the hillary thang

Some end of primary punditry. The main question seems to be: what is to be gained for Hillary by pushing it to the bitter end? I’ll toss out some ideas:

  1. 2004 and 2008 were Hillary’s best window of opportunity. She had the money, the unquestioned authority and there was no incumbent. There is also a self-destructing GOP party. In 2012, there will likely be Obama II, and 2016 will have Obama’s VP as the incumbent. Even if Obama loses this year, Hillary might have to battle Obama again, Obama’s VP choice, or any Democrat who realized that the emperor has no clothes. Same goes for 2016. Also, the 90s voters who bolstered Hillary will be getting pretty old. To add insult to injury, even if Obama doesn’t win, he has already reshaped the party in a post-Clinton mold. Add to the mix that the GOP might be stronger in later years, and it’s easy to see it’s now or never for Hillary.
  2. Harold Ickes: This is the guy who insisted that Ted Kennedy take it to the convention and he’s now one of Hillary’s chief lieutenants. Simply put, the guy loves never ending political street fights, even if it’s ultimately futile.
  3. Politics as a way of life: As I mentioned in another post about Hillary’s popularity in the party, she’s done nothing but politics since she was in college. Most of her jobs have been in government, in campaigns, or in law firms close to political elites. Though she’s only been the candidate recently, she’s been running campaigns since 1972. She’s a “fighter” is an understatement. She lives for this stuff. Heck, her senior thesis was all about the importance of establishment politics.
  4. Kitchen Sink Personality: There’s much evidence that Hillary is not a person who solves problems though diplomacy. Rather, she’s a tenacious “kitchen sink” lawyer. It’s about winning battles by being the last person standing and undermining the arguments of the other side, not constructing new coalitions.
  5. The VP slot: The main way to avoid the problems of #1 is to get on the VP slot. Rather than quietly lobby, which is the Obama style, she’ll make a public push for it. What she’ll realize is that Obama owes her nothing and he won’t be intimidated by any rhetoric of party splitting. But it’s worth a shot.
  6. It’s the Money: Counting self loans, Hillary 2008 is about $30 million + in debt and you can’t take senate or general election money to pay it off. She needs to stretch it out so people can give and whittle down the debt. Obama can only raise so much to help her out.
  7. History: Maybe she really just wanted to make the point that she wasn’t a quitter. And after all, in a democracy, we don’t declare the winner until the votes are finally counted. And if 50 states stretched over 6 months, so be it.

The history books will reveal it’s probably all of the above.

Written by fabiorojas

June 6, 2008 at 12:01 am

2 Responses

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  1. I suspect “all of the above” is probably right, but I also think there’s a strong element of second-wave feminism that informs this. Clinton seems to have been convinced that the worst thing a woman candidate can be is weak — to wit, Pat Schroeder’s 1988 performance. (full disclosure: I worked on Schroeder’s campaign in ’88.)

    The other thing to say about all this is that it’s really the result of a bizarre, cobbled-together voting structure in which one of the big movers, rarely analyzed but often crucial, is time. To wit, the media’s question of whether Obama could “close the deal,” a really strange metaphor since the people he was “dealing” with changed from primary to primary! If interested:



    June 6, 2008 at 2:27 am

  2. Explanation #1 seems logical, but I suspect the decision-making isn’t as rational as that. I think Barry Staw’s “Knee Deep In The Big Muddy” might have been appropriate bedside reading for the Clinton camp…



    June 6, 2008 at 3:39 am

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