Casting an eye away from the big screen, I’d hate to be the one to break this to the Clintons, but — barring some sort of top-shelf political faux pas, nay, utter flame-out, or the sudden disclosure that Barack Obama secretly funded Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring — Hillary’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for the presidency is all over but the shouting. Like a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” novel of yesteryear, she can pick the gracefulness and specifics of her exit, but it’s no longer a “numbers game” in which she holds any sort of advantage.
Obama’s string of 10 straight primary and caucus wins, and the average, crushing margin of the victories (an astonishing 33 percent), means that Clinton would have to notch 60-plus percent of the vote in delegate-rich Texas, Pennsylvania and Ohio — unreasonable gets, to say the least. This virtually guarantees that Obama will hold a significant lead in pledged delegates, states won and total votes (of which he’s picked up one million more than Clinton since Super Tuesday) upon the completion of the main primary cycle.
Of course no politician of substance gets to where they are by just packing it in. But Clinton no longer has any semblance of an effective message to match her iron will. Initially missing the boat on the electorate’s hunger for change is one thing, but the Clinton campaign is now pursuing an equally tone deaf strategy in trying to reverse Obama’s momentum and “drive up his negatives,” in inside-the-Beltway parlance. Since her experiential trump card isn’t working, she’s taken to (understandably) ignoring voting outcomes and (less understandably) treating hope as a piñata in her recent stump speeches.
“When I think about what we’re really comparing in this election, you
know, we can’t just have speeches, we need to have solutions for America,” Clinton said in one speech in Ohio. “It is time to get real — to get real about how we actually win this
election and get real about the challenges facing America,” she said in another speech. “It’s time
that we moved from good words to good works, from sound bites to sound
solutions. Americans have a choice to make in this
election, and that choice matters. It’s about picking a president who
relies not just on words, but on work, on hard work, to get America working again for all of our people. We
need to make a choice between speeches and solutions.”
Parsing and attempting to highlight this distinction is something that requires a deft touch — a pinch of good-natured wheedling and a very conciliatory tone. Needless to say, these are not traits that Clinton possesses in abundance. Ergo, this tack, and the repeated use of the phrase “Get real” (10 times in one speech yesterday) is like dumping gasoline on a fire. It’s an argument that doesn’t really hold sway with undecided independents, and it does nothing except piss off and further agitate many of those leaning toward Obama — Democrats, so-called “Obamacans” or otherwise unaffiliated voters — because you’re essentially calling them stupid, questioning the value and judgment of their feelings. And that’s a problem, because a feeling is much stronger than a thought.