Monday, June 09, 2008

Morticians Examine the Corpse of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

The morticians are hard at work examining the corpse of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Over at the Hartford Courant Bill Curry, former counselor to former President Bill Clinton and twice nominee for Connecticut governor on the Democrat ticket, thinks Hillary was done in by overreaching and bad timing.

“Clinton made ‘experience’ a talking point after Chris Dodd and Joe Biden, who had more of it, were safely out of the race. Amazing that she still thought ‘grizzled veteran’ could trump ‘new kid on the block.’”

And the kid was a political rock star too: “Barack Obama may be the brightest, most charismatic politician of our time. In a week in which we remember Robert Kennedy, many compare the two. I think Ted Kennedy got it right, though, in comparing Obama to Jack.”

Others, seizing upon Obama’s foreign policy views, have compared the likely Democrat presidential nominee unfavorably to former President Jimmy Carter, another Democrat president thought to be at the time charismatic and brilliant. Carter, it will be remembered, met his Waterloo in Iran at the hands of a more charismatic and brilliant leader, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The revolution heralded by Khomeini has lately been denounced by his grand-daughter, Zahra Eshraghi.

"It's our country. Why should we hand it completely over to the hard-liners," she said prior to the parliamentary elections in Iran last March.

The messaging in the Obama camp was more fetching, Curry believes, than the messaging in the Clinton camp: “Obama won January and February because he had a better message; she won March through June because she did; just as ‘change’ beats experience, standing up for an embattled middle class beats ‘bringing us together.’”

In a whirlwind of change, nothing changes more quickly than fads. Perhaps the most valuable lesson to be learned from Obama’s primary victory is that a candidate devoted to change can change very quickly. Indeed, in a world of change, the world itself can change very quickly. Hillary was a little slower and less adaptable in this respect than Obama. The trick is to change when change is beneficial and to remain steadfast when necessity demands it.
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