Thursday, March 13, 2008

Clinton loses... The end...

Hillary Clinton is irrelevant as a potential general election candidate. Her only meaning and influence from here on out relates directly to her ability to make things harder for Obama when he faces McCain.

If you're one of my few regular readers, you may have noticed that I discussed the upcoming general election in terms of Obama vs. McCain in my last post. I did away with the usual mention of a potential Clinton vs. McCain match up. That was an intentional decision.

Barack Obama will secure the Democratic nomination in Denver. Period. I don't care if Hillary wins Pennsylvania by 15%, she's not getting the nod. It's over.

In large measure it is about the math. She can't get the job done unless photos of Obama baking kittens while clad in a Nazi SS uniform suddenly appear (please, Photoshoppers, don't take that as a challenge). She's too behind in the delegate count. She's trailing in the popular vote. The math is her enemy and it's a very formidable foe.

Oh, I know, Hillary supporters think they have reason to believe she'll win. I read the arguments. They're all bullshit. Let's look at them for a minute, shall we?

It's the superdelegates! No shit, sherlock. Neither candidate will secure enough pledged delegates to win the nomination outright. Everyone in the world now knows that. However, the supers will not back a divisive candidate who trails in the delegate count and the popular vote. It just won't happen. More on this as we go through more specific make-believe ways Hillary can win.

Never count a Clinton out! This is myth. Clintons are "fighters"? Maybe. However, the "comeback kid" story of Bill Clinton is more a creative retelling of history from those who bought his campaign's talking points at the time. No Clinton has ever shown an ability to come from behind in some sort of miracle finish to win an election. Hillary certainly hasn't evidenced this skill. New Hampshire? Yeah, she finished third in Iowa--by a percentage point or two--in a tight three-way race. That is not evidence of an ability to do the impossible. It's a blip. A meaningless little blip. The Clinton Comeback Skill is pure mythology.

Momentum! This is a silly little media concept that "keeps things interesting". Just pause and think about all of the alleged momentum shifts we've seen over the past few months. What's happened? Slowly, but surely, Obama's delegate lead has increased. The momentum stories are fantasy ratings fodder. Momentum, by the way, is incapable of erasing history.

Big States! Hillary wins the big states, thus she should win the nomination, they say. Ain't gonna happen. The supers, many of whom don't hail from big states, are not going to make the most public vote of their lives in a way that discounts the value of individual Democrats in smaller states. There's the whole question of how Clinton backers define "big" and "little", too. Plus, there's the usually unmentioned fact that absent Clinton, Obama wins those states. Big blues are going to stay big blue with either candidate.

Red States! Obama wins red, Clinton wins blue. Thus, we need Hillary. That's the story. Obama isn't going to win those red states in the general, so we need to ignore them. Another fantasy. First off, that position runs contrary to the 50 state DNC strategy ushered in by Howard Dean. Supers aren't going to turn their back on the master plan for the sake of Hillary's convenience. Plus, you have the problem of pissing on red state Democrats to contend with if you follow that logic. Remember, those red state Dems do write donation checks. They do matter. Oh, and many superdelegates actually live in those red states. They aren't going fly in the face of the math for the sake of facilitating another Clinton White House.

Buyer's Remorse! According to some Hillary backers, her recent performance improvement may be indicative of "buyer's remorse" among earlier Obama voters. First, no one is gonna buy the line that we should ignore the will of earlier voters because they've seen more of the candidates now. That would, obviously, completely invalidate the entire primary process and that's not something your average superdelegate is ready to do. Second, there's no real evidence to suggest that earlier voters would actually do anything differently. It's just a leap of logic across the boundaries of demographics and geography on the part of Clinton supporters.

Electability! Clinton would do better against McCain, thus superdelegates should side with Hillary. There are problems with that argument, too. First, it isn't really an argument. It's a recitation of the campaign's message, a message that has led to an insurmountable Obama lead. The story hasn't worked overall. Any reason it would work with superdelegates? Of course not. Plus, the actual polling data (although very suspect) doesn't support the conclusion.

Michigan and Florida! Who gives a shit? This may have mattered around Super Tuesday when people were doing their calculations, but it's meaningless now. Give Clinton Florida and Michigan and she's still gonna fall short on both the popular vote front and the delegate front. Plus, there is that sticky issue of the actual rules with which Hillary earlier agreed.

Caucuses don't count! Well, that's a neat idea. If caucuses didn't count, Clinton is winning. If nachos and Coke didn't make you fat, I'd weigh 160. They count. Period. The superdelegates aren't going to tell a huge percentage of the population that their opinions don't really matter because the process isn't as clean as a traditional primary. Caucuses have always counted and they will continue to count. The end.

Barack Obama wins. End of story. Hillary Clinton is irrelevant as a potential general election candidate. Her only meaning and influence from here on out relates directly to her ability to make things harder for Obama when he faces McCain. She doesn't have a prayer of winning. Not a prayer.

Hillary, it's over.

I've known this for a few weeks. Maybe longer. But like so many other people, I've been caught up in the noise and the distraction of the campaigning. We tend to get hung up on various trees like plagiarism (now an oldie but a goodie), Ferraro, etc. instead of looking at the big old Obama National Forest.

I actually heard a TV "analyst" wondering aloud if Clinton could win by a large enough margin in Pennsylvania to "keep things interesting". They want the story to continue. It was the same thing on a smaller scale with Huckabee for awhile. It's better television, radio, and print if Clinton is in there doing her crazy-ass thing. It makes things more interesting. It changes nothing, however, in terms of selecting the Democratic candidate for the presidency.

Obama won. Clinton lost.

Now let's see what kind of mess she can make out of her graceless defeat.


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1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful post; it articulates and confirms all the thoughts that have been swirling - muted but persistant - in my own mind since March 5. Bravo, and thrice, bravo!!!