Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why Can't Obama Put Hillary Away and Close the Deal?

This is a common narrative being circulated by the Clinton campaign. I guess it makes sense as a strategy to make Obama seem unelectable and to try to sway superdelegates accordingly; but what baffles me is that this very same narrative doesn't really do Hillary any favors, either. It projects a kind of petty weakness that one always tends to see with the second-best loser. In other words, Hillary herself can't "put Obama away" herself! The best she can do is to prevent Obama from winning outright.

Even more revealing to me is that this narrative of Hillary always playing the underdog comeback kid (albeit a comeback kid who can never really stage a comeback that will give her the lead) is so dramatically different than the narrative of some 5-6 months ago of Hillary being the prohibitive and nearly unassailable favorite to win.

I mean, really, if Obama can't put Hillary away for good, and if Hillary is guaranteed to finish second fiddle in all categories of electability to Obama (pledged delegates, number of states won, more popular votes, etc.), what does this say about Hillary's capacity to put anyone away herself?

3 comments:

Schroeder said...

Obama's experience is shallow -- that's why he can't close the deal. That's not to say his judgment isn't to be trusted more, but there's no denying that Hillary has been around the block and through the ringer. Nevertheless, nastiness by either candidate benefits no one but the Republicans.

Huck said...

schroeder - Has Hillary really been around the block and through the ringer in terms of her experience? That's the conventional narrative, but I don't buy it, unless you count her roles as first lady in the Arkansas Governor's Mansion and in the White House as relevant experience. I don't. Not really. Sure, she got put through the ringer on some issues; but Obama has legislative experience that rivals Hillary. He's been painted as having shallow experience, and perhaps he is at one level, but not really when compared to Hillary. At least I don't think so.

Schroeder said...

Just speculation -- I'm more thinking out loud, as I'm prone to do. I think I was thinking more in terms of life-transforming experience. I can't imagine anyone having to endure living with Bill Clinton, for starters, while maintaining her strength and independence, through all of those difficult years, and still raising a child as well put together as Chelsea. Barack? I don't really know. Some community organizing, a run for Senate, a moving speech before a convention? Don't get me wrong, Barack has very fine qualities and potential to unify the nation around some difficult issues, if he can effectively keep that teflon suit in good working order. I actually voted for Edwards in the primary, knowing he'd lose, but believing him to be the best candidate for Louisiana, and the country. Otherwise, I'd have voted for Obama. That said, I think he has some growing into the position to do.