Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hillary's Choice

Social networking sites notwithstanding, it is difficult at best to establish true and lasting friendships by way of the internet. At best, you can find kindred spirits with like tastes and interests. One of my internet kindred spirits - a fellow blogger at Read White and Blue - left a comment about one of my recent posts in which he took exception to my suggestion that Sen. Hillary Clinton "has run a largely flawless campaign." The intervening weeks have demonstrated that my thoughts on Ms. Clinton's campaign were less than prescient. Of course, the thing about hindsight is that the view is as clear as it is unforgiving.

Whether it has been "Debategate," "Kindergartengate," the whispering campaign about Sen. Barack Obama's supposed slush fund, the hoax e-mails about Obama being a Muslim or manufactured concerns about Republican operatives exploiting Obama's admitted past drug use (thankfully, the Clinton operative in question - Billy Shaheen - has resigned his position), it is clear that Clinton is pulling out all of the stops to staunch the flow of momentum (in both Iowa and New Hampshire) from her candidacy to Obama's.

Moreover, Hillary has hardly been helped by
the kerfuffle over Bill Clinton's public flip-flop on the Iraq War (as discussed by David Gregory on a recent episode of NBC's "Meet the Press"), the attempts by Sen. Clinton's "over-eager staffers and volunteers" to sandbag the progressive website Blue Hampshire or by Andrew Young's "endorsement" of Sen. Clinton (as discussed elsewhere.) Perhaps this is why Clinton insiders are expressing doubt about her top political aide, Mark Penn.

As alluded to elsewhere, the central conundrum of the Clinton campaign is that Hillary must appear to be both independent of and derivative of her husband. Her need to appear independent of her greatest patron is brought about by her campaign's basing the "inevitability" of her ascension on the thinnest of margins - that of independents and moderates who could see her as a separate political entity from Bill. To win in November 2008, Hillary must appear to be as sort of a "Bill-lite," with less scandal and great (political) taste.

The panic that Barack Obama's surge in the polls has inspired within the Clinton camp is palpable, especially as her machine is now attempting to destroy him personally as well as politically. What is less obvious is the outrage amongst African American liberals over Clinton's repeated smears. Issues aside, Obama is indeed the best and brightest politician that the black community has offered since the 1960s; as inartfully as they were articulated, Joe Biden's comments on Obama had the ring of truth. Beyond the 2008 elections, the question may well be how it is that Obama will hang on to his Senate seat after the drubbing that he has received lately. That fact alone makes Hillary's attacks all the more egregious.

It goes without saying that in politics, nothing is over until the last vote (popular, electoral or SCOTUS) is counted. For my own sake, I will lean on the wisdom of kindred spirits. Going forward, I will trust that - when the last votes are counted - their judgment will deny Hillary Clinton that which she most fervently desires, and that which our republic can least afford to grant.

1 comment:

Readwriteblue said...

Thanks for the mention. Mrs. Clinton is not her husband, by now that fact should be obvious to even the most zealous partisan. Her “dirty tricks” and her attempts at changing the topic have focused media attention on her personality, and that is the greatest weakness of her campaign. Mrs. Clinton is the worst example of political hubris, she is the inevitable choice, she deserves it, Republican women are waiting to vote for her quotes taken out of the play book of failed campaigns of the past and written on the tombstone of her presidential aspirations. She will cause more damage to those whom support her issues and sew division in her party.