Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hillary's "Unelectability" --Don't Buy It

By Scott Cavanagh
Prior to the recent resurgence of the Hillary Clinton campaign, it was common to hear talk of how the Clintons were being out-maneuvered and out-campaigned by the Barack Obama people. While the Illinois senator and his supporters deserve much credit for their eleven-state winning streak and uncanny ability to attract large crowds of supporters and donors, the sudden nosedive of the Clinton campaign was started and perpetuated by a national media enamored with Obama and anxious to paint the Clintons as master manipulators.

It all began with the ridiculous overreaction to everything the Clintons said or did in the first racially volatile primary state of South Carolina. As soon as the tone was set that anything said about Obama would be analyzed for racial overtones, the slide had begun. Bill's "dream world" comment about Obama’s Iraq record had NOTHING to do with race--but the media ran with it all day. It was immediately clear that Hillary was going to be in trouble if anything happened to her African-American support, because if it eroded and things became ugly, Obama would not only go from 65% to 95% overnight with blacks--all of the hipster liberal white yuppies would just eat it all up and go along for the ride. Then, bam, bam, bam -- she makes a correct comment that MLK needed LBJ--they talk about racism. Bill points out correctly that black candidate Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice--and he's a racist. The Clintons were suddenly left without the constituency they had always been most comfortable with and could always count on--African-Americans.

Once that core base of black support for the Clintons was eroded by non-stories (can you imagine, after all the things that have been said about the Clintons--from calling him a murderer and drug lord to calling her a lesbian and Chelsea a dog--people are criticizing them for "going negative" with this harmless stuff?) the press smelled blood. Since then, every time any Clintonite makes any point about Obama's record, it is reported as the big, bad, evil Clinton machine tearing into poor Barack Obama. But I watch these stump speeches and such on C-SPAN all the time, and Obama rips on her every bit as much as she does on him--and it's rarely reported. When she points out that he has a thin resume and a health care plan that does not cover everyone, she is "going negative", but when he says lines like--"It's one thing to try to deliver health care and fail. It's another thing to actually get it done"—when he knows her opposition at that time was total and she was the only person championing the issue--there is never a peep from the press. When he claims that they (McCain and Hillary) are part of the same, old problems, which is--correctly and effectively--his strategy, it’s treated as just good campaigning, but when she points out their (McCain & Clinton) shared experience, she's somehow playing dirty. When he rips on her first Iraq vote--even though he did not have to cast one himself--it's fine, but when the Clintons point out that Obama removed a speech supporting the war effort from his web site in time to run for president, she's being shameful and petty and her husband is labeled a race-baiter.

Meanwhile, all of this plays right into the GOP’s hands. They have already constructed this Bogeyman in Hillary Clinton and have convinced everyone, including the gullible press, that they WANT to face her in the general election--because she has such high negatives and could not possibly carry certain states, particularly in the South. They WANT to face the Clintons? The same Clintons that beat them in ’92; that destroyed them in ’96; that walked out of the White House with a 65% approval rating AFTER they exposed his infidelity? Don’t buy it. This is the same stuff the Right did in 2000. When Al Gore was trying to close the deal against W. In the waning weeks of that campaign, the Fox News Channels of the world continued to disingenuously debate whether it was wise for the vice president to use President Clinton on the stump— constantly posing questions like “With all of his personal baggage, would you really want Bill Clinton campaigning for you?” Gore fell for it hook, line and sinker--pulling the prez off his last southern swing—a snub that caused a lasting riff between the two. Gore ended up losing his home state of Tennessee and Arkansas by percentage points. A backslapping, story-telling Bubba would have been good for those votes in one afternoon, but he was on the sidelines.

No, the Republicans want no part of Hillary, and by convincing the public that she is unelectable and unethical (this push to make her look like some back room Boss Tweed because she might consider using the Super Delegate rules observed by the party for decades comes to mind) they have managed to diminish her and her husband in the eyes of naïve Democrats even more so than Republicans.

It's amazing how many of today's Johnny-come-lately Air America political geniuses have called into radio shows saying that they would not even vote if they had to vote for Hillary. What the hell is that? If this Democratic race had not become the back-biting thing that it has, with many Democrats now ripping much of the Clinton years (suddenly THEY now have troubles with eight years of peace and prosperity) the nominee, be it Obama or Hillary, would have been able to win simply off of the voters' basic understanding that things (particularly the economy) were better under eight years of Democratic control. It would simply be the Reagan mantra-- "Are you better off today, than eight years ago?"

Now Obama has had his run and has supplanted Hillary as the likely nominee. Everyone is touting his special appeal that stretches across racial and ethnic divides and motivates young people like nobody since MLK, but let’s remember one thing—the arrows have not been directly aimed at him yet.

Barack Obama is now officially a liberal icon. The right will organize against this black man in a way even the Clintons have never seen. I just came back from five days in Alabama--and I can tell you from talking to a lot of people at my nephew and niece's sporting events and such that: A) Almost all of them believe he's a Muslim; B) They don't yet know his middle name; C) They liked the Clinton ECONOMY; D) Those good-old-boys actually like Clinton--because he's a big-haired chick-chasing scoundrel they can sympathize with. They have no such kinship to Obama. They thought Gore was a lispy-wimp, but they'd secretly like to BE Bubba. The Clintons always do better in the South than people anticipate.

As far as Obama's performance in predominantly white states is concerned--hardly anyone votes in primaries other than die-hard party people, and the Clintons are right that caucuses are a joke and reflect only the tiniest percentage of educated political junkies. Lets see how many regular folk votes Barack HUSSEIN Obama gets against war hero John McCain, without the eight years of peace and prosperity Hillary can point to—BJ and all. Of course, Obama won't have any of that to fall back on because he and his "this guy talks like a black JFK" crowd have been so busy disparaging the Clinton record it will be unusable artillery in the general election. He will be running on "I'm cool" and hoping that the youth vote that we always hear so much about but never shows up, comes out in droves. And if it does organize on the left, believe me, there will be a push in every mega church and tiny chapel throughout the entire Christian Right community to mobilize every single young voter against Obama--and those kids DO WHAT THEY ARE TOLD.

Still, we continue to hear that we have to nominate Obama because Hillary is unelectable, particularly in the South. How is this so? Hillary is unelectable in the South, but a black man, with a Kenyan father, admitted youthful drug problems, a paper-thin resume and the name Barack Hussein Obama is? The GOP is afraid of HILLARY--not Obama. That is why they have been so easy on him. He is going to face a shit storm like you would not believe after the convention--a storm the Clintons have faced and defeated time and time again. I personally like Obama, but I think we nominate this guy at our own risk.
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Ken Hart said...

Lots of anger here. More than than, lots of name-calling of other Democrats, as though anyone who thinks ill of the Clintons is being "ridiculous" or "naive." I don't understand the almost-Pavlovian rage that sparks in some people when the Clintons' tactics are challenged. Sure, many good things happened during Bill Clinton's administration ... but Bill isn't running. I know that Bill himself needs a reminder of this from time to time, but he's not running. And that makes a big difference.

And what about the "who do want answering that phone call at 3 a.m." nonsense? Think about this logically: If sharing a bed with the President of the United States for eight years makes you a foreign policy expert -- even though you didn't have the security clearance to sit in any of Bill's important meetings -- then hell, why hasn't the GOP nominated Laura Bush? ;-) This is the bind that Hillary has put herself in with this attack on Obama's credentials. Because now that she has set this standard for what makes someone more qualified to be President, then on every single score -- from Senate experience to foreign travel to life experiences -- John McCain beats her. Hands down.

Clearly, she didn't envision that when she launched the attack, but her campaign has been pretty shortsighted from the get-go, never thinking in the long term.

For instance, what could have possibly been thinking when she --not once but twice this week -- strongly implied that the GOP candidate is better qualified to be President than her fellow Democrat?

That's not the action of a "progressive" Democrat. That's the sort of party betrayal I expect from Joe Lieberman. If Obama had been playing footsie with his GOP opponent as much as Clinton has done this week, you'd be outraged. And rightfully so.

So again, what's with the blinders on the Clintons? You praise them for their tough, do-what-it-takes-to-win attitude ... but then you don't think they would ever play the race card? Bill knew what he was saying with the Jesse Jackson comment. He could've picked from a number of Democratic candidates who scored early victories, but he reached back 20 years ago to pick ... the black guy. By deliberately choosing to equate Obama with Jackson, Bill wanted to portray Obama as a fringe, black candidate with little hope of winning over the white voter ... and until this week, Obama has done pretty well on that score. (I believe he still scored about half of the white male vote in Ohio, which considering the lousy PR week he had, ain't too shabby.)

As for the press, they've played games with both sides for the sake of a good story. Obama was new and fresh; Hillary was a known quantity. And as a newspaper guy yourself, you know that the new stuff always makes for the better copy. Frankly, Hillary got a pretty cushy treatment during the month of February. Think about it: She lost 11 straight contests. Had she been, say, Rudy Giuliani, she would have been openly mocked in the press for refusing to get out of the race.

As for the right-wing religious nutjobs getting their minions to march in lockstep vs. Obama, two points: 1) They weren't successful in getting their followers to vote for GOP choice #1, Rudy. They hate McCain! 2) What, they would attack Obama ... but somehow go easier on Hillary? At best, this is a wash. There's no way most of those fanatics would vote for any Democrat.

In general, with regard to Hillary's electability, she probably would beat McCain -- and she should, especially if John "W." McCain continues to let Bush portray him as the candidate who will Stay The Course. But I'll say again that the GOP would love to run against her. Sure, Gore was a dope in 2000, but again, Bill Clinton isn't running. People, even Republicans, get weak at the knees around the Schmoozer-in-Chief (and that's a compliment -- he's damn talented), but I know quite a few moderate Republicans who are sane, rational people ... yet they go absolutely apeshit when Hillary's name is mentioned. And it seems the one thing that could unite a dispirited GOP votership is having their Antichrist, Hillary, as the opponent. Inexplicable.

Now is that rational? Is it fair to Hillary? No. But that's the way it is. People don't have the warm fuzzies for her like they do for Bill.

The best outcome that could come out of this tussle is that Obama gets to hone his "rapid response" team (which has been weak) and that any skeletons in Clinton's and Obama's closets come out now, rather than in August or September (which is why I'm concerned that Clinton seems to keep pushing off the release of her tax returns -- first, after Ohio & Texas, and now "mid-April," presumably after the Pennsylvania primary).

Ken Hart said...

Postscript: Now that Hillary has proclaimed her foreign policy superiority to the nation, she is being challenged on what she actually did. This was inevitable, and she should have foreseen it. Clumsy.

gonfalon priquer said...

After he co-opted them, the media assisted King George II in his 2000 coup of the presidency. But the mediots have raised the bar in 2008 with their Obama ass kissing. Maureen Dowd of the NYT has been portraying Hillary as an addled uber bitch for weeks. The Washington Post weighed in Sunday with this insidious commentary trash in covert Hillary bashing:

Terry in Dallas said...

As usual, the Hillary haters want it both ways. They want you to believe that she was some kind of manipulative co-president when she was in the White House, but when she tries to use some of that experience as a qualification to hold the office, she is just the ex-president's wife trying to use sleeping in the same bed as an accomplishment. She just can't win.

Frank said...

Yours is not a voice of reason as indicated by your article but that of desperation. The Clintons are master manipulators who who have underestimated their opponents by believing their own hype. Hillary now has the gall to ask to have the credentials of the Florida and Michigan delegations reinstated. Hillary has won Florida but as for Michigan, she did not play by the rules and did not withdraw her name from the ballot as the other candidates have. Since she was the only name on the ballot for the democratic party she of course won the nomination. Now she wants all of Michigan's democratic delegates to boot. Bottom line, I think that Hillary has too much excess baggage to become president--it would be politics as usual. Also, if Bill and Hillary are not careful they would be instrumental in dragging down the democratic party even further. As for now I don't know if the democratic party would survive a spectacle of a brokered convention--where it would be, 'politics as usual'.

Gonfalon Priquer said...

Obama's pedestal continues to shrink

AP story (truncated) from March 27:
WASHINGTON - White House hopeful Barack Obama suggests he would have left his Chicago church had his longtime pastor, whose fiery anti-American comments about U.S. foreign policy and race relations threatened Obama's campaign, not stepped down.
"Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church," Obama said Thursday during a taping of the ABC talk show, "The View." The interview will be broadcast Friday.
Asked about the controversy Wright's comments have created, Republican John McCain said while campaigning in Denver: "I can only say that I am sure, knowing Senator Obama, that he does not share the extreme views that were expressed that I saw on television."

Three conclusions:

1. Obama now apparently sets human resources policy for the Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago. Because his ambition was slightly derailed by a minister who has several thousand loyal worshippers, those several thousand loyal worshippers will not have their spiritual needs met by the man they came to see each week. Is Obama's gall only surpassed by his narcissism or vice versa?

2. McCain is licking his chops that Obama prevails. Think the POW would be this kissy face with a similar Hillary kerfuffle? Oh, that's right, McCain hasn't EVER responded to any of Hillary's bumps in the campaign road. The POW knows his best shot is against an untested demagogue who has a problem with southern voters.

3. Choosing the estrogen-packed View for this Uncle Tommish mea culpa is bullseye at Hillary's base. If Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton hadn't already been kneecapped by the Obama mafia, I would have delighted at their reaction to Friday's minstrel show.