You know, I didn’t really know what to make of Hillary Clinton’s latest ill-advised comments. It’s been a long race and it’s easy to slip up and say something innocent, but damaging if taken the wrong way, so I didn’t want to jump to conclusions. The below article is a very interesting take on the whole thing. Either she didn’t know the time lines of the democratic elections she was referencing or she took a serious shot at Obama (no pun intended)…
Clinton’s Grim Scenario
(The Washington Post) – If this campaign goes on much longer, what will be left of Hillary Clinton?
A woman uniformly described by her close friends as genuine, principled and sane has been reduced to citing the timing of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination as a reason to stay in the race — an argument that is un-genuine, unprincipled and insane. She vows to keep pushing, perhaps all the way to the convention in August. What manner of disintegration is yet to come?
For anyone who missed it, Clinton was pleading her cause before the editorial board of the Sioux Falls, S.D., Argus Leader on Friday. Rejecting calls to drop out because her chances of winning have become so slight, she said the following: “My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don’t understand it.”
The point isn’t whether you take Clinton at her word that she didn’t actually mean to suggest that someone — guess who? — might be assassinated. The point is: Whoa, where did that come from?
Setting aside for the moment the ugliness of Clinton’s remark, just try to make it hold together. Clinton’s basic argument is that attempts to push her out of the race are hasty and premature, since the nomination sometimes isn’t decided until June. She cites two election years, 1968 and 1992, as evidence — but neither is relevant to 2008 because the campaign calendar has been changed.
In 1968, the Democratic race kicked off with the New Hampshire primary on March 12; when Robert Kennedy was killed, the campaign was not quite three months old. In 1992, the first contest was the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 10; by the beginning of June, candidates had been battling for about 3 1/2 months — and it was clear that Bill Clinton would be the nominee, though he hadn’t technically wrapped it up.
This year, the Iowa caucuses were held on Jan. 3, the earliest date ever. Other states scrambled to move their contests up in the calendar as well. When June arrives, the candidates will have been slogging through primaries and caucuses for five full months — a good deal longer than in those earlier campaign cycles.
So Clinton’s disturbing remark wasn’t wishful thinking — as far as I know (to quote Clinton herself, when asked earlier this year about false rumors that her opponent Barack Obama is a Muslim). Clearly, it wasn’t logical thinking. It can only have been magical thinking, albeit not the happy-magic kind.
Clinton has always claimed to be the cold-eyed realist in the race, and at one point maybe she was. Increasingly, though, her words and actions reflect the kind of thinking that animates myths and fairy tales: Maybe a sudden and powerful storm will scatter my enemy’s ships. Maybe a strapping woodsman will come along and save the day. Continue reading