Senator Clinton didn’t win. Who will we blame?

After an exhausting primary season – perhaps more exhausting for the general public than the candidates – the race to be the Democratic Presidential candidate has come to a close.

The race has been a hard one and has opened a tremendous number of wounds within the Democratic party, wounds that must be healed if there is any chance for the Democrats to retake the White House this November.  This is the battle that must be won for the good of the country.

One of the biggest concerns I have is how the supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton will react to this conclusion to the primary season.  Some polls have reported that many of her supporters claim that they will stay home on election day or will vote for Senator John McCain instead.  Neither of these would be in their rational best interest, of course, but people have a tremendous capacity to cut off their own noses to spite their face.

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I’m sure that as the wounds heal and the general campaign gets under way, most of Senator Clinton’s supporters will rally behind Senator Barack Obama.  In the meantime, though, I suspect the Blame Game will begin.

“Who was at fault?  Who caused Senator Clinton’s loss?” they will ask.  Someone must be blamed.

As Ron Elving, National Public Radio’s “Watching Washington” columnist, writes rather astutely, there are many reasons for the Senator’s loss but the ultimate fault lies with her campaign.  They made a fundamental and strategic miscalculation at the beginning of the campaign: that the nomination was already theirs and that the real fight was for the general election.

You can read Mr. Elving’s full comments here, but I think he is spot-on in recognizing that even though Senator Clinton’s campaign made a strong comeback after Super Tuesday, that initial arrogance cost her the nomination.

As we turn our attention to the question of Vice Presidential candidates, many people are talking about the potential of a “dream ticket” with Senator Clinton taking the Veep role.  Part of me thinks that this is a wonderful idea.  Part of me has three specific concerns:

  • How does Senator Clinton’s presence on the ticket square with Senator Obama’s “change” theme?  She’s reminiscent of Washington politics and partisan bickering we’ve seen before under President Clinton’s two terms in office.
  • Speaking of Bill, how would he fit into the equation?  He seemed eerily prone to making statements that undermined his wife’s campaign and more interested in keeping the spotlight on himself.  I’m not sure there’s room in the White House for all three of them.
  • Finally, Senator Clinton spent a lot of time (even in her Tuesday night speech after the conclusion of the primaries) explaining why she was the better candidate and why Senator Obama wasn’t well-qualified to be President.  How does she take back all of those remarks without seeming untruthful or self-serving?

I’m interested in hearing your ideas and comments.  The most important thing to me is ensuring that Senator Obama beats Senator McCain this November.  America deserves that.

 

19 thoughts on “Senator Clinton didn’t win. Who will we blame?

  1. i’d vote for obama without clinton on the ticket. or else it’d be mccain. mccain isn’t even as bad as you may think. he’s a maverick moderate not loved by many conservatives.

  2. I think Clinton lost because Obama is an oustanding politcian with long term plans and strategic election moves!  Clinton tried her best, but just not good enough to beat Obama on his game.   I think Obama has a tough decision to make now.  If he thinks he can win without her, he would.  The main reason is because Bill is hard to control, esp as a previous president!  I think both Clinton’s have very strong personality, and speak their piece.   That would dog Obama next four years if he is elected president.  Obama would have a lot of explanation to make if he does not pick Clinton.  I bet he and his team is looking for any excuse not to pick her.  At the end, I think he would end up picking her! 
    As for me, I do worry if Obama is elected and pulled out of Iraq no matter what.  We may end up with a bigger mess we are in.  Sad we are in this Iraq mistake, but  how to get out is a big question for me.  I am open minded at this time, and will listen to presidential debate and then decide. 

  3. On another note, the Democrats might have a good chance. During the last two elections when the economy was in the rocks (Carter & Bush Administrations), the opposing party won the White House (Regan & Clinton). Just a thought.

  4. Yes, it was tiring indeed. I voted for Obama, thinking that though he is more green than Clinton, he had more potential for unifying the Democrats. Besides, any president will have his panel of esteemed advisers should he need them. In any case, I’m all for doing what I can to help insure Obama will win in November. I’m pretty sure the age card will be thrown on the table, and how Obama handles this card will say a lot about him, using it as point of fact and pragmatism rather than one of derision.

  5. Couple things:We’re not running against the moderate, non-pandering straight-talk McCain of 2000. This is the say whatever it takes to win version, so he’ll lose a lot of support from moderates who might typically support him. Now that we can shift the focus off Barack vs. Hillary, I think McCain will become less favorable.Hillary ran a negative campaign, and there was also a sense of entitlement about her that seemed to turn a lot of people off. She counts being a First Lady as the wife of a governor and president as political experience in resume padding that exceeds what anyone would get away with to get a job. She insists she leads the popular vote using convoluted math that only exists if you add “- logic” somewhere in the equation. Even tonight, she said she hasn’t decided what she’s going to do yet? Umm, she makes it sounds like she has some real soul searching ahead, when he two options are: concede now, and lose at the convention later.Even Hillary has said her suporters should vote Barack over McCain, though. At the end of the day, she will support Obama.As for Obama, he runs positive, raises more money from a wider base of people, gets 75,000 people to show up just to hear him speak, and offers a much better differentiation from McCain, since he never voted for Iraq and therefore doesn’t have to keep stepping over his words to make it sound like that was a good decision.I think this debate is largely in the press. I think with Barack in place, it’s pretty much a Democratic victory in Novemer by a wider margin than we’re used to.

  6. @generasianx – Hi Tony!  On some levels McCain is that maverick moderate.  On other levels it is just a slick PR campaign.  His conversion to campaign finance reform came about after he was accused of corruption as part of the Keating Five in the 1980s.  Since then, there have been several times when he’s been caught with his finger in the pie, so to speak.  I’m a fiscal conservative, so McCain does appeal to me on many levels especially when he renounced the Farm Bill while campaigning in farm country.  That took guts, no doubt. 
    There are two key reasons why I won’t vote for McCain:
    First, the Iraq War was sold to Americans using a pack of lies.  Despite his “criticisms” of the war, McCain has actually been and continues to be a supporter of a style of American diplomacy that one could best describe as “invasion-friendly”.  As someone living overseas, I can see the impact that has had on our international standing.  As an American who grieves the loss of each serviceman and woman who comes home in a casket or with injuries, I cannot vote for someone who seems so willing to continue our occupation of Iraq for the next several generations.
    Second, as a gay man and as someone with a foreign national partner, McCain’s positions on issues surrounding recognition of same-sex relationships and on immigration issues for same-sex couples are not compatible with my belief that I have a right to equal treatment and protection under our constitution. 
    While no candidate is perfect, those are my big two issues and I don’t see McCain delivering on either one of them.

  7. @stevew918 – Steve, good points.  Regardless of who is elected, there are limits to how quickly we can withdrawl from Iraq.  Listen to this interview by Terri Gross of Senator Jim Webb, (D-VA).  A former Republican, he was Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy.  He has a son serving in the “War on Terror” now and has some fascinating things to say about Iraq and our approach to this war.  Link is http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90595861.

  8. Can somebody tell Ms. Clinton that she will not gonna be the Democratic presidential nominee this year… Sadly, it seems like her husband and daughter have not done their job in waking her up…
    Nicky
    P.S. She can ran again in 2012 or 2016.

  9. @christao408 – Last i checked, Obama and McCain both voted no on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage and both said decisions about marriage should be left to the states.@zacksamurai –  where did you get that statistics from? please state a non-biased source. thanks.

  10. I still worry that that even some Democrats won’t vote for a black man, but I’ve always maintained that I didn’t care if it was Obama or Clinton as long as a Democrat won. John McCain scares the crap out of me. Yes, he may be a liberal Republican, but he’s not at all equipped to be president in my opinion.

  11. I am one of the Hillary supporters that is very saddened by the way this has shaken out.  While I agree with many of the points above about how her campaign took wrong turns, I really think that the media had a HUGE impact on the outcome…..as they do in many arenas (unfortunately).  Being a woman, I may be a little biased and defensive here…but I truly feel that she was railroaded and bullied over the course of the last few months, by not only the media (including all of the debate moderators), but the powers that be behind the scenes in DC, including Nancy Pelosi!!!  She was treated so blatently disrespectfully.  My suspicion, and this may be far fetched, is that there was a lot of conversation in Washington over which of these candidates, Obama/Clinton, could easier be controlled once in office.  For me, the answer hands down is Obama.  As we all know, the Clintons have many years of experience in the White House and swaying them in one direction or the other would prove to be much more difficult than the green senator from IL.  Most Americans know that there is always an agenda in DC that we never know about until years later when the “unauthorized” story is published.  I think that this is the case now with the situation in Iraq.  So many of us have our suspicions…but who knows when the truth will surface.  Of course those in office now that are Bush supporters are threatened by Hillary…she has the experience….not so much with Obama.
    Before Obama threw his hat in the ring, I actually tried to pay attention to what he was doing in IL.  I’m originally from there and have a lot of family, including my parents, that still live there.  I found him extremely charismatic and smart and actually thought that one day he’d make a fantastic candidate for president…..after he spent more than a couple of years in the game.  When there were the first initial grumblings of him throwing his hat in the ring (side note…I think that Oprah Winfrey was the major catalyst in his decision to move forward), I said out loud to my significant other, “This is not good….Obama against Clinton is going to screw it up for the Dems to get into the White House”.  I truly hope that this does not come true. 
    I’m a fiscally conservative Democrat and often find myself siding with Reps on issues with respect to spending, but the Democratic side of me comes out when it comes to issues of human rights…if we’re not happy as humans, what good is all the rest?  Considering McCain has sided with the idiot that’s been our “leader” for the last 7 years 95% of the time in the last year, scares the bejeezus out of me and I would be hard pressed to select him on election day.
    As for the wounds healing from this point forward, I’d like to think that they will in the coming months.  I don’t know how I feel yet about Obama asking Clinton to be his running mate…..What if he goes down in flames?  With Hillary by his side, she would surely never get the nod come the next election.  She might be better off going back to NY and licking her wounds…come back bigger and much better prepared in 4 or 8 years.
    If I had place my vote today, I would write in Hillary Clinton.  Check back in with me in a month or two….I might have a different answer.  Just my two cents….

  12. As good as she is, I think Obama needs to select someone he can be comfortable with. Both of them have very strong personalities, convictions and I’m not sure they will figure out a way to handle disagreements.

  13. @generasianx – Hi Tony, voting against a ban on gay marriage is not the same as being in favor of removing the Defense of Marriage Act.  Senator McCain has been very clear in his opinion that he doesn’t believe that same-sex couples are entitled to legal recognition of their relationships.  Senator Obama states that he believes that same-sex couples are entitled to the same legal recognition of their relationships, which he doesn’t think should be called marriage, as different-sex couples.  Please don’t confuse their positions or think that McCain and Obama have equivalent positions on this issue.  That simply is not the case.
    Senator McCain ducks the issue on the federal level by claiming states’ rights and makes some murky comments about people being able to enter into contracts with each other.  “Entering into contracts” won’t let me into the hospital to visit Tawn if he has a medical issue.  Bottom line is that McCain supports the DOMA which requires that the federal gov’t doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages permitted in some states.  There are 1,138 federal provisions where marriage status is a factor in determining rights, privileges and benefits (according to the US Government Accountability Office). 
    They do not have the same position on this issue.

  14. @deedee8370 – Really interesting thoughts and you may well be right about behind-the-scenes politicing.  The media is fickle.  There were some debates in which Senator Clinton got hammered.  There were also some where I feel that Senator Obama was hounded, too. 
    Racial bias also follows gender bias.  For example, the follow-up with the Reverend Wright comments has been much more heated and biased than similar situation with white candidates.  There have been some incredible statements made consistently by “men of the cloth” who have supported McCain but the furor doesn’t reach the same peak.  That’s because nothing makes the news shows get audiences more than an angry black man with his words taken out of context.
    I hope in the next few months your support will come around to the Democrats.  The Republicans’ recent record on human issues has been horrible.  Just ask any of the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of families who have lost loved ones in the violence in Iraq, not to mention the families and loved ones of the more than four thousand US servicemen and women who have also lost loved ones. 

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