If a politician didn’t concede did she lose?
“This has been a long campaign and I will be making no decisions tonight,” Hillary Clinton announced.
As she spoke, supporters chanted “Denver, Denver, Denver!”
As of last night Barack Obama had finally secured enough pledged and super delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot at the Democratic Convention in Denver, this August. But Mrs. Clinton’s speech was hardly a concession. She did not play the part of the gracious looser. Not at all.
She claims to have won more popular votes than Obama, indeed more than any primary candidate in history. She conducted herself like a winner. One was reminded of Bill Clinton in 1992 when he came in third in the New Hampshire primary, but boasted that “we won New Hampshire.”
Earlier in the day she encouraged the media to report her desire to be the Vice Presidential candidate. Does she want Obama to pick her as his running mate? Maybe. Probably not.
Our view is that she began her 2012 campaign for President several weeks ago. She and Bill are certain Obama will lose this year, which sets up another opportunity for her, in four years. Her strategy for now is to establish some perceptions in the minds of Democrat voters, as the basis for the 2012 campaign. Those perceptions will be:
- She should have won but the nomination was stolen from her. Many of the party loyalists still believe Al Gore was the “real winner” of the Presidency in 2000. She hopes they’ll come to believe the same about her run for the nomination.
- she was willing to sign on as VP, to help Obama unify the party, and help him become the first African-American President, but he rejected her out of foolish pride.
She probably doesn’t really want the VP slot and he would be crazy to give it to her. Accepting her on the ticket after all that has happened would make him look very weak. She comes with lots of negative baggage and with Big Bill, who could and would draw attention away from Obama throughout the campaign. Not to mention, Bill’s dicey post-presidential financial dealings. Obama has much more to lose than to gain from Hillary as a running mate.
When Obama finally makes it clear that he isn’t going to pick her as VP she will be in position to create the perception that her generous offers were rebuffed, to the detriment of the Democratic party. Then, she and Big Bill will nurture the doubts in the minds of wavering Democrats helping them decide to stay home on election day, ensuring that Obama loses, positioning her as the nominee who should have been, and who will be, in 2012.
In the meantime, there is always the jackpot possibility that another stink bomb out of Chicago, from the Trinity Church, or the corruption trial of Obama’s friend and patron, Tony Rezko, or Obama’s past associations with radical leftists, could create new doubts among the party elite and swing the super delegate vote in her favor in Denver.
The Clintons have a lot of faults, but nobody ever accused them of being quitters. It’s going to be a very uncomfortable summer for the Democrats.