Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hillary’s flawed logic for staying in the race

It’s a very close race. Let the voters decide. Don’t disenfranchise those who haven’t spoken yet. We’ve won the big states. It’s not over.

All of that would sound very reasonable to a fair-minded person. If it were true, maybe it would be. But she has it all wrong. I could use the space here to attack Hillary on a lot of other issues that make the skin crawl. Instead, I’ll just stick to the facts and her inability to grasp them. Possibly her close advisers can clue her in. Maybe give her a little refresher course in Logic 101.

It’s not a close race. She could conceivably go into the convention with nearly as many pledged delegates as Obama. All she need do is win every single one of the remaining 10 states and get about 75% of the vote in the process. That’s how “close” things are right now. Especially when you consider that there are a couple of the remaining states that are absolute slam-dunks for Obama, and a number of others that Hillary has no chance of winning by a 60-40% margin, let alone the 75-25% she needs in every one of the remaining primaries. And again, that would do nothing except get her close.

Depending on how you count things, Obama has anywhere from a 5% to 10% lead in total pledged delegates and committed Superdelegates. The Clintons would have us believe that this is a very close total. Hey, if you go with that low 5% it’s almost within the margin for error.

I beg your pardon? "Margin for error" is reserved for polls, not for actual votes. If you are up by 5% in actual vote, it isn’t “maybe only 1%”. It’s 5%! If she were down by 5% with 90% of the votes yet to be tabulated, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But since nearly 90% of all the votes have already been cast, there is no reasonable chance of making up a lead of that size. Let alone if the 10% number is closer to the truth.

Hillary and Bill would also like us not to disenfranchise those poor souls in Florida and Michigan. Where was their concern for “disenfranchising” these voters at the beginning of the primary season, when the DNC told the states that if they stuck to their plans for early primaries then their votes wouldn’t count? Hillary could have screamed about this "disenfranchisement". Instead, she supported it!

Bill Clinton is asking us to let all of the remaining states vote? Well, of course we will, Bill. It’s part of the process. But there is nothing unusual about primaries occurring after it’s already clear who the nominee will be. It’s the nature of a process that does one state at a time, over many months. It used to happen to us all the time in California, back when we held primaries in June. Many times the Presidential Primary part of the election was nothing more than a beauty contest.

There is also no advantage in having “won the big states”. Again, it’s a party primary. Just because you won the primary against someone in your own party, there is no reason to assume you will win that same state in the General Election (or the equally faulty logic that your win means that your opponent will lose). Often, a state will vote Democrat or Republican regardless of who the parties puts up as their nominees. If a state is heavily Democratic, Hillary wins the primary, then you can just about bet that Obama will win the state in the General. What difference does Hillary think it means that she won that state?

It’s 3 A.M. Your kids are in bed asleep. A phone is ringing in the White House. It’s a zombie on the phone. She isn’t logical enough to realize she is dead, and lie down in her grave.

Oh, it’s over Hillary. The only questions are – how ugly are you going to make this and how easy for the GOP to make John McCain the next President of the United States?


Spanish Inquisitor said...

There's something about the American concept of competition that does not allow one to throw in the towel until the fat lady sings. The fat lady is warming up her throat here, ready to belt out a big one in a few seconds. The towel should be thrown.

Do I get any points for inelegant use of bad metaphors?

John Evo said...

Yeah, and I should make myself clear. I'm not asking Hillary to step aside right this minute. I think she should have already, but as long as we've gone this far, we might as well have some fun with your state, NC and IN. But, for Darwin's sake, stop the attacks that only help McCain! And, if she is still in basically the same position after those three - CONCEDE. And do it in such a way as to bring the party together behind Obama.

EnoNomi said...

Gold star for the zombie reference.

The Exterminator said...

Hillary's plan: If she can't win it as a Democrat, nobody should. If Obama gets the nomination and then loses -- with her considerable help to make that happen -- hey, she can run again in 2012.

And if the guy actually does get to the White House, you can bet your ass that she'll be a shadow antagonist, leading the Senate opposition to many of his proposals. And all the while she'll continue to spread whatever innuendoes are necessary to help undermine his efforts at whatever he's trying to do.

John Evo said...

@ Ex,

I believe you are probably right in your first paragraph. I'm willing to take a wait and see attitude on your second paragraph. I just don't see what she would have to gain by doing that. But, hey, if you can convince me of a motive, I'll join you on that one too!

The Exterminator said...

Motive: Desire to be president, and fuck everything and everyone. Undermine the Democratic incumbent while appearing to be "principled" in opposition. Then run on the opposite side of the political spectrum in the 2012 primaries (i.e., if he has been too moderate, become a passionate liberal; if he has been too liberal, be a voice of "reason" for moderation).

This is only my prediction, mind you -- I have no hard evidence. But after watching her pull every dirty trick in the Rove handbook during the primary campaign, I think I get what motivates her. And it ain't her love for America.

Lifeguard said...

There's a part of me that wants to believe she knows she's finished, and she just wants to stay in so that voters who support her in the remaining states will be able to cast a vote for her. But there's another part of me that remembers she's a Clinton and will do whatever she can to win at all costs.

Initially I kind of liked her, and I think she's been a great Senator for NY. But the way she has run her campaign has just made me sick, and she really should stop actively campaigning against Obama. She can't win at this point, so why risk tearing apart the party?

Bottom line: Stick a fork in her... no, I mean seriously... someone stab her with a fork.

Mercurious said...

I don't think there's anything to worry about. The process is intended to be adversarial, and we have a lots of time for this to resolve.

And I disagree with conventional wisdom. The ongoing contest keeps the Democrats front and center in the news, while McCain continues to align himself with the most reviled president in recent years.

I won't be worried unless the race is still being fought on August 1.

Brendan said...


You'll probably be unsurprised to hear that I agree with your analysis -- Hillary has no reasonable chance of winning. I'm also with you in thinking that there's no compelling reason for her not to continue in the race through at least the next few primaries, and if they play out as the polls suggest, to stay in through the last. Obama does have a comfortable lead, but it's not yet a mathematical certainty, and it's conceivable that Obama could have something come from out of nowhere that really hurts him. I wouldn't bet more than $1 against $10,000 on this, but the possibility always exists.

There's another reason for her to stay in: campaign debt. She's got to look like she's in it to win in order to keep the money coming in, unless she plans to tell Mark Penn and others to piss off.

I'm also with you in that the worst part about her staying in is her strategy of attacking Obama. It's plausible, I suppose, that everything she throws at him decreases the effect when the Republicans try to raise the same points, but why help them out? The really bad part is that she's exacerbating the split within the Democratic Party -- the longer she whines and moans, the more self-righteous her most stalwart fans become. (See, for example, just how far gone MyDD, Taylor Marsh, and TalkLeft have become.) I don't think many of them will stick to their recent temper tantrums and truly vote McCain, but again, why give the GOP any help at all?

As charitable as I try to be about her, I do confess to sharing T.Ex.'s suspicions: I think she's very clear in her mind about possibilities for 2012, and I would not put it past her to use her Senate seat to make President Obama look bad, especially if he hits a rough patch.

David Brooks made a good point on one of the Sunday yak shows recently (I know, I know, play along). He said that she should drop out now, not because she's weak, but because she's strong. There's a lot to that -- she could probably get Senate Majority Leader out of the deal, and she could really make herself look good by doing so "for the good of the Party."

I think she's smart enough to have thought about this, and I really hope she does it, assuming the rest of the primaries go the way they're expected to go. But see what I said above about that dollar.

Al said...

I used to like the Clintons and could never understand the right's hatred of them. The Clintons were hardly liberal and long held conservative goals such as balancing the budget and welfare reform happened on their watch. So I just chalked it up to sour grapes for losing an election (in the case of Rush and the hate radio rightards, that probably was true).

As an Obama supporter, I see a whole different side of them. They are habitual liars and the rules needed to be changed to suit them. For Billary to be whining about Obama kicking their asses in the caucus states, well the Clintons owned the Democratic Party for the past 16 years and got beat at their own game by the upstart.

I also love the way they are making the Richardson endorsement out to be bigger than it is. James (I was the strategic genius behind losing 2 presidential elections to the worst president in history) Carville called him a Judas while being married to a top Republican strategist. I do got to give Carville credit for one thing though, calling Richardson a Judas was probably the only words to ever escape his pie-hole without consulting some focus group to tell him what to say.

Meanwhile, the bowl has been flushed and Billary is circling the drain!

Anonymous said...

Hello happyhominid,
forgive the off-topic comment, but I was looking at some of my old blogs and noticed that you posted a response to my "Creationists are Heretics" blog which I missed the first time around. You're the only one who seems to have bothered to read it, so thanks for the comment.
Just to briefly respond, I've heard all the arguments for pan-atheism including Cenk's of course, and I can't say I disagree with individual points, but there's evidence that humans are biologically predisposed to having religious beliefs. So unless you can come up with a regimen to whip people into intellectual shape, we're stuck with religious people.
But the core of what I'm getting at is this. Religious traditions, contrary to the current wave of interest in fundamentalism in America, are historically a thinking person's enterprise. Modern science was born from the mind of religious scholars. You could say that science and religion are distant relatives on the evolutionary tree of human thought. So bottom line is, don't make war on religion, it might alienate religious people who actually respect and revere science for the monumental achievement that it is.

The Ridger, FCD said...

I can see why she's staying in the race - partly to keep raising money to pay her bills and partly because she does (want to be/think she would be a better) president.

And if by some (can I say?) miracle she becomes the nominee I'll vote for her - she would be for the country than McCain.

But I find it hard to forgive her for handing the GOP a lot of ammo for the main race, and wonder how she'll manage to support Obama if necessary.

C. L. Hanson said...

Apparantely Hillary compared herself (and campaign) to Rocky, and one of my favorite blogs came up with an amusing riff on it: here.

John Evo said...

Nice link, CL. I suggest everyone go read that.

PhillyChief said...

Yeah but even though the Rocky movies went on too long, you never stopped liking Rocky, did you? Interesting comparison, but, for me, it falls short. Maybe it's a Philly thing. You fuck with Rocky, you fuck with Philly. He's an icon who can do no wrong. In contrast, Hillary is a power hungry monster.