Barack Obama seems to have (finally) clinched the Democratic nomination for President. The path to this Holy Grail has been long and arduous, no less on him than on the public! I think that most of the Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Green Party and all other fractions of parties are happy to see the campaign end before the campaign begins. I know I am. It’s been like the Bataan Death March, and I’m sure the candidates couldn’t agree more.
Now, the question has been posed: “Why did Hillary lose?’ There are many pundits weighing in on this weighty question, and I keep wanting to tell them to read the “Rolling Stone” article that brilliantly described Obama’s “bottom-up” campaign strategy, versus Hillary Clinton’s old-style “Top down” campaign strategy. Indeed, that article even went so far as to say that, if the Clinton’s much-vaunted political machine could lose to that upstart Obama, this will be the last time you will even see the “Top Down” model used in a national campaign.
I don’t want to bore readers with all the details of how Obama’s people got the cell phone numbers of transient populations like college students and turned them into votes, or how the voter registration drives have cranked up record number of eligible voters for the fall general election, or any of the nuts-and-bolts in that “Rolling Stone” article, but let’s just say, as someone invited to become an Obama Organizer and attend a two-day training session to learn all the above, the man’s organizational know-how was and is amazing.
And, while we’re at it, let’s look at some of the other factors being cited in the loss of one of the most well-known, (if not well-oiled), political machines that still exists, that of Billary (Bill and Hillary Clinton).
The reasons I have seen cited most prominently for Hillary’s loss of the nomination to Barack Obama are as follows:
1) She represents the “Old” school (and certainly this goes double for McCain). Obama represented “change.”
2) They were basically the same on the main issues.
3) Hillary Clinton (aka ‘Miss Frigidaire’) never had the likeability factor going for her, while Obama did, in a phenomenal way.
4) Did race trump gender as a reason to vote? Obama, after all, is the candidate who best represents how the world will look by 2050: multi-racial, polyglot, a white mother and a black father producing a child who grew up in many areas of the world and has ties to them and is intellectually aware.
5) Everyman versus Ms. Entitlement. Need I say more?
6) Bill. Need I say more?
7) Obama the phenomenon. (See Point 3 above)
8) Tactical Errors: (See my opening remarks and read up on those tactical errors in the Clinton campaign in the much longer and much more complete “Rolling Stone” issue.) I would add that there are those that feel Hillary thought she’d have it all wrapped up by Super Tuesday, and the campaign had not been too well thought out past that date. Thus, they were playing catch-up from the beginning, when things did not play out quite the way the Clinton people thought they would.
9) The 8 Years Under Bush, the Younger. Hillary voted for the war. Obama was against the war. Hillary, much more than Obama, is tied to the failed policies of George “W” Bush, even though she was of the opposition party while a Senator from New York. Is there anyone in this country at this time who wants 8 more years of Bush’s incompetence, corruption and mismanagement? If so, raise your hand, and we’ll send you somewhere to read a book on it.
You might start with “In Defense of Liberty” (Richard Clarke, former White House Security Chief under both Clinton and “W”), or you might move on to Clarke’s newest one, “Your Government Failed You.” I recommend Paul O’Neill’s (Former Secretary of the Treasury) “Against All Enemies” and, failing that, try Scott McClellan’s (former White House Press Secretary under “W”) “What Happened” now hitting the bookstores. There are just so many books out there that give you chapter and verse on an amazingly bad run of Republican government under George W. Bush that, hopefully, will soon give way to something better. (See point #1).
Even staunch conservative Republican (and former Presidential candidate) Pat Buchanan said, in his column yesterday, that Bush, the Younger, while a better campaigner than his father, was not qualified to carry the old man’s loafers, in terms of governing. There are too many facts to support that statement, and some have even wondered if, in an amazing display of hubris, the younger Bush simply wanted to whale away at everything his father had stood for, as the CIA took hits under “W’, the “I’ll finish the war in Iraq, which you should have done” factor (Desert Storm vs. Operation Shock and Awe and Awesome Horribleness), and all the rest of those Bush 2 vs. Bush 1 comparisons. Books have been written about how George W. Bush viewed Reagan as his hero, and brushed aside his father’s accomplishments, because dear old dad was just playing second fiddle to the former film star. The result was “W’s” Churchillian attempt to make bold strokes, even if the bold strokes were all wrong. Don’t blame me for that analysis. Read the books.
Now, all we have to do is sit back and wait to see if Hillary Clinton is successful in lobbying for a spot on the ticket as the Vice President. If she gets that, and Obama is elected, she’d be “next in line” for the Presidency after he serves out his one or two terms, assuming election. That could be 16 to24 years of Clintons in or around the Oval Office, if Hillary is granted her wish. [You are either rejoicing or groaning as I write that.]
I am assuming election of Barack Obama. I have to. Otherwise, I have to give up all hope that we will get our troops out of Iraq safely and in a way that will both guarantee national security and save (national) face. It is impossible to occupy a country, long-term; the British proved that in India. We must leave. We must leave in a well-thought-out manner (which means that we don’t want Bush, Jr., organizing the withdrawal).
We must use the money being wasted on a senseless, useless war (Vietnam, anyone?) to build up our country here at home, and the new national leader of our country must turn his attention to “fixing” the many things that George W. Bush broke, both here and abroad. For openers, that individual needs to turn his or her attention to Al Gore’s pet issue, the environment and alternative energy sources, and, beyond that, it would be nice to have the tons of money wasted on this useless war to shore up our nation’s infrastructure, fix New Orleans, help make our schools better, get gas costs down or find a better solution to using gasoline to run our country, and a host of other worthy projects.
Lots of work to do. Let’s get cracking!
There are so many things that need fixing now that we almost need a new Department of What “W” Broke to figure out how to prioritize all the many mistakes. But it goes without saying that any “project” of George W. Bush’s that is costing thousands of American lives, snuffing out the lifeblood of our American youth (and our country’s future) and sending them home to inadequate V.A. facilities with horrific injuries from which they will (probably) never recover, is Number One on my list. And I suspect it is Number One on Obama’s list, as well.