The Fallout from Hubris: Rise of the Great Fallacy
by zonk, Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:58:27 AM EST
When the accounts and post-mortems of the 2008 Democratic primary are written - and when historians 100s of years from now analyze it, it is my supreme hope that two themes emerge. I further hope that such scholars accept that these two themes are neither at odds, nor does one follow the other. They share a common chronology and a common campaign, but each happened without intervention of the other.
By no means is the 2008 Democratic primary over, but it's becoming increasingly evident that it is winding down. Barack Obama has shown himself to be precisely what those of us who saw hope in him, back when he was a longshot to win the 2004 Democratic Senate primary, thought he was: An extraordinary politician, a titan of broad, mass communication, and a candidate that could transcend even his own ideology. Don't mistake me - while I know they exist, his generic electoral appeal and pied piper chops are not why I support Obama. I support him based on his voting record, his platform, and his history. I think he will win because of his transcendant appeal across racial, ethnic, gender, and ideological lines.
The first theme that I think we'll recall from 2008 is the extraordinary political chops of Barack Obama. It is far to early to crown Obama the scion and heir of FDR, JFK, or any number number of forerunners - as I said, we have not yet even seen the end of this primary. However, it's becoming clear that Hillary Clinton needs an Obama stumble, perhaps one of jaw-dropping proportions, to retake the lead. Unfortunately, it's also becoming clear that Barack Obama -- however charmed he may be and however much other environmental factors have assisted him - is not the type of politician that commits such awful gaffes.
The second theme that I hope we'll see is at minimum, the admission and exposure of latent sexism that yes, still does exist in our society. Even better, may 2008 be seen as the year it was not only exposed - but weeded out, attacked, and the packing begun to send it where it belongs; into the dustbin of history.
However - let's not assume the first required the second any more than we assume the second caused the first.
In other words (and again with all provisos about trends holding) - Hillary Clinton did NOT lose the 2008 Democratic nomination, Barack Obama WON the 2008 Democratic nomination.
I don't argue that Clinton was not helped by the caveman oafs populating cable teevee, nor am I supposing that Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, and the rest of the boys were the only exhibitors of 19th cenury thinking.
Still - let us likewise not assume that Obama has been completely spared by a media that could best be described as a flock of trigger-happy vultures. We've seen front-page stories devoted to chain e-mails that are little more credible than the ones that promise me a monstrous penis, if only I will CLICK HERE. We've seen Nedra specials that question the patriotism, complete with wall-to-wall GOP hacks to back it and provide 'sourcing', go out over the wire services and make their way onto the MSNBCs and CNNs of the world. We've seen it discussed that Obama is a product of an America-hating Madrassah.
The media seems to love to do one thing - pick at politicians until they develop a flesh wound, then see if they can make it mortal. They did it to Al Gore. They did it John Kerry. They tried to do it to Bill Clinton. They've tried to do it to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
That both Clinton and Obama are still standing is a testament to their skills.
Do note also - the objective dumbasssery of the media IS indeed a separate problem from the latent sexism that has been on full display.
However, so too is that latent sexism a separate issue from the painfully obvious missteps of Team Clinton. From Mark Penn's microtrending fixation to an appalling lack of message discipline to the dumbfounding strategy of writing off 25-35 states, despite the Clinton advantages in name recognition and the plentiful financial resources - the fall of Clinton 2008 cannot be laid solely at the feet of cable news sexism, not by any stretch.
Against a lesser opponent - even against the entire fields of 2000, 2004, and 2008 sans Obama -- the skills, experience, and determination of Hillary Clinton would have been plenty to overcome both the sexism AND the missteps.
I'll say it again - for all the missteps of Team Clinton and for all the asshattery of cable news, Hillary Clinton did not LOSE the 2008 Democratic nomination. Barack Obama WON it.
...once again, with all the provisos about votes yet to be cast - that's how this amateur pundit sees it... for whatever little it's worth.