Now that Hillary’s tent will be stricken it is a good time to ask how her defeat came to pass. This was a woman who should have just breezed into the nomination. She and her husband Bill were the king and queen of the Democratic Party. They had most of the Party Machinery behind them. She had name recognition and she had the historic role as the first female candidate with a shot at winning the nomination.
But it all went horribly wrong in
Hillary lost the caucuses because she lost the votes of the party activists. If the Democratic Party primary season skews toward the left, and it does, the caucuses skew even more in that direction. Unfortunately for Hillary, the left wing of the party has a very long memory. They remember Bill’s term of office and none too fondly.
Bill Clinton brand of “moderate” Democratic governance drove the progressives crazy. He was part of the hated DLC branch of the Party. The DLC was pro business, socially moderate, fiscally sound, and hawkish on foreign policy. Bill and friends practiced “triangulation”; critics called it “being Republican lite.” There was and remains real anger with the
As a presidential candidate Hillary would always be viewed as suspect by the Progressive Base of the party. She got off on the absolute wrong foot when she proposed a flag burning amendment in the well of the Senate. While such pandering might play well in a general election, it is absolute poison to the tree-hugging, latte-sipping, ACLU card holding, Volvo-driving, peace-love-and-granola crowd. The ABC movement (Anybody But Clinton) had its genesis in that ham-handed effort by Hillary to prove her DLC bone fides. This is not to say that misogyny was not a large part of anti-Hillary meme. It was; especially amongst the KOSsack crowd. But underneath all that slime was a deeper dislike for Hillary that was based in her DLC based political DNA. Reread Molly Ivin’s January 2006 post. The progressive case against Hillary is all there; in all its sound and fury.
What really sunk Hillary though was her support for the
But what really sealed the deal for anti-war Democrats was Kyl-Lieberman. Someone in her campaign staff was definitely asleep at the switch when this issue came up. Someone should have realized that Joe Lieberman is quite possibly the Democrat Liberals most like to hate. While besotted Media Types and Republicans love to point out how moderate the man is; the Progressive movement views Lieberman as a traitor to the Democratic Party cause. They see Lieberman as a 5th column in the party; giving aid, comfort and cover to George W Bush’s disastrous foreign policy. Someone in Hillary’s organization should have warned her of the train wreck that was about to occur.
Instead, Hillary voted for Kyl-Lieberman. Once again she looked past the primaries and toward the General. She wanted to look tough on
Hillary miscalculated the depth and breath of the anti-war sentiment in the country in general and the Democratic Party in particular. The progressive coalition was pushing back hard against any kind of military action in
By the time Hillary attempted to correct her course on
The Hillary Clinton campaign never came to grips with the anti-war sentiment; their abject failure to have a ground game in the February caucuses proves that. They put all their chips in the Super Tuesday primaries; but even there they failed to recognize the anti-war appeal of the Obama message.
The anti-war speech given by Obama and the mileage given it by a credulous public was a profound distortion of reality. That speech was the simplest thing in the world for Obama to give. There was no downside for him in his district; the speech was almost required for Obama to stay in the good graces of his voters. It stood him good stead though in an anti-war, pro change election. It was more than enough to seal the deal with the anti-war, ABC crowd. In a very narrowly decided vote, it was what gave him the margin of victory in the delegate count. Simple put, in looking toward the middle and the general election, in paying too much attention to the right, Hillary got side-swiped from the left.