The “Madness” of Hillary Clinton

ImageHillary Clinton seems to be in a lot of trouble. Her campaign may be running out of steam. And eventually, money, as she simply cannot compete with Barack Obama in fundraising numbers. And almost day by day, it seems someone else is calling for her to get out of the race.

Recently, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont called upon Hillary Clinton to drop out of the Democratic presidential race so that Senator Barack Obama can move forth to become the Democratic nominee and start focusing on John McCain and the general election. Leahy’s…um…not-so-subtle hint is undoubtedly designed to rattle Hillary Clinton, and perhaps more so, the remaining Democratic primary voters. Leahy, along with many other, top-level Democrats are nervous, distressed even that a protracted race, especially one that has seemingly turned more and more nasty and personal, will hand the presidency to a rather weak Republican candidate in a year where Democrats should easily snag up a win.

In short, Democrats are fretful that they will commit—yet again—what they are most famous for: snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Just look at the line up of A-List names that have either come out openly to support Obama and/or called upon Hillary to step aside, or those who have subtly finespun the message of dropping out to Clinton.

Just a quick glance of a few names: of course, there’s Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont; Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts (and the former nominee); Senator Ted Kennedy, also of Massachusetts; former President Jimmy Carter; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California (who later backed off her statements after being “handled” by high-powered Democratic donors supporting Hillary); Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius; and most recently, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Oh, and most surprising to me, new Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, formerly of the Bill Clinton Administration.

Though not the All Stars of the Democratic Party, that is still quite an impressive list. And let’s not forget the woman with tons of influence in America, Oprah Winfrey.
Obviously supporters of Obama are seizing the opportunity and turning up the volume on each and every call for Hillary to step aside. And phenomenally, daily, it seems, more and more voters are jumping on the bandwagon, all save Hillary supporters.

Yet Hillary stands defiant, but true to herself. She said in a Washington Post article, “I know there are some people who want to shut this down and I think they are wrong…I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests and until we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we don’t resolve it, we’ll resolve it at the convention.”

The more I hear calls for Hillary to drop out, the more I wonder why. At the same time, the more I hear Hillary proclaim she will stay in till “the end,” whenever that may be, I also wonder why.

Perhaps the biggest reason why so many people are calling for Hillary to get out has nothing to do with her credentials, experience or electability, though those are oft tossed about. But I look at those as cliches, trite conventions that people toss around because they’re easy to spew. I think the real reason people want Hillary out of the race now is because of her campaign tactics and the resulting perception of her those tactics have created.

I’ll tell you the truth—that’s why I’m moving towards wanting her to “admit defeat” and step aside. Just look at the most prominent of tactics and methods she’s adopted: the attempt to deny Nevada service workers a chance to vote because the large SEIU union endorsed Obama; then the about face with Florida and Michigan, fighting to seed those two states’ delegates using the claim that every vote must count; of course, there’s the blatant race baiting she sent her husband to start in South Carolina; and who can forget the most recent Bill Clinton comment about two candidates who love this country? That was clearly a sideways swipe at Michelle Obama and the Reverend Wright.

All of these acts are unseemly and disreputable. And that’s exactly what’s been reaped by what she’s sown. Her reputation has now taken a deep and broad hit. I was a John Edwards supporter, but when he dropped out, I felt as if I could get behind either Obama or Clinton. I felt that both were solid, capable, and would make an excellent president. However, since then, I’ve come to like Hillary less and less and less. She comes across as an absolute opportunist willing to stoop as low as necessary to win. It reeks of George W. Bush (and his campaign) spreading those vicious, untrue, racist rumors in 2000 that McCain sired a “black-tar bastard baby.” It stinks of Bush in 2004 hiding behind the swift boaters. Much of this is why, though I liked her initially, I’m getting more and more turned off by her.

However, having said all of that, I’m still having issues with why so many are so frenetically and rabidly calling for her to get out right this minute. What’s wrong with her staying in? And since I’ve already been honest about why I want her out, let me take this opportunity to be frank with why I understand her desire to stay in and fight on at all costs.

I’m a huge basketball fan; I try to catch as many NBA games on TV as possible. Surprisingly though, I’m not that big of a college basketball fan. I guess I just don’t quite like the style of game as much. So I don’t go out of my way to catch college hoops. Having said that, I must admit that even I get caught up in the NCAA tournament—MARCH MADNESS! Who doesn’t?
March Madness is one amazing journey, one incredible experience. 64 teams are seeded in a tournament, and in a matter of about three weeks, it gets winnowed down to only two teams. Think of that tournament and its rules. 64 teams start. Then, after one game, it becomes 32. Half. Just like that. A couple of days later, it’s down to the Sweet Sixteen. Another halving. One game later, we’ve got the Elite Eight. Eight more teams go home. In one game. After the next game, usually only two or three days later, it will be the Final Four. Of course, then we’re left with the two teams who will compete for the championship.

What captures me about the madness is exactly that—the madness. Are you kidding me? One game is all you get? The tournament rules of “one and done” stimulates something ungodly in the fans and inspires something unworldly in the players.

Put yourself into that position. One and done. You’ve only got one shot. Even if you’re better, much, much better, if for one night, for one game, for those 40minutes, you weren’t the best, you go home. It’s over. Finito.


Consider Hillary’s mentality here. That’s all she’s got. One and done. If she doesn’t pull out every trick, hit every low, throw every punch for her “one night, one game, forty full minutes,” she’s gone. And right now, even though she won’t, and her campaign won’t admit it, she knows/they know the clock is running out on them. Ever player and every coach involved in this NCAA madness will do whatever it takes to win. Coaches will argue every call, call every play, even instruct a player to purposely, and flagrantly foul some opposing player if it gives the team a shot to win. Players will push, pull, pinch, flop, throw down, say anything on the court to garner the best chance to ensure victory.

Have I mentioned we’re talking one and done?

Though this may not be true on the Republican side, it is very true on the Democratic side. The Republican Party at least seems to have some order, hold some semblance of honor and respect for the previous term’s loser. Richard Nixon lost nomination the first time and came back to win it four years later. The same holds true for Ronald Reagan, “Father” Bush, Bob Dole and now John McCain. Republicans have a way of revitalizing and revamping their previous losers into the next one’s winner.

The Democrats however, burn in effigy all of their presidential losers. Carter won his first term, but after he was rocked by Reagan in 1980, nobody whispered his name anymore. Carter has actually become more famous and better liked for his accomplishments afterwards. And what of Walter Mondale? Who? Exactly. By the way, where’s Michael Dukakis? Oh, wait, I see him. I’ve found him in the picture sitting in the tank wearing the stupid hat. John Kerry? Though nobody came out and said it, I’m sure all Democrats breathed a collective sigh of relief when Kerry chose not to attempt another run in 2008 even though he’d been priming and preparing for it since Wednesday, 11/3/04. And what of Al Gore? Well, I think he may be the second Carter, becoming more famous and well-liked after [his run, not his presidency, obviously].

One and done. Then your name becomes dirt in the Democratic party.

Hillary understands this. That’s why she’s pulling out every stop this time around. Sure, she may run again in 2012, but not if Obama wins. By 2016, she’ll be too old, not to mention too old news. But say McCain wins. Hillary can run again in 2012, but who knows what will happen then? Who knows what other newbie, upstart rock star will be present in that election? I’ll tell you what, certainly I think Senator Jim Webb of Virginia will be a tough opponent for Hillary to beat. And by then, the novelty of a woman running for president will carry a lesser shine, plus more qualified, viable women may actually run against her. Kathleen Sebelius comes to mind.

One and done. That’s what Hillary is staring at; that’s what she breathes every day.
I cannot, and don not, condone what she’s doing or the way she goes about it, but I can’t say that I blame her. I certainly understand.

One Reply to “The “Madness” of Hillary Clinton”

  1. You know, I’ve had the “one and done” conversations with lots of people recently. It was one of the reasons I was shocked to see Obama even run this election, given his youth, he could easily have waited eight years. It’s risky, no? If he becomes the nominee, and loses, he really does stand a very narrow chance of ever getting another chance. Your argument is right on the money: the democratic party is notoriously unforgiving.

    A couple points, though. I’m struggling to understand why Hillary would be “too old” in 2016. John Kerry is older than Hillary, and of all the reasons that people have given (and you’re right, there have been plenty) to not support his re-nomination, not once have I heard his age mentioned. Also, I think the DNC has created it’s own problems here. Let’s face it, completely discounting the vote in Michigan and Florida was just plain stupid. There were other “punishments” available; personally, I think it would have made more sense to decrease their overall number of delegates. The decision that was made just seems entirely too, well, undemocratic.

    Though I don’t agree with you on all points, your post was well written. I’m curious about how you feel about the power “a-list stars” seem to have in this election. Personally, I risk a headache each time I consider that people might actually establish their political leanings based on the opinions of Jack, Barbra, Oprah, or “Bennifer” (though I am a big fan of all these people!).

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