News from the Votemaster
The Washington Post says Hillary Clinton will concede to Barack Obama Saturday. Yesterday, the Clinton camp announced that the statement would come Friday, but they changed their mind. It must be very hard for her. She has wanted to be President for her entire adult life and came within a hair of at least getting the nomination. Last year, Obama was hesitant to run since he knew he would face heavyweights like Clinton, Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Chris Dodd, and Gov. Bill Richardson. If he had listened to wiser heads and waited until 2012, Clinton would have been the nominee and probably the next President. One can imagine how she feels having this prize snatched from under her nose by a guy only three years removed from the Illinois state senate. If she had lost to Richardson, who has held practically every job in government and can make the case that he is far more experienced than she, it might have been easier for her.
While she is ambitious (a characteristic considered desirable in male politicians), it is not just about her. She has a core of extremely strong supporters, largely women, but also men, who really feel that it is time for a woman President and Clinton is certainly qualified for the job. They are very disappointed, but she has blazed a trail that other women will follow later.
We'll have a post mortem on the campaign in a couple of days, but one thing stands out now: the ending. Tuesday evening, when the supers began flooding into the Obama camp, it was obvious that it was over. Clinton could have gotten a huge amount of good will by basically saying something like this:
"To all my supporters, I say, you have been wonderful. Without your help I would have been nothing. I thank you deeply. To Barack Obama, I can only say I underestimated you. That was a big mistake. You are one heck of a politician and leader. When you spoke in Oregon, 75,000 people showed up. I don't draw that kind of crowd. Even my husband doesn't draw that kind of crowd. You represent the future of America. I'm proud to endorse you and will work my heart out for the next 5 months to help you become the next President of the United States."
Instead she said: "I'm not sure. We'll see. I'll make a statement eventually." It makes her look like a sore loser. A year from now people are more likely to remember her ending than her beginning, which is too bad. Andrew Malcolm wrote a column comparing Clinton's grieving process to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' five stages of grief as described in "On Death and Dying:" denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Tuesday we had denial. Wednesday we had anger. By Friday or Saturday we may have acceptance.
Clinton's future may depend a lot on what she does in the next five months. If she endorses Obama and then goes back to her Senate work, hoping he loses so she can run in 2012, she won't look good and Democrats will never forgive her. If she really tries hard to get him elected, win or lose she will get a lot of credit with party members. If she really makes it to stage five, acceptance, and sees that she is not going to be President, she could start thinking about where her future lies. There are a number of options. She could go the Ted Kennedy route and try to become one of the greatest and most influential senators ever. She could ask Obama for the job of Secretary of Health and Human Services and finally achieve the universal health care she failed to achieve as first lady. He'd agree in a flash to get her supporters on board. Likewise, she could ask to be appointed to the first vacancy on the Supreme Court and he'd probably grant that, too. She could ask for his support for a run for governor of New York in 2010. There is one obstacle there: Gov. David Paterson might decide to run for election, but Obama could help out by offering Paterson a job in his administration (and the threat that he would openly support Clinton in a primary). She has lots of options. It will be interesting to see what she does. Her gut instinct is not as good as Bill's, but she is a talented person and if she plays her cards right, still has quite a future.
While this primary season has shown that democracy is alive and well in America, with millions of people intensely concerned about the country's future, there have also been many lighter moments as well. The Hill has an amusing article recalling some of the stranger moments, from Stephen Colbert's run for the nomination of both parties to Mike Huckabee's method of frying squirrels.
No new general election polls today, but it is worth noting that there is some confusion about SurveyUSA's poll of Missouri run May 16-18. On May 19 they released the results as McCain 48%, Obama 45%, but on June 3 they rereleased the results as Obama 45%, McCain 43%. Something must have gone wrong the first time and they corrected it. Either way, Missouri, the mother of all swing states, is a statistical tie.
However, we do have one national poll. CBS found that Obama leads McCain nationally 48% to 42%. Obama is likely to get a post-nomination bounce in the coming week and no doubt other polls will reflect this, too. But those bounces are usually short lived.
Needed to win: 2118
-- The Votemaster