The Democrats' Clinton Problem

Wed, 04 Jun 2008 15:33:56 +0000

As I've noted from time to time, I don't consider myself a Democrat, but I wouldn't mind voting for one. I don't know if I am the swing voter that Senator Obama needs most in the general election. But I can say that he does himself no favors in my estimation by appeasing Senator Clinton after her performance last evening. Some reactions from those well to the Left of me:

Dana Milbank: "In Defeat, Clinton Gracioiusly Pretends to Win"

Ezra Klein: "She Doesn't Accept"

Matthew Yglesias: "Clintons Speech"

As often happens, I think Brendan Nyhan sums it up pretty well in "Hillary: For Hillary:"

Is Hillary Clinton trying to reinforce the stereotype that she is calculating and power-hungry? I'm not the only one who noticed that she doesn't seem to be putting the party first.

Two other points:

(1) The idea that Obama must appease her and her supporters or they will not support his campaign is reminiscent of the way that Democrats were held hostage to identity politics in previous decades.

(2) I don't understand her endgame. One interpretation is that she's trying to solidify her position as the frontrunner for 2012 if Obama loses in November, but she's generating so much resentment among Obama supporters that it will arguably damage her standing within the party.

I'm with Brendan. Self-interested behavior at the expense of others is no surprise in politics, but Senator Clinton's behavior is damaging her long-term prospects for leadership in both the Executive and Legislative branches.