For another three months, we’ll have the Carvilles likening the Obamaites to Judas and former generals accusing Clintonites of McCarthyism. For three months, we’ll have the daily round of résumé padding and sulfurous conference calls. We’ll have campaign aides blurting “blue dress” and only-because-he’s-black references as they let slip their private contempt.Brooks must have thought that last line was too clever not to use, but it's actually only a childish flipping of a phrase to its opposite, and, worse, it's not even true. She has the audacity of hope. By calling hope hopelessness, Brooks enables himself to ask why she goes on and to pretend there isn't the obvious answer: she has hope of winning.
For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound....
When you step back and think about it, she is amazing. She possesses the audacity of hopelessness.
Why does she go on like this? Does Clinton privately believe that Obama is so incompetent that only she can deliver the policies they both support? Is she simply selfish...?How is what's she's doing any different from what every other candidate does as long as there's a chance? To say it's "selfish" or "narcissistic" to think you're special is to criticize everyone who has what it takes to campaign for the presidency.
Brooks reviles Clinton for "her relentlessly political life... encased in the apparatus of political celebrity," with an "impersonal" campaign that's "like a machine for the production of politics" that "plows ahead... following its own iron logic." So... she's a politician with a campaign. That's special because.... ?
Brooks challenges her to step outside her own machine and stop it, to "surprise everybody with a display of self-sacrifice." Why? Why should she behave differently from every other politician?
Her opponent is wounded by a problem of his own making. Brooks would have you think the Clinton campaign is chewing away at him with scurrilous, pointless attacks, but Obama's problem with Jeremiah Wright is something important about him that we need to think through. Meanwhile, she's reaped some important victories in key states and stands to win big in Pennsylvania — which will be a test of how deeply the Wright controversy has hurt Obama. For her to stay in now is not bizarrely robotic behavior. It utterly normal.
Or does it just seem wrong coming from a woman? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the lady displayed self-sacrifice?
ADDED: Ed Morrissey writes about the Brooks column. Bottom line:
[T]he Hillary-must-quit contingent seem to forget one thing: she’s still winning states, and people still want to vote for her. Obama hasn’t won the nomination, nor will he win it in the primaries. Why should she quit under those circumstances? By all indications, Hillary will likely win almost all of the upcoming contests, with just North Carolina as a potential exception.I'm not convinced the superdelegate structure is a disaster. It's a structural safeguard. I don't buy the argument that "democracy" must prevail when you're talking about voting (or, worse, caucusing) to pick a candidate for an election that takes place up to 10 months later. A candidate who's popular in February may look weak by the end of the summer. New information emerges, world events change, different issues come to the foreground, and the other party commits to its nominee. The superdelegates have the power to save their party from a disastrous candidate.
The same people who dreamed up the superdelegate structure and who made it impossible for the primaries to select between two evenly-matched candidates want to be let off of the hook for the disaster they created.
Jeralyn Merritt frames the facts to show that the candidates are about even:
So, Hillary's ahead in popular vote and electoral votes, in the big states and the states most likely to go Democratic in November. She's ahead in the big states that are critical for Dems in November. Obama's got a small lead in overall pledged delegates and has won more Republican states that have a slim to no chance of going blue in November.
The superdelegates need to consider who will bring it home for Democrats in November. The results so far indicate that person is Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama.