Saturday, May 24, 2008

Textbook Gaffe

Getting through the minefield of social niceties is tough enough for most of us, let alone people who are vainglorious enough to actually presume they should be President of the United States. Every person I know says something he (or she) regrets. Hillary Clinton had one of those moments yesterday.

She was chatting up the editorial board of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader (what a thrill that must be, by the way) when she let these deep thoughts loose:

This is the most important job in the world. It’s the toughest job in the world. You should be willing to campaign for every vote. You should be willing to debate anytime, anywhere. I think it’s an interesting juxtaposition where we find ourselves and you know, I have been willing to do all of that during the entire process and people have been trying to push me out of this ever since Iowa and I find it¬¬-

EB: Why?

Why?I don’t know I don’t know I find it curious because it is unprecedented in history. I don’t understand it and between my opponent and his camp and some in the media, there has been this urgency to end this and you know historically that makes no sense, so I find it a bit of a mystery.

EB: You don’t buy the party unity argument?

I don’t, because again, I’ve been around long enough. You know my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere around the middle of June

EB: June

We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. Um you know I just I don’t understand it. There’s lots of speculation about why it is.

As Uncle Ben put it recently, land sakes! We could stipulate that what she said is absolutely true. We could also stipulate that she is facing a lot of pressure to get out of the race now and that some of the pressure is a little unseemly. But this was an amazingly dumb statement. You simply can't invoke the specter of assassination and expect to get by with it. Peggy Noonan, writing in the Wall Street Journal yesterday in a column that appeared before Clinton let fly at the Argus Leader, made an especially prescient comment. Discussing Clinton's penchant for blaming sexism for her travails, Noonan wrote this:

One wants to be sympathetic to Mrs. Clinton at this point, if for no other reason than to show one's range. But her last weeks have been, and her next weeks will likely be, one long exercise in summoning further denunciations. It is something new in politics, the How Else Can I Offend You Tour.

Guess we found out, huh?


Anonymous said...

I think I see the silver lining in this: If nothing else, this should knock her off any short list for VP.
It would be rather unseemly to have the person living in the Naval Observatory openly speculating on the possible demise of their boss. Don't you think?

Mark Heuring said...

I thought that even before she said this, Rich. No way HRC should ever going to be Obama's veep candidate. If she gets it now, you have to wonder.

Right Hook said...

Nothing is accidental with these people. Sometimes things are clumsily executed, but the delivery of the core content of the message was fully intended. The fact that the message was delivered by the candidate herself rather than an underling may have been a miscalculation based on desperation.

I believe the Ice Queen's statement is just one more seed of doubt that the Clintons wanted planted. There is still plenty of time before the convention for scandalous information on Obama to surface. The only way the Clintons will back down is if they come to a carefully calculated conclusion that McCain will defeat Mrs. Clinton.

In either case as long as Mrs. Clinton is in the race she has political cover to trash Obama, either with the goal of stealing the nomination or assuring that McCain beats him so she has another chance in 2012.

Mark Heuring said...

I would agree with your reading of the situation generally, RH. One thing I wonder about, though -- given the parlous state of her campaign, one would think that any additional scandalous information about Obama would have surfaced some time ago, doncha think?

Right Hook said...

It depends on the severity and veracity of the scandal. If a given accusation were undeniably true and would stand up to critical investigation I think they would have released it as soon as possible. One based on a half-truth or outright lie that could possibly be proven as such would be better released close to the convention so as to limit the time for Obama or the media to debunk it or posit a credible explanation.

I think Rush had it right with the theory that Mrs. Clinton expected to be the nominee free and clear by Super Tuesday and had no contingency plan. Like a sports team that is used to burying an opponent early in the contest Team Clinton has not had a lot of come from behind experience to draw on at this time of need and is making some tactical mistakes.

I still stand by my assertion that Team Clinton is politically ruthless, as well as immoral so Obama had better watch his step no matter how insurmountable his lead may look.

Mark Heuring said...

Okay, so we're talking 11th hour smear, then. Yeah, I would fully expect that the Clintons. That's a staple from all Democrats; the only thing that's odd is that it might be deployed against a fellow Democrat for a change.