Monday, June 09, 2008

Hosing Down Hillary’s Heated Howlers

At some point in her life, well before Jan. 20, 2007, when she announced she was a presidential candidate, Sen. Hillary Clinton knew she wanted to run for president. Was that fateful realization 30 years ago? Was it 20 years ago, or 10?

Don’t know. But we know it’s been on her mind for years.

On Sat., June 7, Clinton “suspended” her campaign. For this season, her run for the White House ended when she endorsed her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama. Given how long she had dreamed of being president -- the first female president -- her performance on Saturday must have tested her self control like few things she’s had to do before.

In order to satisfy the many agendas of those who were paying close attention to what she said, and just how she said it, Clinton had some high hurdles to clear. In general, it seems her speech was well received. On MSNBC, Olbermann and Matthews practically gushed over her performance, acting as if they were smitten adolescents mooning over a glamorous actress or chanteuse. It was kind of funny.

In my view, Hillary did fine on Saturday. She said many of the right things. Still, her speech did not raise the bar to a new level for concession speeches. For starters, remember Al Gore in 2000? Clinton made a good start in the process of turning her following toward the general election. More work needs to be done.

Now the gears have turned and the new storylines are: Who’s on the shortlist for Veep? How did Obama win? How did Clinton lose?

As for the Veep, my thoughts about the three Virginians being touted are:
  • Gov. Tim Kaine won't resign, because Virginia governors simply don't do that, especially if it hands the keys to the Governor's Mansion to the other party. Besides, Kaine is probably going to be VCU's next president.
  • While I supported Sen. Jim Webb from the start, and I love the job he is doing, Webb has only been in office 17 months. Although his military expertise would help the ticket, somewhat, he doesn't bring much to the table other than that.
  • Warner is the best fit -- with his widespread popularity and executive experience -- but unless the sky falls, he's set to defeat Gilmore in November. That works toward giving the Democrats a larger majority in the Senate. Assuming the Democrats have someone waiting in the wings who could offer the same certainty of picking up a seat in the Senate is a reach. Plus, I think Warner still doesn't want to subject his family to a national campaign, and that's why he dropped out of the presidential race when he did.
Beyond that trio, there are lots of other Democrats who should be considered. But it’s way too early to expect much to happen on this matter for several weeks.

Obama won because he was the best candidate for this year. His campaign was managed about as well as such a thing can be done. On Sunday the Chicago Tribune ran a good piece, written by John McCormick, on Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe (pronounced Pluff).
Marking one of the biggest upsets in U.S. political history, Obama himself saluted his behind-the-scenes general at the start of his victory speech last week in St. Paul. "Thank you to our campaign manager David Plouffe, who never gets any credit, but who has built the best political organization in the country," he said.
Click here to read the entire article.

A year ago, Clinton seemed the best candidate. In politics a year is long time. Over that year many things happened that fell Obama’s way. But when the breaks didn’t fall his way, his campaign stayed on course; it never lost its focus or its cool.

As for why Clinton was beaten in the contest for delegates, there will be no end to sorting through the debris from her precedent-setting, yet failed, run. My take on it is that her campaign staff devised a strategy that served her poorly. Once they realized it, after the early primaries, her strategists seemed unable to go to Plan B.

But Clinton’s biggest problem was that with Obama gaining momentum in January and February, she just found herself to be stale news -- her time for capturing the flag had passed. And, speaking of a politician's time passing, former superstar Bill Clinton needs to be put out to pasture.

Writing for Slate, Meghan O'Rourke has an interesting slant on Clinton’s loss.
Clinton didn't trust that the message of revolution embodied in her candidacy could animate American voters, particularly male voters. And she lacked the courage of her young, ecstasy-seeking self. And so she sent the message that gender was not a factor. Presumably, she did this based on the reasonable assumption that it was politically perilous to be a woman. But the paradox is that in taking the safe tack she thought made her more electable, she actually made herself less electable. She presented herself as a hard-bitten Washington insider, running on experience when a lot of American voters, particularly young women, were looking for transformation.
Click here to read the entire article.

Others will see in Clinton’s inability to best Obama what they want to see. What Democrats ought to see is that they will have one of the best political orators anybody has heard in a long time at the top of their ticket.

Meanwhile, Clinton’s most disappointed followers should stop howling the same angry talking points they were pushing before the concession speech. They should stop attacking Obama as a thief who stole something they thought they owned. Moreover, isn’t it preposterous to claim that millions of broken hearted Clinton supporters will actually be happier with a Republican in the White House for four more years?

It’s Hillary Clinton’s job now to hose down her most overheated howlers and pull as many of them as she can onto the Obama bandwagon. Sadly, with the triple-digit heatwave still underway, a few of them may spontaneously burst into flames, leaving behind only their smoldering running shoes.


Anonymous said...

How to talk to non-Obama supporter

you need to read that

and you need to lose expressions such as "hose down her supporters"

openly disrespecting people is not a way to win their votes.

mostly, I would leave it alone for a few weeks, and then I would make respectful overtures.

nobody likes a sore winner.


F.T. Rea said...


If I refuse to validate the victimhood that some of Clinton’s most strident supporters insist on wallowing in, I’m being disrespectful?

If I won’t join in the criticism of Obama’s volunteers that Clinton’s volunteers want to perpetuate, to show how much pain they’re still in because they lost, I’m a sore winner?

If I use a metaphor that seems at least somewhat apt in a 100 degree heat-wave -- “hose down,” meaning to attempt to cool off -- then I need to click on a link to read more about the perpetual pain of those who have been wearing reality blinders for months?

“Hose down” was just a playful turn of phrase in an analytical post that mostly showed plenty of respect for all candidates mentioned.

Hey, the last time you commented at SLANTblog, maybe a year or so ago, wasn't the issue that you couldn’t get a joke in a cartoon’s caption? Then later, your wrote "oops"?

Alice, maybe you need to get a sense of humor. And, perhaps a bunch of disappointed volunteers/supporters need to cool off.

Anonymous said...

maybe you need to get a sense of humor.

Promise me that you won't do any voter contact work that involves women. I know that Obama is wildly popular in the greater Richmond area, he is popular throughout the Chesapeake area, but there are many voters who have very serious doubts. Your approach is not going to win those votes.

This election is not about me, it is not about you, it is about voters. I am trying to offer you a clue as to how to approach Clinton voters.

Seriously, "hosing down" is very, deeply, offensive. It is dehumanizing. Instructing people that they need a sense of humor just makes it worse. It isn't funny. Trust me, it isn't funny.

It is your blog, but calling people "howlers" is not going to get you anywhere.


F.T. Rea said...


Good grief!

Katey said...

"It’s Hillary Clinton’s job now to hose down her most overheated howlers and pull as many of them as she can onto the Obama bandwagon."

Um...what about this is offensive? She DOES need to help her most rabid supporters "cool down" and support the nominee. I don't see the problem here.