Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hillary's Dean Scream

I love to be proven wrong and yet again the media has illustrated that they have no journalistic integrity or loyalty to the word "objective" or "investigative". They have turned Hillary's poorly formulated historic reference into Howard Dean's Scream and John Kerry's "I voted against it before I voted for it". This will be the end of her campaign.

Why? Why will this obviously benign political gaffe turn into the end of her campaign? One word: Perception. Selling anything, whether it's a product, idea or position, the focus is not on the product, but how the product should be thought of or perceived. We have seen this for decades and we are certainly seeing it as they frame St. John McCain as an ethical "straight-talker".

This is the kind of moment that the corporate media has been waiting for in order to bury either hers or Obama’s campaign. And they now have something that will be the "defining moment" of the final phase for the campaign. Oh sure, she has been built up time and time again (New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and whatever else I forgot), only to be gleefully torn apart as she faltered (or was even perceived to falter) by people like Chris Matthews and his talking meatstick counterparts.

It doesn’t matter if this was more callous, more calculating or more thoughtless than anything else that she or her surrogates may have said or hinted over the course of the campaign.

It doesn’t matter that Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer this week, or that the comment was about RFK, JFK or MLK.

It doesn’t matter if she was truly trying to invoke history and picked a very poor example.

It doesn’t matter if she admitted that she was very tired and that it was an incredibly stupid or insensitive thing to say.

It doesn’t matter, at this point, if her supporters will be alienated by what she said - especially since most of those supporters have already voted and/or donated to her campaign.

What matters, sadly but true, is that she has now been officially declared "done" with the one moment that can be played over and over and over and over.

And over.

Obama will not focus on her. McCain will not focus on her. And the media will not focus on her. And yes, Obama has started to focus on McCain at her expense, just as the media has started to focus on the fact that she can’t win enough delegates to get the nomination. The difference now is that they don’t have to focus on her anymore and no one will think twice about it.

Right, wrong or other - this is what will ultimately end her campaign - whether it be a slow, painful end that will never really result in her conceding to Obama or an announcement over the next few days due to internal pressure. She is very resilient and has come back from what may be worse gaffes, worse positions or worse actions by her or her husband or her top aides.

But that is because she was also given the leeway and was allowed to continue for the benefit of her campaign, to the benefit of the media narrative (so they have something to talk amongst themselves about) and to the campaign of the Republicans who have a 20 year dossier on her.

There is no longer a need for her campaign in this narrative. She is no longer viewed as a serious and credible candidate at this point in the primary process by those who kept her candidacy alive and pumped up for the past few weeks.

She can realize this and bow out with whatever dignity she has left, or she can continue on and become a caricature of the serious candidate and groundbreaking campaign she set out to run.

No one knows that the media is going to pick up on and run with, but Hillary just found out and you can't run from a "Dean Scream".


Harriet said...

And Hillary pushes on....Puerto Rico today. Not bad!

We watched the HBO show "Recount" last night about the 2000 FL voting debacle. No wonder Hillary is focusing her attention on not disenfranchising voters.

Sid said...

Obviously I agree that Hillary is finished, but I have to defend her on this. I still don't understand what the big deal is. How can so many intelligent people (MSM, Obama camp, etc.) misinterpret this like they did. She was merely trying to point out the fact that elections have gone this long in the past. I am not sure why she chose to use RFK as an example, but to try and distort her statement and her intent really frustrates me. To say that she was trying to direct this comment at Obama is just plain ignorant. It is the same thing that the media has done to Obama with his “bitter” quote (just to name one) and I’m sure that I could think of countless other examples. It is nothing more than childish behavior and I am sick of it. This is the main reason I started supporting Obama, but I have to say I lost a little respect for The Obama camp after they jumped all over this one. Don’t get me wrong, I think the argument Hillary was trying to make has no basis, but the way the media and everyone else distorted this statement is ridiculous. I have defended Obama in cases like this as I would anyone, even McCain. Of course, we all know the MSM wants to have McCain’s baby, so we probably won’t see this type of shoddy reporting about him. It is time for the MSM to start actually reporting news and not gossip. I think this is what the majority of Americans want.

P.S. I also watched Recount and it got me fired up!