Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Scrappy fighters:

Put aside any feelings, pro or con, about Hillary Clinton's campaign for the nomination. In terms of pure politics it's fascinating to see how she's trying to use all sorts of ways to affect the spin and the delegate process. Here is a partial list:
  • Using the ex-president in an attack-dog mode. Bill saying that
    • Obama is a lightweight.
    • The non-poor (whoever that is) don't "need" a president and so they can indulge in gravitating around a charismatic Obama (and conversely, if you "need" a president, then Hillary is the one).
    • Obama's win in South Carolina was a 21st century version of Jesse Jackson's wins.
  • The last minute challenge to the Nevada caucus rules (a challenge explicitly supported by Bill) after an unfavorable union endorsement of Obama.
  • Claims by Clinton campaign staff that various demographic groups supporting Obama mean that his political strength is overrated (either within the Democratic party or at the national level).
  • Saying that Obama's win in several states (red or small) shouldn't impress anyone since those states will go Republican in the fall or not amount to many Electoral College votes.
  • Dismissing losses in caucus states by saying that the process involves demographics (activists, slightly better educated, non poor) that's not purely representative.
  • Failure to remove Clinton's name from the Michigan primary ballot while Obama and Edwards had. (And don't be fooled into thinking it was a mere "oversight" the paperwork wasn't done.)
  • Currying favor (or at least not offending) Iowa and New Hampshire by agreeing with the disenfranchisement of Florida and Michigan and then saying afterwards that those primaries should count.
  • The pitch to get superdelegates (which were designed for the most part to deal with a 3-or-more contest where no single candidate has a majority) and asserting that in some way they are better representatives of the Democratic party.
  • The latest move to switch pledged Obama delegates to support Clinton at the convention.
Will it work? Probably not, but it's a good example of going all out to win.


They were "going all out to win..." if you forget they actually gave up trying to persuade voters in every contest to come out and support them in caucuses and primaries. Particularly after Feb 5.

They are moving the pine needles around on the ground and have forgotten that there are many individual trees -- not to mention a whole forest -- to contend with.

Reminds me of a quote I read from Obama (or one of his team) about how all the Clintonistas maneuverings were "tactical" -- implying, as is now pretty obvious, that they lacked an overall strategy to win the nomination.

And I guess a lot of this reflects in part upon the team they have. Penn, whose "microtrends" makes the argument that large trends are over. Therfore slivering up the populus and going after the shards independently is the way to go. Couple that with a team that has a lot of machine and party stalwarts who then have to push every lever of insider power to rescue the campaign from a moribund strategy.

It appears to be failing. And I'll be glad if it does. It's stomach-turning to observe.

By Blogger riffle, at 2/19/2008 7:48 AM  

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