An Elegy for Hillary Clinton, Whose Campaign Is Not Yet (Officially) Over

1212589150This morning, the Hillary Clinton Campaign Death Watch started in earnest. Headlines, both locally and around the country, screamed that Barack Obama had clinched the nomination after yesterday’s final primary contests and a slew of superdelegates stepped forward to back Obama.

Clinton told supporters last night that she wouldn’t make any decisions soon. But the media eagerly stepped forward to write the obituary for her campaign, so it’s only a matter of time before she officially ends it. (We think.)

Today’s Globe gives the Clinton campaign the This Is Your Life treatment, but it’s more a chronicle of all the mistakes it made, than a celebration of Clinton’s accomplishments.

At a social event last spring at the home of Mark Penn. . . a fellow Democrat wondered aloud if freshman Senator Barack Obama might wrest the nomination from the well-connected New York senator.

Penn, the dinner guest said, waved his hand dismissively. “Flash in the pan,” Penn said[.]

Penn’s offhand remark reveals the mistakes made by a Clinton campaign that failed to take Obama’s candidacy – or his supporters – seriously enough at the outset, and did not prepare for the long-haul fight Obama was ready to wage for the nomination, according to political specialists.


The Herald talks to local Clinton supporters, who blame her loss on sexism, not the ineptitude of her campaign staff.

“The early endorsements (of Barack Obama) from our male leaders really hurt her,” said state Rep. Lida Harkins[.] “A lot of us who have done the envelope stuffing for the party for years are feeling pretty disappointed that the glass ceiling still exists.”

It’s not that we don’t respect Hillary Clinton, but it’s time for her to stop. Her top campaign staffers are reportedly ready to jump on the Obama bandwagon as soon as she officially takes her 2008 presidential aspirations behind the woodshed. She needs to get whatever it is she wants from Obama (an offer to be Vice President, debt forgiveness, a fist-bump, whatever) so the party can move on to address dumb quotes like this from John McCain.

“Why does Senator Obama believe it’s so important to repeat that idea over and over again?” [McCain] asked. “Because he knows it’s very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false.”

Actually, if we’ve learned anything from Scott McClellan and the Bush administration, it’s that it’s remarkably easy to get the American people to swallow a load of tripe if you shovel it at them often enough.