The Long Defeat

Monday, March 24, 2008
You've gotta love David Brooks sometimes, even if he does shill for the NYT.

Hillary Clinton may not realize it yet, but she’s just endured one of the worst weeks of her campaign....

Last week, an important Clinton adviser told Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen (also of Politico) that Clinton had no more than a 10 percent chance of getting the nomination. Now, she’s probably down to a 5 percent chance....

For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound....

John McCain’s approval ratings have soared 11 points. He is now viewed positively by 67 percent of Americans. A month ago, McCain was losing to Obama among independents by double digits in a general election matchup. Now McCain has a lead among this group.

For three more months, Clinton is likely to hurt Obama even more against McCain, without hurting him against herself. And all this is happening so she can preserve that 5 percent chance.

When you step back and think about it, she is amazing. She possesses the audacity of hopelessness....

Why does she go on like this?...

The better answer is that Clinton’s long rear-guard action is the logical extension of her relentlessly political life.

For nearly 20 years, she has been encased in the apparatus of political celebrity. Look at her schedule as first lady and ever since. Think of the thousands of staged events, the tens of thousands of times she has pretended to be delighted to see someone she doesn’t know, the hundreds of thousands times she has recited empty clichés and exhortatory banalities, the millions of photos she has posed for in which she is supposed to appear empathetic or tough, the billions of politically opportune half-truths that have bounced around her head.

No wonder the Clinton campaign feels impersonal. It’s like a machine for the production of politics. It plows ahead from event to event following its own iron logic. The only question is whether Clinton herself can step outside the apparatus long enough to turn it off and withdraw voluntarily or whether she will force the rest of her party to intervene and jam the gears.

4 comments:

chuck said...

The campaign runs on money, when that's gone it's over. Meanwhile the consultants earn big bucks; a cynical man might argue that they won't walk away until they finish at the trough.

McCain is living proof that Woody Allen was right: 80% of success is showing up. In a year in which the Democrats were looking forward to a presidential landslide McCain, like Bush before him, has been blessed in his opponents. And if he does win the sweetest reward will be that the MSM will have once again have lost its war against the American people.

Knucklehead said...

Chuck,

I don't want to be misinterpreted as falling into the "Bush Sucks" camp (I still think when history examines his times dispassionately he'll be judged as having done a good job under lousy circumstances).

I was too young and dumb to have a clue re: Carter when he first ran. But from his attempt to get re-elected and through whomever the Democrats send forward in this coming election, there hasn't been a single Democrat candidate for POTUS that I would have considered voting for.

I can't for the life of me understand how grown people of reasonable intelligence and life experience voted for anyone on this list: Carter, Dukakis, B. Clinton I, Gore, Kerry, H. Clinton/Obama. I can't imagine the other candidate in any of those elections having been somebody even more distasteful to me.

I was happy with Reagan so I didn't give Mondale much thought, so he might be the single exception. He never made my skin crawl.

On the other side of the US political spectrum are the folks who can't fathom how on earth I could vote for Reagan (possibly the single exception), GHW Bush, Dole, GW Bush, and soon to be McCain. And I don't care much for McCain.

Each side looks at the other and wonders whether there is something seriously wrong deep within the brain.

Knucklehead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Knucklehead said...

hmmm... that's odd. Twice Blogger told me that it could not publish my comment. So if figgered screw it, it ain't worth a third try (it wasn't worth a second try). Then I look and boom, comment published twice. I'll go in and rid us of one.