Anyone who watched the debate in Austin last night saw a defeated Hillary Clinton. From body language to her tone, to her dress, to her hand movements, all pointed to one conclusion: Hillary has defeated herself. She still has the poise to hold her head high, chin up by an average of one inch by my calculation, slightly higher than in past months. But a chin up attitude gives away her inner feelings of defeat. This is a woman defeated. During the debate Hillary’s tone ranged from the slightly shrill to very flat. She became shrill in her brief attacks on Obama, and flat when trying to recount her experience. There was little of her “yelling” at an audience, the same tone your 3rd Grade teacher used when the entire class was talking at once. Remember how she goes, “YOU……KNOW……, I…….HAVE……..ALWAYS………BEEN……..PASIONATE……..ABOUT……..HEALTH……..CARE!
There were attempts at softening her tone, most likely due to coaching from Mandy. But it was too much, and unlike her normal tone which has a touch of anger in it.
Hillary’s body language was also a give away. She’s tired, both physically from the campaign as well as mentally. While Obama sat upright and erect, Hillary seemed to slump, either forward when talking, or to the right when Obama was talking. When using hand gestures, her elbows often rested on the desk, forearms at 45 degrees, her hands waving from side to side. Even her hands drooped a bit at the wrist. In an effort to appear as tall as possible, her chair was probably at it’s maximum height, leaving her feet dangling. The most telling moment here was at the end of the debate when Obama rose and pulled Hillary’s chair back. Hillary just went along for the ride since her feet didn’t touch the floor.
Hillary’s dress was somber, a reflection on her inner feelings. Gone was any hint of bright color that could have reflected her inner mood.
These are all the signs of a woman inwardly defeated, but not willing to give up the fight. This has been a characteristic of the Clinton’s and one that served Bill well over the years. But where Bill had the benefit of internally pushing himself to go the next round, after a spell of self-loathing and self-pity. Bill could let his inner rage build, keep it contained, then let it burst forth with a new round of energy that was generally unexpected by his opponents. Hillary does not have those characteristics. Controlling and conniving, Hillary wants to do battle, not for the victory, but for the total defeat of her opponent.
On the issue of experience: Neither Obama nor Hillary has sufficient experience to be President. Yet when faced with this issues, voters are choosing Obama and seem to be saying that he has enough experience for them. As for Hillary, her outrageous claims of experience are seen by voters as just that, outrageous. If Hillary had been just a bit more reasonable in her claims of experience, maybe, just maybe, she would win this issue. But no, in Hillary’s mind she must provide overwhelming evidence to counter what little experience Obama presents.
No knockout punch from Obama. When the opportunity arose for a sharp body shot, namely Hillary ill advised plan to freeze mortgages, Obama did not deliver the expected blow. In fact, CNN went so far as to prevent Obama from offering a response, and went to an untimely break. When the debate returned, Obama, probably wisely, did not return to the issue. However, later in the debate the issue came up briefly and again Obama missed an opportunity. This lead some credence to the notion that Obama does not have the political killer instinct to take it to his opponent. This is a serious character flaw that will hurt him in the general election.
The expected attack on Obama never came. Pundits have speculated for weeks now that Hillary’s last line of defense is to attack Obama. But her senior staff don’t seem to know how to do this. Obama has acted like a jelly fish and absorbed all of Hillary’s darts, arrows and daggers. They seem to strike, go in, but don’t cause any fatal damage. Obama’s strategy is not one of deflecting Hillary’s attacks, or even offering a strong counter attack. Each attack from Hillary seems to make Obama stronger with the voters. Harold Ickes would probably like nothing better than a good old fashion down in the mud, toe-to-toe slugfest. But Obama won’t cooperate. Last night, Hillary’s one half-baked attempt to go negative drew boo’s when she raised the plagiarism issue. This was in ill advised attack from the beginning a few days ago, and one ripe for Obama to win. The shot, “It’s not change you can believe in, it’s change you can Xerox” was a loser from the start and sounded very old fashion. This was not a product of Harold Ickes as his shot would have been much meaner. But then, that would have made Hillary look mean and shrill, something she has been trying to avoid.
Obama had his real moment when he countered with “Let’s get real”, and implied that Hillary is dissing those who have voted for, or joined his campaign. Obama’s message was clear, Hillary does not respect the wishes of the voters. He can effectively use this line later if the Clinton’s continue to suggest the super delegates support Hillary, rather than the voters they represent. I can hear it now, “Bill Clinton raised the race issue, and does not respect your vote”; Hillary is trying to steal delegates, because she does not respect your vote”; Hillary will split the party, because she does not respect your vote”.