Things I am passionate about. Injustice, stupidity, intolerance, bigotry and small-mindedness. Oh and there might just be some humor to offset the whole thing.

Clinton, Iron Lady, Needs Another Game Plan

Posted by morganwrites on February 16, 2008

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) — The task for the Clintons after a shocking third-place finish in last month’s Iowa caucuses was formidable: Convince the country that the guy they had fallen in love with was wrong for them.

Bill Clinton seized the spotlight by taking the low road with a goulash of ineffectual charges: Upstart Barack Obama would be a risky roll of the dice for the voters, a vague dreamer whose gauzy speeches were bereft of 10-point programs. On top of that, he charged the guys in the race with ganging up on his wife.

Senator Hillary Clinton, with 10-point programs to spare, took the high road, sticking mostly to policy but shedding a timely tear on the eve of the New Hampshire vote. She snapped back with a two-point win.

Clinton saw the New Hampshire result as her political resurrection, where she finally found her “voice.” But if the voice was different, the message was the same.

Her Lazarus-like win kept her from looking any further into why she lost so badly in Iowa. It put off any move to change her insular staff and validated her original strategy in which the primaries were a mere formality. Voters would coronate her partly because she had been first lady, because she was a Clinton, and because it was her turn after all she had been through.

It wasn’t as much a matter of competing as it was waiting until Super Tuesday to accept the crown.

Dark Days

Now the days ahead look darker than they did on that flight from Des Moines to Manchester.

On Feb. 12, Clinton was whomped in Virginia (64 percent to 35 percent), Maryland (60-37) and Washington, D.C. (75-24). Obama has now won 23 of their 35 contests.

She has an explanation for why each of Obama’s victories is inferior to hers. His wins are in teeny-weeny states (Virginia, Washington state, Missouri?) with large black populations (Iowa, Utah, Nebraska?). They are the result of independents and crossover Republicans who dilute the will of loyal Democrats, or they took place in caucus states that measure intensity not breadth (caucuses are suddenly bad for democracy).

Clinton is trying to pull a Rosie Ruiz. Ruiz, the putative winner of the Boston Marathon in 1980, actually sat out much of the race only to emerge near the finish line to claim victory. Clinton is virtually not running anywhere in February, planning to re-emerge in March to sprint to the finish line by triumphing in races in Texas and Ohio. Rudy Giuliani tried this in Florida, only to find that his chosen field of play would be his final resting place.

Just Didn’t Happen

Even as Clinton pretends that any primary she doesn’t win doesn’t count by refusing to congratulate the winner, Obama’s wins are getting bigger and broader. His coalition has expanded to include every age, education, region and income category, including those over 60 and those earning less than $50,000. Even white women — including the blue-haired ones who are most averse to “rolling the dice” — are moving toward him.

Everyone has been waiting for a shake-up of the Clinton team, but that would mean getting rid of her security blanket, Mark Penn, a major reason the campaign has burned through most of the money raised. Against all evidence that the populace already knew Clinton had a steel-trap brain and needed to be shown she had a heart, Penn insisted on an Iron Lady strategy of numbing recitations of memorized facts.

When it failed, titular campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle and her deputy were sacrificed.

Negative on Herself

Going forward, Clinton will push for more debates in which she can expose the naivete and inexperience of the untested Obama, while baiting the press into delving into his unexamined life. The latter effort is part of a major theme — that she can better withstand any Republican attack because she already has.

This is the first known instance of going negative against yourself — reminding people of your scandals to show you are scandal-proof.

Clinton’s best hope is to reverse her slide among women by resuming identity politics. The old guard of feminists, including Gloria Steinem, came to her defense when they saw the men in the race picking on her. Even when non-feminists saw an exhausted and worn-down Hillary get choked up at that Portsmouth diner, they remembered how often they have been underappreciated and overworked. Voting against a man is small compensation for it, but it’s better than nothing.

Clinton’s (and Obama’s) problem is that Democrats are experts at identity politics against Republicans, but not against each other.

Who Knew?

Who knew that a member of one protected species would be running against a member of another within the party? The groups to which they belong have front men and women ready to go off like a cheap car alarm at the least infraction.

The Clintons have suspended political correctness when necessary, labeling as unbalanced, a stalker, or a liar Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky. They did so against Obama but it didn’t work. Now Bill Clinton has gone quiet to try to get back his designation as the “first black president” tarnished in this campaign. The former Goldwater Girl and Wellesley alum never managed to be hailed as the first black first lady.

Hillary Clinton needs to answer Obama’s rhetoric of change with which he has subliminally conflated the Clintons, the Bushes, and everything wrong with Washington into a seamless whole that must be removed. She needs to do it quickly.

Hillary – You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.


2 Responses to “Clinton, Iron Lady, Needs Another Game Plan”

  1. gimmeabreak said

    another reason why barack obama is winning and hillary clinton is losing is because he has crafted his own language. And everybody else (except McCain and Giuliani) co-opted it. Hillary has attempted to co-opt the change message, and as soon as Edwards got out of the race, she took over his language “I am personally passionate about this issue.” Well being personally passionate about universal healthcare didn’t get us universal healthcare, did it? Even though her husband was president at the time.

    She didn’t find her voice in New Hampshire, she just got her vote. As soon as she got it, she forgot it because it wasn’t really her voice, it was just another tactic. Hillary’s voice is “me me me”

  2. gimmieabreak – You’re right on. This isn’t meant to be an ‘ad’ or self-promotion – but you might also want to visit for more stuff such as this.
    By the way – have you heard the scuttlebutt regarding McCain for Pres. and Condoleezza Rice as VP? Might be a tough act to follow – the Clintonians would have their heads handed to them – and it might bring the left leaning conservatives back to the table.
    How hard would this hit the Obama crowd?
    Thanks for commenting!

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