How to Jump the Political Shark

This is how.

Bear in mind that this is not the same as saying Clinton’s going to leave the race. She’s made it pretty clear they’re going to have to wrench her out with pry bars. But it’s also pretty clear she’s in the Ted McGinley era of her campaign.

45 Comments on “How to Jump the Political Shark”

  1. She’s since apologized. (NPR reporting her apology was actually how I first heard of this.) However, it’s probably too late. You can’t actually unsay those things which would have been the best solution. I suspect she’ll be apologizing for a while.

    I wonder if this ruins her chances for the VP slot. I don’t know if Obama would actually consider her. I don’t know if she’d consider accepting it. However, the idea of an Obama-Clinton ticket is out there.

  2. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want as VP someone who implied she’s sticking around in case I get assassinated.

  3. John Chu,

    I can’t get to the link right now as twitter is down but the numbers with Edwards as a VP are -far- better than the numbers with her. I’ll post the link later.

  4. That was… bizarre and chilling.

    Though probably not as bizarre and chilling to me as seeing video interviews with “lifelong Democrats” who say if Obama is the D candidate, they’ll vote for McCain… because they feel Obama “doesn’t have enough experience.”


  5. Re: the VP numbers, check out

    Obama/Edwards beats every McCain combo surveyed by significant margins, even in Ohio. He SO does not need Clinton.

  6. I do find it interesting that this is already getting more play than Huckabee’s suggestion “joke” about an Obama assassination at the NRA meeting last week.

  7. Yeah, it’s an weird statement, but I get that she was reaching for examples of Democratic nominations that had gone into June and… well… there just aren’t many. She should have done a full stop at her husband’s example.

    I don’t read this as her thinking that Obama might be assassinated nor as her hoping for such a thing. Those of you who do.. please let me know what color the sky is in your world.

    Though less sensational the bigger point in that interview is the basic illogic of why she’s staying in. She argues that she is more electable because most of her delegates are from primaries and not caucuses and hence are more representative of the party (the caucuses attracting more activist sorts). I think her characterization of the caususes is correct, but there are 2 fallacies in her argument beyond this.

    First, she ignores that the primary voters who voted for her might include independents, conservative Dems and Republicans who may not vote for her in the general election. To the degree that any of that is true, are the primaries actually more representative of the Democratic party in that state? After all… this is a process to nominate the Democrats’ candidate.

    Secondly, she argues that caucuses are unrepresentative… but to overcome Obama’s lead she will need to convince superdelegates to go against the fact that Obama has a simple majority of pledged delegates. And that’s more representative… how?

  8. I didn’t quite get this. I’m no fan (I can’t stand Hillary due to the way she’s fought this campaign, in fact) but I really don’t think there’s much cause to suggest that she was implying Obama be assassinated.

    Perhaps more of an argument for being stupid, but even then… who’s more stupid? The person making a comparison to decision dates, or the person who mistakes that for a faux pas.

  9. Well, Chris, one really wonders… if she’s prone to making ‘mistakes’ like this as a candidate, can she really handle the pressure of the Oval Office? Excusing these as slips of the tongue, she’s tired… this is the same woman whose campaign did an ad saying that she’d be ready for that 3am call. Hmmm, I don’t know about others, but I’m pretty tired at 3am.

  10. I’m pretty sure Clinton was just casting about for examples of primaries that extended well into mid-year. But holy crap, that sounded awful.

    It’s one thing to stick your foot in your mouth, but quite another to gobble down the whole leg.

  11. Hell, Paul Wellstone died in October of his election year. Maybe she should stay in the race until then?

    Anyway, it’s double-stupid. In the event that Clinton pulls out tomorrow, and Obama is shot next week, Clinton would still be the only living person with almost enough delegates to be nominated. Whether she stops campaigning for a a few weeks doesn’t affect that reality.

  12. Rick,

    She’ll say whatever benefits her at the moment and assume that the vast majority of people won’t ever call her on it. She’s a hateful weasel and arrogant to the bone.

  13. Maybe I viewed it wrong, or perhaps I’m just used to my own students’ conceptual leaps, but I don’t think she meant she was sticking around in case someone got assassinated. I took her to mean that in both of the nomination races mentioned, decisive victories were occurring as late as June. Jerry Brown had a strong early performance, and Bill Clinton’s California primary win, in June, was what basically sealed his nomination.

    Kennedy, too, scored a major victory when he won the Democratic party’s California primary on June 4th. His assassination occurred the following morning, just after he’d addressed his supporters. That his assassination occurred at pretty much the same time as that victory (most believed he could have pushed Eugene McCarthy, the other major contender, out of the race if he won in California) is what caused Senator Clinton’s misspeaking.

    Really, it’s not her calling on an assassination; it’s a desperate attempt at trying to get people to believe that other primaries dragged on as long as this one, and, in some cases, were won by candidates who had stronger showings in later, rather than earlier, primaries. She’s really trying to get people to believe it ain’t over till it’s over, except she’s forgotten it started back before she might have wanted it to, because given her experience and political career, if she were going to win anything, she would have done so by now. That she hasn’t proves pretty conclusively she can’t and won’t.

  14. Hillary has brought some of the Bosnian snipers over to take care of Barac…



    There were no Bosnian snipers.

    Never mind.

  15. The people pointing out that she raised RFK in 1968 as an example of a race that was not settled in June are of course correct, and if she’d stopped there it would have not been a story. It would have been disingenuous, because in June ’68, as in June ’92, there were a lot of delegates still available (not to mention that the 1992 race was settled, and conceded by Tsongas, in March 1992, and only ran through June’s California primary in a desultory fashion because of Jerry Brown running a marginal protest candidacy).

    But for her example there was no need at all to even mention the assassination. And I’m not going to attempt to psychoanalyze why she did mention it, but I will point out that one definition of a gaffe is ‘an unintentional and often incorrect statement revealing of a larger truth about the speaker’.

  16. The more interesting thing to me than this gaffe (I really don’t think she meant to sound so cold-blooded. She was certainly tone-deaf though) is that I think she really can’t think of a good reason to stick around. I mean, if Obama had to drop out a few months from now who else would the party go to but her? She’d be in the exact same place if she just suspended her campaign.

    So what is her justification in sticking around? She’s either waiting for the superdelegates to award her the nomination (unlikely) or… I really can’t think of another reason.

  17. If the 1968 analogy is relevant, though, she is RFK, not Obama. Obama is Hubert Humphrey. In 1968, RFK (like Hillary now) was behind in delegates and was desperately trying to shake some delegates loose.

  18. What’s most confusing about all this, is that for quite some time now dropping out wouldn’t have affected her chances at the nomination at all. For 3 months it’s been almost certain Obama was going to win but not clinch the delegates; does anyone really believe that if she had dropped out after, say, Ohio/Texas and then something horrible had happened to Obama (personally or politically) she wouldn’t end up the nominee?

    In fact, by acting like this she’s only been damaging her chances at the nomination, given her recent actions (this, the bizarre Zimbabwe / Florida comment).

  19. That his assassination occurred at pretty much the same time as that victory (most believed he could have pushed Eugene McCarthy, the other major contender, out of the race if he won in California

    Uh, the other major contender was Humphrey. McCarthy was running third in delegate totals.

  20. So what is her justification in sticking around? She’s either waiting for the superdelegates to award her the nomination (unlikely) or… I really can’t think of another reason.

    It’s pretty easy to think of a reason here. The Clinton campaign, at an official level, has been pushing the narrative that Obama’s attaining the nomination is illegitimate. That he’s stolen it. They’ve done this by equating the current situation with Florida 2000 and even with Zimbabwe. These arguments aren’t about moving superdelegates, because the remaining superdelegates are too well-informed, if only because both sides’ supporters are constantly lobbying them. It isn’t an attempt to sway the remaining voters, because there are almost none left. Instead, it is a deliberate strategy of kindling in the hearts of Clinton’s supporters an enduring resentment, even hatred, of Obama. They are creating what John Cole, among others, calls a Hostage Situation: Sen. Clinton’s loyal followers, poisoned against Sen. Obama, will split the party and destroy its chances unless the Clintons’ demands are met.

    As to what those demands are, well, there is the obvious possibility, that Senator Clinton wants, and cannot without such extortion achieve, the Vice Presidential nomination. I’ve even heard – on NPR! – that her campaign is contemplating staging a fight on the floor of the Convention for the veep slot.

  21. This probably wouldn’t look quite so bad for Clinton if she hadn’t been comparing the FL/MI situation to *Zimbabwe* lately. And of course Ted Kennedy’s illness doesn’t help her at all.

    But – she’s said this before, back in March.

    It’s just weird, that they’ve been carrying this around. “Maybe Barack will get shot!”

  22. Her argument about Bill Clinton in 1992 is obviously false. Paul Tsongas dropped out of the race in March, and Jerry Brown – who had a tiny number of delegates, compared to Clinton – only hung around for another month. Bill might not have crossed the magic delegate number until June, but the race was over in early spring. Hillary Clinton is being disingenuous to imply, repeatedly, that it wasn’t.

    I’m not going to touch the “assassination” comment because it makes me too furious to type.

  23. @James (21): yeah, I was trying to speak somewhat intelligently about events that occurred a full decade before I was born. I probably flubbed badly.

    But I’m with 17 and 18, mostly.

    Either way, I still don’t like her. Even a little.

    Obama & Edwards: Yes We Will

  24. Can I just interject with… Please, pleasepleaseplease. Pick Edwards for the Dem VP again. I think Obama-Clinton and Obama-Edwards are the only way McCain has a chance. (Unless he picks Sarah Palin as his running mate, but since she just gave birth, I’m going with that being unlikely. Didn’t stop her from suing the EPA today, though.)

    The guy brought nothing to the ’04 campaign, and he’ll bring nothing to the ’08 campaign. But as a Republican, I strongly encourage you to make him the VP candidate. That way we won’t be the only team to fuck up the cakewalk.

  25. I like Webb, but apparently he’s made statements about women in the military which would be like jalapeno salt and white phosphorous in the wounded egos of the Hillary Clinton faction.

    (Though at times lately that aspect has looked like a bonus.)

    Also, I swear he looks like he’s had a lot of plastic surgery on his face. Very tight for a 60 year old. Which is kind of neither here nor there, but if he keeps at it I don’t know if I want a VP with that ‘looks like an old woman’ thing that celebs like Burt Reynolds get after too many facelifts.

    He’d be our first Vice President who was multi-novel writer before entering (elected) politics, right?

  26. One last thought about Webb.

    Hee hee.

    It’d serve Clinton right if Obama picked Webb. She spent so much time talking about Obama’s weakness with working class whites in West Virginia and Kentucky and Pennsylvania, that she could hardly complain if Obama picked a guy with Appalachian roots who’s known for writing a history of the Scots-Irish in the region.

    (And he’s probably actually been under sniper fire.)

  27. I hope, and more-or-less think, that Obama will pick someone who was against the War in Iraq from the beginning. Webb would be a strong choice – except for the issue mentioned above about women. As a younger man, Webb wrote some really nasty things about women in the military. He’s apologized more recently, but I don’t know that he’s really worked hard to clean the slate on the issue, and with Clinton’s campaign working so hard to createa culture of resentment among its strongest partisans, it might be that a veep who’s got problems on womens’ issues is the last thing Obama needs.

    I can’t think offhand of any Presidents who wrote fiction, and I don’t know much of anything about Vice Presidents. Discounting those who’ve used ghostwriters, I can only recall a couple of Presidents who were successful writers before they were President: Theodore Roosevelt, and to a much lesser extent Woodrow Wilson. Lesser extent, because although Wilson was a successful academic and wrote books, I don’t think his books are still frequently read.

  28. According to the product description on Amazon, when it was published in 2003, The Hornet’s Nest: A Novel of the Revolutionary War, by Jimmy Carter, was touted as being the “The first work of fiction by a President of the United States…” This was published almost 13 years after Carter left office.

    I can’t think of any President who wrote fiction before he became President — unless you count campaign speeches and bios.

  29. This was published almost 13 years after Carter left office.

    Oops. Should be 23 years after he left office.

  30. Freaky.

    Tonight in Olbermann’s ‘special comment’ about this (which shows the history of how many times Clinton has riffed on this) at 1:39 there’s a loud pop that visibly startles Keith.

    Being all worked up about political assassination, as he was, it’s a wonder he didn’t just have a heart attack.

  31. Will @17
    If she was talking about the campaign not being settled, she would have said something like, “And Robert Kennedy was still viable well into June, and may have won if not for the horrid blahblahblah.”

    What I wonder is this:
    Is this big enough to sink her indefinitely. I sure hope so! Not because I dislike her, or want her off the scene. I hope she’s totally sunk because it will finally, thoroughly SHUT UP the people who say that Clinton is trying to sabotage Obama so she can run on the “Should have gone with me LAST time you jerks” ticket. I’m really sick of hearing that.

  32. She’s not out of the race yet? I’m going back to sleep. Wake me up when she finally GTFOs.

  33. I’m all for Obama. He is an idealist like George III, even more inexperienced at governing, and if he keeps his word, will loose a bloodbath in Iraq. He will be a one term president if he gets elected. But then he is the product of the Chicago political machine, so he could get re elected much like George the Third was.

  34. I can’t really say it better than Olbermann:

    And another point – the California primary has always had a large number of delegates at stake. But this time around it was in February. The remaining primaries don’t have anything close the number of delegates that CA has – they’re a non-issue in terms of providing either delegate a significant boost toward the nomination.

    For a candidate who has repeatedly run on the fact that she’s better prepared, Clinton’s repeated lack of same makes me think that she’s fundamentally unqualified. If she can’t handle the pressure of a contested nomination process better than this how would she handle the presidency?

  35. I think this was more a Ted Knight moment than a Ted McGinley moment… and yes, I am specifically invoking the gender-role reversal.

    The problem here is not here apology, or her slip of the tongue. The problem here is that this is merely the latest evidence that she believes she’s entitled to the nomination because she’s, well, Hillary. There appears to be no lack of ego on either side of Chelsea’s family tree… but at least it’s not a family bush.

  36. whether she meant to say it or secretly wishes it would happen is woefully beside the point. the point is that she lacks the common sense, decency and basic decorum to know that that was an INSENSITIVE reference to cite, especially considering that her opponent is black.

    she is a desperately tacky woman.

  37. Umm, Ted Baxter, not Ted Knight… this has nothing to do with athletic shoes.

  38. that was an INSENSITIVE reference to cite, especially considering that her opponent is black.

    Uh, why? RFK was black?

  39. April @42
    “Meant to say it” is definitely a stray shot. She’s been talking about this for a while, and the idea that her campaign has not thoroughly discussed answers to the question “Why are you still here?” is really far-fetched.

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