Hillary Lost Years Ago, No Matter What Happens in Pennsylvania
Submitted by pmcarpenter on Sat, 04/19/2008 - 6:57am.
THE FIFTH COLUMNIST
by P.M. Carpenter
Plowing through stories on the Clinton camp's latest and forever mutable strategy to still win this thing in the 42nd round, or 18th inning, or fifth quarter or some other metaphor of prolonged desperation has become, it seems, our national pastime. It's as though Harold Stassen were back, and this time everyone has been ordered by journalistic edict to take him seriously.
Some of these stories of Clintonian woe doused in inveterate struggle are more entertaining than others, and in turn some ledes are better yet, and I found this one, from the New York Times, to be especially delightful:
Throughout their contentious debate on Wednesday, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton tried again and again to put Senator Barack Obama on the defensive in a pointed attempt, her advisers say, to raise doubts about his electability among a small but powerful audience: the uncommitted superdelegates who will most likely determine the nomination.
What, I hear you ask, was so entertaining about that one-sentence passage? Well, it's the kind of thing that requires a moment of silence and actual minute of thought to set in, but when it does, the literary irony is amusing indeed.
Permit me to summarize.
Senator Clinton's principal strategic thrust, we're told, is to "raise doubts about [Obama's] electability." Think about that. Here's a New York Senator who had been in the national news for nearly 20 years with a name ID as powerful as Elvis; a U.S. senator whose husband was President of the United States for two terms which are now downright nostalgic; a senator who began this presidential contest 18 months ago with an aura of inevitability that nearly eliminated any internal party competition from the get-go; and a senator who had all the early money wrapped up and put away, along with virtually all the party bosses and top political strategists.
Now, at the tail end of all those immense advantages and standing on the edge of possibly her final catastrophic abyss, Hillary's chief strategic thrust, we and the uncommitted superdelegates are informed, is to raise doubts about Obama's electability.
It is hubris like that that makes politics such a durable and delightful pastime. In one election cycle alone Hillary has compressed all the neverending optimism of Stassen's lifetime of career comebacks; I'm only sorry that Harold didn't try the "unelectability" gambit against Papa Bush in 1992. Then Bill would have really had a race on his hands.
Just to conclude the Times' coverage before moving along, Hillary's strategy isn't working too well. Reports the paper: "Despite giving it her best shot in what might have been their final debate, interviews on Thursday with a cross-section of these superdelegates ... showed that none had been persuaded much by her attacks on Mr. Obama’s strength as a potential Democratic nominee."
Details that followed were, for Mrs. Clinton, all downhill.
And that, in my opinion, has always been Hillary's real inevitability. She doomed herself not a few months ago by failing to put Obama away in an early offensive, but in 2002 by her own voice -- by her own hand, so to speak -- when she announced "aye" to the Iraq war. It was then, in October of that year, on the 11th of that month, that she sowed the seeds of her own political destruction and sealed her fate.
[Use link above to continue reading]