The fall of the House of Clinton
Terrific article on Economist.com this week analysing how Hillary Clinton’s campaign fell apart …
The Economist is a British newsmag, with a moderate lean to the right … but their articles are incredibly insightful and researched, and presented more objectively than any American media outlet.
THIS time last year it looked as if Hillary Clinton’s path to the Democratic nomination would be a cakewalk. She had the best brand-name in American politics. She controlled the Democratic establishment. She had money to burn and a double-digit lead in the opinion polls. And as the first American woman to have a chance of breaking the presidential glass ceiling, she had a great story to tell.
And Barack Obama? He was a first-term senator with few legislative achievements and a worrying penchant for honesty (in his autobiography he admitted to using marijuana and even cocaine, “when you could afford it”). He knew how to give a good speech. But how could that compare with Mrs Clinton’s assets—a well-oiled political machine and a winning political formula that combined a carefully-calibrated appeal to the centre with hard-edged political tactics?
Today, Mrs Clinton has not only lost the Democratic nomination. She has humiliated herself in the process. She has been forced to lend her campaign more than $11m of her own money. She has cosied up to some of her former persecutors in the “vast right wing conspiracy”, notably Richard Mellon Scaife, a newspaper magnate. She has engaged in phoney populism, calling for a temporary break on petrol taxes, praising “hardworking Americans, white Americans”, vowing to “totally obliterate” Iran and waving the bloody shirt of September 11th. The conservative Weekly Standard praised her as “a feminist form of George Bush”. So how did one of America’s most accomplished politicians turn a cakewalk into a quagmire?