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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Don't Be Estes Kefauver, Hillary

After a disastrous North Carolina and Indiana primary (at the time of writing, the latter is down to the wire, but it's already a moral defeat for the New York Senator), it is time for Hillary Rodham Clinton to evaluate her chances to stay in this race.

Does she soldier on, undeterred, counting on her own pluck, drive, and just plain naked ambition? Or does she call it a day and concede the nomination?




If the latter, what is next for Senator Clinton?

A lot of pundits and voters are already shouting "Veep", in an obvious allusion to her being offered and accepting the Vice-Presidential spot, which suddenly looks to be her only bet this year.

Will this woman, who was already an allegorically romantic heartbeat away from the Presidency, decide to ride shotgun to Senator Barack Obama?

There are so many variables, our heads fairly reel.

First, it's not a given that his position is strengthened with Mrs. Clinton as his Vice-President. She is still divisive enough (and this is an important point) in their OWN Party, not to warrant this offer.

Having brought the Democratic Party to where it lies today, 7 May 2008, battered by the constant primaries, hungry for direction, and finality, a lot of Democrats are placing the blame directly on Hillary Clinton for it.

Secondly, there is no love lost between the candidates.

This has never stopped marriages of convenience in politics, (and indeed, Senator and President Clinton are no strangers to this cynical modus vivendi) which one only has to mention John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to bear witness to that fact.

But whereas Jack Kennedy later fashioned a rogue's appreciation for the Texan, Senators Obama and Clinton might have precious little commonality of experience, generational or perhaps even ideological, to do so.

This strikes people as impossible, given that their positions are rather similar on paper.

But when you consider that as insiders the Clintons had all the pull in the Democratic Party until now, as moderate DLCers, and they now have to kowtow to their more fashionally liberal and younger counterparts in Barack and Michelle Obama, this is a daunting task for them.

In a few months, they both went from the future of their Party, to its discarded, tawdry past.

I genuinely think they won't be able to do it.

And yes, it's going to be a dual-decision (or else the Clintons might go their separate ways...at last).

As ex-President Bill Clinton looked on, haggard and disquietened beyond recognition, Hillary Clinton gave perhaps her last real hurrah in tonight's premature victory speech.

A man who won it all, as he has, perhaps knows the margin at the time was ludicrous, and she stood no chance from thereonin.





Above all, I believe it's a tactical mistake for Hillary Clinton to continue to challenge for the White House in 2008. Furthermore, I think it would be political suicide for her to accept any Vice-Presidential approaches from Senator Obama.

If she does, and what I believe will happen, does; namely that Senator McCain will win handily over Senator Obama come November, she'll have hitched her wagon to a loser.

Just like Estes Kefauver did in another very tight nomination process, albeit for the Vice-Presidency itself, in 1956.

You'll remember it was he and the self-same Jack Kennedy who were vying for the second spot, which was thrown to the convention delegates to decide. Estes won that, but lost the general election behind an aloof, elitist, and intellectual candidate in the person of Adlai E. Stevenson.





Stevenson, that other soigné man from Illinois who spoke in ringing phrases, and whose intellectual talents were greatly esteemed by his supporters, was amongst the first modern Democratic politicians to fit the progressive mold of today: dismissive of the very electorate he sought to court.

When he was told that most thinking people were behind him, he chuckled saying that's not enough. "I need a majority."

...an attitude but one remove from "bitter voters" who cling to their guns and religion.

Years later, when the election was over, and Kennedy had won the Presidency on his own, he reminisced on what would've been.

He remembered his fallen brother Joe Jr., saying that in all probability he might've fought harder for the Vice-Presidential spot in '56, but then he would've been tagged a loser in the American psyche after losing the general election (something very few men can overcome, like his eventual opponent, Richard M. Nixon miraculously did).

The loss rankled him deeply, but with his keen political instincts, he knew later it had been the absolutely right decision.

Gracefully uniting her Party, by her own yielding, could put Hillary Clinton back on the stage, in a much more favourable light than she currently has now with so many Democrats.

And it could set up a very successful run at the whole enchilada again, in 2012, especially if President John Sidney McCain III turns out to be an one-termer -- by dint of age, failure of leadership or economy, or just plain voter fatigue.

It will be a very interesting night, perhaps day, and certainly months ahead.





Perhaps she can take her cue from Adlai Stevenson himself, who with the wisdom of the twice vanquished said,

"The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning."


Related

Jasmyne Cannick Reports Obama is the Future, Hillary is the Now
Is Barack Obama the Second-Coming of Stevenson?
Malkin references Hillary's Electibility Shield Being Deactivated
Instapundit links to the Power of Political Staging
Power Line Thinks Hillary Will Stay In It
Clinton Aides Po-Faced

Labels: , , ,

20 Comments:

  • I don't think Clinton will drop out *now* of all times. She has two gigantic wins coming soon (West Virginia and Kentucky), and possibly a third in Puerto Rico. But of course that's one reason why the party folks want to pressure her now.

    And I think after that she's looking to 2016, not 2020. Perhaps by then she'll be a pro-war candidate again.

    By Blogger JSU, at Wed May 07, 05:15:00 am GMT-4  

  • Hey JSU. ;)

    I don't think Clinton will drop out *now* of all times.

    Well, after posting, Indiana FINALLY went to Clinton. Using my Clintonesca Mind Reading Ray, obviously the family which refuses to go out under any circumstances, but kicking and screaming, will not quit now.

    She has two gigantic wins coming soon (West Virginia and Kentucky), and possibly a third in Puerto Rico. But of course that's one reason why the party folks want to pressure her now.

    The news pundits on both Fox and CNN congratulate her on her extraordinary staying power.

    MSNBC, which have really reached ridiculous partisan levels far beyond anything journalistically professional, basically says she should go, or else.

    Somewhere in between, are the people who are watching all of this, and let me tell you -- people are not at all amused.

    Not sure if you are getting that sense from your interactions, but that's what I get from my varied acquaintances of all political stripes, JSU. What say you?

    And I think after that she's looking to 2016, not 2020. Perhaps by then she'll be a pro-war candidate again.

    Heh.

    She'll have obliterated an ex-husband or two by then...

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed May 07, 05:25:00 am GMT-4  

  • Incidentally I thought, with your last post in mind, that another Instapundit bit was more telling than the one you linked:

    [Paul Begala] "We cannot win with egg heads and African-Americans. OK, that is the Dukakis Coalition, which carried ten states and gave us four years of the first George Bush."

    By Blogger JSU, at Wed May 07, 05:25:00 am GMT-4  

  • Yes, I saw that! Thanks.

    Of course, I couldn't agree more. And it goes to my simile that Obama is the new Stevenson, down to the egghead tag.

    One thing that this campaign has done, is to open my eyes to black blogs such as the top most I linked to today.

    The blogger says what Americans need are more Reverend Wrights.

    Now, I realise there are all types of opinions and diverse viewpoints out there.

    But my word, there is a huge disconnect between certain Obama supporters, and the rest of America.

    I am terribly afraid for the horrible letdown they will feel, should something go awry this year, whether Party or national defeat.

    They just don't see it coming.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed May 07, 05:29:00 am GMT-4  

  • Hey Vic, you're awake!

    people are not at all amused

    Oh, I dunno. Schadenfreude at the state of the *Democratic* race is pretty much the only thing bitter (ahem) conservatives have to cling (ahem) to these days.

    And oops! I meant "2012, not 2016"!

    By Blogger JSU, at Wed May 07, 05:30:00 am GMT-4  

  • I note you leave out, I assume for delicacy, the amusing truth: Ike was *much* smarter than Stevenson, who seems to have been the first of the Gore-like pseudointellectuals puffed up by the same press that thought Reagan stupid.

    But then again, "intellectual" is a lifestyle now, isn't it...

    By Blogger JSU, at Wed May 07, 05:36:00 am GMT-4  

  • Oh, I dunno. Schadenfreude at the state of the *Democratic* race is pretty much the only thing bitter (ahem) conservatives have to cling (ahem) to these days.

    Hmm, well, these acquaintances I mentioned lean mostly centre-left, and they are not amused. I spoke about this over at Althouse just today.

    One pair is veering heavily McCain, the other is uncommitted, but is astonished at the behaviour of both Clintons and Obamas, but moreover, their supporters.

    What, they didn't know Democrats could also act low-down and dirty towards EACH OTHER?

    And oops! I meant "2012, not 2016"!

    Oh, okay. Gotcha. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed May 07, 05:40:00 am GMT-4  

  • Yes, wasn't it found out that Stevenson had one book in his library, after death?

    It reminds me of the touted Yale superiority of Kerry versus Bush, which was in fact, non-existent.

    I'm not suggesting Eisenhower, Reagan, or goodness me, Bush Jr. are towering intellectual lights.

    But you know, what hacks and partisans fail to understand is that you don't get at their level without a fair bit of intelligence, organisation, and drive.

    In their world, money, connexions, cabals do all the puppetmaster work.

    This actually allows them to commit the same mistakes year in, and year out. It's rather amusing, in a sense.

    But I think it's tragic too.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed May 07, 05:43:00 am GMT-4  

  • BTW, Insty links to another blogpost which has the rather amusing line that the Great Recession is "Not so much The Grapes of Wrath as Raisins of Mild Inconvenience."

    I think this is precisely the wrong tack for Republicans to take this year.

    I've been keeping my ear very very close to the ground with any and all my blue-collar friends, associates, and acquaintances.

    Almost all of them are struggling, and have friends who are losing jobs, or lost them.

    This isn't the time for tut-tutting the concerns, just because it makes a witty blogtitle.

    My 2p for you.

    Night!
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed May 07, 05:51:00 am GMT-4  

  • McCain hasn't even heard the news that "global warming" is a scam: I don't think debunking like this makes any impression on him. He's not going to go anything but populist, particularly against "price of arugula".

    But conditions six months before the election don't matter much...

    You've been staying up, Vic? Good night then. Check your email when you're up again. ;)

    By Blogger JSU, at Wed May 07, 06:08:00 am GMT-4  

  • I think there's a money issue that's being ignored. [And, truly, with the Clintons isn't it always about money or power?] If Hillary drops out prior to the convention, doesn't she stand to lose some significant funding? Whereas, if she soldiers on to the convention, doesn't she qualify for post-primary funding? I don't know, but I have a sniggling doubt that there's something there.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Wed May 07, 09:31:00 am GMT-4  

  • This analogy to the Dems of the '50's is almost too apt! I wonder if there is some sorta Jungian psychic archetype conflict being played out in the Democratic Party that transcends individual candidates. Or maybe an offspring of the conflict between the technocratic and populist subtexts of the New Deal?

    I only suggest this to perhaps understand deeper issues of political identity which would Democrats in the long run.

    By Blogger Ron, at Wed May 07, 10:37:00 am GMT-4  

  • McCain hasn't even heard the news that "global warming" is a scam: I don't think debunking like this makes any impression on him. He's not going to go anything but populist, particularly against "price of arugula".

    At Whole Foods, yet.

    BTW, I'm entirely sure Global Warming is a scam (that is, that the climate is experiencing a notable decline/change). But I want to see facts, figures, and sound logic behind it, that isn't tied to an anti-Capitalist, anti-corporate agenda.

    But conditions six months before the election don't matter much...

    All of this is blather to me too.

    You've been staying up, Vic? Good night then. Check your email when you're up again. ;)

    Oh right! I shall, tomorrow, promise. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu May 08, 12:41:00 am GMT-4  

  • not entirely sure...

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu May 08, 12:41:00 am GMT-4  

  • I think there's a money issue that's being ignored. [And, truly, with the Clintons isn't it always about money or power?]

    Yes. Always.

    I'm glad Democrats are seeing them for what they are, at last.

    If Hillary drops out prior to the convention, doesn't she stand to lose some significant funding? Whereas, if she soldiers on to the convention, doesn't she qualify for post-primary funding? I don't know, but I have a sniggling doubt that there's something there.

    Interesting. Shall we Google?

    (a little while later)

    Can't come up with a reference. Have you got something, Ruth Anne?

    BTW, please tell Peggy I will be coming out with a Movie post soon. I certainly hope to see her around here again!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu May 08, 12:43:00 am GMT-4  

  • vic, you still up and around?

    I didn't think you were a night owl...

    By Blogger Ron, at Thu May 08, 12:56:00 am GMT-4  

  • This analogy to the Dems of the '50's is almost too apt!

    It's scary, especially (if as I think will happen), as a Southerner will be his Veep.

    I know Richardson is the handicapped candidate for the second-spot, but that combination would be too cynical, and scare a lot of people away.

    We'll see. Kefauver was from Tennessee...

    I wonder if there is some sorta Jungian psychic archetype conflict being played out in the Democratic Party that transcends individual candidates.

    There are. Their absolute finest archetype is JFK -- literate, cool, dashing, eloquent and young.

    Then there's the blue-collar guy, happiest amongst his peanuts, his morning constitutionals, or his jogs to Mickey D's.

    The candidate's ideals are secondary to the message his very person sends out.

    Or maybe an offspring of the conflict between the technocratic and populist subtexts of the New Deal?

    Good idea there.

    I only suggest this to perhaps understand deeper issues of political identity which would Democrats in the long run.

    Well, after JFK, there was a new archetype formed for leftist politicos (not only in America, but around the world -- vide Tony Blair in the UK, or João Goulart in Brazil).

    After Obama, the Democrats will struggle to always appease the minority base.

    As we see frequently in local elections especially, once a seat is occupied by a minority, the next time an election rolls around, there is consternation if its not "given" to another same minority.

    You saw this ideologically-speaking with Sandra Day O'Connor, too.

    OTOH, people have been predicting that this 21st century will see Mexican-American presidents up the wazoo, because of the immigration numbers.

    Yeah, people predicted the same thing about the Jews, Italians, and Irish-Catholics when they came over in droves last century. "They'll overtake the country!".

    So far, no presidents who are Italians, no Jews, and only one Irish-Catholic (Reagan was Episcopalian by choice).

    We'll see what happens from hereoin but I'm not holding my breath.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu May 08, 12:56:00 am GMT-4  

  • I think best at night, Ron. No distraction from my parents, and dog. Oops, I just use the favourite BHO word.

    I meant diversion! ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu May 08, 01:00:00 am GMT-4  

  • Hillary should drop out, but she won't. I also think she will continue to run a negative campaign (not like Mike Huckabee did when he stayed in until McCain had actually clinched.) And the reason is Machiavellian. 1. She wants the White House. 2. She can see clearly that this won't happen this year. 3. But she needs to do everything she can to tear down Obama so that he will lose and then in 2012 she can run again with an 'I told you so' (by then most people will have forgotten how she destroyed his chances this year.) I wish I was wrong in this sentiment but I am reaching that conclusion. Luckily I believe the resilience he showed this past week in the face of a terrible previous two weeks of news suggest that he may be strong enough to win anyway.

    Also: I answered your 'personal question' about Afghanistan on the post yesterday on Ann's blog that started off with a discussion of Obama's height. But if you doubt my commitment to seeing things through in Afghanistan I would refer you to a post I wrote on it two years ago (linked here). Unfortunately I am afraid that one price of Mr. Bush's obsession with Iraq is that we've lost the chance we did have to finish off the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

    By Blogger Eli Blake, at Thu May 08, 06:55:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Thanks, Eli! I answered it without knowing of your reply here.

    I will read the link you refer me to, and I'm glad you supported the efforts in Afghanistan then.

    But the fact of the matter is, a goodly amount of people at the time did not support our regime change in defence of national security in 2001.

    Now, it's clearly not your case, but it is the case this subject is used as a strawman by others who never believed the USA should've invaded Afghanistan then, and just want to castigate the current administration for what they see as lack of concentration to the area, merely for the gotchaness.

    The Taliban, and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan have been quelled.

    In 7 years, a little over 260 American soldiers have died doing their duty there (God bless them).

    It's not a perfect response, but it is a success by any measure in this dirty, fathomless war.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri May 09, 12:16:00 am GMT-4  

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