The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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Autopsy of the Primaries.

June 3rd, 2008 · No Comments · Politics

From Victor Davis Hanson:

Both Obama and McCain have pulled off the once unthinkable. The former dethroned some 16 year of Clintonian political hegemony by the sheer force of personality and charisma, when initially all the hierarchy and political machinery were against him. The latter by sheer force of will, stubbornness, and a certain courage, never gave up when most had written him off, and simply out toughed his opponents.

There is a certain irony here. In a year that for historical and contemporary reasons should be a Democratic shoo-in, the Democrats have nominated about the only candidate who can lose in November, the Republicans the only one of their own who can still win it.

That last line pretty much sums up my thoughts thus far.

Tomorrow, the Obamaniacs celebrate.

The following day, the Democrats’ long, troubled road to the general election begins for real. Exactly four decades after the Democrats’ bloodiest and darkest year, they seem poised to relive the turmoil and internal anguish that punctuated the latter stages of the doomed ‘68 campaign. I fully expect protests at the convention - not violent, but definitely visible. And they won’t just be supporters like Harriet Christian that can be giggled at and brushed aside by the party’s core. This is a fractured party and Obama’s early, Quixotic charm has worn off - leaving the raw political machinery inside of him exposed. He has an enormous challenge ahead of him and the work necessary to rebuild his party, attract swing voters and defeat McCain is far greater than the VAST majority of his supporters seem willing to recognize.

But Clinton has perhaps the toughest set of choices of all moving forward. I fully expect her to make some effort to calm her supporters and get them to rally behind Obama. I expect those efforts to fail for many of them. I do NOT expect her to campaign terribly hard or visibly on Obama’s behalf and I doubt his campaign will bother to ask her to do so anyway. The choice she faces is whether or not she throws in with Obama now. If she does, that’s basically the end of her Presidential ambitions.

Settling for a VP nod threatens to poison her chances in 2012 by attaching her fate to his if he loses. And if he wins she’ll still be 70 in 2016 and the shifting from “60-something” to “70-something” would magically make her too old to become the first female President.

Agreeing to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services threatens to (for a second time) risk the future of the issue she’s built her entire political life around.

If I were Clinton, I’d think long and hard about Barack Obama’s chances. If I were Clinton, I’d probably reject any offer of membership in the Obama Administration and instead seek to consolidate power in the Senate - likely seeking (and almost certainly getting) the position of Majority Leader. If McCain wins, the Democrats will rally around her like a beacon, having failed to listen to her and having lost as a result. She’d go into 2012 having gotten to lock horns nonstop with McCain for four straight years. If Obama wins, well… she can certainly help to make his life more… interesting.


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