by ROBERT HEROLD & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & H & lt;/span & illary Clinton has about lost whatever chance she had to be president because her "kitchen sink" strategy is serving to remind too many voters that the real Hillary isn't that woman who teared up in New Hampshire nor the gracious candidate who said in one debate that she was honored to be on the dais with Obama. Rather, she has reminded us that she is, above all, a Clinton. For the Clintons, winning has always been everything, no matter what the cost. The name of the campaign game is trashing opponents, what she views as "the fun part."
Item: Her assertion that she and McCain are the only candidates who have the experience to be president
Item: Her claim that Obama can't win the general election.
Item: Her sleazy 3 am phone commercial (right out of Mondale's campaign, a remake of LBJ's infamous daisy commercial)
Item: I'm a woman and he isn't. Go gal.
Item: "So far as I know" he isn't a Muslim.
Item: About those Michigan and Florida delegates? Cute, really cute.
Hillary's tactics might work were she able to convert voters she needs, while losing only those voters who don't much matter anyway: a few more votes in New York and California, perhaps Texas also (we know that her 3 am commercial changed voters there). But I don't see things turning out as Hillary planned. She would carry New York and California anyway -- as would Obama. And she would lose Texas -- as would Obama.
But her slash-and-burn strategy hurts her in contested states that Democrats need to win -- the very states where Hillary's tactics have most offended Democrats and independents, especially the 20 to 30 age group, which has poured out for Obama. Then there are what I call the "Deeply Offended States." (The DOS comprise from west to east: Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Vermont.) That's seven states totaling 57 electoral votes. Obama wins them all. I can see Hillary being shut out. The DOS have turned on her. These are states with a sizable percentage of independents, voters who value class (as in "high class") and fairness over narrow partisan politics. Political scientist Daniel Elazar referred to them as "moralistic culture states," characterized by belief in the idea of commonwealth, the idea of civic duty, by a willingness to take up social as well as economic issues, and by a generally positive view of government. Six of these seven states have held primaries (and/or caucuses) and all voted overwhelmingly for Obama.
Voters in the DOS now have come to agree with the late Molly Ivins, who as recently as 2006 wrote she would never support Hillary Clinton for President: "Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation," wrote Ivins. "Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone. This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges."
Notably, Hillary's wins came in large industrial states that Elazar associated with his "individualist culture," which views government as just another player in the marketplace properly responding to constituent demands, mostly economic. Politics in these states is not viewed as a calling, nor a duty, but rather public means to private ends. And winning is everything. Of course Hillary embraced this culture.The individualistic culture mirrors her ingrained Clintonesque style. She could well be mystified by all the hullabaloo over her tactics, aka "the fun part."
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & B & lt;/span & ut Clinton and her advisors have greatly underestimated the negative effect that offending campaigning is having on her in these Moralistic Culture states. Seattle resident Charles Pluckhahn, a long-time Clinton supporter (he has contributed more than $7,500 to Clinton campaigns since 2005), speaks for the DOS voters in his op-ed column appearing in the Seattle Times: "Sen. Clinton, I can no longer count myself in your ranks. I've decided that, barring some stunning revelation, Barack Obama has earned the Democratic nomination, fair and square. More importantly, I've decided that your campaign's tactics have crossed a line that should never be crossed. I no longer want to be associated with your effort to become the Democratic nominee." Pluckhahn wants Hillary to apologize to Obama and then gracefully exit.
Finally, about who is more electable? First, neither Hillary nor Obama can easily beat John McCain without the DOS. Having lost the DOS, even if we assume the best case for Clinton by giving her both Pennsylvania and Ohio, and assume that she holds onto Illinois, while winning both Nevada and New Mexico, she would be 20 votes short of the 270 needed for election. McCain would be 10 short. This leaves Virginia and North Carolina as undecided. McCain would need but one of these usually red states. Clinton would have to win both.
On the other hand, if we do nothing more than give Obama the DOS while holding as undecided Virginia and North Carolina along with Ohio and Pennsylvania, he would have 257 votes, 13 short of victory. Obama would need to win only one of these four undecided states. McCain would need to win all four.