Friday, May 9, 2008

Ten Mistakes The Clintons Made

Time Magazine has posted an article called "The Five Mistakes Clinton Made".

The list is woefully incomplete. (I work in shipping and logistics. Therefore, I know these things.) The article in Time is by Karen Tumulty, BTW. Here are Ms. Tumulty's Five mistakes, somewhat condensed:

1. She misjudged the mood "Being the consummate Washington insider is not where you want to be in a year when people want change," says Barack Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod. Clinton's "their initial strategic positioning was wrong and kind of played into our hands." But other miscalculations made it worse:

2. She didn't master the rules "How can it possibly be," (Clinton strategist Harold) Ickes asked, "that the much vaunted chief strategist doesn't understand proportional allocation?" And yet the strategy remained the same, with the campaign making its bet on big-state victories. Even now, it can seem as if they don't get it. Both Bill and Hillary have noted plaintively that if Democrats had the same winner-take-all rules as Republicans, she'd be the nominee. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign now acknowledges privately:

3. She underestimated the caucus states She had a reason: the Clintons decided, says an adviser, that "caucus states were not really their thing." Her core supporters — women, the elderly, those with blue-collar jobs — were less likely to be able to commit an evening of the week, as the process requires.... "For all the talent and the money they had over there," says Axelrod, "they — bewilderingly — seemed to have little understanding for the caucuses and how important they would become."
By the time Clinton's lieutenants realized the grave nature of their error, they lacked the resources to do anything about it — in part because:

4. She relied on old money Though Clinton's totals from working the shrimp-cocktail circuit remained impressive by every historic measure, her donors were typically big-check writers. And once they had ponied up the $2,300 allowed by law, they were forbidden to give more. The once bottomless Clinton well was drying up.
Obama relied instead on a different model: the 800,000-plus people who had signed up on his website and could continue sending money his way $5, $10 and $50 at a time. And that reflects one final mistake:

5. She never counted on a long haul Clinton's strategy had been premised on delivering a knockout blow early. If she could win Iowa, she believed, the race would be over. Clinton spent lavishly there yet finished a disappointing third. What surprised the Obama forces was how long it took her campaign to retool. She fought him to a tie in the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests but didn't have any troops in place for the states that followed.

Ok, those are good reasons. But I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that Karen Tumulty is a Democrat who wouldn't mind an Obama/Clinton ticket, or seeing Hillary try again in 2016. The statements listed above have to do with strategies possibly put in place by others. Group mistakes. As someone who didn't have a horse in that race (but who likes Obama a lot), here are my top five, which relate more to actions taken by The Clintons:

1. She never acknowledged the reasons for her 50% negative approval ratings There are people who dislike her for no reason, and there are people who dislike her with good reason. For reasons that I can't quite fathom, Hillary Clinton simply reminds me of the little girl in the fourth grade who got on my nerves. Hillary never did anything to counteract that image of the class president who was always trying to get everyone into a herd when we just wanted to hang out. I'll admit that I'm incapable of viewing her YouTube videos of her speeches all the way through.

2. She was "ready to lead on day one", but not on the days after Super Tuesday. That's sort of a cross between Karen Tumulty's #2,3, and 5. When Obama ate her lunch and drank her milkshake in February, she had absolutely no plan in place for what came next. She as much as admitted that her staff had to research how the Texas primary system worked. Granted, the Democratic Party's Texas primary/caucus system makes about as much sense as the Pelagian heresy. (Oh, and by the way, Obama won Texas. Why the mainstream media still refers to her surprising victory here is beyond me. When you factor in the caucuses, Obama came away with the most delegates.)

3. The sniper fire fable made people remember Bill. And it made people remember jokes about what "is" is. It made her seem totally untrustworthy. She didn't just tell the sniper story once when she was tired. It was in there multiple times at multiple places. You can't recover from that if you want to be President.

4. Bill managed to alienate black voters. The Clintons once had a fiercely loyal African American following. Toni Morrison called Bill the first black president. Bill has an office in Harlem. He plays golf with Vernon Jordan. etc etc etc..... And then came South Carolina, with Bill comparing Obama's victory to that of Jesse Jackson. End of Story.

5. The gas tax holiday was a pitiful pandering moment It was as fake as the shot of Crown in the Pennsylvania bar, the tears in New Hampshire, and the migrating accent and speech patterns.

I could add that her staff (Ickes and Penn) seemed to genuinely despise each other. Barack ran a much tighter ship, and didn't tolerate any infighting.

I bet she's waiting to see how the Rezko trial turns out before she concedes. Perhaps the Superdelegates will start stampeding to Obama and make even that albatross seem irrelevant.

I'm just ready for her to go away. I don't know if you can tell or not, but that woman bothers me.

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