Monday, January 07, 2008

Hillary's Obama Problem

Hillary Clinton is not completely responsible for what is shaping up to be her meteoric fall from her status as the Democratic front-runner. In fact it's really not her fault at all. There's probably nothing she can do about it, which I would imagine is a very discouraging position for an uber-ambitious individual, such as Mrs. Clinton, to be in. She's crying at her rallies. Not a good sign.

Mr. Obama is running solely on his charisma. This completely undefined concept of "hope" and his incredible speaking skills have catapulted him ahead of Clinton in every early primary state. That's all! There's nothing else to it.

By contrast, Mrs. Clinton has no charisma, and her presentation style ranges from phony to shrill with very few points in between. However, to give this charisma dividend all of the credit for Clinton's troubles would be a vast oversimplification, even when handicapping a Democratic party which frequently favors style over substance. Especially younger members of the party.

If you watch the five GOP front-runners, they're attacking each other non-stop, for minutia such as who raised taxes, when and by how much or what their policy regarding immigration was 15-years ago, before anyone cared, and make no mistake, these attacks are effective, as is evident in the GOP logjam which has developed in the primary polls and national polls as well.

Clinton doesn't have this luxury. She can't attack Obama on his record, because he doesn't have one. That puts her at a huge disadvantage. He's only been in the Senate for 3 years and has spent a huge portion of that time running for president. He was not a senator for the initial vote on Iraq and he can therefore say that he opposed it when he was a State Senator. In reality, I believe he would have voted as Clinton did if he was in the Senate at the time, as most of the perspective POTUS candidates did. Regardless of this, Obama has benefited immensely from the fact that no one really cared about where he stood on Iraq when Clinton was casting her vote for the war.

Another big Clinton disadvantage is that the two are really not that much different from each other in terms of their ideological beliefs. Both are liberal Democrats. Their voting record in the Senate is similar, as is the platform on which they are running for the presidency. Clinton can't attack Obama on policy, because by doing so, she would essentially be attacking her own policy positions.

These two factors, the lack of an Obama paper trail that Hillary can criticize and the fact that Obama holds the same positions as Hillary on every issue that could potentially benefit her, are making things very difficult for the Jr. Senator from New York. Not that I'm complaining. Having Obama take care of Hillary early is fine with me, and I can guarantee that the GOP will have plenty of ammunition when it comes to convincing Americans as to why the young upstart from Illinois should not be president.

- Dan Joseph

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Donald Douglas said...

Nice posting, Dan. The analyses will come flying, but one thing I have to note is her arrogance or hubris of campaign like the presumptive nominee. Everything was floating along great while riding high in the polls and raking in the contributions.

Now she's sinking like a spaceship reentry. More later.

Rockyspoon said...

If you really want to know why Hillary is failing, you simply have to look into her eyes. It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and when I look at her eyes, my gut reaction is one of rejection. I get a negative feeling every time. A key to the moral fibre of any candidate is reflected in their eyes.

Twingonaut said...

I think that you underestimate the boy from Illinois. You could see it in the Saturday debates with the 2 parties. The ones who looked the best were those who had positive outlooks. The American public is tired of scare tactics and the bollocks that one of the parties will destroy us while the other will return us to glory.

I think that people are tired of the hyper-partisanship of the Clinton-Bush II years. There are way too many pressing issues that aren't being solved by parties that are only interested in money, power, and a false self-interest.

Clinton: Looks Desperate (used to look smug)
Obama: Looks Forward Thinking
Edwards: Looks Opportunistic
Richards: Looks Insignificant

McCain: Looks alternately petty and studied.
Giulliani: Looks like a prophet of doom. (You did great on 9/11, but what about 9/10.)
Huckabee: Looks Nonjudgmental (except of Romney)
Romney: Looks Fake
Paul: Looks crazy...and maybe right.
Thomspson: I nearly forgot about him, which might be saying something about him.

mike volpe said...

A few things. First, the question you asked could be answered in a book if not an encyclopedia, and so there are a million ways to look at it.

Second, your perception of Obama is cynical. That's fine, as a fellow conservative, I am equally as cynical about him as you. Her problem on the issues is that there isn't that much difference. The thing you see about the Rep candidates is that there is a lot of substantive differences on many issues.

The one thing I will say is that Obama and everyone else in the race has a theme. You say it is charisma and no doubt it is, but his campaign is about offering hope. Now, you cynically, and in my opinion correctly, point out that it is nonsense, however his supporters support him because he offers hope. I can understand why they support him.

In fact, every candidate on either side has a theme. To me Hillary's biggest problem is theme. She has no real substantive reason for anyone to vote for her. That is her problem.

Here is how I wrote about it...

Shannonymous said...

Why am I not surprised by your cynical analysis? Are you EVER optimistic about anything other than your candidate’s choices?

First of all, to suggest that Obama beating Clinton comes down to only (a lack of) charisma is comical. It also comes down to trust (to name one thing). After all the shady real estate deals, all the sex scandals, I don’t trust Hillary or Bill as far as I can throw them! Meanwhile, I have no reason to distrust Obama. When he speaks, I truly believe he is an honest man who wants what is best for the country as a whole. When Hil speaks, all I see is (as you said) “an uber-ambitious” woman who wants what is best for HERSELF. And for this reason I think it is crazy for you to say that “the two are really not that much different from each other in terms of their ideological beliefs.” Sure they’re both Democrats, but one is selfLESS while the other is selfISH.

As for the GOP trying to come up with reasons why someone as inexperienced as Obama shouldn’t become president? I’ll paraphrase Obama himself: Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had TONS of experience and they screwed things up royally; it’s time to give some new blood with new ideas a chance to give this country a fresh start.

“. . .we’ve been teased, even derided for talking about hope. But we always knew that hope is not blind optimism, it’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead, or the roadblocks that stand in our path. . .hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us, if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it.” -Barack Obama

There's nothing wrong with having hope for tomorrow. That's why I have faith in Obama.

faith (n)
1. belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof

Patrick said...

The main reason Hillary isn't winning and Obama is timing. Hillary should have ran in 2004, she would have won the nomination and probably destroyed Bush. Also Obama wouldn't be major player on the national scene since he probably never gives his convention keynote speech… On a side note, has anyone ever done as well as Obama has off of one speech? Might go down as one of the most powerful speeches ever… The 2004 campaign was dirty, tedious, and wasteful experience. Bush won but America lost and not because Bush one but because the vitriol tone of the process. This cemented the mood of America to look for someone who was their champion, someone who inspired and lift people hope and inspirations up. Someone who didn't look at it as red vs. blue but as red white and blue. Obama may have realized this or not but certainly he has captured the zeitgeist of the day. If Hillary ran in 04, she will be looking for her second term this year. She didn't and missed her time when the country would have accepted tactician of power much more readily.

dan said...

Correction: In the initial article I said that Obama did not oppose the war in Iraq until 2003.
That is wrong, he is on record as being opposed to the war in Oct.of 2002, a short time after the senate vote took place.

Torquemata said...

YET ANOTHER talking head, who has trouble seeing objectively. Here's a bit of the inevitable: Obama will lose caucus after caucus, state after state. He might not even win in New Hampshire, but even if he eeks out a win, there are 48 more states, and I doubt he will win even 5 more.

Mark my words. This is the way it will all go down.

Anonymous said...

Don't you feel really, really stupid right now?

Anonymous said...

How wrong can you be. One of the problems for bloggers and pundits on the extreme right and extreme left is that they are so absorbed by Clinton hatred that it completely clouds their emotions. It must be obvious to even the most stupid that Clinton is the best candidate on the Democratic side and if we are to have a Democratic president it's in the best interest of the country that we have the most experienced and competent democrat. I remain convinced that she is the likely Democratic nominee.

Stormwarning said...

First of all, as Mark Twain once wrote...premature (and by the way, I think that Patrick is right about "timing"). Secondly, the constant harping on Obama's attendance at a school when growing up is getting tiresome and is frankly quite ridiculous (but also quite understandable givien the sources).

Finally, I support John McCain.

Anonymous said...

Well. Aren't you the bright all-knowing pundit. Sure called that one right...not.