Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hillary's Farewell (yeah right!)

She was 44 minutes late. I was nervous. It was also weird to see such a gathering, such attention for a loser.

What she needed to do is today is to say it was a fair fight and she lost fair. She didn't do that. Shame on her. Overall, it was pretty self-congratulatory, and it shouldn't have been. She is the reason she lost.

Here's why she needed to do that (from 3 A.M. For Feminism in The New Republic):
Hillary Clinton has lost the nomination, but some of her most ardent female backers seem unwilling to accept it. A strange narrative has developed, abetted by Clinton and some of the mainstream feminist organizations. In it, the will of the voters was thwarted by chauvinistic party leaders in concert with a servile media, and Obama's victory represents a repeat of George W. Bush's in 2000. It's a story in which Obama becomes every arrogant young man who has ever edged out a more deserving middle-aged woman, and Clinton, hanging on until the bitter end, is not a spoiler but a feminist martyr. This conviction, that sexism cost Clinton the nomination, is likely to be one of the more toxic legacies of this primary season. It is leaving her supporters feeling not just disappointed but victimized, many convinced that Obama's win is illegitimate.
Clinton has not only created this belief with her lies about the popular belief, she has stoked them. So Gail Collins relays this in her New York Times column, What Hillary Won, today:
They vowed to write in Hillary’s name on their ballots in November; to wear “NObama” T-shirts all summer; to “de-register” as Democrats. One much-circulated e-mail proposed turning June 3, the day Barack Obama claimed the nomination, as a permanent day of mournful remembrance “like the people in Ireland remember the Famine.”
But even Collins admits:
I get asked all the time whether I think Hillary lost because sexism is worse than racism in this country. The answer is no. She lost because Obama ran a smarter, better-organized campaign. It’s possible that she would have won if the Democratic Party had more rational primary rules. But Obama didn’t make up the rules, and Clinton had no problem with them until she began to lose.
But then she writes:
Her campaign was messy, and it made some fatal tactical errors. But nobody who sent her a donation could accuse her of not giving them their money’s worth.
When Hillary spoke of that little girl who gave up her two years of savings for Disney World to pay to go to Pennsylvania to help Clinton, I thought what a criminal waste. Already at that point, Hillary had no possibility of winning. Any belief otherwise was a delusion she created. She should be ashamed of herself for taking that little girl's money.

I'm with this writer - not a penny:

Like it or not, money makes politics go. If you can't raise enough money to keep going, or don't have a personal fortune to spend, then you should not be able to keep running.

She had the nerve to stay in this thing for months after it was statistically highly unlikely that she could win. How does she justify continue putting her campaign millions and millions of additional dollars in debt to keep running a campaign that all but her most die-hard supporters knew was essentially over?


Her inabilty to raise enough money to keep going without incurring an outrageous amount of debt should have been proof enough that she was not viable.

Further, our money should be going to Sen. Obama, the DNC, and anyone else helping to make sure Sen. Obama wins and Sen. McCain loses. Any diversion of a single dollar to Sen. Clinton's debt relief is money poorly spent.

Sen. Clinton should pay everything she owes out of her own pocket and not even suggest that Obama or any Democrats help her pay it off.

And then there's the "she won the popular vote lie." Her supporters took out an ad regarding this "fact" and Sen. Diane Feinstein repeated the lie on This Week and wasn't even corrected by George. As Politico rightly notes, this notion requires correction, immediately and forcefully:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a backer of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) during the primary campaign, reiterated on ABC’s “This Week” that Clinton had won the popular vote — an assertion that is not accepted by Illinois Democrat Sen. Barack Obama’s camp and one that, if repeated often, could harm Democratic attempts to unify behind him.

Even "informed" journalists assume she's been telling the truth about the facts of her campaign. This is also why many believed she had a chance to win even when she has not. All she has done is hurt our chances in the fall.

For the facts as to the popular vote, Hendrick Hertzberg of The New Yorker notes Clinton emphatically has not been telling the truth and explains why. He reports from the "bunker".

There was one part of the speech that I found dishonest and dangerous as soon as it flew out of her mouth. It began with this claim:

Nearly eighteen million of you cast your votes for our campaign, carrying the popular vote with more votes than any primary candidate in history.

Then this, a minute later:

In all of the states, you voted because you wanted a leader who will stand up for the deepest values of our party, a party that believes everyone should have a fair shot at the American dream, a party that cherishes every child, values every family, and counts every single vote.

And this, another minute later:

A record thirty-five million people voted in this primary.

Shall we do the math, as the saying goes?

If, as Hillary said in her speech, thirty-five million people voted and eighteen million of them voted for her, then seventeen million voted for someone else.

In other words, Hillary got a million more votes than Obama! Think of it—that’s nearly double Gore’s half-million-vote lead over Bush in 2000! And in an electorate only a third the size! The equivalent of a three-million-vote general-election majority!

Wait a minute! Since four per cent of Democrats—1.4 million people—voted for one of the non-Obama non-Hillaries, Clinton actually beat Obama by 2.4 million votes! Round it up to two and a half million! The general-election equivalent of seven and a half million! A landslide! And that’s without “counting every vote”!

They stole the election! Just like 2000! A stab in the back!

Er, not quite.

He explains more precisely.
neither candidate has “won” the popular vote. Or both have. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about which of the six counts, three won by Clinton and three by Obama, is the most legit. (My opinion is that it’s the last one, which Obama just barely wins, by two-tenths of a per cent.) But no one, as the saying goes, is entitled to their own facts. And the facts cannot support the bald, repeated assertion by Clinton and her campaign that she “won” the popular vote. Yet an awful lot of people believe that she did.
And she is responsible for that false belief. She's acting like Bush, in her own reality, propagating false facts.

What a close call we've had.

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