Hillary Clinton should give up. She has lost. As predicted on this website before she got into the situation she’s in now, she cannot win the nomination without causing an implosion of the Democratic Party. The ‘Nuttyroots’ have hijacked the party; they are die-hard Obama fans, if only because most of the nutters are young and completely blinded by their love for Obama. Never mind that he’s just as much a calculating pol as is Hillary. (Christopher Hitchens has a fantastic article about that here.)
But now there’s another problem for the Democratic Party. Hillary’s die-hard supporters won’t jump over to Obama’s ship that easily, either. The Clinton campaign has succeeded in showing who the True Barack Obama is: a calculating politician. Doh. Those who believe that any politician can get to where Obama is now without culling dozens on the political battlefield need to go back to school.
And because of that, John McCain will win. Unless Hillary withdraws now.
As things stand today, Obama will in all likelihood never win the presidency. Not necessarily because he’s black, but because the Clinton campaign has succeeded so very well in shooting down in flames the fairy tale that was Obama’s campaign in the first 3 months. The Pope of Hope has been recast as the User of Dope. As a Wheeler ‘n’ Dealer who cuts deals with slumlords. As The Calculator, who – as Hitchens points out – knew full well that he’d have to one day ditch the reverend of his Trinity Church.
Obama’s problem is that without the fairy tale, there isn’t much to look at. Just another pol, albeit quite the calculating one, with a platform that really isn’t that much different from Clinton’s. And all that is exactly what the Clinton campaign in its last throes tried to prove.
In a warped feat of strategic, er, “thinking” they decided to show the Superdelegates that Obama is just like them. Just another politician. Ah, but…! A politician who cannot win Pennsylvania, or Florida, or Ohio. The Big Three states, of which a Democratic candidate needs to win at least two during the general election.
The Clinton campaign is hoping that, now that the shine has come off Barack Obama, the Superdelegates will in the end weigh Clinton’s “super status”, her being The Wife of Bill and all. And thus nominate her.
That’s why Clinton is so desperately trying to push her experience; to show that she has just that little bit more luggage than Obama has. But hasn’t anyone in the Clinton campaign HQ realised that they haven’t just pulled Obama of his pedestal, but herself too?
A recent poll showed that people who used to flock to Obama, are now having severe second thoughts thanks to Clinton’s succesful politics of personal destruction. So are they flipping over to Hillary? No. In fact, the poll showed that there’s a fair chance that the independent voters will just stay at home come November. Which is bad news for Clinton, as the next general election will be just as closely fought as any other election.
Of course, some nutters of the so-called ‘Netroots’ – the Obamajugend on DailyKos and TalkingPointsMemo (TPM), with whom there is no reasoning whatsoever – will also stay home should Clinton be the candidate.
Interestingly, though, the same applies for Obama. Die-hard Clinton fans are at best lukewarm about the idea of voting for Obama instead.
And therein lies the danger.
Those DailyKos / TPM Democrats are making the very same mistake they made in 2000 and 2004. They essentially wrote off George W. Bush, convinced as they were that smart Americans would never vote such an idiot into the White House. And now they’re convinced that the Republican candidate, John McCain, doesn’t stand a chance.
McCain has a 50-50% chance of winning the election. It’s going to be 51-49% for either candidate. Which brings me to the conclusion that Clinton will have to withdraw, now that there’s perhaps still time to do some healing and curing.
She will also need to stand behind Obama firmly and back him up with everything he does. She needs to campaign for him vigorously, and Bill too. She will never allow herself to be humiliated by taking on the veep-slot, but she will need to campaign for him.
Clinton will have to actively try to push her die-hard constituency to Obama. At the same time, Obama will need to come clean. He will need to take on some parts of the Clintonista mantle. He will have to be very honest and come clean about everything; Rezko, reverend Wright, shady deals. He will have to tell everything there is to know about him to his campaign people and to the leadership of the DLC.
And he’d also better ditch David Axelrod as chief strategist of his campaign. Unfortunately, Axelrod has proven to be a one-trick-pony; he’s good at promoting the change agent candidate. But that’s it. Obama will have to integrate some of Clinton’s campaign staff, and simply because some of them are truly the best in the business. I’ll repeat that: truly the best in the business.
The errors that lead the Clinton campaign into the doldrums were strategic ones, not necessarily executive ones.
The Clintons quite simply underestimated three important factors.
1. The level of Clinton fatigue among the Democratic Party’s leadership. The B-grade people want to move on to the A-level, but that’s still occupied by the Clintonistas, and so the Clintonistas need to be removed. They now plan to use Obama as their personal crowbar to force the Clintonistas off of their comfy leather chairs. Bill Richardson, anybody…?
2. Obama himself. His speechifying and the vibe that the campaign managed to build around it helped him to become a viable alternative to Clinton, which was all a considerable part of the Democratic constituency apparently needed.
3. Clinton herself. For all the stories about the fantastic campaign machine, the money, the professionalism, the speed and accuracy of the War Room, it was ultimately the candidate herself who failed. She failed to connect, she failed to excite. Stupid American Voter doesn’t necessarily want experience and knowledge to vote for. SAV wants an exciting, clean slate to vote for. Then, when the slate is voted into the White House, SAV expects him or her to be all-knowledgeable and have a 100 years of presidential experience. Clinton campaigned on a mirror image of that; knowledge and experience now, excitement and a fresh new start once she’d taken the White House. She had it the other way round.
And now the hysterical Obamazombies are screaming that Hillary and John McCain are essentially the same kind of people, with the same ideas. Ridiculous, of course; Clinton’s platform is worlds apart from McCain’s. She’s a die-hard Democrat, he’s a Republican. But not to Obamanazis.
Anyway, strategic mistakes, and now the very best in the campaign bizz are reduced to simple ant-like workers who are trying to stop the ant hill from flooding.
Withdraw, Hillary. Help the Democratic Party in regaining some of its unity; deliver Obama your voters. Because if the two of you go on like this, John McCain won’t even have to make his hands dirty.
Communicatiestrateeg en schrijver van het boek ‘Megafoonpolitiek‘. Op Twitter te vinden als @kajleers. Politiek bewust, voormalig financieel-economisch journalist, muziekmaker, professionele kletskous, schrijver. Geeft ook social media-trainingen, denkt graag met je mee over communicatiestrategie. En ja, content is en blijft King.