Hillary Clinton and the audacity of spin
At long last we’re down to just three remaining primaries, South Dakota and Montana (where Barack Obama is favored to win) and Puerto Rico (where Hillary Clinton is expected to win).
And, surprise, surprise, according to the Clinton campaign, Puerto Rico is the crucial contest.
Why? Well, you see, there are a lot of Hispanic voters in Puerto Rico and winning Hispanic votes is apparently almost as important as winning the votes of “working, hard-working Americans, white Americans.” This must be distinguished, of course, from winning the votes of well educated, young and black voters who aren’t nearly as important.
Confused? If so, you need to remember the Seventh Commandment (as modified) in George Orwell’s Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Take that you latte drinkers!
And while we’re at it, some states, such as West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are, of course, simply more important than other states, such as Oregon, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The first group, after all, are the ones that will decide the election, as opposed to the second group which will be counted, but won’t decide the election because . . . well, just because they won’t.
Puerto Rico, which won’t even get to vote in the general election, is, nevertheless, also critically important because it is populated by people who are in certain respects similar to people in other states that are important. South Dakota and Montana, states which will be counted in the general election, on the other hand, aren’t important (unless Hillary scores an upset in which case they’ll become important) because not only are the states themselves not important, but they are also populated by people who are like people in other states that aren’t important.
Oh, audacity of spin, I do love you so!
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton, while campaigning in South Dakota a couple days ago, angrily asserted that he has “never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running.” He went on to denounce the “frantic effort to push her out,” claiming that no one had ever tried to push prior losing Democratic candidates out early, which would be absolutely true if it weren’t for the fact that it isn’t as his own actions in 1992 establish.
And another indisputable fact is that Hillary has actually won the most popular votes, assuming, of course, that only the right sorts of votes are counted.
And, as we all know, this is still an extremely close contest, assuming you disregard the trifling fact that Obama has for all intents and purposes already won it.
All of which leads up to one question: just how far can Hillary push the spin? At what point does she stop being the scrappy fighter who refuses to surrender and become Mohammed Saeed, the infamous Iraqi Information Minister who declared one Iraqi victory after another as American tanks continued to roll across Iraq?
Sadly, it’s looking as though time will have to tell.
Endnote: I still respect Hillary Clinton and certainly honor her supporters’ decision. But if you’re going to stay in a contest long after you’ve lost it (doing harm in the process) and claiming all the while that you’re actually still in the ballgame, you can’t complain when people point the truth out (whatever my hero Paul Krugman thinks about it).
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May 27th, 2008 at 1:21 pm
Steve: My apologies for thinking bad things about you-re the 12th reply from the previous entry. I guess I hit the wrong key and sent it before I finished the 2d paragraph, then thought I had recovered it. In my mind I was calling you bad names because I thought you had censored me, and I couldn’t figure out why. Mia culpa!
From Steve: I feel my ears burning not infrequently. It’s good to know who to “blame” for once!