The Beginning of the End of Hillary 2008


By Joe Campbell
October 31st, 2007

Maybe Senator Obama had a bit more reason to be satisfied after last night’s debate than I thought. The focus of all the coverage I have seen has been on Clinton’s dissembling and the relentless attacks on her. As the Politico says: “When Hillary has a bad night, she has a really bad night.” Drudge is reporting that Hillary is blaming Tim Russert for being too tough on her:

CLINTON INNER-CIRCLE BLAME ‘UNFAIR’ MODERATOR TIM RUSSERT. ‘HE BORDERED ON THE UNPROFESSIONAL,’ TOP HILLARY ADVISER CHARGES. ‘HE BROKE DEBATE RULES AND WAS BELLIGERENT’…

Last night actually made me respect Russert all the more because he took no bullshit from Hillary. She kept trying to avoid answering his questions, keeping her position “fuzzy”, and he tried to get her to give a clear answer. He also seemed to have prepared statements Hillary had made refuting every point she was kind of making. With as long a career in the public eye as Hillary has had, I think she could have brushed off these challenges by taking a solid stand last night. Instead she made it worse, reminding us that her husband was the first president to question what the meaning of is is.

Clinton still has a formidable campaign, but I believe the weakness she demonstrated last night spells the beginning of the end. She’s not going to win the news cycle by blaming her lack of candor on Tim Russert. And she will not get sympathy for being attacked because she has cultivated a reputation for being ruthless in attacking her opponents. Most of all, with primary voters and caucus goers deciding which candidate is best suited to beat the Republican nominee come next November, this night will loom large. Given all her experience in the public eye, given her practical incumbency, one would expect her to be able to give the appearance of being straight-forward, of directly answering questions instead of getting annoyed when anyone points out she is merely mouthing platitudes.

Regarding my hand-picked candidate: Obama didn’t do enough. He did not make his case. I am not sure if this was intentional or not. Obviously Edwards came off very strong. He was aggressive and forceful. He demonstrated an instinct for zoning in on the kill. Here, his trial experience must have been very helpful.

But few people saw Edwards’s strong performance last night; and although the headlines and stories all mention Edwards’s good performance, they include it as a footnote to the main story: Hillary had a really bad night.

If Obama had performed at the top of his game, I am not sure it would have stood out amidst the carnage. Perhaps – and this is wishful thinking on my part – he did not want to be known for taking out Hillary. Rather, he wanted to make his case when he could be positive. The question everyone was asking before the latest national polls showing Hillary with a 20% lead was how Obama could get Edwards to do the dirty work of taking out Clinton for him. If that was the goal, Obama succeeded last night. Given Edwards’s lack of a national campaign structure and relative weakness in the money race, Obama still stands most to benefit from Clinton’s stumblings. What he needs to do now is to present a compelling positive vision of his view for America. Now.

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25 Responses to “The Beginning of the End of Hillary 2008”

  1. Support this story on Stirrdup Says:

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  2. dan Says:

    Are you aware in the classic Hollywood plot how the protagonist must inevitably suffer a setback so that the effort of overcoming that setback lets them grow personally and defeat the antagonist?

    Keeping that in mind I think she took a fall intentionally so she looks all the better when she “comes back” later on.

  3. Shii Says:

    Obama is the same as Hillary. His policies are the same. He just has different rhetoric. The reason he’s losing is that Hillary’s rhetoric appeals to all people whereas Obama only appeals to a certain segment. But that doesn’t matter because they would push for the SAME policies in the White House.

  4. admin Says:

    I disagree with you Shii.

    in Obama, I saw someone cool and dispassionate who wants to see a change in the way things are done. in Clinton, I saw someone who wants to be whatever she needs to be to win. every politician plays politics if he or she is to have any chance of success, but character and principles, though inevitably tarnished, are real and are there – especially in many of the first-tier candidates.

    if you look at Obama’s positions, he has a lot of the same ones as Hillary and the rest: he wants to contain Iran as much as possible, to get out of Iraq as soon as is responsible, to curtail terrorism if possible. where you see Obama’s real differences though are in how he believes these items should be done. also, looking at many of Obama’s ideas that are popular among the netroots, redditors, etc, you will see that they are process-oriented.

    Obama wants to allow Americans to “Google their government” and pledged to institute a reform that would make many government records public and accessible via the internet. Obama believes in net neutrality to ensure a more open democratic process. Obama speaks of restoring civil liberties and the balance of power in Washington because the Bush administration has wrecked the processes that have traditionally governed how the government can violate civil liberties and how the branches balance on another.

    Obama has refused to commit to certain ends: such as universal health care, withdrawing all combat troops by a date certain, supporting gay marriage, or committing to refrain from military action against Iran. these positions have made him unpopular. but they are based on his focus on process instead of ends.

    Hillary on the other hand has focused on keeping her true positions secret and releasing only carefully calculated statements and positions. my impression is that she is more focused on the ends of what she thinks needs to happen, as Edwards is. worse than Edwards, though, I believe Hillary would consolidate many of the abuses Bush has started when it comes to presidential power.

    i think a focus on accomplishing certain ends often is ineffective, and post-Bush and Cheney, who focused entirely on the ends of what they wanted to happen, we need someone to tend to the processes and re-establish them. also, i trust Obama’s positions.

  5. AL Says:

    End the war.
    Move the military HERE, where they can actually protect us.
    Take the money we save from the military and rescue Social Security.
    Kill the Patriot Act and restore the Constitution.
    Repeal every single Bush executive order that breaks the law.
    Drop corporate welfare.
    Stabilize the dollar and end inflation by allowing sound currency to compete with the Fed.
    Let medical care be a relationship between doctors and patients, and not government and insurance corporations.
    Make America free and great again.

    Vote for Ron Paul.

  6. Shii Says:

    Note to readers: Conversation continued here

    http://politics.reddit.com/info/5zj1v/comments/c02cf12

  7. g. Anton Says:

    Hillary would be all right I guess, but you could get the same result much more cheaply by giving George Walker Bush a sex-change operation.

  8. admin Says:

    thank you Shii – i didn’t make the connection between your comment here and on reddit.

  9. Jason R Says:

    Sure, and how come Tim Russert can be tough now and not get fooled by bullshit answers, but where was his wit when Dick Cheney and the rest of the gang where promoting the path to war on his show five years ago? He swallowed the bait with hook and line and NEVER had a tough question on his show. His show was the administration’s FAVORITE megaphone for dissinformation and propaganda for so many years. Rumsfeld was ever trying to avoid answering his questions, keeping his position “fuzzy”,? Nah! And did he try then to get a clear answer?

    I’ll never forget nor forgive Tim Russert for that. Hillary may have her flaws, but she is no neocon!

  10. GUY Says:

    Hillary is indeed scary. Obama is the least scary of the candidates who maintain corporate sponsoship.

    Take a look at Ron Paul http://www.ronpaul2008.com

    you might find that you both like the positions and the man, as his supporters are drawn as much from the disenchanted democrats as they are from the disenchanted republicans.

  11. Phil Says:

    Who cares? They all voted for the way anyway — where’s Kucinich in this debate?

  12. bc Says:

    Ron Paul and Kucinich are the logical choices- which means both will be either smeared or ignored by the media.

    The ruling class always wins. This time, a Clinton is playing ball WITH the ruling class (unlike her husband- and look what happened to him: smeared).

    It will always be business as usual. The next president will be Clinton or Giuliani. And there’s really nothing anyone can do about it, unless you have a massive “information revolution” – meaning the mainstream media (which leans to the conservative and demonizes dissent) must be overhauled .

  13. Eric Says:

    Phil,
    Obama vocally opposed the war from its outset.

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  15. Confused.. Says:

    bc: I’ll just assume you meant to say “the mainstream media (which leans to the liberal and demonizes dissent) must be overhauled”..

    A conservative bias in the media? Except for Fox, I don’t know how you could substantiate that..

  16. We the People Says:

    All government officials must obey the Constitution. Illegal immigration, the “war” in Iraq, the PATRIOT ACT, are all unconstitutional! yet where is hilary? Where is Obama on these important issues? Where are any of these piss poor candidates on the issues that are really important- like preserving individual rights and minding our own business as a nation? IF our government officials just obeyed the constitution, our country would not be in the state it is in today, aned the only way they will do that is if We the People demand it!

  17. bruce Says:

    Kucinich was pretty much able to win the debate, despite only being given 4 minutes out of 2 hours. I mean, do we need more blood on our hands?

  18. bc Says:

    I work in this business. Corporate media has a conservative bias. Fox is just more biased than the rest– and it borders on propaganda. From CBS to CNN to NBC– their job is to deflect and misinform the masses. “Liberal media” is a lie repeated by people hired by who? Corporate media.

  19. Jeanette Woodward-Partridge Says:

    From what I saw Ron Paul’s supporters made the best showing of the debate!

  20. Todd Finley Says:

    Too often, Tim Russert avoids the tough follow up questions. Cheney got away with murder. Literally.

  21. Bob Baeyen Says:

    Ron Paul is a dream.
    He is campaigning for return to the Constitution, somewhat selective applied, towards the Federal government. Repeal of the Income tax and social security etc. The federal government would have but two functions; Defense and enforcing contracts. He also calls for a withdrawal from Iraq. Everyone is free to take care of themselves and their retirement. Very appealing for young folks. After all who want to pay for our current fiscal mess?

    I like the idea of using the Constitution to conduct Government. Particularly as much of it has disappeared in the past 6 years. Rep. Paul’s vision sounds like a great fit for the United States of 1789. It was largely a country agrarian people who lived somewhat independently of other states and the rest of the world. Things have changed however.

    Recent headlines about spiking CO2 in the atmosphere and the loss of Artic Ice can’t be denied. I am afraid we are going to have to work together even more as a country and as a species to change our use of energy. Ignoring the problem is a lousy long term strategy however comforting in the short term.

    Indeed how would shutting down our federal regulatory agencies save us from the power of large corporations. I don’t think any individual state can have any influence on say, Chevron or General Electric or the control of National media by a few large corporations. If you think private HMO’s or Energy companies have your best interests at heart, you are in a dream state.
    I know this sounds like an exercise is irony at present.

    And social security wasn’t approved on a whim. There is such a thing as a common good and when we can work together as a nation, we can do great things.

    The wonderful thing about the Paul campaign and also Dennis Kucinich’s is that they bring up fundamental questions about where we are as a nation and where we are heading. May they continue to rise in the polls.

  22. The World's Smartest Man Says:

    Corporate media does have a conservative bias, despite the predominating thought it does not. Don’t mistake Bush being an moron for liberal bias. Liberal media is a lie. Well said BC. Great post!

  23. dwoody Says:

    I’m seeing a lot about Ron Paul. I listened to Ron Paul. For the millions of people without health insurance, so what. For the exploding deficit, you know the money we owe other countries waiting to forclose, abolish the irs. hmmm
    I get a feeling Ron Paul is this season’s Ross Perot. He’s saying all kinds of things that get attention, but in the end impossible to carry out.

    I doubt if ANY “regular Joe” knows our country’s complete situation, all available options, and what can work. I’m sure Ron has character, but we need more than that.

  24. ndnnfan Says:

    As a long time democrat — I cannot even fathom one of these candidates running our country. Status quo — simple as that. I have changed my affiliation to vote for Ron Paul after discovering his policies and what he stands for. This vote is really a no brainer.

  25. Tasiyagnunpa Says:

    Ron Paul seems to be a libertarian skipper to the republican party…We need someone in office that knows how to work with people, not just get votes for being someone other than Hillary or Giulliani or whoever.

    I’m not saying I have a real clear idea on who that is, but it will be someone who didn’t just jump ship to gain a nod.

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