Friday, 9 May 2008

Why Hillary Clinton shouldn't quit......yet

The result is now all but beyond doubt. Yet that doesn't mean that how this is resolved does not matter. The dignified retreat by Mike Huckabee should be the model for Hillary Clinton. She is still campaigning and that is absolutely right but how she campaigns matters.

The tone of this battle needs to be brought down. Right now, many of Hillary's supporters are smarting, especially in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and other recent states where she has won on the basis of a tough campaign against Barack Obama winning the white, blue collar vote in the process. Up to a third of her voters currently say that they wouldn't vote for Barack Obama. Hillary has to manage the upset down to give Obama every chance to reclaim those voters for the Democrats. That process is best achieved on the basis of Hillary seeing this race out to its conclusion but in a positive manner that unifies the party. She needs to start saying lots of very nice things about Obama.

A cynical viewpoint sees Hillary's strategy as a destructive one. There is a theory that she is trying to destroy Obama's candidacy with a view to running again in 2012. She has gone too far on a few occasions- by pouring petrol on the flames on a number of controversies, by suggesting that Obama had not been properly vetted, by suggesting that only John McCain and herself have the experience to be Commander-in Chief. I don't believe that is her strategy at all but we will see in the next few weeks.

Clinton is an exceptional but highly flawed candidate. She hasn't won this battle but boy did she turn it into a fight. Now is the time to show the political world her very best side. If the great divider in American politics can be the unifier of the Democrats she will do herself no end of good. And who knows, if Obama doesn't quite make it, she may get another shot in 2012 and this time she could win.

Postscript: Some good articles shamelessly pilfered from Real Clear Politics are linked below.

Joe Klein foresees an uplifting battle of ideas and personalities in the McCain v Obama race (Cindy McCain was also on MSNBC yesterday saying that her husband wouldn't go negative.....but his surrogates?) but the media needs to give that type of campaign the oxygen it needs. Klein's conclusion:
"A general-election campaign between John McCain and Barack Obama doesn't need any hype. It won't be boring. The question is whether we, politicians and press alike, will grant this election — and electorate — the respect that it deserves."
Dick Morris, a wily and utterly unsentimental political titan, doesn't see Hillary letting this defeat go lightly. Instead she will hang and chop Obama ready for display in the butcher's window.

And finally, David Ignatius discusses how the situation in the Middle East could project itself into the campaign over the coming months- continuing Iranian training of militia in Iraq and a potential US military response, a possible Israel-Palestine 'shelf' peace deal, and an interesting diplomatic initiative by Turkey to broker a peace deal between Syria and Israel.


  1. I read the same idea in a French blog (

    So many analysts share it: there should be something true!

  2. Thank you Paul. I'd recommend reading my post of yesterday also:

    I most definitely do think that now is the time for her to quit.