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February 20, 2008

The Audacity of Arrogance

Is now on full display for the world to see: Obama Campaign Urges Clinton to Concede.

This is striking, really. And it illustrates just the kind of "rookie mistake" that unseasoned pols running high on their own self-importance make. Obama should know better than this. The fact that he apparently doesn't is good news for all those who seem intimidated at the prospect of having to face him when the stakes are much higher.

What makes it even better (for those of us who have maintained that Obama is a deeply flawed candidate waging a deeply flawed general election strategy) is that the essence of Obama's call for Clinton's leaving the race is probably correct: the math doesn't work for her. But by publicly calling her out in this fashion, and by trying to compare her to a fringe candidate like Mike Huckabee, the Obama campaign overplays their hand. This reveals that they aren't satisfied with merely winning, they now have embraced the mentality that they are entitled.

Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, dismissed her camp's hopes of making a comeback when the power states of Texas and Ohio hold their primaries on March 4, and said Clinton would be unable to bridge a widening gap in delegates.

"This is a wide, wide lead right now," Plouffe said in a conference call with reporters. "The Clinton campaign keeps saying the race is essentially tied. That's just lunacy."

The argument from the Obama camp appears designed to paint Clinton as a nuisance candidate -- much like Mike Huckabee who has continued to fight for the Republican nomination even though it is mathematically impossible for him to catch up to John McCain's lead in delegates.

More in the extended entry.


Why is this such a big deal?

Put yourself in Hillary Clinton's shoes. (Not literally, I know your feet are daintier than that!) She was 1st Lady of the United States (and, to some, including herself I imagine, Co-President of the most successful Democratic Whitehouse since FDR) and she is the current Junior Senator from New York.

She was the race's presumptive frontrunner. She had loads of cash and all the establishment support. She has schmoozed then all, and wined and dined world leaders and assorted major players.

She put up with Bill and his serial adultery. She repressed her own disgust at "baking cookies" to moderate her image for public consumption. She accepted being relegated to the traditional roles of the 1st Lady after Health Care blew up. She was (in her mind) the "victim" of persecution for years at the hands of the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy". She had to wear a PINK SKIRT to a deposition instead of her Maoist pantsuit.

All these indignities and sacrifices in the pursuit of her rightful, historic place as heir to the Clinton Restoration and 1st Female President.

And now some pipsqueak, junior Senator only a couple of years removed from a joke of a career in the Illinois State legislature is not only denying her the opportunity she has spent her entire life creating, but he is rubbing her face in it as well. Not only that...she is now being compared to some phony-baloney, flash in the pan, irrelevant joke of a former Arkansas governor to boot?

This just isn't done, old man.

And Obama should know this. By publicly calling upon her to give it up (prior to her own self-described firewall states of Texas and Ohio voting) Obama has put her in a corner.

If she quits now she will look weak. Can't leave that image with the general public or you might as well forget any 2012 comeback. And, yet, if she continues on in a doomed cause she antagonizes Obama's peeps, who are the presumptive nominee. That's donors, and volunteers and voters who will remember that Clinton kept rearranging the deck chairs long after the iceberg had been struck. When Obama tanks in November, you can bet that people will blame "Clinton staying in the race too long" as a reason. 2012? Forget it.

But the gravest sin is that in doing this, Obama fails to show Clinton the deference to which she feels she is owed. It virtually guarantees that Clinton will act out of defiance instead of reason. And when Clinton's get defiant, they lash out. Sometimes it's with cruise missiles aimed at aspirin factories. Usually, though, it's with ashtrays thrown at people's heads.

What could have been achieved through back-channel negotiations (Democratic Party leaders and Assorted Superdelegates letting the Clinton's know their time was up privately) has now been forced onto the front pages.

And for what positive effect for Obama? In essence, none. The attempted gain of seeming "inevitable" is small compared to the actual fact of being inevitable had you left her room to win a contest or two and bow out on her own terms.

So why do it? Why humiliate Clinton like this if it stands to gain you nothing in return except (for those of us into such things, as I admittedly am) the satisfaction of watching the world-view of the House of Clinton tumble and fall around them?

You do it because you have given in to the same sense of entitlement that propelled Clinton into running the worst major campaign for President in the modern era.

That's the attitude that allows you to unleash your gaffe-a-day wife to utter militant platitudes of leftist banalities day after day, when a real campaign would shut her up, pronto.

That's the attitude that leads you to botch every debate you participate in. Remember "you are likeable enough, hillary?". That, too, was an unforced error.

And that's the attitude that gets you beat.

Clinton has the choice. Leave graciously or leave ugly.

You just made it tougher for her to leave graciously, Obama. You just made it tougher for her supporters to warm to you since you indulged your desire to punk her bitch ass on the national stage.

That's a rookie mistake, buddy.

And that's one of the reasons McCain is going to knock you off.

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posted by Jack M. at 09:05 PM

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