Friday, March 14, 2008

Luck Be A Lady Tonight

The race for the Democratic nomination has reached crunch time. I know that we are six weeks away from the Pennsylvania primary, but with no actual voting to distract anyone, the Clinton campaign is headed into to high gear to try and prove that Barack Obama is unfit to serve as President. Hell, by the time they are done with him, they may be saying that he's unfit to be a Senator.

Yesterday, Mark Penn said that Obama was unelectable. The campaign quickly tried to cover its tracks by trying to deny that he ever said that, but the quote had already been sent out over various outlets. Some will say that it was simply a mistake on his part, but I think that every statement that comes out of the campaign is based on pure calculation. They believe that the only way to win the nomination is drive Obama's negatives up. Clearly they have been unsuccessful in bringing hers down, so in order to level the playing field, they have to make sure that Obama is unpopular as her or is seen as unfit for the job. The various fictional "thresholds" that they have now said that he doesn't meet are just part of an overall strategy to convince the super delegates that nominating him would be a mistake. Apparently the only arbiter of whether someone has crossed these "thresholds" is Clinton herself.

She continues to stump for John McCain by saying that clearly he has crossed these "thresholds" as has she. Obama meanwhile is left out of the threshold club because the only thing he has EVER done is give an anti-war speech in 2002. By hammering home this point (which is repeated every day by the press), she give the super delegates cause to doubt Obama. Of course her foreign policy "experience" was mainly accompanying her husband when he was President. She has claimed that she played a "major" part in various international crises, but there is little evidence of that. That has not stopped her from trumpeting that experience as proof of her readiness to be Commander-in-Chief.

The Geraldine Ferraro fiasco is just another example of a calculated attempt to inflame an already delicate situation. Hillary has made various appeals to women voters based solely on her gender. Can you imagine the uproar if Obama made a similar appeal? First off all it would polarize the voters to an even greater extent than they are today and it would diminish his campaign to the point of being a footnote. However Hillary Clinton is allowed to make this appeal because, dare I say, she's "lucky" to be who she is. Geraldine Ferraro made, then repeated, then defended her ridiculous claims without a particularly strong response from the Clinton camp. The reason? They wanted the discussion to take place. They wanted people to ruminate about how exactly it was that Hillary was being beaten by a black man. Now most objective observers would point to the fact that he has run a brilliant campaign, mobilized a new segment of voters and generally had a better ground game than Hillary, but for those who are willing to ignore the facts, here was an argument that they could use. She wasn't losing to a better candidate; she was losing to a candidate who had all the breaks. This was just another chance for the Clinton camp to get out the message that she is a victim. First of the vast right wing conspiracy, then of the press and now she's a victim because she had the unfortunate lot to run against a "lucky" candidate. I am not suggesting that the Clinton campaign instructed Ferraro to make the statement. I'm sure that they had nothing to do with her tirade, but once it was out in the open, they saw how they could use it to their advantage. By not immediately taking a strong stand against it and asking Ferraro to immediately resign her post on the finance committee, (they called the incident "unfortunate"), they allowed the issue to linger much longer than it should have. They took out their calculators and decided that this would be the better (albeit sleazy) way to go.

I am somewhat awed by the genius of the campaign. They have switched tactics in mid stream and have turned their campaign of inevitability into a campaign of pure destruction. They have taken the reigns of the press coverage and now control the tone of the campaign and what is covered is each day (usually Obama reacting to a new attack). Last week Obama's camp put out a statement in which they had legitimate questions about Hillary's claims of foreign policy experience. It laid out point by point her claims and basically refuted her statements of having played an important part in any foreign policy matter during her husbands’ presidency. The press gave it zero coverage. There was nothing. Not a peep. The big story that day was about Hillary saying that she might consider having Obama as her Vice President. Clearly anyone who has been watching the campaign closely knows that Obama is not going to take the #2 spot, especially in a White House where Bill Clinton would be the de facto Vice President. Her remark was designed to get press coverage and get press coverage it did. She accomplished a few things, she got people thinking about Obama as a VP as opposed to President, showed that despite the bitterness of the campaign, she really was all about uniting the party and kept the press from reporting on a story with actual substance.

The stories will continue to come out every day from Camp Clinton and with each passing day they will probably get more and more ridiculous. They will continue to tear down this "lucky" man unless someone can put an end to this (where are you Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Bill Richardson, Al Gore, John Edwards?). We have six more weeks of this to look forward to. I say this to anyone who thinks that Obama is "lucky", you should come to New York and see just how "lucky" he is as he tries to hail a cab.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton is a White woman of privilege. Only such a person, with such a smug, and such an ultimately blinding posture of entitlement would even entertain the idea that anybody is lucky to be Black in this country, or even this planet. But back to Geraldine Ferraro, who actually made the comment, and won't back away from it: does "Ole Miss Geraldine" think Hillary Clinton is lucky to have been married to one of the most popular presidents in history? Because I don't even think we'd know who the fuck she is, if she hadn't been married to Bill Clinton. I'm surprised at this from Ferraro, even as a calculated political move, and frankly it's the kind of thing Barbara Bush would say. But all three of these women have something in common... They were all lucky enough to have been born White and rich in America.