Friday, March 21, 2008

Reality, Clinton, and the Political Media

Via Daily Kos, here's Politico coming around to reality:

One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.

Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.[emphasis mine]
Here on earth, it's time to stop pretending there is a race between Obama and Clinton. Here on earth, Obama has won, Clinton has lost.

So why the charade?

Clinton is willing to keep the charade going because she doesn't want to lose -- it must be degrading to be nothing more than the Senator from New York -- and because she still counts on the possibility of trashing Obama and cajoling enough super delegates to put her over the top. As with her practice of running television ads that endorse John McCain for president, this is astonishingly short-sighted. Supposing she did achieve victory by trashing Obama and pulling in enough superdelegates to override the will of Democratic voters, can she not see that her own party would despise her at the end of it, adding their merited disgust to the preternatural hatred that independents and Republicans have long held for her? Does she not see that uniting 100% of voters against her represents a flawed electoral strategy in November?

The political media are willing to perpetuate the Clinton-is-still-viable charade because conflict sells, and the internecine spats between Obama and Clinton fill news cycles. Democrats squabbling with Democrats is classic man bites dog.

This nonsense needs to stop.


mikesdak said...

From what I've seen the problem is finding someone she will listen to who is willing to tell her to quit.
I think the only one besides her who could say "it's over" and perhaps make it stick is Bill. Even if she didn't want to listen to him, enough people would that things would stop fairly quickly.

As for her talking up McCain, that's just crass, narrow-minded calculation. There seems to be a body of opinion that he would only serve one term, so she would get another shot in four years without an incumbent president in the way. Obama,by contact, would not only be more likely to run for a second term, but Clinton would have to try to beat an incumbent from her party, which is just about impossible; even Jimmy Carter got re-nominated.

The fact that what she's doing now would likely kill any shot later no matter who she's up against doesn't seem to matter to her. Again, maybe Bill could do something to stop this.

Dale said...

mike, Bill might be able to make some headway on this. Another thing would be if enough superdelegates grew the spine to mathematically close her out by signaling they'll be voting for Obama. I think it might do a world of good if enough of them simply said -- in public -- that they will under no circumstances (short of true emergency) support a candidate who loses on delegates, vote count, and states won. That is, they need to start making noises (clarion ones -- a signed petition?) that they are not going to do what she seems to want them to do --- overturn the expressed will of the voters. She should already know this is the reality of the situation, but obviously she has already shown a determination to live in a fantasy.

If superdelegates exist to protect the larger interests of the party -- and that is the argument for them -- then they can take concrete steps in that direction now.