Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hillary's goose cooked for more than just this year

For me, Friday was a day to recover from working the first of what may be as many as three or four "Grad Nites" at Disneyland. So, to come home from a shift and see all of the furor surrounding the comments made by Democratic Party presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) was a major wake-up call to say the least.

After seeing all of the analysis and reading a good chunk of the news stories and blogs out there, I have come to the following conclusions about the former First Lady.

1) I believe that her intentions behind the comments were not the dark extreme that some people have stated.

However, despite that belief I truly feel (like the vast majority out there) that the comment about the late Sen. Robert Kennedy's death at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968 was offensive and has no place in this or any other campaign. Nobody with any common sense truly believes for a second that Hillary is wishing for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) to be killed. However, you just don't bring up the specter of assassination into the campaign for an office that has seen a number of sitting presidents killed and several others survive only by the sheer grace of God and fortuitous timing.

2) Her candidacy in this race is over, regardless of how much she wants to fight on over the next 10 days.

This was a gaffe that ranks right up with some of the biggest scandals in political history. Think of Gary Hart in 1987 after his affair with Donna Rice or vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton's revelation of electroshock therapy and this not only eclipses those, it leaves them both in the dust.

This also effectively ends any slim opportunity she may have had to be Sen. Obama's running mate because it would be a severe blow to the ticket to have a candidate on it that said it not only once, but twice (she also said it in an interview with Time back in March).

3) Any future she had beyond remaining a member of the U.S. Senate is done.

She clearly is her own person, and if Obama ends up losing in November, she may well decide to give it another try in 2012. However, this gaffe showed that Hillary is a person who is well out of touch with the times. In addition to this flub, there has been the "moving of the goalposts" that has continued since the coronation she expected on Super Tuesday in March never materialized, an 11-state losing streak the stark reality she ended up having to deal with. This has brought gaffe after gaffe from her campaign, has gotten Hillary nothing but indifferent press and has shown that her base group, women over 50, are a group so desperate to see the first woman with a legitimate shot at the presidency succeed that they will ignore the reality of the first black candidate with that same shot doing much better and with much broader support. In addition, I firmly believe that this will stay with Hillary beyond this year, making it harder for her for be anything more than a U.S. Senator from the state of New York.

Up until Friday, I had understood a couple of Hillary's reason's for wanting to stay in the race until June. After her statement and pseudo-apology, those reasons are gone. Call it fatigue, call it whatever you want, but that is the reality of just how bad touching a political third rail is.

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