Patterico's Pontifications


Parlor Game of the Day — Why Is Clinton Remaining In The Race?

Filed under: General — WLS @ 1:54 pm

Posted by WLS: 

Thomas Edsall had an interesting piece in the HuffPo discussing some of the suppositions about why Clinton doesn’t quit the race since every methody by which she might receive the nomination is now pretty much foreclosed to her.

In addition to merely losing the nomination, she is now beginning to suffer the indignity of seeing long-time political allies line-up behind her opposition — one can only imagine the reaction behind the scenes yesterday when the Clinton campaign learned that NARAL was going to endorse Obama.  Superdelegates previously pledged to her are seeing the writing on the wall, and beginning to dump her.

Why suffer through this?  Edsall catalogues a few of the theories, and I think the combination of a couple of them will be borne out to be the truth — and while not-quite-so revealing of the Clintons, how the next 7 months play out will be quite revealing of the dimocrit party.

My take is that there are three issues at play here.

1.  The Clintons never expected to be here so much of what they are doing is a daily ad hoc version of “What should we do next.”  That has manifested itself in a “stay in the game” kind of attitude, waiting for a potential melt-down of the front-runner a la Howard Dean.  But the reality has now set in that he’s not going to be nicked up by DEMS for anything like Rev. Wright or Bill Ayers.  The DEMS are along for the ride.

2.  The Clintons have a strong sense of entitlement to the levers of the party apparatus.  Go back to them being abandoned by the likes of David Geffen, and his harsh words regarding their attitude.  The Clintons believe they rescued the party from political oblivion following the Jimma/Walturd/Dukaka trifecta, and now they own it until they give it up.  Party apparatchiks have tolerated the Clintons so long as they felt the Clintons were useful in raising money or getting Dems elected.  Obama changed all that for the party, while the Clintons see him as an interloper on their turf.  They will not concede to him because to do so is to cede their position atop the party to a non-Clintonista.  Obama means the Daley machine will ascend to the levers of the party apparatus, with the Clintonistas on the outside looking in. 

3.  She wants to wound Obama fatally because 4 years of John McCain with a Dim congress is a small price to pay for being the nearly certain candidate of an even more power-starved party in 2012.   A loss by Obama will bring Move.on and the rest of the far leftwing to heal, and go back to taking directions rather than giving them.   Bill beat a one-term Bush 41, so why can’t Hillary beat a one-term McCain given the difficulties abounding and the likelihood he’ll get little cooperation from a Dim congress.

I don’t think she is staying in now for the purpose of securing the 2008 nomination.  Given the way it has played out, I don’t think the 2008 nomination has any value to her.  If she was to wrestle it away at this late date through some sequence of catastrophic happenings, the psychic damage those happenings would cause to the party would pretty much ensure a McCain win in Nov.  Obama is the only Dem who has a chance of winning in Nov. because the late-date nomination of Hillary would fracture the party to its core.

And she will not be the VP nominee.  The only thing worse for Obama than losing the general election to McCain would be winning the general election with Billary as his wing/she/male.  I think the conceit in the Obama camp is such that they don’t think they need her, so why pack up and take along the baggage and drama that selecting her would bring.   

So, if the nomination has no value to her now, and she’s not a likely VP, what is she campaigning for? 

2012 Baby.  2012. 

Update 5/15:   Bob Beckel has a very interesting piece up today over at RealClearPolitics where he makes the case that Clinton can force her way onto the ticket as the VP, whether Obama wants her or not.

Most people, myself included, assume its up to the nominee to pick their running mate, and the convention would approve by acclimation.  The fact that it has been done that way forever doesn’t mean that’s the only way it can happen.  Beckel points out that there are separate roll call votes for the Presidential nominee, and then for the VP nominee. 

Clinton is going to go to the convention with around 1550 pledged delegates and 250-300 superdelegates.  It will take about 2025 delegate votes to secure the nomination. 

Obama is going to get the nomination for President.   And he’s going to have a hand-picked VP selection.  But if Clinton’s pledged delegates stick with her on the VP roll call, she would only need to turn around about 75-100 superdelegates — which would create a 150-200 vote reversal — to win the VP nomination. 

As Beckel points out, Clinton will be the closest 2nd place finisher in the history of the Dem party.  She is also the first legitmate female candidate for Pres. in a party that is dominated by females.  And, from the speculation so far, there seems to be interest on Obama’s part in picking a middle-aged white guy as his VP  — maybe a governor.

So, how would Obama gameplan out this potentiality in order to head-off a Clinton insurrection designed to get her on the ticket over his objection???

Hold John Edwards close — he’s got independent support among the delegates and some superdelegates.  His convention support may be Obama’s hole card to keep Clinton off the ticket.  

30 Responses to “Parlor Game of the Day — Why Is Clinton Remaining In The Race?”

  1. My co-blogger Tully addressed this issue in some detail recently at Stubborn Facts.

    The most likely position she’s campaigning for is Senate Majority Leader. By remaining in the race, she gains more and more political chits to be traded for both her own position (be that Majority Leader, Governor of New York, or what have you) and to put her people into other positions. Obama will be the nominee, but Hillary and her people will dominate the party structure.

    This is only partially about Hillary and her personal ambition. What most bloggers are missing is that this is a larger faction fight between two very distinct portions of the Democratic party. It’s far from pure selfishness for Hillary to stay in the race to ensure that the factions supporting her are cut in for a significant piece of the pie when it comes to control of the party machinery.

    As I say, Obama will be the nominee, but his inability to attract sufficient voters to win the nomination outright makes him a very weak nominee; he can’t simply dictate who he wants as party chair, what he wants the party platform to say, etc. The Clintons are likely to hold onto the reigns of the party itself, including the ability to dispense funds through the DCCC to candidates around the country in the 2010 election.

    PatHMV (653160)

  2. One of the things that made the Clintons winners was the agreement with social conservatism.

    I assume that will be the argument in 2012 — that Obama echoed Dukakis etc. in endorsing social liberalism which is a loser electorally.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  3. I’ll add that the CA Supreme Court decision, with no “compelling governmental interest” has the ability to open up marriage to polygamists, and even welfare for polygamy.

    It would not shock me to see this tested, with Muslims or FLDS people demanding both recognition and welfare for each wife. IF that happened, it would be a huge argument against Obama (who for a variety of reasons can’t really come out against that, not the least of which is his own background).

    Bill’s argument to the Party in 1992 was “shut up about liberal social causes, people want economic panders to THEM.” Hillary is positioning herself on this issue far more effectively than Edwards, because the interests of social liberalism are irreconcilable and someone has to win or lose.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  4. I am certain that HRC is playing out the string because she realizes this is her one shot. If she couldn’t manage a coronation given the facts on the ground last December, she knows this is it for her.

    The other considerations brought up in the post are merely tangential opportunities. I don’t see Harry Reid giving up his post in the next two Congresses nor do I see her Senate colleagues rewarding her with that position, given the fracture she has precipitated.

    Ed (e75082)

  5. Yesterday’s CA-SC decision could generate a huge back-fire within (and outside) the state. The first response will be to attempt to challenge it via initiative on the fall ballot. Then, there is the probability of a recall campaign against the Justices (see: Rose Bird) – voters here don’t like it when they pass something overwhelmingly, and judges over-rule them. Something about the “People Being Sovereign”, I think?

    An intra-party fight between Bubba, and the Daley Machine could be a barn-burner: Sleeze v Graft.

    The Dems need CA’s 55 electoral-votes. This could be very bad for them in Nov.

    I’m buying popcorn-futures, and shares in Weight-watchers.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  6. Patterico has locked up the comments on Justine’s post about the Cal. Sup Ct decision — I’m certain it would be up to hundreds of posts and huge amounts of bandwidth by the end of the day. So lets not turn this post into a surrogate on that issue, or he’ll lock it up as well.

    But I think you have made a legitimate point. The ballot initiative to amend the Calif. Constitution radically changes the likely electoral composition in California come Nov., and assuming the vote is close to where it was in 2000 (62% voting against same-sex marriage), there will be lots of nervous Dems watching the results.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  7. One theory being bandied about is that HRC is going to wait until the convention, in the hopes that the DNC and/or Obama campaign will offer to bail her out regarding her campaign deficit, in exchange for her withdrawal.

    And as for her planning for 2012 – the Democratic party of my generation has not treated their Presidential campaign losers with any respect after their failures. They kick them to the curb immediately, I can’t remember the last Presidential aspirant who received a second chance during my lifetime.

    Dmac (9dd3a1)

  8. Reading this garbage is like reading DailyKOS. They always say obnoxious things like “rethuglican” and “Bushitler” and I find it to be a sign of their lack of intelligence.

    And it’s just as apparent here. The Clintons need money to settle their debts, and they will have a lot more power to negotiate something as things wear on and on. It’s that simple. And perhaps Hillary just legitimately thinks she’d be a better president and is simply letting the process go to conclusion, even if nearly impossible to win. It’s probably not nearly as bad for the Democrats as we’d like to believe.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  9. For my part, I’m convinced that Hillary is now angling for the post of “Harpy-in-Chief.” If (Saints Preserve Us!) “The Obamanist” schmoozes his way into the Oval Orifice, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Hillary takes on the sacred mission of tormenting Prince Precious at every opportunity for the next four years (assuming–given his dangerous and stunningly ignorant worldview–he even gets through his first term).

    “Yeah, I’d love to help you with your agenda, Mr. President, but I am sooooooooo busy these days–lots of irons in the fire. Hearings and committee meetings out the ying-yang and, dang, those pesky Republicans have been filibustering everything in sight. Tell you what–fax me your proposals and I’ll get back with you in six months or so…if I can squeeze in time to read them. I’ll give you a pinky-promise on that!”

    MarkJ (42fe5b)

  10. As Margo Channing once opined, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

    This is fun!

    Horatio (a549f7)

  11. This is all over-complicated. The first part of the first reason is the best, as far as it goes. But what about simple psychopathology, a delusion of destiny. She wants it, has wanted it all her life, consumingly. She believes that any number of things may happen before the end — most of them induced by the force of her own ambition — and she will still get it.

    rrpjr (fb0748)

  12. rrpjr — I don’t disagree with your pyschopathology, my comment is simply that later rather than sooner is ok with her so long as she gets what she’s after.

    If she can’t have it in 2008, she can bring her 17 million votes along with her in 2012 when Obama will be yesterday’s fishwrap as a loser to McCain.

    Who is on the horizon in the Dem. establishment to challenge her starting around the summer of 2010 when she would begin to start running in earnest again?

    WLS (68fd1f)

  13. Why is Hillary still in the race? What else is she going to do? Pull out? What will happen to her 15minutes of fame? Its no longer about a desire to be president, its more like a habit of media attention, campaigning, travelling and multiple personality manifestations. It’s a rush! Having all those people gathering to hear you rant about experience, solutions, sniper fire, nafta, negative campaigning, tears and laughter. And of course “shame on you Barrack Obama!” Above all, I think this whole thing was a gamble by the Clintons. Clinton’s loss isnt going to be just another candidate stepping aside for the good of the party. Clinton’s loss is a big blow to the Clitnon dynasty. She has watched an unknown from Chicago come from behind and take away their base. 35 years of political hardwork gone down the drain. How would the Clinton’s be percieved after this is over? What would be left of Bill’s political legacy? That he lost to an inexperienced, crazy, black senator who came from nowhere? It’s a big shame.

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  14. Beckel is absolutely right. Also, the Obama people might not like Clinton but the delegates who are chosen as pledged delegates aren’t necessarily Clinton haters or even strong Obama supporters. They aren’t pledged to vote for Obama’s favorite vp choice, just him, and they don’t really even have to do that.

    j curtis (c84b9e)

  15. I can’t figure it out but I’m suspicious that Hillary still thinks she can prove that Obama is not electable.

    Would not be surprised if they are polishing a good embarrassing revelation as we speak.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  16. I think Hillary maintains a steely-eyed, unwavering couplet of destiny and ambition with a twist of vitriolic disdain at the mere possibility a man might defeat her.

    POTUS was to be her reward for being the dutiful wife in spite of all the public humiliations from Bill’s bad behavior. It was to be handed to her on a silver platter. Unfortunately for her she never considered her own party would actually turn on them and choose to hand the silver platter to a young man instead.

    When she bows out (is forced out), Bill will be deeper in the poo and her wrath will have no end.

    Dana (909eb8)

  17. Yes, WLS, understood. But this implies patience, a willingness to abide by the scary variables of time at the moment of supreme opportunity. Ambition like hers, this close to her prize — I wonder if it can contain itself. Further, if Obama succeeds, he’ll be a two-termer. If he fails, there’s likely to be a national souring on democrats. I believe, by the way, that he’ll win.

    rrpjr (fb0748)

  18. Hillary DOES NOT want to be VP. Being VP doesn’t give her a path to the top job. George H.W. Bush is the ONLY VP to accede to the presidency by vote in over 100 years! What do you think, she’s going to take VP and then hope that he dies in office? Likewise, the possibility of her going from VP to Senate majority leader is highly unlikely. Also, she didn’t just infuse her campaign with millions of dollars as a way of forcing the Obama camp to pay off her debt — including those same millions she just added to that debt.

    Her goal is to receive the nomination of her party — period; and her argument is completely legitimate. Despite all of his primary and caucus wins, when you match up the general election electoral vote totals with the popular vote totals from the primaries … Hillary is beating him, and it isn’t even close! Same deal when you compare primary wins with the electoral votes in states that Bill Clinton won in 1992.

    If she doesn’t get the nomination, will she then make a deal to campaign for Obama in exchange for him paying off her debt? Of course. After that she will work toward either becoming Senate majority leader or running for Governor of N.Y.

    Missed It By THAT Much (f08c5d)

  19. This is a reprint of a post I made prior to West Virginia, but it still applies to the subject at hand:

    In blue-state electoral votes (based on the 2000 & 2004 general elections), Clinton leads Obama by approximately 142-86; or, 142-103 if you give him Michigan. In overall electoral votes she leads him 251-217; or, 278-234 if you give Michigan to him and Florida to her. Add in the remaining primary states (based on current polling data) and you get a 297-247 lead for Clinton.

    In the states Bill Clinton won in 1992, Hillary leads Obama 192-137. Add in Michigan, Oregon and Montana for him — West Virginia and Kentucky for her, based on current polling data (Florida & North Dakota are perennial red states); that results in a 211-165 lead for Hillary.

    No matter how you slice it, her argument — that she is more electable — has merit. She has no reason to quit, and I predict that she won’t quit unless: a) she runs out of money, or b) she loses in West Virginia, Kentucky or Puerto Rico … places where she is expected to win. The latest media fantasy — that she is staying in as a way to blackmail Obama into making her VP and paying off her campaign debt — is laughable. Vice Presidents don’t get elected President very often; usually, the only way they get in is if the President dies in office. If she doesn’t get the nomination she need only wait two years (instead of four) and then she can run for Governor of New York.

    Missed It By THAT Much (f08c5d)

  20. I think there are other reasons Sen. Clinton is staying in. It revolves around what happens after the party’s over.

    You might wonder why no one has written a tell all book about the Clinton years. Multi-million dollar book deals await the first few who come forward. Surely there are many who have kept ther silence out of fear of political suicide or worse by exposing the seamier side of the Clintons. There have been rumors Tony Pelicano might have been involved in intimidation of witnesses during the impeachment investigations, Kathleen Willey in particular. Some even speculate Pelicano has kept his silence in the knowledge he would receive a Clinton Presidental pardon.

    When Hillary concedes, the world comes crashing down. The Clinton vengence machine is defanged. It’s not a pleasant thought for Hilllary.

    Corky Boyd (4ef332)

  21. #18 – this little factoid of yours:

    George H.W. Bush is the ONLY VP to accede to the presidency by vote in over 100 years!

    makes my trip to today worthwhile! i just love trivia like that.

    for the longest time i thought for sure hillary had some trump card somewhere that would guarantee her the nomination and i kept waiting and waiting for something to happen. this has really been anti-climatic. the aura we built up around the clintons seems to be a figment of our imagination. but i shouldnt be surprised since he never got over half the vote, he was just in the right place at the right time. what a letdown,

    chas (5c73d9)

  22. Good discussion. I have also read that a Supreme Court nomination might be her price to Obama for dropping out. I do like the #20 theory, as well.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  23. I think the Supreme Court nomination theory is the weakest, Hillary is not confirmable as a Supreme court justice. And I don’t think she wants any part of the job – its not the kind of work she’d want to do and she’s got no talent for it. She was never a very good lawyer.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. I agree that Hillary nominated for the Supreme Court would be such a huge boon for the GOP. Man! And she wouldn’t even be that bad up there, to be honest.

    The idea above about Hillary going to governor of New York is actually pretty good. She’d have been a much better candidate with a little executive experience combined with her national ‘gravitas’. She’s getting old, but she might just be able to come back in 4 years if Mccain somehow beats my expectations and wins this thing.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  25. The SCARY thing is that if she becomes president, a Supreme Court nomination for him is a certainty.

    Missed It By THAT Much (f4a81f)

  26. #21 chas,

    Of course there was also Nixon, if you overlook that 8 year gap between the end of his vice-presidency and the start of his presidency. Can you imagine her running at age 68 — or 76?

    Missed It By THAT Much (f4a81f)

  27. most people, myself included, assume it’s up to the nominee to pick their running mate, and the convention would approve by acclimation.

    actually, the convention approves by acclamation. acclimation is what we all do gradually after that. i hate to sound like a pedant, but i’m talking to someone who isn’t sure how to spell “democrat”.

    assistant devil's advocate (e63173)

  28. “John Hagee apologises for comments he made about the catholic church and about gays…” As a practising evangelical, I am a little bit disappointed in Pastor John Hagee. Why did he have to stoop so low? Every bible scholar worth his salt knows that what he said about the catholic church being the great whore is accurate. His position on gay marriage is not just his, it is the position clearly stated in the bible. The bible is unapologetic in its denunciation of that type of lifestyle. I could give you scriptural evidence of that. The catholic church has not been free from its own share of blame, in its activities through history. Especially her role during Hitler’s effort to destroy the jewish nation in that terrible holocaust. Why should a man of God, attested by all as a man of integrity allow himself to become a political tool and a caricature. First of all he had no business coming out to endorse anybody. That singular mistake has left a serious scar on his reputation as a man of truth who says it as it is. I hope he recovers from this dent. Men of God should keep away from politics. They are supposed to be seen as non partisan. That way they can make more impact. Their words will not be reduced to another political lie, or pandering. Politics is a dirty game, not a game for men of the cloth. His apology will go down in history as one of his greatest mistakes. The word of God is what it is. You either take it or leave it. it is not subject to argument or amendment. It is settled for ever in heaven and on earth. John Hagee owes God and the body of bible believers an apology. Politicians speak to get vote. Sometimes they lie and try to be who they are not just to get votes. It’s a charade. Men of God are not politicians. They are representatives of God to the people, not of the people. They dont preach based on exit polls. They speak based on the moving and inspiration of the Holy Ghost. As a case in study, california has just overturned the ban on gay marriage, making it legal for people of the same sex to get married. and as the saying goes, so goes california, so goes the nation. More than ever we need men and women of God will arise and call back this nation to its godly roots. Before it is too late.

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  29. ‘…how to spell “democrat”.’

    We’ll spell it whatever way you want us to, when they start acting in a manner consistent with being an advocate of democracy.

    Another Drew (a28ef4)

  30. She has a goal only for Presidency and nothing else.
    She is stocked on it and would not move.
    She will fight for that on Convention . Ugly.
    You probably have not seen ugliest thing.
    Tha is how she sounds.
    That is who she isThis what her core is.
    Plus she is a woman, who can not take things apart olf emotions.
    M O N S T E R.
    (Never cared for anything except clintons power – do not tell about party damage – she does not care).
    She will fight till the last breath.
    The question is – will all Super be able to stand it or….give up.

    She has nothing to lose.
    She is the worst person ever standing so close to the Presidency.
    Just watch.
    It would be nighmere.

    Linda,fl (8c57b3)

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