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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anatomy of a Train Wreck

posted by on August 14 at 9:36 AM

There’s something totally unnerving about finding out that Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency was seemingly run by people who didn’t have that firm a grasp on what they were doing.

But slogging through the much-hyped Clinton Memos recently released by The Atlantic, it’s hard not to feel that everybody in Team Clinton just kind of expected to win, and then go get a sandwich before cake-walking to the White House. The memos are a treasure trove of delusional overconfidence and directionless infighting, with no one wanting to confront the fact that Obama might be more than a charisma-filled speed bump until they had effectively already lost.

Oh, and when they finally did realize how dire things were, the chief strategist of the campaign pronounced that it was time to remind the electorate that their opponent was a Muslim interloper.

What’s even more astounding, in this massive body of evidence that suggests Team Clinton did almost as much to make Barack Obama the nominee as Barack Obama did, is that the main players in Clinton’s incredible deadspin are still claiming that this wasn’t really their fault: It was the media’s, for not aggressively pursuing John Edwards’ carousing.

What a perfect coda to a perfect disaster. Take it away, Choire Sicha:

The question, for the thousandth time, is: What is wrong with these people? Also, who are these squabbling, selfish children—and why do they not have a VH1 reality show?

RSS icon Comments


1. Actually you are wrong. You say "the main players" are out there saying it's the media's fault for not uncovering Edwards. This is not true. You should know it. It's only one player, Wolfson. One. Not two, not three. Not "the main players."

IF HRC said somethinglike that you'd be all over her for lying lying lying etc.

2. She ran a terrible overconfident campaign, ayup. Just having a plan for caucus states could have meant she'd of done a bit better in those states with a different end result. Also her campaign siucked in other ways. News flash: when this happens, the staff fights!

Duh. It's her fault all right.

3. The interesting thing is the advice to totally tear Obama apart was not followed. She didn't put out the rev. wright tapes. she attacked him on experience, his vote for the energy bill etc., and the 3 am phone call ad. She isn't doing what McCain is going. A mild statement that after being asked five times in a row is he a muslim she says to my knowledge no is hardly the same as what McCain and the right wing are doing now.

So, btw, the whole feeling of the Obama folks that she was this horrible bitch and evil attack woman is bullshit.
Also: the female political leader with the big horrible secret scandal that would have brought us all down was ......Edwards.
Another example: Kennedy put his name in nomination. He wouldn't even meet Carter on the stage of the convention. Yet Obama folks lionize him. This conduct likely cost Carter the election. So should Clinton allow her name to be put in, she's only doing what other candidates for the nod have done in the past. Yet some folks point to this as especially nasty, etc. Bit of a double standard.

Posted by PC | August 14, 2008 9:52 AM

Oh, STFU, PC. Look, they did expect to win. It's the Audacity of Hubris that took them down, and they burned their grassroots at so many levels during their campaign, running a centralized "Who's Who" campaign of insiders and not accepting ideas from their initial far-flung network.

Next thing you know, you'll be lying to us about how Julia Childs couldn't be both a great cook and a great spy when she was both.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 14, 2008 10:14 AM

Will you should see a shrink, dude.
Yes they expected to win. This is what I said when I said "She ran a terrible overconfident campaign, ayup."
Overconfident == expected to win. Why do you attack me with harsh words when you agree with me on something? Hubris took them down. Ayup. That's what I said.. "Just having a plan for caucus states could have meant she'd of done a bit better in those states with a different end result. Also her campaign sucked in other ways."
Oh btw I assume you agree with points 1 adn 3, too, since you don't attack me on those.

So: we agree on three points! Will -- you're my buddy!

Oh one more thing. The post as written is also in error in saying the advice was to paint Obama as a Muslim interloper, there is nothing in the link saying that at all.
Gee: making erroneous claims about the HRC camp. Great method for building energy and excitement and unity! Great way to increase that ghuge 0.5% margin in Ohio. Brilliant! It's a a new politics!

BTW loving my new Obama togs!
In unity,

Posted by PC | August 14, 2008 10:36 AM

@1 Thank you for having half a brain.
@2 Thank you for SingTFU.
@3 Thank you, in the future, for not encouraging @2.

Posted by jebus h. xst | August 14, 2008 10:45 AM

at least these comments are train wreck as well... i don't know who to root for....

Posted by infrequent | August 14, 2008 10:50 AM

great spy? GREAT SPY?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 14, 2008 11:01 AM

Look! It's Battle of the Slog Halfwits! I'm rooting for a prolonged grapple followed by a hundred-foot plunge off the cliff.

Oh, and Mark Penn needs to get a job sweeping up at the bus station and stay far, far away from politics.

Posted by Fnarf | August 14, 2008 11:09 AM

ryan, did you mean to link to something else when you claim that hrc's people paint obama as "a muslim interloper"? maybe i missed something, but pc didn't find it in that memo, either. please update the post when you find this evidence.

Posted by ellarosa | August 14, 2008 11:19 AM

here.... change "muslim" to "not fundamentally american" and link to this memo instead.

Posted by brandon | August 14, 2008 11:40 AM

Aside from her campaign expecting to win, IMHO, it was the ease with which her campaign, and Clinton herself, resorted to using Republican tactics and frames to delegitimize Obama that resulted in "Obama folks [thinking] that she was this horrible bitch and evil attack woman". Her harping for weeks about the "bitter" gaffe, her saying that she & McCain, but not Obama, had already passed the "commander in chief" thresh-hold (which now has conveniently worked it's way into McCain campaign ads), her jettisoning, in my view, of the liberal base of the party as MoveOn weirdos (this isn't a quote, but can absolutely be inferred from her behavior), her attempt to delegitimize caucuses and caucus states as somehow unrepresentative of "average Americans who have to work on weekends", etc., etc. Obama supporters didn't just decide Clinton was an asshole on a whim; there were, and are, many good reasons for the positions Obama supporters held.

There sems to be an effort underway to rewrite the history of the primaries so that Clinton's loss is the product of misogyny, political naiveté, and the supposed nastiness of Obama supporters. While each of those situations may have, and probably did, occur, to completely overlook Clinton's culpability in it is counter-productive and silly.

Oh, and "Muslim interloper" link is misleading. I went to the link, read the Penn memo, and saw nothing even mentioning the Muslim rumor. What gives?

Posted by Jason E | August 14, 2008 11:59 AM

Try reading the actual linked articles and memos (they have PDFs) in the atlantic story before you 'correct' me.

I hear McSame is rerecording "Georgia on my Mind".

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 14, 2008 12:01 PM

thanks, brandon. but it is still a far cry from "muslim interloper." it's cheap shot, sure, but...not anywhere near as incendiary. ryan?

Posted by ellarosa | August 14, 2008 12:05 PM

Thank you, Jason@10. I have nothing more to add, so "what he said".

Posted by What he said | August 14, 2008 12:23 PM

@6 - yes, great spy.

Read her file.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 14, 2008 1:54 PM

what was her greatest spying accomplishment? seriously will, just because one is a spy doesnt mean one is a great spy

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 14, 2008 3:02 PM

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