If Only...

I think it's late enough in the evening for me to post this story without the hysterical flaming from earlier today about Mark Penn:

Another of the cabal, Howard Wolfson, talks to ABC online and lodges his loafer directly into his mouth:

Sen. Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic presidential nominee if John Edwards had been caught in his lie about an extramarital affair and forced out of the race last year, insists a top Clinton campaign aide, making a charge that could exacerbate previously existing tensions between the camps of Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.

"I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," former Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson told ABCNews.com.

Markos debunks this ridiculous speculation almost too politely, using available polling to show that Clinton wasn't the 2nd choice favorite for enough Edwards supporters in the Iowa caucus to support the theory. Nor, as history shows us, did Edwards help Obama significantly in subsequent contests by staying in the race.

So Wolfson's proclamation falls flat statistically.

But we shouldn't evaluate this blame-peddling in just one dimension (...as I've said before, I think Hillary Clinton is a good progressive whose campaign staff served her terribly. So for the sake of at least attempting to avoid another primary flame, let's stipulate that this discussion is just about Hillary's staff and not her).

Wolfson is trying to posit that, in the final analysis, the only reason Hillary Clinton wasn't nominated is that John Edwards' affair didn't come out sooner.

Not because his campaign didn't count delegates early enough. Not because they stopped polling in states where they knew they'd lose but still needed to contain Obama's margin of victory. Not because they ceded every caucus state after Iowa. Not because they couldn't control their press coverage. Not even because Michigan and Florida, two huge states that may have gone Clinton, were excluded.

But because Edwards' affair came out too late.

You know why else Hillary wasn't nominated? Because Barack Obama was never caught grilling chipotle-marinated puppies and kittens in his backyard several days prior to the Iowa caucus.

In fact, absent Edwards, I think it's totally reasonable to conclude that that's the only other reason Hillary wasn't nominated.

Update [2008-8-12 6:26:57 by Josh Orton]: As Jerome "Buzzkill" Armstrong notes in the comments, Clinton's campaign did in fact pay attention to at least one other caucus state besides Iowa: they won Nevada. But the point here is that two weeks before the convention, when enough process story exist about Clinton supporters already, Wolfson is giving "if only" statements to the traditional media. Not helpful.

Tags: Election 08, Hillary Clinton (all tags)

Comments

120 Comments

The If's and But's Theme

These people do not understand why they lost!

If the illegitimate vote in Michigan only counted!
If all the caucuses didn't count!
If the Florida vote counted!
If all the states had primaries!
If all the states voted on the same day!
If insignificant states didn't count!
If Appalachia counted double!
If the winner was determined by popular vote!
If Hillary had won the popular vote!
If California was winner take all (lol)!
If...!
If...!
If...!

You know how Sen. Clinton could have won?

If she hadn't have run a completely incompetent campaign!

by iohs2008 2008-08-11 07:26PM | 0 recs
Re: The If's and But's Theme

Great comments.

by gavoter 2008-08-11 07:35PM | 0 recs
All Hillary Had To Do Is Appologize For The War!

Hillary showed horrible judgment in ever listening to Mark Penn. He got everything wrong.

All she had to do is exactly what Edwards did about Iraq. Say "I screwed up! It won't happen again" back in 2007. Case closed. Obama would never have even bothered to run, let alone become the nominee and Hillary would have wrapped it all up on Super-Tuesday.

Remember WHY Hillary was the front runner? She was not only the most well-known Democrat, everybody in the party had a good feeling about her from the way the Republicans attacked her during the Clinton era.

She blew a lot of support by voting for the war, but she could easily have mended fences with the party base by admitting her mistake and openly courting the liberal base, instead of attacking and running away from them.

Mark Penn kept advising her never to yield, never to look "soft" or "vulnerable" or "like a woman."

How could she have taken such horrible advice? The ONE moment when she really gained traction was when she cried in frustration. The robot-Hillary with the endless array of steely pant-suits suddenly dissolved and you could see a real woman underneath. She instantly became LIKEABLE.

If she'd had the guts to RUN AS A WOMAN from the start she could have won in a landslide. What is so TERRIBLE about having a woman for President? Nobody is going to be able to make her look "too soft" that was never her problem. She was always seen, even by her worst enemies as tough as nails.

She lacked empathy because she listened to ass-hats like Mark Penn, who always had the final word, because he had "the polling" to support every position he took. And they convinced her that to win she had to be harder than any man.

Well, it didn't work. Why NOT admit she's smart and tough, but she's not going to deny she's a woman. Hell, as a man, I'd have been more than willing to let a woman run the country for a while, if she could convince me that she wasn't going to do stupid macho things like attack Iran, just to prove how "tough" we are.

We've had more than enough "testosterone Presidents" thank you.

by Cugel 2008-08-12 03:42PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

How could you! I mean really what gives you the friggin' right to make me LMAO ;)

by jsfox 2008-08-11 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

WOLFSON: Well, my gut tells me that had Senator Edwards dropped out of the race or had this become public prior to Iowa, that we would have done better in Iowa. The exit polling tells something different. I think the Obama campaign would argue differently. But at the end of the day, you can play the what if game endlessly. And you can play it both ways. You know, if Senator Clinton hadn't gotten teary-eyed in New Hampshire, I think Senator Obama would have won New Hampshire and he would have been the nominee in January. So, there are a thousand different ways that you can play the what if game, but I do believe that the result would have been different had this become public year ago.

meh, Wolfson just went on a major whinge today and has managed to piss off just about every democrat.  Clinton should have fired him early on (as well as Penn). IF IF IF IF IF IF

by notedgeways 2008-08-11 07:35PM | 0 recs
piss off just about every democrat

Wolfson is saying what his new master, Roger Ailes, tells him to.

by Glaurung 2008-08-11 11:36PM | 0 recs
The fundemental

truth is this:
The Iowa Clinton campaign was the WORST campaign effort by a front runner I have ever seen.   It is not surprising that the consultants want to invent excuses for their own incompetence.

The other truth is the only these guys get another shot is if Obama loses.

And I believe they want him to lose.  They will say otherwise, but the behavior is obvious.  

by fladem 2008-08-12 06:14AM | 0 recs
It is hard to say exactly.
If Obama loses and Clinton makes another run in '12 I doubt Penn and Wolfson will be on staff, they did such a fuck up job this time I think their national campaigning days may be over.
I think Clinton still would like to be president, but don't think she will try and sabotage Obama.
by notedgeways 2008-08-12 03:28PM | 0 recs
I started writing a diary a few months ago

which I abandoned but may resurrect. I talked to as many volunteers and staffers for Edwards and Clinton as I could find to hear their theories about what would have needed to happen for Clinton or Edwards to beat Obama in Iowa.

I wasn't looking for ridiculous scenarios, like Obama would have lost if he'd been caught meeting hookers at the Hotel Fort Des Moines.

I wasn't talking about mistakes made years ago, like Hillary would have won if she hadn't voted for the Iraq war resolution, or Edwards would have won if he hadn't built himself such a big house.

I was looking for theories about what Clinton and Edwards could have done differently in 2007 to derail the Obama train in Iowa.

I do not buy Wolfson's theory. I talked with several other Edwards precinct captains today as well as with a former Edwards field organizer (who worked in a different part of the state). In my opinion, there were a ton of anybody but Hillary voters generally, and there were more people on the fence between Edwards and Obama than on the fence between Edwards and Clinton.

Of the people who caucused for Edwards in 2004 but not in 2008, my anecdotal evidence suggests many more were for Obama than for Clinton.

Furthermore, I believe that a lot of Edwards supporters would have gone to a second-tier candidate rather than Clinton or Obama. In fact, I was very concerned that Biden and Richardson were splitting the anybody-but-Hillary voters over age 50 and preventing Edwards from winning that group by a large margin.

I had a lot of voter IDs who were undecided between Edwards and Richardson. When I attended a Richardson event on Thanksgiving weekend, he took a few potshots at Edwards but not at Clinton or Obama. That made me wonder whether his campaign's voter contacts were also showing a lot of people on the fence between Edwards and Richardson.

In my precinct, 44 people were needed for viability. At the first count, Obama had 86, Edwards had 83, Clinton had 63, Richardson had 28, Biden had 24, Dodd had 9 and Kucinich had 1 and there were two uncommitted.

Let's assume a few of the Edwards supporters would not have shown up if he were out of the campaign. I still think it's likely that Biden and Richardson would have been viable. So instead of our precinct's delegates going 2-2-2 for Edwards, Obama and Clinton, they might have gone 2 Obama, 2 Clinton and 1 each for Biden and Richardson. Or, they might have gone 3 Obama and 1 each Clinton, Biden or Richardson.

In the rural counties, Clinton would have gained the most from Edwards being out of it. But again, I think Biden and Richardson would have been viable in more places.

In the urban and college precincts where Obama soundly beat Clinton, I suspect the Edwards voters would not have broken disproportionately for Clinton.

For what it's worth, I also don't believe Edwards would have won Iowa if Hillary had bypassed the caucuses, but I could argue that one either way.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-11 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: I started writing a diary a few months ago

I wonder what the impact of the Rev. Wright story would have been if it had broken before Iowa.

I tend to believe that would have a bigger impact on the election if it had broken earlier on and not when the race was basically packed in.

Infact I think Wright is a major reason why Obama can't really pull away from Mccain.

I am curious to know if it would have affected the vote in Iowa , it clearly had an impact in PA , OH and subsequent primaries.

Whats your view on that .

For all its worth I think Wolfson is dead wrong.

I was always skeptical about Clinton's chances in Iowa , in hindsight I would have prefered if she left that field to Obama and Edwards and camped out in New Hampshire .

I think of Clinton had stayed out of Iowa , Edwards would have won it and that would have been better for her.

by lori 2008-08-11 07:44PM | 0 recs
I think the impact would have been huge

I have argued with friends about this. Many people who drifted toward Obama thought he was more electable than Hillary or Edwards. I think that if Iowans had seen those clips of Reverend Wright in November, Obama's late surge would not have happened.

I put up a diary at Bleeding Heartland on that some months ago, and several commenters disagreed with me, though.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-11 07:48PM | 0 recs
Re: I think the impact would have been huge

I wonder about that.  The Wright story really didn't get any legs until Obama had caught the early wave out of Iowa and was shaping up to be Clinton's only serious presumptive challenger in a two-horse race.

As an Obama supporter I missed the significance of the Wright thing at first because the structure of the controversy had already been discussed much earlier in 2007 and the transcripts of some of Wright's sermons had already been peddled about on anti-Obama websites and so forth, but no-one was getting wound up about it because Obama had, except for his money and ground organisation, seemed about as unlikely as Huckabee to gain the nomination.  It was only after he was a credible candidate that the controversy broke, another example of the power of cable news and the media when they are stirring up controversy.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-12 02:36AM | 0 recs
stirring up controversy?

try colluding to make sure that the most electable person gets kicked out of the race.

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-12 04:59AM | 0 recs
ITS A CONTHPIRATHY!!!!!!!!!!!!

by Dale Johnson 007 2008-08-12 05:27AM | 0 recs
Re: I started writing a diary a few months ago

I think the number of people who care about Reverend Wright is small, but the number of people who think everyone else cares about it is huge.

A lot of people voted against Clinton because they thought she couldn't win, in addition to because of her war vote.  Rev. Wright would have changed that.

by Jess81 2008-08-11 07:57PM | 0 recs
Re: I started writing a diary a few months ago

" I think the number of people who care about Reverend Wright is small, but the number of people who think everyone else cares about it is huge. "

 - Even the Obama campaign would have to admit that Rev. Wright has done some damage to his candidacy.

I personally believe it stripped him of his " post racial " appeal among some voters and it is not hard to see the impact in my neck of the woods .

Those who think only a small portion of people care about Wright are being very naive to say the least.

by lori 2008-08-11 10:24PM | 0 recs
by the numbers

even at the height of the controversy you had about triple the number of people who thought "someone they knew would care" versus "they care themselves".

Understand that Obama is showing a reverse of the Bradley effect -- white voters poll truthfully, but black voters are more likely to say that they support his opponent than him, even if they decide different on election day (this may NOT hold true with McCain. certainly did down South in the primary. Clinton probably a much stronger contender for the black vote)

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-12 05:02AM | 0 recs
Re: by the numbers

"Clinton probably a much stronger contender for the black vote"

Uhhhh. Uhhhh. Uhhhhh. Ummmm.

by Dale Johnson 007 2008-08-12 05:29AM | 0 recs
I wonder what the impact of....

History is replete with useless speculation about what didn't happen.

by Glaurung 2008-08-11 11:37PM | 0 recs
That's a good speculative question.

Complex answer:

1. If it did happen, it would have destroyed Obama.

2. It could not have happened.

And let me explain why.  Before Iowa, Obama was an interesting character in the media, but he was NOT the presumptive winner, nor even considered very likely.  I certainly didn't consider him likely.  Thus, you couldn't have the stage set for the Rev. Wright tape to get all the air play and the same set of responses that it was able to achieve in March/April.  I think in November, maybe December, too but I'm less sure, it would have come and gone with less impact than it did later on.  It would have been a sideshow to the main event which everybody expected: the imminent nomination of Hillary Clinton.

I realize it's not exactly comparable, but let's compare it for a moment to Kucinich's UFO sighting.  If that had come out about Obama in April/March, it would have been a big deal, but it would have made Obama a laughing stock rather than tarnishing his post-racial image.  But coming as it did in December, from Kucinich, it was no big deal.

I think it would have hurt Obama, but I just don't think it would have got the kind of extensive airplay necessary to destroy him.  I also don't think the Clinton or Edwards campaigns would have tried to exploit it at that point.  Desperation hadn't set in with the Clintons, and the conservative (small c) nature of the Clinton strategy at that point would have precluded going aggressive against Obama on that.

In March/April, though, many people were wondering, who is this Obama guy that came out of nowhere, beating a Clinton?  That was the worst time it could have come out for his image, and yet it didn't damage him as much as people thought it would.

by Dumbo 2008-08-12 12:30AM | 0 recs
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

It also came out during the longest non-voting lull that we had, giving Obama time to make a reasonable, genuine response, and allow people to actually reflect instead of react. The primary style vote-trickle would have caused a feedback loop of "it hurts him so it's a big deal so we talk about how it hurts him keeping the story alive so it hurts him."

I personally can't imagine a better time for the clips to come out from Obama's perspective. Much earlier and it might have just flipped the race to Hillary (fine), much later right in the midst of primaries it might have had the worst possible outcome, which was to dial down the pledged delegate margins further and flipped all the popular vote counts, not just some of them, to Hillary - we could easily still be fighting Primary Wars (bum bum bum bum BUM bum bum bum BUM bum), which would not have been a fun way to spend the summer - just ask all the people who are still fighting them!

Of course, looking back on it, it wasn't until we had a candidate that the Republicans noticed that the McCain campaign was completely dumb and sent in the Rovians to fix it, so it probably wouldn't have hurt the November chances as much as we might have thought at the time... but that, obviously, is just rampant speculation. Which is what this whole thread is about!

by Exhausted Pennsylvanian 2008-08-12 04:46AM | 0 recs
greetins from da burgh!

After Wisconsin, Clinton had lost everything. She wasn't going to win after that point, it just wasn't going to happen. That was a she needed 50 point victories -- in EVERY state. She would have needed that in Pennsylvania, Ohio AND Texas. Demographically speaking, that's lunacy.

If it had come out during Obama's strings of victory, I think the whole thing might have been blunted by "people dont' care, they vote for him anyway" storylines.

I think you're right, if it had come out after, it might have had more legs -- in a "hillary still won't win, but Obama's support among democrats is suffering"

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-12 05:06AM | 0 recs
Re: greetins from da burgh!

Yes - the narrative of "Obama's support slipping!" never really caught on because people predicted in February that he was going to struggle in the states where he struggled, and Democrats aren't as good at blatantly denying reality.

However, if his support had drastically under-performed low expectations in most later states, then A) superdelegates would have been more justified in not ending it and B) the complaints if they did so would have been louder and more based in reality. The superdelegates could have called it either way, and the trickle-voting feedback loop could have caused the reasoning that "Obama no longer seems like the best candidate" to sound better than it ultimately did to the supers.

by Exhausted Pennsylvanian 2008-08-12 05:38AM | 0 recs
Obama won it by a fifty state strategy

and a mobilization on the ground strategy.

Both of those sound damn fine to freshmen, new congressmen like Foster, and anyone in any serious danger from opponents.

Plus, anyone who truly believes in not being totally abandoned by the DNC, and remembers what the Clintons did to the committee.

Unless Clinton actually had the pledged delegate lead, I don't see her actually winning. Politicians like to keep getting elected, and she hadn't sold them on her ability to do so (also didn't appear to have sold Dauphin County on that front -- right smack dab in the middle of Pennsyltucky and more exposed to Santorum-style Republicans than most democrats).

Obama pretty consistently won the rural vote, except for Appalachia (PA included) and some of the hispanic south.

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-12 05:46AM | 0 recs
Re: greetins from da burgh!

Yes - the narrative of "Obama's support slipping!" never really caught on because people predicted in February that he was going to struggle in the states where he struggled, and Democrats aren't as good at blatantly denying reality.

Hmm...it depends on which democrats you ask. Some are pretty good at blatantly denying reality...

The bottom line, I believe the PUMA should be taken seriously and that the Reverend Wright scenario along with added perception that Obama is a foreign or even alien to some people are campaign perceptions that many are not willing to admit.

This is election will either be trust or bust of the Obama. I'll expect gains in the congress. The media has been mentioning all along that Democrats are capable of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat and they truly intend to see that happens.

Also, I believe this whole vote for Obama by dragging Hillary's name in the mud is really stupid.

Many, myself included, can't stand Obama or McCain at this point, but I'll just watch and see what happens since my vote is my own. No ifs, ands, or buts--my vote is my choice. It's called democracy for those who do not understand it.

by Check077 2008-08-12 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: greetins from da burgh!

The bottom line, I believe the PUMA should be taken seriously and that the Reverend Wright scenario along with added perception that Obama is a foreign or even alien to some people are campaign perceptions that many are not willing to admit.

And what do you propose?  I'm guessing making Hillary the nominee.  Look, I'm sorry that there are xenophobes and bigots in our own party, but catering to them is a short term strategy that would ultimately rip this party apart.  If we wanted to nominate the safe candidate who looks most like what a President looks like and has the fewest skeletons, then we should have all supported Edwards, and you see where that would have gotten us.  

by GobBluth 2008-08-12 07:09AM | 0 recs
What you miss

is what people who have never worked in Iowa and New Hampshire often miss.

The campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire is completely different than the National Campaign.  In fact, in many ways they are on different planets.  In Iowa and New Hampshire by mid summer 2007 the election was fully engaged.  By the fall ads blanket both states, and the ground organizations are starting to pester voters.  

Wright would have raised concerns about Obama's electability, but I don't think it would have mattered.  The defining issue in Iowa was the Iraq War, and Obama was the only who opposed the War before it started.  That in turn drove concerns about electability for both Edwards and Clinton.  

One of the reasons for Clinton's late comeback was the decline in the importance given to Iraq, and the correspond rise in concerns about the economy.  

by fladem 2008-08-12 06:32AM | 0 recs
Go Go Gadget Politics of Distraction

Perhaps Obama can't pull away because of Wright. If Hillary had gotten the nomination, we'd be hearing daily about some other BS Vince Foster Clinton Library Donors Bill's Sketchy Foreign Connections, if Edwards had gotten the nomination Ann Coulter still wouldn't have gotten the new message about the adultery and would still be calling him gay on national television. And you better bet Rush wouldn't have let things stay in the National Enquirer like the still-vagely respectable Traditional Media (TM) did.

My point? It's the politics of distraction, the media loves it, and no one can dish it like the Republicans. And that's the major reason no Democratic candidate can ever really pull away from a challenger on the national stage as long as two remotely acceptable candidates are nominated for the major parties. And those Republicans had to go nominate the guy they hated, the one who could at least pretend he was a remotely acceptable candidate.

by Exhausted Pennsylvanian 2008-08-12 04:37AM | 0 recs
My experience

at my caucus was that people who didn't vote for Clinton had already decided to vote against her.  The vast majority of the Edwards supporters at my caucus have gone to either Obama, Richardson or Biden, and in that order.

Based on conversations with other precinct captains, the big effect would have been to make Richardson and Biden viable in more places, and to give a significantly larger victory to Obama.  

I only worked in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids: can't talk about the rural areas.  

by fladem 2008-08-12 06:18AM | 0 recs
Richardson viability...

...might have closed the gap between Sens. Obama and Clinton by taking Obama votes away from Obama.  You never know.  

We can extrapolate from the exit poll/caucus results that more Edwards voters would have gone to  Obama but there is no guarantee it would have played out like that.  The scenario I mentioned above would be one way that Sen. Clinton may have benefitted.

This is precisely why counterfactual statements are not readily evaluable.  You change that one detail and any of a dozen things could have happened.

So I condemn Wolfson, not for being wrong about the counterfactual analysis, but for engaging in it in the first place.  This sort of analysis provides no useful information. It just seems like a way to keep stoking the PUMAs.

by AZphilosopher 2008-08-12 07:28AM | 0 recs
Man up Wolfson

It wasn't Edwards' lies that cost Clinton the election; it was your, and Mark Penn's, larger-than-life ego that doomed her.  Clinton's campaign had to do everything wrong and Obama's campaign had to do everything right and that's exactly what happened.  That Atlantic article was dead on.  The folks inside Mrs. Clinton's campaign were more focused on collecting checks and attaining personal glory than they ever were on victory.

by jkfp2004 2008-08-11 07:36PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

This is so absurd that it is hardly worth your time but the real reason we won (i'm joking) was because I was on the ground in MISSOURI the ultimate swing state and we had a great team from DC for Obama there.  Seriously, MO was close but making a difference is hard.  Let's carry MO in Nov.

by howardpark 2008-08-11 07:48PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...
To Howard Wolfson and company,
For the love of Christ, just give it up already. Hillary is not the nominee. Get over it.
by Steve24 2008-08-11 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

As wrong as Wolfson is, in all fairness, he was not trying to posit that "in the final analysis, the only reason Hillary Clinton wasn't nominated is that John Edwards' affair didn't come out sooner" (my emphasis).  

Nor did he explicitly 'blame' John Edwards for Hillary Clinton's loss.  He simply posited one factor OF MANY that might have swayed the election.  Obviously, his analysis on this particular factor was wrong; but if you asked him, I'm sure he'd agree with you about all of the other things that would have won the election for Hillary--including organizing in the caucus states.

by MMR2 2008-08-11 08:05PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Yeah, but that kind of analysis is meaningless.  Since he was in a major leadership role, he has a class interest in portraying it as a rube goldberg series of elaborate consequences that no one could have possibly predicted.  Does that increase anyone's understanding about anything?  No.

by Ponderous 2008-08-11 08:19PM | 0 recs
Best analysis of Wolfson yet.

he has a class interest in portraying it as a rube goldberg series of elaborate consequences

Bingo.  Kudos.

by Dumbo 2008-08-12 12:35AM | 0 recs
It's "Mugabe"

With such reasonable and intelligent support, it's hard to figure she lost.

I agree with the person who said on another thread on this topic, that Clinton deserved better support than she had, from Penn, Wolfson and Lanny Davis down to her internet supporters.

I think the kindest thing anyone could do for Hillary Clinton is to keep the Alegres and the SoCalDarlin faction out of sight.

by BlueinColorado 2008-08-11 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Dullard: we already had an election.  Remember?  It last quite a while.  You couldn't have had the DTs though the entire thing.  Wow.

Imagine.  Waking up in your own puke, clinging to an empty bottle of Old Crow, and realizing you'd missed the whole thing.

by Jess81 2008-08-11 08:15PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Race - Edwards = Obama +

by nextgen 2008-08-11 08:18PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

As wrong as Wolfson is, in all fairness, he was not trying to posit that "in the final analysis, the only reason Hillary Clinton wasn't nominated is that John Edwards' affair didn't come out sooner" (my emphasis).  

Nor did he explicitly 'blame' John Edwards for Hillary Clinton's loss.  He simply posited one factor OF MANY that might have swayed the election.  Obviously, his analysis on this particular factor was wrong; but if you asked him, I'm sure he'd agree with you about all of the other things that would have won the election for Hillary--including organizing in the caucus states.

by MMR2 2008-08-11 08:19PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

sorry for double post

by MMR2 2008-08-11 08:22PM | 0 recs
It's never too late for flaming!

by JJE 2008-08-11 08:49PM | 0 recs
Woulda....Coulda....Shoulda...

'Welcome everyone! Welcome to Fantasy Island!'

To me, this whole thing is really pathetic reaching to justify why Clinton lost, orchestrated by those who committed the errors.

Damm, back we're into the public backbiting by Hillary's staff again, now she's really sunk as VP.  The staff can't help but act like the Kilkenny Cats.

by NvDem 2008-08-11 08:51PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

If only.... she'd taken the advice to stay out of Iowa, that, in hindsight, was the real answer. Edwards would have won Iowa (Clinton's older caucus goers in the state would not have went for Obama), and that would have made it.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-08-11 08:56PM | 0 recs
If only she'd taken the advice to stay out of IA

Bad advice, that is.

That would have REALLY made her look like the "inevitable" nominee she had built her entire campaign around.

Skipping Iowa is something one would have expected Kucinich to do.

by Glaurung 2008-08-11 11:43PM | 0 recs
Re: If only she'd taken the advice

Exactly.  You can't run as inevitable and not fight everywhere.

by Adam B 2008-08-12 06:02AM | 0 recs
Good point but...

IF Edwards had won Iowa under this scenario, the anti-Hillary vote AND the fundraising might have coalesced behind Edwards.  And with Penn and Wolfson still working for Hillary, Edwards might be the nominee, and we might be in a pickle trying to explain away his love life today.

And since there would presumably have to be prior knowledge by all that Hillary was not running in Iowa, the polling for Iowa would have excluded her, giving Edwards better numbers in the months before Iowa, letting him catch up in the fundraising, the one place where his campaign really foundered.

So I don't think it's that simple.  (But we all knew that.)

by Dumbo 2008-08-12 12:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Good point but...

Yeah, but Edwards had virtually no plan to contest the national election beyond Iowa in the first instance.  Even if he had won Iowa he was not placed to contest a primary which we all observed turn into an unprecedented, and costly, battle of attrition.  If Edwards had won Iowa Hillary would have won the nomination, so in that respect Wolfson, like a broken clock, is arguably correct.  I posit that Edwards never had a serious chance of winning the primary under any circumstances, but Michelle Obama was also right to say, controversially at the time, that from Obama's perspective Iowa was everything.  

That Hillary came in third, well, that was just icing on the cake.  Not only did Obama get a slingshot out of Iowa but Hillary's 'inevitability' campaign took a hit from which, frankly, it never fully recovered.  That was the real significance of Edwards campaign on the outcome and it ended there.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-12 02:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Good point but...

McCain had no plan to contest the national election beyond New Hampshire. These things can be created on the fly - it doesn't always work, of course!

by Exhausted Pennsylvanian 2008-08-12 04:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Good point but...

Well, that's a good point too.  They both were running on public financing by then, from memory, but McCain wasn't facing a candidate with the stature or resources of Hillary, either.  That's my point in saying Edwards' Iowa win would have insured her nomination and I'm guessing that's the underlying angst in Wolfson's petulant remark about him and Iowa in retrospect.  The third-place finish was a major psychological blow to her campaign and Obama's first-place showing simultaneously presented them with a genuine threat.  They must have been doubly disappointed at the time because Edwards' position in the result was the worst of both worlds.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-12 04:55PM | 0 recs
That is wishful thinking

There is no way she could have avoided Iowa.  Front Runners don't get to pick where they fight, particularly in a state that she would have needed in the general election.

Among the serious mistakes she made (and this was the worst run front runner campaign since Ed Muskie until March) was blowing their money in 2007 on a bunch of DC based consultants who chewed up millions and left her without resources to fight everywhere on Feb 5th.

by fladem 2008-08-12 06:25AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

And if only Napoleon had considered the damn Russian Winter...but alas, hubris will always lose out to good strategy.

by Tenafly Viper 2008-08-12 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Oh, Josh, over-reach alert in the bashing-- Clinton also won the Nevada caucus.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-08-11 08:57PM | 0 recs
Just like Strom Thurmond.

Remember, Strom Thurmond won Nevada in '48. Thurmond ran a good campaign.  And Clinton ran a good campaign there too. </parody>

by Dumbo 2008-08-12 12:44AM | 0 recs
But this only makes it worse!

It would almost have been better if they hadn't paid attention to any (caucuses). Then you could blame it on ignorance instead of wilful stupidity.

by iohs2008 2008-08-12 05:47AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Jerome,

Is this really your only contribution to the discussion?

Seriously?

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-12 06:22AM | 0 recs
But...

Obama won Delegates that day 13-12 due to Obama's strength in the North & the rurals.  

Far too many people think that Nevada=Las Vegas only.  It's a big mistake.

by NvDem 2008-08-12 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Who won more delegates in Nevada? Because, you know, the Democratic primary is a delegate race.

You're making exactly the same mistake the Clinton campaign made, and it's probably the single most important reason she lost.

by BobzCat 2008-08-12 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

The reality is that there would have been someone who would have been the Anti-Clinton. Edwards had nothing to do with that dynamic. Neithere did Obama. It's about the reality that people didn't want Clinton. This is something that no one wants to hear. But it's the truth.

by bruh3 2008-08-11 09:05PM | 0 recs
people didn't want Clinton.

They didn't want Edwards either.

by Glaurung 2008-08-11 11:45PM | 0 recs
Re: people didn't want Clinton.

That's right they didn't. But you don't see former Edwards supporters trying to say they would have won. By the way, on the emotional end- some of you really need to grow up a bit. Your response to me was juvenile. I am responding simply to make clear that nothing you says changes the reality that Clinton lost, so did Edwards, so did a lot of other candidates. Get over it, and grow up a bit because your lack of maturity is what this all about. This comes me a guy who never was behind Obama until after the nomination was decided in June. i still vigorously criticize him now. I just don't see what's the point of this childish behavior on display by you. Do you get something out of it?

by bruh3 2008-08-12 04:28AM | 0 recs
Re: people didn't want Clinton.

You need to pout less.

by Glaurung 2008-08-12 10:10AM | 0 recs
Missing the point

There was a strong anti-Clinton sentiment. In the end, Obama took that mantle.

Had Obama never been, many believe someone else (Edwards, Richardson, etc.) would have been the anti-Clinton candidate.

by iohs2008 2008-08-12 05:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Missing the point

This entire conversation during the past day of what "would have happened if...." is really stupid. But it's served the purpose of the  clintonistas who began it by causing a lot of rancor.

by Glaurung 2008-08-12 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Tomorrow's top story on Drudge: "According to informed sources, Barack Obama was grilling chipotle-marinated puppies and kittens in his backyard several days prior to the Iowa caucus." ;-)

I agree this what-if stuff is silly, especially when the primary was so close. Some butterfly in Brazil probably had a major effect as well.

But I do not think Josh or Howard is going back far enough in time to see Edwards' real impact on the race. It was the 31 Oct debate where Edwards (with plenty of help from the moderators) really tore into Clinton and scratched her inevitability armor for the first time. Obama head faked him into it by saying he was going to get tough, but it was Edwards who carried the attack that night.

by itsthemedia 2008-08-11 09:21PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

But from memory it was Dodd, wasn't it, who deftly saw the opening and administered the coup de grace on her illegal immigrant drivers' license position in that debate?


SEN. DODD: Wait a minute. No, no, no. You said yes, you thought it made sense to do it.

SEN. CLINTON: No, I didn't, Chris.

The Democratic Debate on MSNBC NYT 30 Oct 07

Ahh...  One of those fleeting moments which alter history.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-12 03:04AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Good catch. The DL thing was just the gatcha that the media decided to go with, and blow up into "the moment" that brought down the mighty Hillary monster. The narrative was set - if the DL exchange did not happen, they would have gone with something else.

The Oct 30 debate was really unprecedented in terms of way the NBC moderators teed up one candidate and begged the others to take a whack at her. ABC kind of repeated the new gang-up-on-the-front-runner format in the April 16 debate in Philly.

In both cases, the media heads noted that having the moderators go after the front runner is the way debates are always done. If you look at historical debates, or Republican debates from this cycle, it just is not true. What they probably meant to say is that from now on, we can expect the moderators to go after any Democrat who is a front runner. I know I expect that for the GE debates.

by itsthemedia 2008-08-12 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

"Barack Obama was caught grilling chipotle-marinated puppies and kittens in his backyard several days prior to the Iowa caucus."

And, he is assisted by Louis Farakhan, while Michelle is popping off rounds on her Mach-10, capping stand-up targets of white cops....

L. Whitey Johnson has the tape, it's on the directors cut platinum box set of the Whitey Tapes.  Alegre has them on back-order at her site....

by WashStateBlue 2008-08-11 09:30PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Lame

by mikeinsf 2008-08-11 09:34PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

If only Hillary had truly been a progressive.  Let's face it, being a progressive isn't just about policies, it's about culture and she just didn't cut it as a cultural progressive.  She veered unsteadily between Miss Manners and Annie Oakley, neither of whom are progressive icons.  My lasting image of her in the primaries was knocking back shooters and beer in an Indiana bar.  Clearly she needs a make over for her next run after Obama's second term in 2016.

by BDaddyL 2008-08-11 09:54PM | 0 recs
Whereas

Obama cuts it as a cultural progressive....never mind that FISA vote, never mind that flip on offshore drilling, never mind that health care plan that isn't truly universal, never mind ...never mind...never mind.

But thank God he isn't Miss Manners or Annie Oakley.  

by Radiowalla 2008-08-11 10:08PM | 0 recs
Clinton looks best as an energetic Albright

a classy dame with enough sass to keep you watching.

Somehow a lady like that could manage to look plastic and old on TV -- it boggles the mind.

Obama managed to hook the kids on his hipness. If Hillary had shown more of a sense of humor... I think she might have managed the same feat.

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-12 05:12AM | 0 recs
Instead of a hit and run troll-rate,

why not explain what in my post is not factual?  

by Radiowalla 2008-08-12 08:44AM | 0 recs
What in your post is relevant?

by Sumo Vita 2008-08-12 04:07PM | 0 recs
I'm so tired...

I'm so tired of the media refusing to speak the truth about the eery parallels of this scandal to what John McCain did to his sick wife.  Also, the Clintons couldn't have been helped by another example of infidelity considering one negative Hillary has had to fight is the whole "Clinton is a skirt chaser, and would be back in the White House if she won!"  How could the John Edwards scandal benefit Hillary?

This scandal is NOT about Barack Obama.  He and his family are teflon coated.  This scandal HURTS anyone who has been involved in infidelity scandals, therefore it hurts:  The Clintons and The McCains.  For the media to ignore this fact is BIAS plain and simple.

by cowboyNEOK 2008-08-11 10:10PM | 0 recs
Debunking this is just as invalid

Oh look those exit polls showed ...
That is just as much a BS argument as Wolfson's initial statement.

The dynamics would have been entirely different if the story broke in the more legitimate press around when it did. It would have been a Much bigger story. It would have been much more generally disillusioning. In that environment the "hey you know all of that stuff about Bill and me, you really want to take a risk?" would have had a strong appeal. Because don't forget this would have ignited a press feeding frenzy an order of magnitude bigger then what we just got. Would the Wright story have been advanced? Would the hopeful and positive democratic narrative been sustained?

You can certainly argue Wolfson's side if it really matters.

by Judeling 2008-08-11 10:35PM | 0 recs
by Tenafly Viper 2008-08-12 10:49AM | 0 recs
If only she had voted against the 2002 AUMF

or just called in sick that day.  

by Dumbo 2008-08-12 12:47AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

I'm going to take this opportunity to plead for Davis, McAuliffe, and Periclese to STFU in advance.

Thank you for your time.

by lojasmo 2008-08-12 02:09AM | 0 recs
Of course Wolfson is right.

Because after Democratic voters learned about John Edwards's affair, Democrats would have been even more willing to send a philandering ex-President back to the White House.

by Brad G 2008-08-12 02:29AM | 0 recs
(Comment Deleted)

This comment has been deleted by an administrator.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 04:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Of course Wolfson is right.

"...who happened to be one of our greatest presidents, despite the trashing he, his reputation, and his legacy got from Obama's partisans in the primaries."

See how easy that was? The same point, without any of the anger and vicious personal attack.

by Exhausted Pennsylvanian 2008-08-12 04:55AM | 0 recs
Greatest president while I was alive

but that don't make him one of the greats. Fat, plush America with a fat, lazy enough to get bored, president (i actually like my presidents bored. they do more thinking that way)

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-12 05:14AM | 0 recs
He never said they were good ideas.

The point Barack is making is that liberalism had been exhausted by the 90's, and the GOP was the party introducing new (albeit bad) ideas (the Contract on America, etc.)

Instead of flying off the handle, realize that Barack Obama is still the GOP's worst nightmare. He is not their friend any more than they are his..

by iohs2008 2008-08-12 05:53AM | 0 recs
Exactly.

A good President is able to dominate the agenda.  The Republicans -- bad as their ideas were in the 90s -- were setting the agenda, and forcing Bill Clinton and Democrats to respond using a negative power -- the veto pen and more than a third of either house in Congress.

by Brad G 2008-08-12 07:08AM | 0 recs
Jerome &quot;Buzzkill&quot; Armstrong
That is certainly an accurate nickname.
What is the name of that female character on Saturday Night Live who is always saying negative things while looking at the camera?  She usually pops into my mind when I read J "B" A's threads about Obama.
by deepee 2008-08-12 03:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Jerome &quot;Buzzkill&quot; Armstrong

Debbie Downer

by turtlescrubber 2008-08-12 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Obama won in Iowa because Republicans voted for him and because the media (Lee Cowan for example) never stopped kissing his "inspiring" ass.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 04:15AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Obama won Iowa, and the primary, because he was the best candidate.  Period. . .

by lojasmo 2008-08-12 04:26AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

As exemplified by what-his resume? His sense of entitlement (a rap usually reserved for Hillary but far more applicable to him), his military service, his business acumen, his vast executive experience?  What?

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 04:28AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

By the fact he won. You can try to rationalize the lose or accept it. There were a plenty of other candidates who lost. You don't see them whining like this. Many of you have no self respect for yourself at this point.

by bruh3 2008-08-12 04:31AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

So what--Bush "won" two elections. It doesn't mean that he was qualified either nor the best of the bunch. Of couse the similarity was that the press went after Gore with a vengeance just like Hillary.  Again Dana Milbank on CNN, "The press had the long knives out for Clinton in Iowa and couldn't wait til she lost." The media refused to show a poll that had her pulling into the lead and instead gave wall to wall coverage to the Des Moines Register poll.  And, I have my self-respect thank you very much. I just think that our party shouldn't be hijacked by an unqualified media darling and his merry band of Independents and Republicans who were allowed to vote for him (to say nothing of 17 year olds) in the state of Iowa.  Howard Dean said represents the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party--I like that sentiment.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 05:01AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Well children can have self respect and still act like children. Are you comparing any Democratic candidate to Bush? And the irony of course is that other Democrats have lost int he past such as Dean (speaking of long knives) and gone on to have its supporters not white quite as much as you are.

by bruh3 2008-08-12 06:13AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

I am "acting" in the SAME way the Obama people would be had the situation been reversed and the supers overturned the supposed "will" of the people a la Donna Brazile's comments- to say nothing of Frau Obama's comments last February. And where do you get off analzing me, I should like to know.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Let's all take a deep breath.

by Josh Orton 2008-08-12 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Uh, Dean didn't get the majority of votes as I recall.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

More votes, more delegates, more money raised, more contests won, better ground game, better speaker, better writer, community activist, editor of the harvard law review, etc.

Bottom line?  The best candidate wins the race.

by lojasmo 2008-08-12 05:36AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Uh, fewer votes and MUCH fewer if only Democrats were allowed to vote for their own party's nominee.  Editor of the Law Review--big shit.  Again name anotyher Democratic nominee with LESS experience than Obama please?

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

More votes.  Plainly more.

As far as your other question...Edwards, for one.

by lojasmo 2008-08-12 07:06AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Uh, Edwards wasn't a prewsidential nominee. I ask you to name another Democratic nominee with less experience than Obama.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 07:09AM | 0 recs
Who cares?

Name a presidential nominee older than McCain. Do his supporters give a damn? Obviously not. What can you learn from this?

The time for that idiotic "experience" meme has come and gone, and obviously left you behind. You really aren't making any brilliant points with your vacuous rhetoric, despite your obvious delusions to the contrary. It's time to pick up your the broken fragments of your alleged argument, and go home.

by Sumo Vita 2008-08-12 04:30PM | 0 recs
To adapt your own drivel above,

"So what -- Bush had plenty of experience"

Oh, and JFK didn't. Your meaningless strawman posturing is getting increasingly tiresome.

by Sumo Vita 2008-08-12 04:17PM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

What do you think of this exact quote from Dana Milbank as told to Howard Kurtz on CNN a few months ago.  "The press had the long knives out for Clinton in Iowa and couldn't wait til she lost." when we bring this up, the Obama people don't want to deal with it but they are raring to go if they perceive any media favoritism towrads McCain.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 04:35AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Let's posit you're correct (which you're not) and, btw, at some point most folks have actually accepted that Senator Clinton lost...

You have not, in your mind, she won, this is some dream that you will wake up from at some point...

But, IF as you want to believe, the press essentially cost her Iowa (sheesh)...

What HAS been documented is, the Clintons were MISERABLE at the point with the press...

The believed the press was out to get them, and they denied access, were arrogant, etc...

They believed they didn't NEED the press, and they treated them accordingly...

It's called HUBRIS, and it was a disease that ran rampant in the Clinton camp, from all indications...

Now, later, they changed their approach to the press, and by all indications, things got better.

So, AGAIN, you want to blame external forces, which is why you are trapped, stuck, never accepting that she actually DID lose...

Most of the rest of the world has come to some conclusion as to WHY the campaign did...

Which is why the rest of as are living in Mid-August 2008, and you are stuck in time, months and months ago.....

by WashStateBlue 2008-08-12 05:03AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Hey listen, the point of the press is to report the facts-nit to favor one candidate over another-in case you haven't figured that out--REGARDLESS of the way the press is treated.  And don't sit there with a straight face and tell me that the media didn't lick Obama's ass from day one and didn't want him to win.  May I favor you with a few quotes from them or just summarize what Joan Walsh said about her colleagues, "the press hates the Clintons". Of course one of the reasons being that the media said Bill was toast after both Jennifer and Monica and the Clintons proved them wrong as usual. Then on Innauguaratiopn night at the gala a group of clippings were shown mocking the press.  HUBRIS, that's a hot one from an Obama supporter. This arrogant thing doesn't just think his shit's ice cream, it's beyond regular brands and into Hagen Dazs.  Are you kidding me?  Can you name any other nominee with the paucity of experience thinking he's fit to govern a nation of 305 million people, this with his piddlelysquat 2 years in the senate (when he declared), doing his Abe Lincoln impersonation in Springfield of all places? This is on top of his presidential "seal", his arrogant trip to Europe, his references to South Carolina's epiphany leading to his victory, his supporter Farakhan referring to him as "The Herald of the Messiah". Please, HE'S the one who thinks he's "entitled" to something he doesn't deserve nor is fit for.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 05:48AM | 0 recs
the media didn't lick Obama's ass from . . .

day one and didn't want him to win.

My face is as straight as a laser beam.

Now clam up you yahoo!

by Davidsfr 2008-08-12 07:42AM | 0 recs
Why do you put so much credence

into Dana Millbank? Aren't you aware of his fall from grace because of flagrant misquoting of Obama (so much for being partial to him) and then refusing to acknowledge his action when he was called on it?

The fact is the press propped up Clinton's candidacy long after it was realistically viable. Thems the facts, deal with em!

by Davidsfr 2008-08-12 07:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Why do you put so much credence

Dana Milbank is a well known Clinton hater and devotee of Obama lover Keith Olbermann. I am referencing a quote from him said on Kurtz's show which I taped that particular Sunday morning.  Maybe you don't find it telling but I do.  The press wasn't for Obama?  You've got to be kidding.  The overwhelming majority of them were functioning as his cheering squad and still do.  Watch some TV for a change will you.  Do you think for ex if David Shuster had used the word "pimp" in the same paragragh with "Obama" or "daughters" that he would have kept his job at MSNBC (and not got a promotion as it stands now)?  He would have been out, period. There are numerous studies that have shown that Obama received the most favorable coverage (Jesse Jackson came in second) of any other candidate in modern history. And it's not because he's "new" either.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Why do you put so much credence

"Dana Milbank is a well known Clinton hater"

Is there a master list that you guys update?

Seems to me, all it takes to be on the:

"Well-Known Clinton Hater List"

for most of you worshipers is to ACTUALLY DARE to suggest Bill or Hill don't walk on water.

It's kind of scary to watch HOW you put these people on a pedestal, and have to vehemently almost attack anyone that says a single negative thing about them.

by WashStateBlue 2008-08-12 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Why do you put so much credence

I find it "scary" that members of a free press can be so biased. And again I repeat what Joan Walsh said, "The press hates the Clintons".  -her words.

by handsomegent 2008-08-13 08:54AM | 0 recs
As someone who was there

the overwhelming reason Obama won Iowa, and Clinton and Edwards did not was Iraq.

Had Clinton voted against the AUMF, I do not believe the opposition to her candidacy would have ever amounted to much.  Her vote for the Iraq War destroyed her experience argument.  

by fladem 2008-08-12 06:35AM | 0 recs
Re: As someone who was there

Okay, that's a good point but how do we know how Obama would have voted had HE actually been in the Senate at the time. He HAS voted for every dime to fund the war and in 2004 he said that his position was fundamentally the same as Bush's.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

THIS IS GREAT NEWS FOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON!

by Dale Johnson 007 2008-08-12 05:30AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Oh look, Markos indulging in some Clinton bashing. At least he can't pretend it is because she is a "centrist" any more.

Seems to me Wolfson is engaging in some pretty standard speculation. He was one of those who believed Iowa was critical, and given how close Iowa was to a 3-way split he thinks Clinton could have won more of Edwards' supporters and with them the state, given her support among working class and union voters. Markos relies on second choice exit polls, which anyone who followed the Iowa caucus closely remembers were largely unreliable.

Wolfson's larger point, which I agree with, is that the media focused their critical attention on Hillary Clinton while giving the rest of the pack a pass.

by souvarine 2008-08-12 05:55AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

You claim that Hillary is a fine progressive let down by a bad staff. But let's think this one through.

Shye was running for the premiere executive position in the U.S., if not the entire world, and it would seem reasonable to think that choosing a good staff is pretty high on the list of essential job skills. And givne her lack of any previous executive experience, the staff she chose is the best estimate we have of how she would have staffed the government.

I saw something like this many years ago when I worked on a presidential primary campaign for a fellow named Morris Udall. In the primaries we attempted (with some success) to position him as the liberal alternative to Jimmy Carter. But in the end I was glad that he lost the nomination because I saw how the campaign was staffed. He would have brought the same group to Washington, and they were not up to the job.

Someone can have a nice "heart" in some sense, but I don't think a presidential election is about who will do the best job for the country. And if Hillary had won, I would expect to see people like Lanny Davis, Howard Wolfson, and Mark Penn play prominent roles in the adminstration. Adn that is quite sufficient reason to be glad that she lost.

Regards,

by Ahuka 2008-08-12 06:06AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Oh yeah, right. It would have been so terrible for this country if we had a similar term to Bill's.  You know, the greatest period of peace and prosperity in the history of the US.  It's easy to remember, it's the time Saint Barack referred to when the Republicans were the "party of ideas".

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

The Greatest Period?

Oh my.  I'm not at all sure what you are basing that on.  He was an adequate president, way under what his potential was, who made some huge policy mistakes along the way.  Certainly enormously better than what we have now, but he dismantled some legislation he should not have, and he equivocated (as was his style) on the definition of genocide, and of course his personal failings.

All in all it was a decent administration that could have been a great one, but was not.

by mady 2008-08-12 08:42AM | 0 recs
Re: If Only...

Ah, let me see now. Is is the 22 million new jobs, the halving of the unemployment rate, the enormous deficit he inherited (282 billion) into an enormous surplus, the 3 balanced budgets, the halving of the crime rate, the 85K new cops on the streets, Americorps, the Brady Bill, The family and Medical Leave Act, getting rid of Milosevic--stop me when you are convinced.

by handsomegent 2008-08-12 09:43AM | 0 recs
Ready on day one?

From these memos, I think we have the answer and it is a resounding no.  This election was Hillary's to lose.  It was the ineptness of her staff that kept her from winning.   If the staff was this inept at running the campaign, I don't think that they would be that good at running the government.

A President needs to be judged by the skill of those he selects to work around him (or her).  It wasn't Edwards that doomed Hillary, it was her decision to hire those around her.

by gavoter 2008-08-12 06:31AM | 0 recs
Frighteningly Onanistic analysis by Penn/Wolffson

Look I supported Obama once Biden bowed out...but really....

I watched a candidate (Hillary) run a campaign populated by the most self absorbed, incompetent, and loathsome political hacks ever.  I've written on the numerous poor decisions made by her campaign; now the failure of Edward's affair to come to light in January is now the excuse du jour for Mark Penn and Howard Wolffson.

The internal memos from HRC's valiant campaign validate virtually every criticism (NOT OF HRC ONLY HER CAMPAIGN)

Mark Penn should give Hillary back her money --- he certainly didn't earn more than $1.25 of it

by kmwray 2008-08-12 04:32PM | 0 recs

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