The Tattlesnake The End of the Clinton Era Edition
“Election II Tracy For President” Finally On Its Last Reel
“This is Hillary Rodham, calling from Emerson Junior High School in Park Ridge. I want you to tell Mayor Daley that it was wrong of him to steal the election, and that Richard Nixon should have won!”
— Hillary Clinton calling Chicago City Hall on Nov. 9, 1960, when she was a Teenage Republican, as quoted by In These Times.
“A high station in life is earned by the gallantry with which appalling experiences are survived with grace.”
— Tennessee Williams
Although Your Tattlesnake’s been on hiatus recently, recharging batteries and working on other projects, he hasn’t neglected politics, and the post-May 6th unraveling of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Let’s start off with everyone’s favorite, an anecdote:
The Tattler knows of two women who fit into Hillary’s core demographic, the people she’d need to get elected president: white middle-class women in their 50s. One is a psychologist and the other a small business owner. Both initially strongly supported Sen. Clinton until two months ago when she descended into this Rovian nightmare of innuendo, sleaze and negative campaigning. They are disgusted with her these days — the psychologist said she would have to ‘force herself’ to vote for her in November, but she’d rather have Obama. The small business owner said there is no way she could live with her conscience if she voted for Hillary since she’s seen this ‘obsessive, manic, anything for a vote’ side of her. If Obama doesn’t get the nomination, she may vote third party or sit this one out. They are particularly incensed that she is campaigning on her ‘testicular fortitude’ — they wanted, after all, a Democratic woman as president, not a fake Republican man.
Of course, this is just anecdotal, but I wonder how many other women in their age group are having the same reaction?
“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”
— Mark Twain
Meanwhile, Your Tattlesnipe has also been hanging with his Homies at the local bars. Having once worked the kind of physically exhausting jobs that required medicinal doses of whiskey by the shot and several bottles of beer at the end of the day just to lower the pain and stay sane, I well know what type of liquor is served in Working Class Palaces, the constituency Hill was trying to impress by sipping a shot of Crown Royal and tipping a beer at a saloon in Indiana. The real Blue-Collar Heroes were highly amused at Mrs. Clinton’s photo-op first off, none of these guys would drink a pricey blend like Crown Royal. The actual Members of the Working Non-Elite throw down Jim Beam, Ten High, Jack Daniel’s or whatever cheap rotgut whiskey the dive has on hand. They also don’t sip, they pour it down in one quick snort another blunder by the Regular Salt-of-the-Earth Midwestern Gal from suburban Park Ridge whose net worth just happens to be over $100 million dollars.
Then there was the Hillary hilarity invoked by her photo-op at the Hoosier gas station. You’d think she’d practice at filling her own tank before this event but, instead, she embarrassingly let the driver, a haggard working class accessory provided as background for the occasion, do it. Video clips also showed her busily chatting on the cellphone while Mr. Blue Collar mutely chauffeured her around. This didn’t go over well with the hourly-wage crowd either. If anything, it enhanced her aura of privileged elitism. Finally, she put the foam on her French Vanilla Cappuccino by struggling ineptly to get it out of the machine a risible You Tube moment showing she obviously isn’t used to fetching her own java from roadside stops. Most telling, as pointed out to me by a guy who drives for a living, is that there was a pot of regular coffee just to the left of the cappuccino machine all she had to do was grab a cup and pour. Why candidates let themselves be talked into doing photo-ops that inevitably make them look like an idiot is beyond me, but Hillary’s gaffes were particularly obvious and onerous. As one laid-off assembly line worker snorted, “She must really think we’re stupid to believe she’s just some kind of down-home girl who won the lottery to run for president.”
Another observant domestic draft beer connoisseur noted she was often wearing hot pink and black in Indiana: “Those are greaser girl colors from the ’50s like in that movie ‘Grease.’ She must be trying to appeal to all of the grown-up greasers down there.” In these days of color and dress consultants for campaigns, that’s not outside of the realm of possibility.
The condescension to every Washington Elite misconception and myth of America’s Working Class was on parade in Hillary’s final primary battles, and her desperate patronizing on everything from dropping ‘g’s’ at the end of words to the ‘free pander’ of her 18.4 cent gas tax holiday which she knew wouldn’t pass before this summer was out and, even if it somehow magically did, Bush would veto any bill increasing taxes on oil companies actually worked to make the ‘elitist’ Barack Obama appear principled and sincere. Except for his bowling bungle in Pennsylvania, he’s pretty much been the same candidate he was earlier in the race: articulate, educated and thoughtful. Contrary to the bloviations of the Pampered National Punditry, the yuppie careerists who withhold news from the Sheeple in order to preserve their access to the Movers and Shakers, many voters echoed the words of one angry woman struggling to pay her mortgage and put gas in her car, “I want a president smarter than me that can get something done not another dope like Bush.” Why Hillary ran a dumbed-down campaign like the loathed Dubya in Democratic primaries is a question for the ages, but it’s obvious proof of her campaign’s ingrained, out-of-touch elitism.
“Also notable was that in Indiana, six in 10 Republicans who supported Clinton on Tuesday said they would vote for presumptive GOP nominee John McCain over Clinton in the fall, if that were the matchup. By contrast, most Republicans who voted for Obama said they would back him against McCain. And a slight majority of Republicans who voted for Clinton in Indiana told pollsters that she does not share their values, raising further questions about why they supported her.”
— Alec MacGillis and Peter Slevin, “Did Rush Limbaugh tilt result in Indiana?” Washington Post, May 8, 2008.
My occasionally reliable source Big Ace reports that by early evening on election night the Clinton campaign knew her fight for the nomination was at an end; Lisa Caputo, a senior Hillary advisor, was fighting back tears on MSNBC and Clinton moneyman Terry McAuliffe was hiding under a service table somewhere, avoiding the media. Internal polls showed Obama winning a 12 to 17 point landslide in NC (he won by 14), and Hillary scraping to eke out a deuce-point victory in Indiana. Moreover, according to Ace, her narrow 14,000-vote win was mostly courtesy of ‘Limbaugh Republicans’ who told pollsters they planned to vote for McCain in the fall. Not good for Hillary’s argument that she’s more electable. Other polls since her wins in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania have shown that, while she may be strong with poorly-educated whites and older women, those factions weren’t going to be enough to put her over the top in November. To offset the rise in GOP votes from Hillary-haters, she would need solid support from blacks, college kids and independents, and she wasn’t doing well with any of those groups Obama had them locked up.
Hillary’s strategy, it appears, was to slash and burn Obama, burying him with Rev. Wright, the elitist tag, Rezko, and the rest of the GOP-tested Politics of Personal Destruction trash bin, and then, nomination secured, spend the balance of the summer and fall blowing kisses to all of the Dem voters she had offended.
Ace says that the last Philadelphia debate on ABC, co-hosted by ex-Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos and agreeable GOP ‘Broadcast News’ chucklehead Charlie ‘Capital Gains’ Gibson, was supposed to put the stake in Count Barackula’s heart, but it didn’t work. He didn’t plummet in the polls by 20 points post-debate as some avid Clintonistas had hoped, and he wasn’t taking the tainted bait to do any future debates with Hillary, especially unstructured ‘Lincoln-Douglas’ style events where she could rock him on his heels by serving up mountains of specious innuendo and guilt-by-association slap-downs, forcing him to constantly defend himself or destroy his integrity by going nasty-negative against her.
By the time she took the stage to announce her ‘victory’ in Indiana — a chunk of chutzpah, since the win was not yet officially sanctioned by the vote count — Hillary must have known that, in the words of the Washington Post headline, it was “all over but the shouting.” Hubby Bill certainly knew while he smiled and applauded on cue, his face was slack and stolid at rest, the weary blank look of the stoic football coach who just witnessed the Hail Mary pass sail past the end zone with the game clock at zero.
Ace claims that Barack has enough committed super-delegates now to take him over the top, but they are hanging back the Clintons are still a powerful force within the Dem Party and, even at this late date, they fear retribution if they openly cast their lot with Obama. Rather, they are waiting for her friends to convince her it’s time to go, ending a campaign that has now become a farce, waiting for a million-to-one miracle to strike. Everyone would feel much more comfortable if Hillary would just make a gracious concession speech and bow out — it’s not likely to happen before the Oregon primary, but it should sometime around Memorial Day. She’s exhausted, heartsick that her life’s ambition is out of reach, her campaign’s flat broke, and the resumes have already begun quietly flying out of her campaign headquarters.
Some of the Punditrocracy and the DLC’s Harold Ford Jr. have been gushing over the idea of an Obama-Clinton ticket, but that just doesn’t make political sense for Barack. As they say in African-American households, never invite a mixer into your home. That usually refers to allowing a man or woman to live with you who will try to steal your spouse, but in this case it means a Vice President Hillary who will be out to steal Obama’s thunder. Besides, some GOP 527 would be running a non-stop TV ad of that ill-advised remark Hillary made where she praised the leadership qualities of herself and John McCain and said Obama was just a speech. Stranger things have happened, Kennedy-Johnson and Reagan-Bush come to mind, but Obama will most likely go with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, which would help shore up the Hispanic vote, leading to a coalition of blacks, young people, Latinos, independents and enough whites to beat the shaky McCain, similar to the combination formed by Harold Washington to defeat the remnants of the ‘Hizzoner’ Daley Machine in Chicago more than two decades ago.
Of course, Hillary Clinton isn’t going away, but it’s doubtful she’ll run for president again. Even if Obama loses, the way she conducted herself this time around will leave behind a bitter memory. And it’s implausible she’d run for president as an independent her life is major party politics, not sitting on the sidelines a Perot loser, and the Dems would work hard to oust her from her senate seat next time around.
She’s not washed up by any means she might run for governor of New York, an office with more power than the presidency in a smaller geographical area; or she might become the Senate Majority Leader next year, a position she’d excel at, especially in comparison with the weak and vacillating Harry Reid.
I haven’t talked to my two female friends who used to support Hillary recently, but I know they’ll breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it’s winding to a finish with Obama as the nominee, and I think they represent the way most Democrats and progressives feel these days. It really is time for a change and Hillary was never the candidate of change except in her signage, as she proved in her campaign from the past.