Sunday, June 08, 2008

Another Clinton Post Mortem on Kos

There is another quite witty Why Clinton Lost blog over on Kos:

Wow, Clinton strategy as Intelligent Design?

We heard that Clinton was liked by this demographic or that one, and it was asserted that those demographics were the important ones, and the ones won by others were less important. We heard that caucuses were not a sufficient measure of electability, despite their actually doing electing. We heard that entire states were also-rans.

It was not a narrative, but a meta-narrative. She was electable because she was electable, and anything that disproved that theory was dismissed as an exception. It was the campaign equivalent of Intelligent Design.

It was, in short, a terrible, mind-bendingly awful strategy. That is not to say that there was not substance discussed, in the debates -- but the campaign was not about that substance. That is not to say that there were not good points to be made in "electability" -- but her spokesmen made them shabbily. In the end, it was not an argument that could convince.

and scathing critique of how lame past Democratic campaigns have been run:

The goal is to assemble the broadest coalition possible -- by saying nothing that could possibly offend anyone. The premise is to appeal to "independents", and "centrists", and most of all the "undecided", that group of people so uninterested in politics that they cannot fathom the difference between the parties, but who allegedly can be mobilized into action if only you do absolutely nothing that will get them the slightest bit worked up. It is a cynical, wretched excuse for leadership, but more to the point it provides absolutely no room for error: it is an all-defensive strategy. If your opponent is a block of wood, incapable of making any positive plays on their own, you may pull it off; but if your opponent scores any point, you are left unable to answer it.

and the stuff of History

This primary season featured, after all, a classic contest: the irresistible force of Barack Obama against the immovable object that was Hillary Clinton. By any stretch, that would have been a barnstormer of a primary, but coupled with the historic nature of the year, a year in which a black American and a woman not only competed for the presidency against the white men that have held exclusive keys to the office since the nation was first founded, but competed for the first time on essentially equal ground, the first in which race and gender, while remaining issues, were relegated to fringe issues as opposed to all-defining, unambiguously disqualifying characteristics -- now that is the stuff of history.

Looking back, we should remember that, because that will be what will end up in the history books. Obama could have lost. Clinton could have won. McCain may yet still win. But they were all judged, if not entirely on their merits, at least as much on their merits as any politicians are, in today's environment. Martin Luther King Jr. said he had a dream, and was killed for it, but in the end equality is an unstoppable force. All that is required is that people desire it, and the rest, though it may take generations, or be slowed, or momentarily dammed, will happen.

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