Thursday, June 5, 2008

It Was Always Evitable

This snippet from Michael D. expresses a seemingly common take on the end of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign:

At the same time, I really kind of feel for her. For years, it has been assumed that Hillary Clinton would be the first woman president of the United States. It was also assumed, rightly or wrongly, that this would happen this year, and I have no doubt that was in her plans (and those of the Democratic Party) all along. At the beginning of this campaign, nearly all of us assumed she would be the nominee until this phenomena named Barack Obama joined the race.
I really kind of feel for her too on a human level, despite the many criticisms I've thrown her way over these last months. But from there I part ways with this interpretation, foremost with the claim that she was once inevitable as the Democratic nominee. I never saw it that way, and I never saw it that way because in all my mingling with Democrats and miscellaneous liberals, I have never experienced a strong enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton (or Bill Clinton for that matter). I think Democrats have been eager to find an alternative to the Clintons for a long time, tempered with a paralyzing dread of nominating another John Kerry or Mike Dukakis.

Maybe this sounds odd to non-American readers, all the more so in light of her relative success in the campaign, but the Clintons' success and popularity has always been -- if you'll forgive a sports metaphor -- a function of team loyalty. The love for the Clintons has always been the love you feel for your alma mater's starting forward, a love you'll willingly qualify with a long list shortcomings so long as you're among fellow fans. But when she's on the field, and especially when she's being battered by the cheats, fouls, and dirty tricks of the big rival, you root for her.

I am not surprised she didn't win; I am actually surprised she came so close to winning.

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