A Voice from the Field

Siva Vaidhyanathan writes, SIVACRACY.NET: Why Clinton should quit:

I just got back from a few days in Central Pennsylvania. I went there excited that this fervent and energetic contest between two leading lights of the Democratic Party was energizing people in all corners of the country. …

Now I have changed my mind. I want Sen. Clinton to quit running for president and get back to the project of helping New York.

In recent weeks she has disappointed me deeply.

What I did not know — what I could not have known had I not spent some time in Pennsylvania — was just how low, nasty, and unethical the Clinton campaign has become. I worked in and covered enough campaigns in big states to know that you can't really tell what a campaign is up to from the speeches, television ads, and debates. You have to follow the direct mail, push polls, and the radio — especially the radio.

In Pennsylvania last week radio was full of ads for both candidates. It was as if all other forms of commerce were suspended.

The Obama ads I heard were optimistic and uplifting. They treat listeners and voters with respect. They treat the party and country with dignity.

The Clinton ads were mean, demeaning, and full of lies. The contrast was stark.

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6 Responses to A Voice from the Field

  1. Rafe says:

    I heard the same thing from my parents in Texas.

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    Trying to pressure Clinton to quit is going to incentivize a lot of write in votes for Clinton in states like Florida and MIchigan and Pennsylvania that Obama will need to win in November. A lot of women here in SC are planning a write in campaign already, but Obama doesn’t have a chance of winning this state, so it’s just to make a point, in a state number 49 or 50 in terms of women holding elective office. Women have been the backbone of the Democratic party for decades, registering and turning out in higher numbers than men. I don’t think alienating a large cohort of them is a great idea. They need to be brought on board, but that will require treating Clinton with something approximating fairness and respect.

  3. froomkin says:

    If it is true that “The Clinton ads were mean, demeaning, and full of lies” then treating Clinton with fairness and respect means calling her on it, and holding her accountable, not giving her a free pass.

    I’d have thought Siva was a fairly reliable witness…

  4. PHB says:

    The Obama campaign to force Clinton out of the race with this talk has backfired badly. The blogosphere is not representative of the party, it is mostly male, mostly young and thinks that the war is the one big issue of the campaign. The Obama campaign talk comes across as entitlement.

    I am none too impressed at the candidate who disrupted attempts to redo the MI and FL votes then argues that the superdelegates are unacceptably undemocratic. And no, the use of surrogates to push this argument impresseth me not. Obama and Clinton must both take accountability for their surrogates or be thought even less of.

    To use a golf metaphor. Imagine Tiger Woods is 6 shots up going into the final round of the US Open and the selectors are deciding who to pick for the Ryder cup. If Woods holds his lead in the last round he is a sure thing, the selectors are certain to pick him. If however he blows the lead and ends up level with the competition then the selectors are entitled to consider that maybe he is not up to the captaincy. If he tries to claim that he is so far ahead his opponent should not insist he plays the last round he is going to discredit himself.

  5. Ann Bartow says:

    I trust that Siva accurately reported his observations. But I also have lots of family members who live year round in various corners of Pennsylvania who have different opinions about what is going on there. Philly based Blogger Susie Madrak also had a different opinion than Siva, see: this.

    My point, though. was meant to be far broader (in two senses of the word) than the ads that are being run in Pennsylvania. There are millions of women in this country who think that Clinton is being treated unfairly. Whether they are correct or not is something I’m not prepared to debate at length here. What is critical is this: If she is allowed to exit gracefully, I think most will feel okay supporting Obama in November. If she is treated harshly and bullied, I am not sure that too many will. I may be wrong, it has certainly happened before, but I think a lot of men are underestimating the amount of anger a lot of women are feeling about the way that Clinton has been treated by the media, and in the blogosphere. Many women who vote in swing states may prefer to stay home or vote for Clinton on a write-in basis if they feel betrayed/abused by Obama and his supporters. I think he will win the nomination, but HOW he wins is going to be important for his prospects in November.

  6. Ann Bartow says:

    The poll that Madrak links to here (http://americanresearchgroup.com/) says:
    “Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama 48% to 44% among men (45% of likely Democratic primary voters). Among women, Clinton leads 64% to 31%.”

    Far more women vote Dem than men. Obama needs to beat Clinton *fairly* if he wants the support of her supporters in November. If he or Howard Dean appear to be abusing Clinton, I think the Democrats are going to pay the price, especially in the swing states. The Clinton supporters are well organized, and they are angry. One can argue that they are wrongheaded, but that will not bring them to the polls in November.

    Of course Clinton has the same problem with Obama supporters if she wins, no question there.

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