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June 07, 2008

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Candadai Tirumalai

One of the remarkable features of this Democratic race is that Hillary Clinton, despite her victory in New Hampshire after the defeat in Iowa, lagged behind Barack Obama in the early and middle caucuses and primaries, but almost caught up with him on the strength of her victories in some big states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Marbury

Hello Candadai. I'd say the remarkable fact is that she DIDN'T catch up by winning Pennsylvania and Ohio and Texas, or even erase his lead by much at all. That was down to the way delegates are allocated. What her campaign never accounted for was that by running up big margins and therefore big delegate hauls in a string of smaller caucus states after Feb 5th, Obama would be able to build an insurmountable lead. Even as she won the biggies, she couldn't win them by margins big enough to wipe that lead out. It was too late.

rellis

Not too sure about your last paragraph. I do think she got a bum rap in the election coverage, much as you describe. But there were plenty of reasons for that. I doubt most people who disliked her cared that she was a woman.

The biggest reason for a lot of the "widespread, visceral dislike of Clinton" is that Obama is simply a lot of voters' favorite, including people in the media, and they don't like seeing competition against him. Emotions get high during a tight contest, and it gets worse the longer it goes. A lot of this will dissipate almost immediately.

The contrast between Obama and Clinton didn't help her, either. Obama is rightly seen as someone who's willing and able to speak truth to power -- to treat us all like we're adults instead of numbers. Clinton's original stereotype was that she was "poll-driven", and I haven't seen any evidence to the contrary. If she were the only serious candidate it would have been overlooked, but when held up next to Obama, it made her come across as a relative phony.

This essay by the late Molly Ivins, written long before the primary started, sums up why a lot of people were eager to find an alternative to Clinton. It resonated with me quite a bit.

Not. Backing. Hillary.
http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/01/20/ivins.hillary/index.html

45387

Hi Marbury,

I can't agree with the view that HRC's problem is because she is a powerful woman. Or that the media disdain her because of it. Dislike is a complex subjective experience and isn't based just on gender or power or even the two combined. It makes a handy shorthand explanation, I admit, for discussing why a particular individual is disdaine for reasons not easily expressed in sound bites.

At the outset, the record clearly shows that this election was Hillary's to lose. She was the front-runner for a long time even though she was a powerful woman. She behaved in ways that gave ammunition to her detractors. She lost because of it. Fair and square.

I submit that simplest explanation for her failure is that unfortunately for Clinton, she ran against someone who is equally smart who is also extraordinarily thoughtful and visionary. And most importantly someone who more consistently behaved in ways that didn't disappoint. Character tipped the balance.

fleety3000

As noted by an aide a while ago, the top 3 reasons Hillary lost:
Mark Penn
Mark Penn
Mark Penn
It was him who is to blame for the 3 biggest blunders:Not apologising for the iraq issue.Positioning Hillary as the inevitable and incumbent in a climate that cried out for change.And having no plan as to what to do if the contest went a day past feb 5th.
But then again it does injustice to Obama who is a once in a life time candidate whose strengths were like a heat seeking missile to her biggest vulnerabilities

Candadai Tirumalai

After her victories in the big states (Texas, curiously, had caucuses as well, in which Obama seems to have done better than in the primary), Hillary Clinton hoped that uncommitted superdelegates would rush to her, arguing that she would be a more formidable candidate against John McCain, but the rush did not materialze.

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