A remarkable thing happened at the Iowa Caucuses, and Political Night Train believes it is the beginning of the end for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Dream. Hillary Clinton went to Iowa claiming to be the front runner and with a campaign that was designed as if she were the Democratic candidate in a national election. One could say, “How stupid, Hillary?”. But it goes deeper than that. It goes to the core of how the Democratic voters view the world, themselves and who they support for national office. It is nothing less than a shift in how, and who the Democratic Party picks it’s Presidential candidate, and the old guard, represented by Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Howard Dean, Ann Lewis, and Mark Penn are being pushed aside. They won’t go willingly, and will fight the good fight, but in the end they will lose. In the process, they just might lose the 2008 Presidential election. Here’s what Political Night Train sees as what went wrong. Hillary seemingly had everything, name recognition, Bill Clinton, a strong campaign organization, mainstream media on her side, money, famous people to trot out for support, the issues, everything. What Hillary lacked, namely personality, experience, willingness to campaign, adoring fans, star status, Bill seemed to have in abundance. In the end, what they both have is a dysfunctional marriage, aging staffs of “yes-men and yes-women”, and a penchant for looking to the past for everything they needed. What they both lack are core values that voters can depend on day-in and day-out, values that don’t disappear with the next set of Mark Penn polling data. Coupled with this is the fact that Hillary comes across to many voters, and apparently 70% of the Democrats as stubborn, secretive, shrill, angry, vindictive and petty. Largely unreported is that in Iowa, 70% of the Democratic caucus goers wanted, and voted for someone other than Hillary. Where was the “We want Bill” factor? Apparently 70% of Iowa Democrats don’t want Bill Clinton back in the White House (hint: if elected, Hillary has no intention on letting Bill back in the White House). It seems that all those folks wishing for Bill’s return to the White House didn’t show up at the caucus. Hillary, and her campaign are basically out of touch with large numbers of Democrats. Hillary has surrounded herself with a cadre of women who reflect a “Golden Girls” mentality. As Maureen Dowd says, “Hillary sees herself as owed”. Dowd goes on to ask, “Has Hillary truly changed, and grown from her mistakes? Has she learned to be less stubborn and imperious and secretive and vindictive and entitled? Or has she merely learned to mask her off-putting and self-sabotaging qualities better? If elected, would the old Hillary pop up, dragging us back to the dysfunctional Clinton kingdom? She is speaking in a soft, measured voice in these final days, so that, as with Daisy Buchanan, you have to lean in to listen. But is she really different than she was in the years when she was so careless about the people around her getting hurt by the Clinton legal whirlwind that she was dubbed the Daisy Buchanan of the boomer set? The underlying rationale for her campaign is that she is owed. Owed for moving to Arkansas and giving up the name Rodham, (readers are reminded that as First Lady of Arkansas, Hillary initially wanted to be called Ms. Rodham, thus offending many in the state) owed for pretending to care about place settings and menus when she held the unappetizing title of first lady, (when Bill’s ‘Two for the price of one’ comment was rejected by voters, Hillary declared, ‘I might as well have stayed home and baked cookies, thus insulting all the stay-at-home moms) owed for enduring one humiliation after another at the hands of her husband (who really wants Bill trolling around the White House again, certainly not Hillary).”Some are reporting the imminent demise of the Hillary Clinton campaign, saying major donors are running scared, hedging their bets, and not returning phone calls. Typical of Bill Clinton, he’s gone into one of his famous self-pitying “funks”. The sooner the wheels come off, the better for all. Hillary can go back to her Senate duties and continue to get re-elected by New Yorkers, and grow old in the job, like Ted Kennedy. Bill, scorned by the public’s rejection of his attempt to get re-elected via Hillary, and forever branded as Impeached, can go back to doing whatever he was doing before. With a failed bid for President, will Hillary have any use for Bill? Part of the Mark Penn-Hillary Clinton contrived strategy was to get a compressed primary schedule. Their thinking was that with a “national” candidate, Hillary would benefit from a win in Iowa, followed by a quick dash through New Hampshire, SC, Michigan, Nevada, and capping it off with a win in Florida. Then the unintended consequences. The states fought over who would be first, second, etc. The DNC, smelling a stink, punted. Penn and Clinton triangulated, and the result was a promise of no campaigning in Michigan and Florida, with subsequent loss of those state’s delegates. Now that strategy looks flawed. Then there is the flawed strategy of running Hillary as a national candidate, in effect, dissing all the other Democratic candidates. Penn and Clinton were so sure everyone wanted both Clintons back that they focused only on that aspect. This in effect dissed the primary voters. And while Obama was stumping on his vision of change and the future, Penn and the Clintons focused on the past. Specifically, Bill’s past. With no record of her own (at lease none that she was willing to reveal through release of her and Bill’s papers) she ran on Bill’s record. And Bill ran on Bill’s record, as if he was seeking a 3rd term. Political Night Train is surprised everyone is avoiding comparing Hillary to Gore, re-inventing herself at every turn. She has promoted herself as: a leader, with no record of leadership accomplishments; as the front runner and owed the election; as tough as a man; as soft as a woman; a woman trying to get membership in an exclusive men’s club; a girl; experienced (the comparison is to having season tickets to the Redskins, missing a few home games, not being allowed in the locker room/aka NSC meetings, but still claiming the view qualified you to replace Coach Gibbs); a victim, being picked on by the bad boys; a mother, by trotting Chelsea out. And who does Hillary have standing off to the side, the Golden Girls, Madeline Albright, Donna Shalala, and Ann Lewis. In campaign stops, Hillary talks about not her accomplishments, but about Bill’s as though she is living her political life vicariously through him. Bill just keeps talking about Bill. What can Hillary do now? Not much. A month ago she could have attacked Edwards rather than Obama, pulled off some of Edwards support for herself and finished 2nd rather than 3rd. What will she do? More of the same. Attack Obama, the media, the voters.
Posted on January 7, 2008 by politicalnighttrain