Abandoning a stinking ship

We should have known the gig was going to be up when Hillary’s handlers made “conversation” a buzztheme of her campaign early on. Wrote Todd Ziegler (at that last link),

  The tagline “Let the Conversation Begin” is plastered all over her site and she begins her annoucement video with this quote: “I’m not just starting a campaign, I’m beginning a conversation.”

Guess that’s over. The word “conversation” no longer appears on the Hillary campaign site.

Now (via Chip Hoagland) comes Frank Rich, giving Hill a huge thumbs-down in The New York Times. One sample:

  For a campaign that began with tightly monitored Web “chats” and then planted questions at its earlier town-hall meetings, a Bush-style pseudo-event like the Hallmark special is nothing new, of course. What’s remarkable is that instead of learning from these mistakes, Mrs. Clinton’s handlers keep doubling down.

  Less than two weeks ago she was airlifted into her own, less effective version of “Mission Accomplished.: Instead of declaring faux victory in Iraq, she starred in a made-for-television rally declaring faux victory in a Florida primary that was held in defiance of party rules, involved no campaigning and awarded no delegates. As Andrea Mitchell of NBC News said, it was “the Potemkin village of victory celebrations.”

  The Hallmark show, enacted on an anachronistic studio set that looked like a deliberate throwback to the good old days of 1992, was equally desperate. If the point was to generate donations or excitement, the effect was the reverse. A campaign operative, speaking on MSNBC, claimed that 250,000 viewers had seen an online incarnation of the event in addition to “who knows how many” Hallmark channel viewers. Who knows, indeed? What we do know is that by then the “Yes We Can: Obama video fronted by the hip-hop vocalist will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas had been averaging roughly a million YouTube views a day. (Cost to the Obama campaign: zero.)

  Two days after her town-hall extravaganza, Mrs. Clinton revealed the $5 million loan she had made to her own campaign to survive a month in which the Obama operation had raised $32 million to her $13.5 million. That poignant confession led to a spike in contributions that Mr. Obama also topped.

It gets worse. Concludes Rich,

  A race-tinged brawl at the convention, some nine weeks before Election Day, will not be a Hallmark moment. As Mr. Wilkins reiterated to me last week, it will be a flashback to the Democratic civil war of 1968, a suicide for the party no matter which victor ends up holding the rancid spoils.

Elsewhere in the Times, Stanley Fish writes about the Clinton-haters (and -hating), familiar to anybody who hits SCAN on an AM car radio. I’m not sure what it is that makes folks on the right loathe (rather than merely dislike) the Clintons, Hillary especially. And I hold nothing against her myself. But it’s … interesting … to watch Democrats slow-roast one of their own leaders. After all (or during all) Frank Rich isn’t flaming from the right. Rich is a leftie.

What surprises — and even saddens — me a bit is that Hillary has been so non-savvy about the Net. If this were 2000, or 2004, she’d have a good excuse. But it’s 2008. Obviously her campaign team doesn’t get it, while Obama’s does. How much difference would it have made if her team’s savviness were the equal of Obama’s? A lot, I think.

8 comments

  1. Mike Warot’s avatar

    How can anyone have a conversation with handlers in the way?

    She
    voted
    for
    the
    war

    –Mike–

  2. Dave Winer’s avatar

    I think Obama could use some help with the web too.

    Every time I want to give them money I have to start over from scratch, entering my credit card, address, expiration date, etc.

    They should job it out to Amazon, a 1-click button would get them a lot more of my money, quicker.

  3. Seth Finkelstein’s avatar

    You say: “Obviously her campaign team doesn’t get it, while Obama’s does.”

    I’m living a little dangerously with this comment, but you may find interesting my _Guardian_ column which will be posted tomorrow. It approaches such ideas from a skeptical perspective (though the specifics used are Edwards and Paul).

  4. Jeff’s avatar

    “I’m not sure what it is that makes folks on the right loathe (rather than merely dislike) the Clintons”

    It’s not _just_ the Clinton’s. America needs to close the book on the Bush’s and the Clinton’s and never hear from either of those family’s again. It’s time to move on…

  5. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    I don’t like Hillary (I wonder if we would call her “Clinton” if her husband hadn’t already been president — or are we diminuating her because she’s a woman by calling her by her first name) because she had NOTHING to do with New York State when she campaigned for the New York Senate. Of course it was obvious that she was only doing it so that she could launch a bid for the Presidency.

    I call her “That Carpetbagger”.

  6. Andy Jackson’s avatar

    “I’m not sure what it is that makes folks on the right loathe (rather than merely dislike) the Clintons”

    I will tell you what it is. Let’s start with the attempted hijacking of the “Health Care Industry” and 1/7 of the US economy. Folks on the right loathe socialism. When Hillary Rodham says things like “We’re going to take some things away from you for the greater good” [link http://www.snopes.com/politics/clintons/marxist.asp ], the instictive response should be “The H**l you are”. HRC is an international socialist thru-and-thru.

    Then we have the lying, and the lying about the lying. There is that little issue of Monica. And the Chinese fund-raising. And the 70+ people wanted for questioning by the FBI that have fled the country. And more [link http://www.therant.us/staff/swirsky/03132006.htm ]

    How someone as corrupt and power-mad as this could get so far in our government boggles my mind. But then again, we have the Kennedys as an example.
    Sigh.

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