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.
|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.
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