Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic Blindness

Over the past two weeks, Hillary has adopted the advice of Republican, neo-con luminary William Kristol.  In his analysis of the Dem race in the aftermath of Wisconson, Kristol, appearing on Fox News, suggested that HRC's only chance was to "go after" Obama on his fitness to be Commander-In-Chief.  He said, "she needs to use a good dose of fear." Over the past week Hillary has done so with tactical brilliance and strategic blindness.

She has coupled going hard negative on national security, the NAFTA memo, and Rezko, with a claim to be the victim of media bias.  This media bias claim has worked very well. On one hand, it has kept pressure on the media to go after Obama on the NAFTA memo and the Rezko case.  On the other hand, it has kept the media from effectively calling Hillary on just how negative her campaign has become.  There are several indications that this tactical coupling may be enough to give Clinton the narrow victory she needs to justify staying in the race, however this tactical manuevering can do little to change the basic strategic realities:

HRC has almost no chance to overcome Obama's pledged delegate lead.  The only way Hillary can win the nomination is to continue going negative in the remaining primary states while simultaneously trying to overturn the will of the rank and file through a combination of superdelegates, and through a last minute rule change to seating the MI and FL delagations even though she has previously agreed to the DNC'c sanctions.  

The basic reality is this, although this strategy does have a slim possibility of success, HRC will have to tear the party apart to win in this manner.  If this is the only way she can win, it will not be worth having.

The most likely outcome of the Clintons tactical manuevering is to increase the level of bitterness in the party, waste time and money that could be spent on preparing for the fall campaign, and damage Obama who will likely emerge as the Dem candidate no matter what Clinton tries.

If she does manage to win by seating the MI and FL delegations, she will win by loosing.  Millions of voters including AAs, young voters, and progressives are not going to accept the outcome of such a process.  She will be the head of a dispirited and fractured party that has alientaed its young voters and enraged a substantial portion of its own base. Many will stay home, many will vote for Nader, many will vote vfor McCain.  Because she begins with nearly 50% of the voters unwilling to support her, Hillary can ill afford to loose any of the Dem base.  It is hard to imagine that she could win under such a scenario.

Unless Hillary wins by large enough margins tonight that she has a legitimate chance to at least win the overall popular vote, we can only hope that the party leadership will quickly close ranks around Obama.  

I realize that many are extremely passionate in their support for Hillary, but a realistic assessment of the current strategic situation suggest that she can only hope to win the nomination under circumstances that make it improbable that she could win in the fall.  Dems cannot afford a repeat of 1968.  Dems cannot afford to loose.  The country cannot afford four more years of a failed economic policy and four more years of war.  

If we care about our party and our country, it is time to tell Senator Clinton that it is time to let go.  We will have a woman President soon, it just isn't going to happen this year.  Continuing to try will only damage our party and end in failure.

Tags: all obama supporters are low information voters, Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, malware, Obamabot, obamabots are so many easily duped drones, Spam, Troll, Troll Diary, upperleft is a vacuous obamabot, upperwest is a vacuous obamabot, William Kristol (all tags)

Comments

36 Comments

Re: Hillary's Tactical Brillliance and Strategic B

Look the sooner you realize that talking about national security is not fear mongering the better obama will do.

It is no coincidence she ran the ad in texas , obama's reaction to the ad as fearmongering was being laughed at here in Tennessee on local radio.

National security is huge down here in the southern states especially in texas.

This is one of the major reasons obama loses about 22% of democrats to Mccain , these are mainly conservative/moderate democrats that are going for Mccain partly on national security concerns.

" Reagan democrats " ( blue collar folks ) are comfortable with Hillary Rodham Clinton on national security but in the general if Obama cannot convince people of his CIC credentials he would lose these democrats to Mccain.

The 3 am ad was probably the best ad in this cycle.

The no 1 reason I am supporting Hillary clinton is national security.

by lori 2008-03-04 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic B

Yes, trial heat polls suggest Obama does loose more down-scale and older voters than HRC.  The opposite is also true, Obama does much better with indies and pulls more disaffected Repubs than Hillary

The question is which task would be simpler?  Obama convincing base Dems who have doubts about him to come home, or Hillary trying to convince Independents who already have hardened negative attitudes to change their minds.  I think the answer is obvious:  Obama.

by upper left 2008-03-04 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance

To the contrary, the obvious answer is Hillary.

by KnowVox 2008-03-04 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance

You state an opinion without making any argument or providng any evidence

by upper left 2008-03-04 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance

As opposed to you proclaiming that it would be easier for Obama? Where's your evidence?

by LakersFan 2008-03-04 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: It is obvious

The Dem base voters that have doubts about Obama are mostly low information voters.  They have doubts because they have not been paying enough attention and do not know enough to feel comfortable with a younger candidate with limited years on the national stage.  

Evidence suggests that once they do get to know him they will like him.  In Iowa, where the voters got the best look at the candidates, Obama beats McCain by over fifteen points while Clinton trails McCain by ten.

It is obviously easier to overcome doubts of people who share your basic values than to change the opinions of people who have well formed negative attitudes.

by upper left 2008-03-04 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: It is obvious

Sure. All those senior citizens are "low information" voters. And isn't that "low information" voters theme long gone? Obama may have more "educated" voters, but there's nothing about being educated that makes people "informed". (Not coincidentally, lots of well-informed older voters did not grow up with the benefit of rich parents and the opportunity to pursue higher education).

BTW, it's obvious that you believe that using the word "obviously" somehow makes your opinions more factual than other people's opinions. Obviously, I'm not convinced.

by LakersFan 2008-03-04 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance

Why is that obvious?  If anything, the primaries have shown the opposite.  Clinton still hasn't been able to appeal to independents and those who don't self identify as Democrats, while Obama has gained huge ground with the various Democratic groups initially favoring Clinton.

by Brillobreaks 2008-03-04 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brillliance and Strategic B

What is your answer to Obama's question:  When has Hillary Clinton had responsibility for responding to a national security crisis?

I much prefer Obama calm demeanor, and I respect the breadth of his knowledge and the wisdom of his judgment.

You have not addressed the central argument of my diary which is that HRC will have to tear the party up in order to win the nomination and that would doom her, and us, in the fall.

by upper left 2008-03-04 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brillliance

Frankly, I don't want a politician who walks away from tough questions from the press --- which is exactly what Obama did yesterday when faced with questions about the Rezko trial. That's "evasive" not calm.

by KnowVox 2008-03-04 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brillliance

Have you listened to the whole thing or have you just taken in the talking points about this? It seems as if he has answered quite a few questions yesterday and today as well.

by marcotom 2008-03-04 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brillliance

Perhaps you should watch the video yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbkhzsTwz _g

by KnowVox 2008-03-04 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brillliance and Strategic B

Look the sooner you realize that talking about national security is not fear mongering the better obama will do.

Do you apply that same level of skepticism when the Republicans say the telcos need immunity or the terrorists will kill us all?

by mattw 2008-03-04 11:38AM | 0 recs
To the contrary...

it looks like this diarist has adopted the advice of Republican neo-con luminary William Kristol.

Over the past two weeks, Hillary has adopted the advice of Republican, neo-con luminary William Kristol

by KnowVox 2008-03-04 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: How So?

How so?  Are you making an argument or just name-calling?

by upper left 2008-03-04 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: How So?

Your question is better suited to the diarist, who is invoking the names of these neocon hacks.

by KnowVox 2008-03-04 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: How So?

I am the diarist.  You apparently missed the entire point of my diary.  Hilliary is acting like a Republican neo-con.

by upper left 2008-03-04 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: How So?

Yes, I know you are the diarist. Perhaps you should ask yourself why you're using William Kristol as your primary source.

by KnowVox 2008-03-04 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: How So?

Perhaps you shuld ask yourself why your preferred candidate is taking the advice of such a person.

by upper left 2008-03-04 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: How So?

The only person who believes some wingnut is providing one of our leading Democratic candidates with advice is YOU. You failed to state your case.

If anyone should be asking themselves questions, it's you.

by KnowVox 2008-03-04 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re: How So?

Kristol said her only chance to win was to question his fitness to be CIC and that she should throw in a good dose of fear.  That is exactly what she has done whether you are willing to admit it or not.

by upper left 2008-03-04 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brillliance and Strategic B

Cry me a river with these crocodile tears.

For the life of my I don't understand why people think talking about national security is fear based.  Why is that?  And why shouldn't the press do their frickin job and ask this guy some tough questions?

Geez Louise!

by BRockNYC 2008-03-04 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic B

Let's see, HRC implies that my children and grandchildren will be killed in their beds, if I do not vote for her.

I don't know about you, but I find the prospect of my children and grandchildren dieing in bed quite frightening.

by upper left 2008-03-04 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic B

That sounds like a personal problem to me.

The ad didn't cause me to fear for the life of my children and grandchildren.

And so what if you are asked to think about their safety.  What is wrong with thinking about that?

by BRockNYC 2008-03-05 08:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brillliance and Strategic B

It's my experience that any argument containing the phrase "tear the party apart" does not deserve to be taken seriously.

The argument that if the Democratic Party decides to give Michigan and Florida a say in selecting the nominee, millions of voters will refuse to accept the outcome, is just self-discrediting.

It strikes me as an attempt to blackmail the party by suggesting that even though such an outcome would be entirely within the Democratic Party rules, there are enough irrational Obama supporters who don't understand that such that we need to give in to their wishes and make Obama the nominee to keep the party together.  Implicit in this argument is the contention that all of Hillary's supporters who see her denied the nomination solely because Michigan and Florida delegates were not counted will have no problem with that outcome and will peacefully continue voting Democrat year in and year out.  An odd assumption, but one that certainly speaks well of the maturity level of Clinton supporters, if true.

The blackmail tactic is precisely the one used by the Republicans to win the spin battle in Florida 2000, so perhaps it's small wonder that it doesn't sit well with me.  The Republicans created the impression that they would accept absolutely no outcome other than victory, leading the pundits to start begging the Democrats to surrender rather than "let the country be torn apart," to coin a phrase.  No surprise that the lesson some people took away from that sordid episode was that the way to win is to come across as the irrational faction that needs to be placated at all costs.

by Steve M 2008-03-04 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic B

Entirely within the rules?

That is precisely the point.  The rule was that no states except IA, NH, NV, and SC were allowed to go before Feb 5.  When FL and MI went anyway the DNC punished them in accordance to the rule and all the candidates including Hillary signed pledges saying they agreed to the sanctions and would not campaign in the offending states. To change the rule after the nominating process is over in a way that will overturn the outcome of the other 48 states would make a mockery of the process.

Are you saying that you do not think that depriving the first AA candidate of the nomination will not cause enormous discord in the party?  Are you saying that after "ripping off" Obama, that voter turn-out among AA voters and young voters will not be depressed?  If you or anyone thinks that you are a fool.  This will make 1968 look like a picnic.

by upper left 2008-03-04 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic B

Most of your post seems to be made up out of thin air.  For one thing, Florida and Michigan were not punished "in accordance with the rule," they were punished far more harshly than the rules provided, in contrast to states like New Hampshire which also violated the rules and were not punished at all.  Moreover, Hillary never signed a pledge "saying she agreed to the sanctions," that's not even accurate in the realm of spin.  Additionally, the rules have always provided that the final decision on the sanctions would be made by the Credentials Committee and the assembled delegates at the convention in Denver, which is precisely how it will happen.

It would, of course, be disruptive if Obama were denied the nomination by machinations of this sort.  It would also be disruptive if Clinton were denied the nomination solely by virtue of FL and MI having no say in the process, a fact which you appear unwilling to acknowledge.  And claiming that millions of voters will abandon the party, or suggesting that either scenario would be worse than 1968, is absolutely silly.

by Steve M 2008-03-04 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic B

Trying to equate NH's attempt to maintain the intent of the DNC prescribed calendar with MI and FL's attempts to violate that calendar is just silly.  Steve, you reduce your credibility by even trying to make such a lame argument.

Did or did not Hillary accept the sanctions applied? Did she, or did she not sign the pledge to not campaign?

Your argument is an insult to fairness. Obama should loose the nomination because he kept his word, because he followed the rules?

I and many others would be willing to accept a re-vote if the nomination is so close that it would make a difference.  What I am not at all prepared to accept is seeing the nomination stolen by changing the rules after the fact.  There is a word for such behavior I have taught to my children and grandchildren: cheating.

I do not mean to imply that such cheating would necessarily lead to greater violence than happened in Chicago. I do believe that it would fracture the party in an even more serious way than did '68.  I think there would be an enormous protest that would not only effect HRC's prospects but that would have a huge negative impact on down-ballot Dems.  I truly believe that you discount this outcome at all our peril.

by upper left 2008-03-04 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic B

You seem honestly confused about the history of this process.

Michigan decided to defy the DNC and move up BECAUSE they had already watched New Hampshire declare its intention to break the rules and jump out of turn in the order, with the DNC standing by silently.  Michigan is among the large number of states which have become quite embittered over the years by the stranglehold which the DNC permits Iowa and New Hampshire to maintain over the process, and NH's decision to break the rules this year was the last straw.  Michigan explained its position quite clearly in this letter to the DNC.

Hillary did not "accept" the sanctions, nor did she "reject" them, since it was not up to her to do one or the other.  All the campaigns understood that under the rules, the ultimate decision would be up to the Credentials Committee and the assembled delegates in Denver.  All the campaigns understood that MI and FL might very well decide to take their case to the Credentials Committee, quite apart from what the candidates might do.

The pledge to not campaign was a sop to the early states that was not sponsored by the DNC or enforced by the DNC.  The candidates had to make a strategic choice between offending the early states and giving up the right to make their case in MI and FL; either way, the rules were not implicated.

What I've seen is silly arguments along the lines that since Hillary told some radio show in NH that MI and FL would not count, somehow that's equivalent to giving her word in blood and the party will be torn apart if she changes her mind.  If you believe that, then you have to similarly believe that Obama is bound by his word to the Florida fundraiser where he reportedly promised to "do the right thing" concerning Florida's delegates.  I am quite confident Obama did not tell that fundraiser, "Rules are rules, FL will have no delegates, and by the way, give me money."  Both candidates have played standard political games concerning the issue.

The only sense in which there would be "cheating" or "changing the rules after the fact" is if one ignores (1) the rules prohibiting NH from holding its primary when it did; (2) the rules requiring NH to be penalized for doing so; (3) the rules mandating that states like MI and FL would receive a penalty of one-half their delegates, not all their delegates, for violating the rules; and (4) the rules providing that the final decision would be left to the Credentials Committee and the assembled delegates at the convention.  Among others.

Yes, if you ignore a whole bunch of rules, and invent some new ones, you can make the case that Hillary is seeking to "change the rules after the fact" and get really really worked up about how wrong that is.  If it comes down to it, hopefully the truthtellers who want to preserve the party will outweigh the liars who want to disrupt it.  No one is breaking any rules by asking the convention to decide the issue.

by Steve M 2008-03-04 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic B

I appreciate the link and the lengthy response.  You are correct that I was unaware that NH moved ahead of NV before MI and FL tried to jump in.

I suppose that your argument makes a certain kind of technical sense in that if NH was not punished, and FL and MI were punished, it would be kinda-sorta reasonable to override that punishment of MI and FL, after the fact, if you can muster the muscle to shove it through the Credentials Committee.

Let me suggest, however, that you look at this issue in a less legalistic sense and more as a  matter of common sense.  Clinton and Obama agreed not to contest MI and FL.  Obama kept his word. Does it seem "fair" to you that Obama should loose the nomination based on counting  delegates apportioned in a state where his name did not appear on the ballot?  This argument strikes me as absurd.

If you want to argue for a re-vote, I think that is reasonable.  But arguing that they should be seated as allocated in elections that took place after the DNC said they would not count is unreasonable on its face.

Let me make an analogy. Lets say that right before the playoffs a team that is about to miss the playoffs argues that the exhibition games should count.  If you tried this argument in the NFL, NBA, or MLB you would be laughed out of the room.

The only difference here is that the stakes are way to high for people to laugh.  They are likely to start throwing chairs.

by upper left 2008-03-04 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic B

Well, if the rules of the NBA provided that there would be some sort of convention right before the playoffs to determine whether the exhibition games counted, then that would be a great analogy.

I don't see any particular resolution of the situation as being especially "fair" at this juncture.  I believe it is incumbent upon the more mature members of our party to recognize that there is no good answer, and to refrain for that reason from threatening unrest if things don't work out the way they would prefer.

What I find absurd is the notion that there will be blood in the streets if Hillary wins the nomination solely because of FL and MI, but it will all be hearts and flowers if Obama wins the nomination solely because MI and FL aren't counted.  In either case, I hold the people who decide to throw temper tantrums completely responsible for their actions.  We should be better than that.

by Steve M 2008-03-04 03:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic B

I did not threaten, I predicted.  There is a difference.

As for me personally, I will have to think long and hard before I make a decision about how to use my ballot and my influence, if this is indeed what transpires. I will weigh the short term benefits of having a Dem in the White House against the damage done to our party and the political process by such cheating and selfishness. I know how I feel now, but I have been around long enough not to predict how I will feel on the first Tuesday in November.

by upper left 2008-03-04 04:28PM | 0 recs
Geez people

FL and MI will have a revote.  And yes I think they should but I also think it sucks that the Democrats allowed the Republican controlled legislature in Florida to cause this problem in the first place.  They are the ones you should be mad at - not Hillary for wanting the Florida voters to be heard.

by JustJennifer 2008-03-04 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: I am not fantasizing

So far Team Hillary has neither asked for, nor supported, a proposal to re-vote.  So far her position has been that the illegitimate delegations should be seated.  

I would support a re-vote if it was necessary. I will not support cheating.

by upper left 2008-03-04 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic Bl

If the dems have a hope of winning this fall they better find a way to seat the Fl and Mich delegates.  As for tearing the party apart, I think you are mistaken.  Obama has yet to make the sale.  Its that simple really.  He is winning on the strength of republican/independent voters in these caucuses and primaries.  Without those votes he wouldn't even be winning at all.  So it is Obama who needs to find a way to get the base of his own party behind him.  Right now, that has not happened.  In the big dem states Hillary is the winner.  Obama does not yet have this nomination won, and if he wins by using these other voters, he could easily lose this fall because those same voters won't vote for him in the fall.  You scream that Hillary is tearing this party apart, but I submit it is Obama who is doing that.  It is Obama who doesn't want to count all the votes, its Obama who wants to truncate this election and declare himself the winner.  It is Obama supporters who continually trash Hillary and the party for lack of unity but it is Hillary who states emphatically that we will have a unified party going into the fall, not Obama.  Never him.  He is not going to actually be President even if he gets this nomination, because he is just not qualified on national security. Many dems just can't vote for him.  Sure he has his movement but actually movements never win elections.  Look at history to see this is really the case.  We are in two wars, and a novice just can't handle that.

by democrat voter 2008-03-04 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic Bl

He leads in total popular vote.

He leads in pledged delegates.

He leads in total delegates.

He leads in number of states won.

He leads in national polls of Democrats.

He leads in trail head-to-heads with McCain.

Obama even leads in super delegates who are elected officials.

The only group that Hillary leads is DNC superdelagates.

With all due respect, Obama is not the one who has failed to "close the sale."

by upper left 2008-03-04 01:01PM | 0 recs

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