Thursday, 22 May 2008

Why, oh why?

The most convincing explanation of why Hillary plunges forward despite defeat appears in the Washington Post column The Fix today where Chris Cillizza opines that she’s polishing the Hillary ‘brand’ in preparation for 2012, carrying the lost battle just far enough to be able to say ‘I told you so’ if Obama loses without getting blamed for it.

There’s just one gap in this logic: if she has basically accepted defeat this time around, why charge into Florida with the bogus—not to mention offensive—comparisons with the civil rights movement’s fight for voting rights against the segregationists? Why suggest that the DNC is some sort of KKK for refusing to seat her delegates, thereby scraping the raw skin of race yet again?

But perhaps Clinton is redefining her ‘brand’, if we must use that awful term. Having fallen short in the terms proposed—the first female; the tough, seasoned hawk; the policy wonk; the whatever—she now falls back onto crude racial signaling, which historically works very well.

Perhaps her supposed slip-ups are not errors at all but icy calculations that the Obama era will generate enough resentment to turn her into the lunchbucket heroine of the white underclass.

It’s divisive, even explosive, but who cares when you’ve got a career to think about?

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