Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The real reason:

The Booman looks at a story where the Clinton forces are talking about 'turning' pledged Obama delegates so that Hillary would have a fat margin of victory at the convention. Then he wonders why this is being pursued, and thinks out loud: (excerpts, emp add)
[First quoting from politico]
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides.
This stuff is just silly. It's never going to succeed, and even trying would destroy the Clintons' reputation, in both the party and the nation, irreparably. So, why are they pushing these types of stories in the press now?

One theory is that they need to provide some kind of rationale (a path to victory) to their financial contributors, no matter how implausible. Another theory is that is makes her look tough and willing to fight, and they hope that contrasts nicely with Obama's (seemingly) more laid back attitude. One way to raise doubt about Obama is to play to fears that he isn't tough enough to stand up to Republican assaults. Maybe stories like this are intended to feed that suspicion. I can't really think of any other theories.
The simplest answer is this:
This is Hillary Clinton's only chance for the presidency.
Being an also-ran for president when the Democrats lose still gives an opportunity to run again, and maybe secure the nomination, in four years. But that's not how the calendar works if Obama wins the nomination and likely general election. Then one of two things happen. President Obama has a bad term of office, but that's likely to mean a Republican winning in 2012. Or Obama does okay and wins a second term. But that's eight years and by that time all sorts of new faces will have emerged, making it very difficult for Hillary to make a run in 2016.

That's why the Clinton forces are going all out to get the nomination this year, even if it means trying to convince superdelegates and Obama delegates (!) to vote for Hillary at the convention this summer.

CODA: It would seem that as long as Hillary Clinton has a chance for the nomination (and presidency) people are holding their tongue because they don't want to incur the wrath of a powerful Democrat. But if Clinton stumbles in the next couple of months, to the point where Obama has secured the nomination, look for an unleashed verbal fury towards her, Bill, her campaign crew, and many of her most outspoken defenders.


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