Friday, April 25, 2008

Hillary's premature obituary

In the latest issue of The New Republic, Michelle Cottle has a 3,330-word opus on the Clinton campaign that ends thus:
From the outside, the struggle for control of a campaign that likely won't be around much longer may appear absurd. In Ballston, however, the sense of looming loss seems only to feed the fury, as advisers grab for what may be their last chance to right the ship. Whether driven on by dedication, desperation, or delusion, some of Hillary's not-so-happy warriors find themselves unable to give up the fight--not just against Barack Obama, but also against each other.
This is a problem for Cottle, in that:
  • The article went online before Hillary's double-digit Pennsylvania win breathed new life (and a reported $10 million fundraising bonanza) into her campaign;
  • In the course of the article, Cottle pretty much urinates all over the reputation of key Clinton strategist Mark Penn; portrays the Clinton campaign ("Hillaryland") as desperately chaotic; and depicts Bill Clinton as a meddlesome source of discord in his wife's campaign.
The subhead on the article -- "Inside Hillaryland's fatal psychodrama" -- is a clear tipoff to Cottle's intended purpose. Plainly, Cottle wrote this article in "Hitler's Last Days" mode: See the feuding of the Nazi inner circle as the Eastern Front collapses and Der Fuehrer madly orders phantom divisions hither and yon.

Chock-full of juicy nuggets about the backstabbing rivalries inside the campaign, Cottle's article effectively burns her bridges to Team Clinton. No sensible political reporter would have published such an article about a campaign that was still viable. Especially if Mark Penn retains any influence in the campaign -- and despite his demotion over his Colombian connection, Penn is still a key advisor -- Cottle will now be persona non grata with the Clintonistas.

And Cottle clearly knows it. She's bet the ranch that Obama will finish off Hillary -- and finish her off pretty quickly -- so Cottle gets hysterical over any news that may favor Team Clinton, including the continued disputes over the disenfranchised Democrats of Florida and Michigan:
For what feels like the one millionth time, I just did some segment over at MSNBC on the theme of how Michigan possibly impacts Hillary's position if the popular vote there is factored into the candidates' running tallies. From now on, my official position is this: It is a b.s. line of argument from the Clinton campaign -- and anyone else promoting it -- because the Michigan primary results are fundamentally illegitimate.
As you know, left up to me, neither Michigan nor Florida's delegates would be seated. Those states knowingly and flagrantly broke the rules. They knew what the penalty would be, and they did it anyway.
Cottle's premature obituary for Hillary's campaign, you see, puts TNR's senior editor in the decidedly unobjective position of having a stake in the game. If Hillary somehow comes back to snatch the nomination away from Obama, not only will Cottle have egg all over her face, but Cottle will also have a hostile relationship with the top campaign staff of the Democratic Party's nominee.

If Hillary wins now, Cottle's screwed. So watch Cottle's further campaign coverage with that in mind.

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