herewith a compressed quote (re Hillary):
“‘she paid no heed to those who contradicted her, because in her mind, she was telling the truth. Only when confronted with undeniable evidence of external reality -- actual footage from her Bosnia trip - did she admit (possibly to herself as well as the public) that her version of events was not true.

It also explains Hillary's reaction when exposed. She was angry because she was forced to abandon her psychic reality for external reality.For her, this was tantamount to giving up the truth in exchange for mere facts. .... [snip]

While most of her explanations have made no sense, when Hillary told Leno that she'd had "a lapse", she was right on. She'd had an actual lapse in mental functioning.’

To me, Hillary's Bosnia exaggeration doesn't seem that bizarre--just a particularly egregious and risky version of the sort of resume-brighteners even candidates who served in the military sometimes tell. I'd be tempted to dismiss Ladowsky's argument if it didn't resonate with other bits of data in Hillary's biography: a) Her marriage! Did she stay wedded to a notorious philanderer by insulating herself within a "psychic reality"--a reality only disrupted by "undeniable evidence" in the form of Monica Lewinsky's dress? I remember during the early days of the Lewinsky scandal when Hillary's aides said she didn't read the papers. That would be one way to stay in a comfortable "psychic" cocoon. Another way would be to surround yourself with ultraloyal aides. (Hello, Sid!); b) Her refusal to face the legislative failure of her health care plan in 1994 until it was too late; and c) Her failure to take the Obama threat to her candidacy seriously enough (including, maybe soon, a refusal to admit that it's too late for her to win the nomination). ...” (From kausfiles.)


Okay, I know kaus is properly not held in high esteem by some of the most estimable commenters here.
The single quotes designate a cite from a piece at HuffPo here by Ellen Ladowsky, to whose idea I was referring a week or so ago; except granting need to refer to her piece for the background his point is concise.

To the degree we are confined to speculation, surmise, and logic, it all sounds too damnably familiar. And I say Dubya Begone, and that includes surrogates of whatever party. Didn’t read the papers? Been there. Enough with pretend ‘realities’ defining deliberations in the Oval Office.
Please, never no more.

I feel I have a clue to her base’s loyalty and vice versa. But maybe more later as occasion and opportunity dictate.

I don't engage with Mr Farber. It's probably more my loss than his, but I just don't see much point.

I will say that to some 51% to 49% is a "mandate", not a tie. They seem to be using Republican math, not statistics.

------------

I saw in Yahoo News, from the AP:

In an interview with National Public Radio, former candidate John Edwards said Clinton has made a compelling case for her candidacy, but "I think it's very hard for her now to make a compelling case for the math. I mean, I think that's the reality of what she's faced with. She knows that. ... It's just very hard to see how the math works."

So he's not endorsing Obama because... His voice would speak louder than any other (save possibly Gore). It makes him look like a weasel, but there may be some good reason he's waiting...

Ugh wrote: "Still, at half a million a pop, it would only take Bill 22 speeches to earn back the $11 million hillary loaned to the campaing. I bet he could do it in a month."

Ya know, I wouldn't be surprised if Bill's income over the last 8 years was predicated in some part on the assumption that Hillary would be President in the future, and fat honoraria a way to curry favor.

If that's on the table, he's no longer an ex-President married to a future President, and his ability to command huge speaking fees is likely to fall.

Anarch wrote: "Can I just confirm that I haven't missed anything and that, as of this time, Clinton hasn't officially lost the primary?"

Are you expecting Ron Paul to win the GOP nomination? He's still officially in, and campaigning.

I think we can all admit that there's no way Ron Paul is going to snatch the nomination away from McCain, even though there are several primaries left.

Clinton won some states, and has far more delegates than Paul ever won, but a win for her is about as improbable.

BOB wrote: "No Cleek; just a little concerned that it took Obama twenty years and one month to figure Wright out"

Maybe he did figure him out, and weighted Wright's various opinions each according to their merits, without slavishly following the man. Maybe he attended the church because of the community of his fellow parishoners, rather than just because of Wright? Maybe he didn't flee the church because, like, they're just ideas. Oh NOES! Ideas!

And anyway, since when is it the job of a religious leader to pander to the nationalistic illusions of the public? Shouldn't such people be the professional hair shirts of the nation? Shouldn't such people feel like failures if, once in a while, their flock doesn't leave the church feeling disturbed and thoughtful about what they've heard?

Should a priest in Germany in the 30s have said "God Damn Deutschland!" or should he have ignored the faults in German policy, preaching 'Gott Mit Uns'?

Apparently, he should have ignored the faults. That is your opinion, correct?

I mean, WTF? Railing against sin is part of the job description. That includes national sins.

Give some thought to Hillary's background. She and Bill were DLC Democrats; they triangulated; they moved center; they won the Whitehouse. Their reward: Eight years of unrelieved venom from the Limbaugh-ites, denunciation as wild-eyed left wing radicals, endless investigations, an impeachment, and even the "Clinton Body Count." And that was how the Right reacted to the moderate wing of the Democratic Party! Now she sees a representative of the liberal wing poised to win the nomination.

If I wanted to be charitable to her, I would say that her fears about "electability" are genuine, that she sees the Democratic Party about to drive off a left-wing cliff and is desparately trying to save them from themselves.

A somewhat less charitable but thoroughtly human interpretation is that after spending a career trying to make the Democratic Party more acceptable by moving center and triangulating, the prospect of Obama winning by taking the opposite approach seems like an attack on everything she has worked for and achieved.

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