Monday, April 07, 2008

Another Day, Another Inane Billary Argument.

Let's get two things out in the open at the start:

  1. I voted for Barack Obama.
  2. I have a penis.
For a distressing number of otherwise sensible people, these two facts together appear to render my opinions on the Presidential race hopelessly flawed. If you fall into that category, feel free to stop reading, surf over to see Susie's1 latest anti-Obama screed.

For the rest of you, let's sift through Team Clinton's latest iteration of "You hit me and I'm a girl!" An argument is going around that it is sexist -- sexist, do you hear -- for people to suggest that Hillary should quit the race, given the long odds that she could overtake Obama. Susie points out one particularly vociferous post, riffing off of an article on Real Clear Politics (because if a Clinton supporter can't find talking points on a right-leaning site, she just isn't trying).

The thesis of the RCP writer is that calls for Hillary to step down are unprecedented and caused by "Clinton fatigue." To wit:
    To review the history:

    • In 1988, Jesse Jackson took his hopeless campaign against winner Michael Dukakis all the way to the convention, often to great media praise.

    • In 1980, Ted Kennedy carried his run against Jimmy Carter all the way to the convention, even though it was clear he had been routed.

    • In 1976, Ronald Reagan contested the “inevitability” of Gerald Ford all the way to the convention. Few, then or since, have ever thought to criticize Reagan’s failure to step aside and let Ford assume the mantle.

    • Also in 1976, three candidates — Mo Udall, Jerry Brown, and Frank Church — ran against Jimmy Carter all the way through the final primaries, even though Carter seemed more than likely to be the eventual nominee.

    • Even in 1960, Lyndon Johnson and Adlai Stevenson fought the “certain” nomination of John F. Kennedy all the way to the convention floor.

    In fact, until this year, it’s been an axiom of American politics that candidates are allowed to pursue their runs until they decide to drop out — which is usually, by the way, when they run out of money. Even Mike Huckabee kept running against John McCain in this campaign long after it was obvious he had no hope of winning the GOP nod.
The post Susie sites then argues that the candidates who were "allowed" to continue their quixotic runs all have in common possession of a penis. She argues that this, not Clinton Fatigue, is the root of the double standard.

No, let's really consider the history. All those candidates had something else in common. They were all implored, loudly and repeatedly, to sit the f*ck down already. Set aside Jackson's run which had nothing to do with actually seeking the nomination. Kennedy's 1980 run to this day is considered a black mark on his record (not easy to see among the many others.) Reagan's '76 run cost him mainstream party support at the beginning of the '80 campaign. In both cases, the losing candidates are widely credited with mortally wounding their party's nominee.

Udall was the only challenger anywhere near Carter and was pretty much a candidate in name only. He was not trashing Carter and arguing against the legitimacy of his nomination.

In every case, people made the argument that the clearly trailing candidate should stand down for the good of the party. That is what is happening today. And what is truly unprecedented is a trailing candidate throwing every dirt clod within reach of the leader. Hillary would be asked to step down regardless of her genitalia.

It's what comes of not winning.

1Because she calls Barack Obama "Barry" of course.


Ben said...

Obviously you read Mrs. Sherrod Brown in the PD yestersday!! Men need to stop calling for Hillary to step aside.

Anonymous said...

"In both cases, the losing candidates are widely credited with mortally wounding their party's nominee."

Had nothing to do with the fact that Ford pardoned Nixon, didn't have time to get inflation under control, and had to deal with energy shortages the U.S. had not seen since WWII. And Carter, in 1980, blame his defeat on Kennedy instead of his handling of the Iran hostage crisis.

Convenient that if Obama gets the nomination and losses the general election it will all be Hillary's fault.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Hillary...

I have a vagina...

The sad reality is this presidential race should not be about sex or race but it is. A lot of attention has been placed on the "historic first" that would happen if it's either candidate.

It is close, and I don't believe if Hillary was a man or a woman she should step down. Not when it is very clear that it's not very clear as to who voters want. Some of us don't feel that the undemocratic nature of caucuses should be used to dictate who should be "in" or "out" of a presidential race that is turning people out in the droves to vote.

Whoever wins in PA will have an impact, if Obama wins? He's proven he can do it. If Hillary wins by more than a few points? The discussion will continue and one thing that will be clear is we have to really look at our primary process. Eliminate the caucuses and the super delegates, then you'll actually hear the voters.

Ps....I agreed with Connie's column, not just because I have a vagina. I would have much preferred John Edwards as the candidate but he couldn't compete with either one of the "historic" firsts that have gotten way more attention than actual campaign platforms.