Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Why Hillary Clinton Can't Win...
As I sat and watched the fairly predictable returns from the Pennsylvania primary, the cable news channels had various surrogates from the Clinton campaign on touting her "great victory", and how this shows how Hillary has what it takes to win.
It has been interesting to watch the Clinton camp's "Kitchen Sink" strategy. Just throw everything you can at Barak Obama and hope some of it sticks and derails his campaign. First it was the "Commander in Chief threshold". Then it was Reverend Wright and his controversial comments. Then came Senator Obama's poorly worded and easily spun comments about "bitter" voters. Then came the debate on ABC, where the first 45 minutes was devoted to issues like American Flag lapel pins.
When faced with criticism that this was politics at it's worst rather than a real debate about the issues facing America, Hillary Clinton's well rehearsed reply was Barak Obama was "whining". And if he thought this was bad he would never be able to stand up to what the Republicans would throw at him come November. She even invoked Harry Truman's famous line; "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen".
In that sound byte ready response, Hillary Clinton made what is perhaps the clearest case for her own speedy withdrawal from the Presidential race. Let's be honest and give Hillary Clinton credit. She is absolutely right when she says the GOP will be brutal in their attacks in the general election. The reality so far in this primary season, is that the Obama campaign has been the picture of restraint in their case for his candidacy over Senator Clinton's.
The GOP on the other hand has been dreaming of, and preparing for a campaign against Hillary Clinton for nearly a decade.
To run against her has been the far right's most cherished fantasy. To say that the GOP is well prepared if Senator Clinton is the Democratic candidate is a massive understatement. You won't hear these kind of things from the Obama Campaign, but I guarantee the "swift boat" ads resurrecting the entire litany of Clinton scandals both real and imaginary are already made, and ready to go.
Picture the ads on how Hillary Clinton made a killing on Cattle Futures. You can already hear Sean Hanity, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage spew nonsense on how Hillary and Bill "might have been" responsible for Vince Foster's death. You can see the "special segment" on the O'Reilly Factor on how Hillary's billing records for the Rose Law firm where "lost" and then suddenly were "found" on the table in the White House book room. Picture interviews with fired White House Travel Office staff, Arkansas State Troopers and Indonesian Businessmen.
And of course, the person who is rooting the hardest for a Hillary Clinton nomination? Monica Lewinsky's press agent. Because rest assured Miss Lewinsky and her stained blue dress will once again be front page news. The Washington Times will make sure of that. "But wait!" I hear you cry! "None of that has anything to do with Hillary's qualifications to be President!" Guess what kids? It doesn't have to. All it has to do is take over the debate. You think Reverend Wright was a distraction? That's nothing compared to wild rumors of Hillary's alleged affair with Vince Foster, or the far-far right's favorite chestnut: Hillary Clinton didn't divorce Bill because she is really a Lesbian and didn't care.
Crazy? Outrageous? Outlandish? You bet! I hear you protest that the "vast majority of Americans" won't buy in to such gutter politics. You forget, that we are not talking about the "vast majority". We are taking about fifty percent plus one. We are talking about a campaign that will be run by people who in 2004, convinced a sizable percentage of American voters that John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War hero was less patriotic than, and didn't love his country as much as, George W. Bush a draft- dodging male cheerleader.
Clinton's failed attempt at health care reform has already been spun as "HillaryCare - taking way your choices and forcing you to have sub-standard government medical care". Her own "3 am phone call" talking point practically writes itself into an "unofficial" McCain campaign ad by conservative front groups.
(Cue dramatic announcer) "Who do you want answering the call to the White House at 3 am? A man who has faced combat and survived torture by our nation's enemies? (Insert Vietman War Footge & Picture of Osama Bin Laden) Or a woman who last time she was in the White House didn't even know what was going on under her own roof?" (Insert footage of Bill Clinton's deposition where he parsed the word "is").
The political reality is Hillary Clinton would be ridiculously easy to demonize. Conservative evangelicals who are not thrilled by the prospect of voting FOR John McCain, would come out in droves for the chance to vote AGAINST Hillary Clinton.
I am sorry to say it, but it is long past time the Democratic Party faced the reality, that a Hillary Clinton nominiation will do nothing more than hand the White House to John McCain.