Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hillary: the Tonya Harding option

Well, I barely resisted the urge to call her that in my Sunday post, but a DNC official has gone public (in that anonymous DC fashion), calling Hillary out.

Jake Tapper of ABC has the scoop:

What will she have to do to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in order to eke out her improbable victory?

She will have to "break his back," the official said. She will have to destroy Obama, make Obama completely unacceptable.

"Her securing the nomination is certainly possible - but it will require exercising the 'Tonya Harding option.'" the official said. "Is that really what we Democrats want?"

The Tonya Harding Option -- the first time I've heard it put that way.

It implies that Clinton is so set on ensuring that Obama doesn't get the nomination, not only is she willing to take extra-ruthless steps, but in the end neither she nor Obama win the gold.

(In this metaphor, presumably, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would be Oksana Baiul. Does that make former President Bill Clinton Jeff Gillooly?)

Here's what I said:

"If this is an example of how she is running her campaign (and it is), I don't see why more superdelegates aren't running in the opposite direction. This is a prime example of why Democratic activists are afraid of endorsing because they are incredibly sore losers who will try to handicap your knees."

Why did I not want to fully call it that, and instead just alluded to it? Because I do think that it is slightly sexist. It plays into people's perceptions that Hillary is a fighter, albeit a dirty fighter who is willing to do anything to win, who is a rough and tumble gal. I think that Hillary's hardball antics are increasingly turning off a number of high profile Dems, Richardson and Reid among them. It's the Judas-calling kinda stuff that reminds people that she has high disapproval ratings amongst parts of the Dems and the GOP, and the independents.

This meme is so powerful that it will be the one to end her presidential campaign, and it may factor into a netroots/progressive Senate challenge in about 4 years. It's catching fire and soon youtube will be flooded with videos comparing the two. Only, this time it's not going to be a challenger like Jonathan Tasini, it will be someone who is better funded, and who is going to do a much better job of drawing votes from various disenfranchised communities. If you think that the media is just eager to cover this angle, you forget how much the media despises Hillary (despite her well-trained press team.)

And Hillary won't have the backing of the Governor's machine this time around because he's busy enough trying to save his own political hide. Sure, she might have his verbal backing but when the knives come out, he won't be in her corner.

She has poisoned her own well, and she's going to have to drink from it sooner or later.



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