Friday, May 23, 2008

Okay, what'd she mean this time?

Every week brings a new low for Hillary Clinton. I think that this comment to the Argus (SD) Leader hits the third rail -- and may get her run out of the race on a rail. Asked "you don't buy the party unity argument?" - that is, the argument that she's hurting the party by continuing to run -- she said:

I don’t because I’ve been around long enough, My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know, I don't understand it. And there's lots of speculation about why it is.

Once again, as with her "hard working Americans, white Americans" comment, I think you have to distinguish between Hillary's real-time thought process while speaking this and the unconscious bilge that propelled it. Her point was that nomination fights often carry into the summer. (Never mind that the claim that Bill didn't wrap up his race until June is almost entirely bogus; he was nominee presumptive by mid-March. ) Bill was fighting into June; Bobby Kennedy was just getting going in June when he was assassinated; the conscious point is that the nomination was far from settled at that time. But, as Ambinder asks,
why didn't she bring up Ted Kennedy in 1980? Or Gary Hart in 1984? I think she was pointing to primary races where the eventual nominee was unknown at this point in the cycle.... But 1984 would apply more, her husband was the de-facto nominee at this point, and the compressed calender really renders such comparisons null and void.
It's hard to escape the conclusion that what propelled this example was Hillary's background thought that anything can happen.

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