Monday, May 12, 2008
Dick Morris pens a very interesting column about why Hillary Clinton doggedly remains in the race for the Democratic nomination despite -- and I feel like I'm being generous here -- the near-inevitability of her defeat at the hands of Barack Obama.
Morris ticks off a variety of reasons the Clintons are staying in: They see themselves as above "the rules", Hillary feels a nearly-metaphysical sense of entitlement to the nomination, and they (she and Bill) have learned over time that persistence can pay off. Morris then goes on to slam Hillary for "an uncharacteristic absence of a reality base" in her thinking, but on this, I see him as half-redundant and half-missing a broader point.
In so far as Morris is being redundant, the fact that he slams the Clintons for waiting for yet another lucky break is a little silly. Their whole political career shows that patience can pay off. Like he just said....
And in so far as Morris is missing a broader point, he is dead wrong to say that Clinton has no "reality base" in her thinking. Part of this, again, we could put as "fortune favors the persistent" and part lies in the Clintons' uncanny political acumen. They understand on a gut level that America has been intellectually gutted by generations of pragmatism and altruism.
When they left the White House in utter disgrace over their ethical lapses and greed [sic], they were under attack from even the friendliest of liberal media. But years of keeping their heads low, working hard at getting along with people in the Senate, turning to charitable works (with a little help from George W. Bush) and helping the party regulars erased the sordid images. Memories of pardons sold for campaign and library contributions, their scoundrel lobbyist brothers, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of 'gifts' that were solicited from people who wanted favors from the White House disappeared. Once again, time healed all. [bold added]This aspect of the Clintons' thought process seems irrelevant to the current situation, but I see it as highly relevant. Without pragmatism to make Americans dismiss principles enough to regard the Clintons' criminal behavior as not that important after a time, and without the insurance of their altruistic "good deeds", Hillary wouldn't even be around at this point.
And yet, the American sense of life is strong enough -- as they learned on their own hides -- that in the immediate aftermath of something sufficiently contemptible, there will be loud cries of indignation and calls for heads to roll.
In the short span of a political campaign, should something sufficiently bad come to light about Barack Obama, he will have no time for the public to forget, and Hillary will be waiting in the wings, and made to look relatively more worthy than she deserves. (And without firm moral principles to guide one's judgement, appearances are effectively everything. She will have effectively been "cleansed" in the eyes of many by Obama.)
And the Clintons, having the requisite moral turpitude to make it as politicians in today's culture have a firm basis in reality to hope that Obama has another yet-to-be revealed skeleton in his closet. He is, after all, one of them under his skin.