Saturday, May 24, 2008

She Did Not 'Mis-speak'

I almost believed it.

Despite my initial disgust at Hillary Clinton's comments about the RFK assassination and the subsequent piling-on from all quarters, I was almost ready to believe that it was all just an unfortunate choice of words. That she only meant to illustrate that the nomination process going undecided into June was nothing unusual, and that she only mentioned Bobby because she had the Kennedys 'much on her mind' because of Ted Kennedy's recent diagnosis.

Upon further reflection, I can think of at least two significant reasons why this explanation is utter bullshit.

The first is that while she may have had Sen. Kennedy's brain tumour in her thoughts when she referenced the assassination this time, what exactly was she thinking the first time she did it two and a half months ago?

The second has to do with her equation of the current contest with the '92 and '68 campaigns. In 1992, hubby Bill did face a little more of a fight than he had bargained for in Jerry Brown, and yes, things were officially undecided until June because there was one big prize left to the end - California.

In reality, Bill had it all pretty much sewn up by early April, but still, you can understand why she would make that particular comparison.

The equation of the current primaries with 1968, on the other hand, is so ludicrous that one can only assume that it was a conscious attempt to raise the spectre of political assassination.

Yes, the California primary was held in early June of 1968. What she neglects to mention is that primary season didn't even start until March back then, which means that RFK had been campaigning for less than three months when he was killed. Besides which, party primaries back then were an entirely different affair. They weren't at all binding, and only thirteen states even participated that year.

It's not even comparing apples and oranges - it's more like comparing apples with Hillary's left shoe.

Hillary Clinton is not a stupid woman, and she is of an age that I can guarantee she has some very clear memories of that year and that campaign. So while I cannot believe that she is actually staying in the race in case "something bad" happens to Obama, I also don't believe that it never occurred to her to plant that seed in the minds of the voters.

Olbermann, as always, gets it right.


  1. I really surprised at the vehemence and hatred that Obama supporters are expressing, especially toward Hillary.

    Is that what they mean by "change?"

  2. Now, now, don't be like that :)

    There's been a lot of vitriol on both sides - and keep in mind, there are more Clinton supporters who say they'd rather vote for McCain than Obama than the reverse. It's sad, but there's an awful lot at stake this year and emotions are high.

    In this specific instance, there are actually many Obama supporters (or at least Kossacks) who have accepted Clinton's explanation and moved on, but for obvious reasons you don't hear from them as much. But for those who honestly believe that she was talking about RFK's fate and not just the length of his campaign, I think the rage is understandable.

  3. Personally, my feelings run more towards exasperated disappointment, but maybe that's just me.

    And I'm not really sure what to think on the "did she mean it or not" question.

  4. Someone at DailyKos had an interesting theory: that this is nothing more than Clinton's desperate attempt to yank RFK's mantle off of Obama's shoulders and wrap it around her own. Thus the conflation of her campaign with his, as well as the bizarre references to her 'holding RFK's senate seat' in NY.

    Makes more sense than any other theory I've heard so far.

  5. Clinton was a Young Republican in her young days - campaigned for Goldwater in 1964

    Interesting where life takes you...