Friday, April 25, 2008

Why Won't Hillary Drop Out?

She's going to lose, and by at least as much as she's losing now. What's in it for her?

(By Andrew Tobolowsky)

Here is what I really do not understand: why is Hillary Clinton still running?

Because I currently live 6 time-zone hours from the United States, news doesn't happen while I'm awake. So a couple of mornings I woke up at 5:45 am, because I had something to do, to see that the Mavericks lost by a lot and Hillary won by a little. It was not a good morning.

Not because it matters…well the Mavericks matter…but because it was just barely enough of a victory to keep the deluded Clinton campaign going.

Despite the "massive victory," of something like eleven delegates in the biggest state left, and the one in which she had by far the biggest lead, whittling Obama's lead all the way down to around 140, it is not even an uphill battle. It is an impossibility. She can't come closer than about 130 in pledged delegates and the number of super delegates she needs is edging closer to 80% of the remaining.

SHE must know. And she's in debt, and every minute that she remains in the race helps John McCain. It's a classic "if I can't have it, no one can have it," situation, yet we all know this is a woman who has dealt with adversity before with some dignity, even if we don't personally like her. What's in her head? What's making her do it?

To people like me, she habitually claims that it is borderline immoral not to wait to hear the rest of America speak, that she owes it to them somehow. It may be true that, in a best of seven playoff series for example, once you've lost four games be it in game 4, 5, or 6, you owed your fans better. But that doesn't mean you get to try to give it to them.

So WHAT is she doing?

I don't wish to be petty, though to that depth I will sometimes descend, but in that regard, the most revealing quote from her was this: "I believe I have to win. I feel like that's my task."

In all fairness, that's something that could be taken at least one, possibly two other ways, but it's hard with how far she has demonstrated she will go, how little attention she has paid to her real situation, to avoid the suggestion that this is a kind of quest for her."My task" has disturbing messianic undertones. Her task in what, life? She was MEANT to be president? The voters disagree. At this point it is clear, and will remain clear, no matter what happens, no matter who wishes it could be different, that the voters disagree.

Or perhaps, it's only as me auld father said it was. After having suffered through eight years with Bill, refusing to divorce the philandering wreck, she feels like this is her reward. But you don't get the presidency just by deserving it, especially not on a personal level.

I know her arguments, so do you. Electability, she says. I personally can't stand the idea of it, that someone could win an election and yet not be the choice, that the future of her campaign is predicated on allowing a government body to say that it knows better than the American people which is a terrible precedent even when it serves your purpose…which is something which you really shouldn't be okay with it, which will come back and bite you in the ass…Electability is a concern for the voting populace to decide like any other, and I reject the whole notion that anyone else has a right to it, as should YOU Hillary fans, who should be first fans of keeping the shreds of democratic power which remains in your hands intact…

But the more important thing is that it isn't an issue. I recognize, for example, that Ohio is an important race, but even Hillary's ability to beat Obama in Ohio doesn't REALLY say anything about her ability to beat McCain there, or the ability of the democrats to win there…but I can concede Ohio, despite, as noted above, the philosophical repulsion I have for the notion of stealing elections for strategic reasons (where do you let them stop strategizing for you?). But can anyone on Earth say, with a straight face "I'm sorry, I want the superdelegates to go for Hillary because Obama can't beat her in big states like California, New York, and Texas. Because even though no matter what happens California and New York will go massively blue and Texas massively red, uh…Uhhhhh…."

Also it would seem pretty obvious that one has to guess that the person is more electable who can win more votes and that's Obama. And it would seem like the person who can bring more disillusioned, disenfranchised voters, voters who previously have not voted, to the polls, would be more electable, and that's Obama. Even in Pennsylvania, and even according to CNN, Obama won voters who were unregistered as late as January, or had switched parties by then, by a massive 59%-39% margin. Who's a uniter and not a divider? Incidentally, Pennyslvania hasn't gone blue since 1988.

Look, Hil fans. Hillary is a distinguished public servant, a good speaker, and an intelligent person. I don't blame you for LIKING her, for thinking she's the best candidate, for WISHING she would win. I know if Obama were losing, I'd be upset, I would stick around his campaign for as long as possible. And I know there are a lot of ways in which Obama rubs Hillary fans wrong; in many ways he is her antithesis. Hers is the rhetoric of a democratic status quo (I do NOT say status quo, Hillary will not keep George Bush's legacy alive), his of a kind of Kennedyian possibility which so many candidates try to channel, which so often fails to materialize.

They're not THAT different. They're both career politicians to an extent to which is not normally recognized, neither has often done very much else in their lives. Hillary was a lawyer, and a law professor, then first lady of Arkansas, then the United states, then America. She's had eight years in the senate. Obama's been in the Illinois state senate since 1995, and a US senator for 4. They both, really, have experience. And I understand, again, why Hillary voters wish that Hillary could win.

But there is a border beyond which this is short-sighted, and an inability to show sense here becomes less and less commendable. You can want her to win, but she's not going to, and it's time to decide what to do about it.

Consider that here, in her last, best hope she picked up less than 8% of the delegates she needed to win, a gain that will be absolutely annihilated in North Carolina, and consider what a truly divided nation, indeed a truly divided democratic nation, will do if the winner is not the won who had their voice, but the one decided in a smoky room in Washington…consider that even that scenario is so unlikely it borders on impossible, realize all you can do is close the gap enough, and stoke inter-party hatred enough to make it real easy for the nation to make a choice in the inevitable Obama-McCain race. Consider, that's all.

When the country's future is in your hands it is not enough to do simply what you want to do. It's too important to be that heedless. I blame no one, again, for liking Hillary, for wanting Hillary to win, for being committed to Hillary. But you are, right now, a participant in our nature's future, and I urge you to act in a way compatible with the reason which makes nations great. Hillary knows it, and so do you. If you can't stand Obama, vote for McCain, that's what democratic choice is about. But move above the knee-jerk reactionism, assess the situation, and realize the facts. As an electorate we can be better than we are, we can make more informed decisions, we can become participants in a process which produces reasonable results by forcing it to conform to the expectations of a reasonable people.

Reason says Hillary is going to lose. Listen to your head, not your heart, and don't split the country into a third part for the sake of someone else's refusal to bow to what she knows perfectly well. Don't participate in that refusal. We're all better than that. And this country's more than divided enough as it is with that big ol' gap running down the red-blue center, without our collective stubbornness forcing the crack wide.

Again, to forestall probably 90% of the people who were going to post responses to this column, this is not about voting for Obama. Doing the right thing is not voting for MY candidate. This is about voting for THE candidates, Obama or McCain. Only an excess of stubbornness on the part of Hillary Clinton and on the part of a (not by too much, admittedly) minority electorate is keeping this gap open. Even if McCain wins, I hope I comport myself with the respect due fellow Americans who, by now, have much of the rest of the world against them anyway…and begin to heal the wounds of the last eight years. But Hillary can't win, and this is a divide we actually CAN dispense with.

The American electorate will be treated with respect, by politicians, when it demands respect by being respectable. When it refuses to be manipulated, or scared, when it uses discretion and sense, and when it demands accountability. America will get the politicans she deserves when she steadfastly refuses anything else, when it will no longer let wool like Hillary Clinton be drawn over its eyes. America will get the politician she deserves when she proves she deserves them. If we can get there, we can start to heal a dangerously divided country. And that's, I think, all there is to it. (

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever heard of the Illuminati, Andrew Tobolowsky?

They decide who is in the White House. and if you are not careful you'll end up like some of your journalist friends - DEAD!

Their tentacles reach far and wide.

6:31 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillary should run as an Independant against Obama and Mc Cain! Don't forget the difference between her and Obama are about 100plus delegates, and she got all the large states, which matter. Obaama rama will be wiped oud out.

2:24 AM GMT+8  

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