Clinton’s Pyrrhic Victory in Pennsylvania

If you look at the time stamp on this post, you will notice that it is very ear,y in the morning here in Arkansas. I’m up this early, not because I really want to be, but because my autistic son, Ian, decided wanted to be up this early. since I have the option to nap when needed, I am the one who gets up with him if he has trouble sleeping. Right now, he is lying on my bed fairly calmly. Perhaps he will go back to sleep soon. He has to be up for school in about three hours, so it would be nice if we both could get a couple hours of rest before then. I’m not going to hold my breath.

Since I am up this early, and after looking at the incomplete returns from the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, I thought I’d make some general comments about the results as they stand at the moment. It appears that Hillary Clinton has won by what is currently a 10 point margin of victory. I’m not sure whether that will be the final margin or if it will change as the rest of the results come in. However, 10 points is not all that large a margin, given that Mrs. Clinto needs to win all the rest of the primaries, including this one, pulling a combined total of 65% of the vote just to pull even with Obama by convention time.. If Obama pulls 53% of the total, his current average, he will go into the convention needing less that 100 delegates to win. He is currently at 45% in Pennsylvania, so he’s not that far off target, given that most pundits a few weeks ago thought he’d lose by a lot more than 10 per cent.

Now, there has been a lot of discussion of the fact that Mrs. Clinton has not condeded the nomination and pulled out for the sake of party unity. I suppose that one can argue that having a nominee is a goood thing, given that the Republicans have already. unofficially, anointed John McCain, as their nominee. If the Democrats had a presumptive nominee right now, the two unofficial nominees could tear into each other early and often. I’m not sure that is such a good idea. As the Pennsylvania primary shows, a long campaign only makes things very difficult for the candidates and the voters. You tend to run out of things to talk about, so the candidates get away from the issues and resort to ad hominem attacks. That does not really set all that well with a lot of voters these days. Obama seems to be shifting his strategy, if his concession speeck in Penssylvania is any indication. He hopefully will continue to focus more om McCain and the Republicans and less on responding in kind to Clinton’s negative attackd. Negativity does not really suit either Obama’s message or his personality. He needs to take the high road and he’ll be the White House before either McCain or Clinton.

I think Hillary will continue with the negative attacks. She’s as tenacious as a pit bull, who will lock its jaws and not let go even as you beat it to death. That is why they are such sought-after fighting dogs. But, if you want to comtinue to live on, both in the physical sense as well as in politics, tenacity has to be tempered with some pragmatism. I don’t think Hillary will win the nomination this years, and for that reason, assuming she wants to try again later, she needs to not alienate every Democratic leader to the point where she becomes an outcast in her own party. Too much negativity and she might find it hard to get re-elected to the Senate and where would her chances of getting the nomination in 20012 or 2016 be? Plus, she is also damaging her daighter’s chances at a political career as well. The Clinton name is not all that popular in all circles of the Democratic Party and her pit bull teancity is not endearing it to a lot of the party faithful.

So, although Mrs. clinton did win Pennsylvania, her odds of winning the nomination are still astronomically high. At some point very soon, like after losing the next primary, she should graciously concede the nomination and make her peace with Obama and the rest of her party. Heck, she might still salvage the vice-presidential spot on the ticket. If she satays in until the bitter end, knowing she has little chance of winning, she will possibly do enough damage to the Democratic Paty’s chances in November that McCain will win and that would, IMHO. be disastrous for this country. Plus, she will have dragged what little positive capital is associated with the Clinton name into the mud, destroying not only her own political future, but that of her daighter as well. Maybe the first woman President will still be a Clinton, just not Hillary.

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