Vanity Prez

If you want to be a published author, well, that’s no trouble at all. Write a big check to a vanity press. They’ll take any manuscript you can cobble together and they’ll print it as an authentic, book-shaped object.

Honest: it’ll have words and pages and everything. You can even put it on your bookshelf alongside such celebrated novels as “The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy,” “A Farewell To Arms,” “Great Expectations,” and “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas,” each of which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

(Golly!)

You just can’t put it on a bookshelf at Barnes & Noble. Not unless you sneak it in there when Security isn’t watching. You’ll probably have a decent shot at it; usually they’re more concerned about inventory moving in the opposite direction.

Otherwise…no. Booksellers won’t stock your vanity-press book. Period. There’s an excellent reason why: for all they know, the author him or herself is the only person who believed in this book enough for it to get published. It might look like a book, but there’s a huge and unpredictable difference between A Book-Shaped Object and a viable work that the public will actually want to support.

Booksellers trust books that come from traditional publishers. A title that appears in Wiley’s (or Random House’s or Harmony Books’) catalogue is the residue of a lonnnng chain of people who read the book and believed in it passionately enough to devote their time, energy, and their company’s money towards getting it in front of the public.

This author didn’t write a check. He wrote an email to an agent, who receives manuscripts by the dumpsterload every year. An agent liked it enough and believed in it enough to take the author on as a client, and then sent the book onward to editors at various publishers. An editor liked it enough to present it to her bosses, and (more importantly) she jumped up and down on desks and conference-room tables and defended it against other editors who had manuscripts of their own that they wanted the company to acquire.

The manuscript moved on, upwards and sideways through the process, acquiring more and more supporters who were eager to carry the thing across steeper terrain and heave the book over greater and greater hurdles. By the time a book is on the shelf at a bookstore, it’s collected a small army of fans, ending with a buyer at the bookstore chain who thought highly enough of it to order copies for every store in the national chain.

Maybe they felt so strongly about the book that they even gave it a featured position in a holiday promotion. That’s at least partly an ad paid for by the publisher, but the publisher wouldn’t have spent the money and the bookchain wouldn’t have offered the space unless both parties felt that the property in question was potentially hot stuff.

(Hmm? Oh, well, yes…I wouldn’t have brought it up myself but now that you mention it, I have had two books advertised in Barnes & Noble’s Christmas circular. Aren’t you a peach for asking!)

It’s a long, inefficient and overall frustrating process. Still, it works. It’s a Darwinian thing that weeds out the little lap dogs that need to be carried around in Hermes bags and fed via eyedroppers; ie, the Godforsaken beasties that Nature doesn’t want and which couldn’t survive without artificial support.

The ones that survive have proven their ability to thrive on their own strengths. Failures still outnumber successes, but the books that make it through this grotesque process can become monster national best-sellers that soon start to promote and sell themselves. When that happens, the book has proven a mandate from the people. Clearly, this book has plugged into something out there. It’s filled a gaping hole that nobody else managed to spot, and provided something that the American public is responding to by the hundreds of thousands.

Before I move on to my real point, I ought to say that there’s a difference between Vanity Publishing and true Self-Publishing. Self-Publishers also do an end run around the formal Process, but the signature difference is a lack of self-delusion. You can’t rule the world via self-publishing but you can become a cherished and important figure within a specific community. Incidentally, there’s another advantage to being a Self- as opposed to Vanity publisher: you can actually make money via this approach.

But the Vanity authors insist that they’re writing their own checks because the massive Publishing Machine is unfair and elitist and out of touch with American tastes and needs and damn them for denying the public their chance to see what you can do.

It’s a fab delusion. It makes the whole house smell like an apple pie is baking somewhere. That’s one of the reasons why most people go that route in the first place.

Yesterday everyone found out that Hillary Clinton wrote a $6,400,000 check to her own campaign to keep it afloat until the next round of primaries.

In my mind, Hillary Clinton has become a Vanity Candidate.

She can’t convince a crucial legion of people to like her campaign enough to keep it moving forward to the next step. Like many authors, she got through some of the hurdles, but as the obstacles got progressively higher and harder, she found fewer and fewer people willing to skin their knees and cut their hands scrambling to get over them. To the contrary, her greatest allies are now reaching for the Bactine and the Band-Aids and muttering about needing to get home to paint the children or vacuum a sick relative.

And whereas writers like Wil Wheaton are self-publishers by virtue of the fact that they have actual, hard-earned audiences of people in place who are pleased to buy his books, Senator Clinton apparently can’t even inspire her own fans to keep the checks coming.

Vanity Candidacy. For six million dollars, she’s bought herself a comforting, reassuring, Presidential Campaign-shaped object. But it’s not a viable product. It’s an engine for self-delusion.

Today I happened to hear a recent “Fresh Air” interview with Al Gore…a politician whose reputation has only grown since he left public politics. I respect the hell out of him. Before his Nobel Prize and before the slide show and before his diplomatic work, there was his absolutely gutsy decision to concede the 2000 election.

Gore had every logical reason to continue the fight, and plenty of legal justification. History may never decide whether or not it was correct for the Supreme Court to hand down a decision that in so many words chose the next President.

But Gore conceded. He conceded an election that he had probably won, fair and square.

Why? Because he had the makings of a great President: he put the needs of his country ahead of his own needs or those of his Party.

Fighting the Supreme Court decision would have dragged on the process for months…and there had to be an inauguration on January 21, 2001. An orderly transfer of executive power on that date was more important than any other issue or factor. It sure as hell was more important than Al Gore’s ego. It was a close approximation of the classic King Solomon decision. Q: To whom did the Presidency rightly belong? A: The petitioner who would rather give it up than see the baby harmed.

Gore conceded the most powerful office in the world and emerged as a giant, independent of any two-term limit. Any Republican considering a future campaign for the Presidence is sent into a mild panic with one simple question: What if Gore decided to run again? If a race were ever decided on the issue of character, Al Gore would be undefeatable. Absolutely. Karl Rove has left the business and the Bush family wasted its last remaining Cursed Monkey Paw wish on the Supreme Court decision.

Hillary had that same opportunity for a display of greatness, a chance to plant an arrow in the ground that marked the moment when she truly came into her own as a national politician. Withdrawing from the race and committing her supporters and resources to Obama wouldn’t have been as conceding an election that she had already actually won by popular vote, but it still would have been hot stuff. She could have come back in eight years, even stronger than before.

But nope, she let the opportunity slide right on past her. She wrote the check and increased the rhetoric. She’s proven that in its current form, her campaign is a vanity production. A campaign based not on service but on ego, and a bad sports cliche: I can win, no matter the odds or the cost; I just have to prove that I want it a little more than the other guy.

She can’t change the numbers, so she’ll try to change the math. If she can’t change the math, she’ll try to change the process. And if she can’t change the process…well, God help any Obama supporter if she runs some numbers on how she’d fare against a Republican incumbent in 2012 and likes what she sees.

Which is a pretty big damned shame. Obama’s candidacy has the national authority and support of a new Neil Gaiman novel. Obama isn’t just in Barnes & Noble…he’s on the end-cap, with a special display including a life-sized cutout of the man with a button in his nose you press to hear one of eleven sayings.

At this point, Hillary 2008 is a 50-page George Jetson/Captain Kirk slashfic available only through Lulu.com.

She can’t win the nomination. If she keeps this up, she can’t even win re-election as a Senator.

She’s planted her arrow in the ground and marked a transformative moment in her political career, all right. It’s the same sort of transformation that happened when Dukakis tooled around in a tank during a campaign appearance. Except you felt sorry for him later on.

26 thoughts on “Vanity Prez”

  1. Andy I always enjoy and respect your opinion, and I gotta say I thing you summed it up VERY well.

    I’ve never been a Hillary fan, but I did have some respect for her and know that she could have remained one of the most influential women in politics for a very long time. Now it seems as the race marches on she is risking it all, and I cannot figure out a good reason why.

  2. Of the three, I believe Hillary has the best toolbox for running the office of president. She is smart, astute, and politically savvy. Her moderate, middle of the road views on most things would generally garner a sufficient amount of support in Congress to move needed legislation through the labyrinth. Unfortunately, no name since Nixon has caused such knee-jerk divisiveness as the Clinton handle. The amount of personal baggage she hauls along with her is tremendous and I believe that the inertia of her past, gleefully aided by her numerous political rivals, would slow to a crawl most initiatives she would start. Not necessarily on the merits of the wok but because it was hers.
    Then there’s Bill.

  3. Andy, as always your writing is insightful and spot-on. Up until this article, the ideas weren’t formulated in my mind what she was doing, but you sir have nailed it into crystalline clarity that I can no longer think of Hillary without thinking of her vanity presidency. Well done, sir… well done.

    Please agree to never use your powers for evil, or we will surely be destroyed.

  4. This sums things up perfectly, Andy. One of my favorite things you’ve ever written. I’ll be spreading this far and wide, you can count on it.

  5. Andy, very well said, and on a topic I have never heard you explore before. Craig said it exactly, you have made it plainly clear what is happening. Thanks for bringing insight to me from a place I did not expect to find it. Your pen knows no bounds. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. “She can’t convince a crucial legion of people to like her campaign enough to keep it moving forward to the next step.”

    Are you serious? If you replace “she” with “he” and “her” with “his”, the *same exact statement* could apply to Obama. He loses among two very “crucial legion[s] of people”: seniors and women. And these make up a significant portion of the electorate. Just as it’s not clear if Clinton can actually gather support from Obama’s base—young, politically-motivated people—if she won the nomination, it is equally as unclear if Obama can gather support from Clinton’s base—seniors and women.

    This is such a laughable opinion because if you actually look at the numbers, 47% of voters in the Democratic nomination process support Clinton. This isn’t a piddly Ron Paul 5% or a more respectable Ross Perot 20%. We’re talking about almost a majority, here. She has a broad base of support across the nation among Democrats. I agree, Obama has a larger base of support, at around 53%. But to completely belittle a candidate because of that small 6% difference is extremely troubling.

    You’re right that Clinton’s chances for being nominated at this point is a long shot. She needs to make up significant ground in terms of delegates, and she hasn’t done so and doesn’t appear to be able to do so. Trying to win the nomination by seating the Florida and Michigan delegates at the convention may seem a little bit shady, but I have to say that I don’t enjoy the prospect of disenfranchising millions of voters, ones that were highly interested in this process. It was an absolutely *stupid* move by the DNC and perhaps even more stupid by the respective states, but this is a failure of the political organizations, not of the people.

    But back to Clinton. She’s a longshot for the nomination. You’re right. But that doesn’t mean she should drop out. And it doesn’t mean that she’s become a “vanity” candidate.

    The strongest argument for continuing this nomination contest is simple: it keeps people involved in the Democratic nomination process. If the nomination had been decided on super-duper Tuesday, do you think that record voter turnout would have been sustained in the subsequent state primaries? Do you think there would have been a typical 3- or 4-fold increase in the number of Democratic primary participants (and, if I recall correctly, a 10-fold increase in some states)? Do you think there would have been a record number of new voter registrations across all these states? The answer to all of these questions is an emphatic “no”. Because the nominating process has dragged on, Democrats are still eager to participate in the voting process, because they still have a say.

    This fact can only be a significant advantage to the Democratic Party in the November general elections. Think of all the new Democratic voters that will help the Democrats get their nominee elected. Don’t be fooled by the numbers that say that many Clinton supporters won’t vote for Obama or many Obama supporters won’t vote for Clinton—what these polls indicate is that people are extremely passionate about their chosen candidate for the nominee, that they’ve invested a significant amount of support (monetary or emotional) into getting their candidate elected, and because both candidates still seem to have a chance, they’re not going to give up on their candidate just yet.

    But when the Democratic nominee is finally selected, you better believe that all those new voter registrations that came pouring in from *every* *single* *state* in the country (and even non-states like Guam and the Virgin Islands) will be extremely helpful to the Democrats in the general election.

    A dragged-out nominating process is only a good thing, and whatever her motivations, I’m glad that Clinton has stuck it out.

  7. Simone,
    Andy’s remark you take issue with — “She can’t convince a crucial legion of people to like her campaign enough to keep it moving forward to the next step.”” — refers, I think, to the overwhelming legion of votes she needed to round up in South Carolina and Indiana to make her candidacy a mathematically sustainable proposition, in addition to the massive infusion of cash she needs to keep her campaign afloat, as most, if not all, of her fundraisers and financiers are now sitting on their hands. At least we can agree that there was no chorus of jubilation from her advisers crowing about sudden millions pouring over the transom after she squeaked out a victory by the slimmest of margins this past Tuesday (as there was after Pennsylvania). She is now funding this final crawl-over-broken-glass herself, because no one else will. That’s what Andy’s saying, and his conclusions are right on.

    It is beyond the realm of practical possibility for Hillary to win the nomination. She is far more than a “longshot.” It is simply not possible without running the table by hefty double-digit margins AND convincing an overwhelming majority of superdelegates that the will of the voting public should be overturned. Even with the Florida and Michigan delegates seated — a prospect which seems unlikely until this matter of Clinton v. Obama is rendered moot — she still would not have enough delegates. Her own people admitted as much yesterday.

    Saying she is a “longshot” is like saying that baby unicorns winning the Kentucky Derby is a “longshot.” There is no evidence whatsoever to support either proposition and only the wildest conjecture and cherry-picking of available data makes the prospect seem possible, much less likely.

    In any case — you’re not only making a straw man argument of sorts, you’re also wrong in your data. Obama’s support particularly among white women was up significantly in this week’s primaries. If this wasn’t the case, he wouldn’t have come within 2% of winning Indiana outright. Furthemore, voter registration, if motivated by the primaries, is over and done with. These “motivated” voters are already registered. 4 more weeks of this nonsense does nobody any good, least of all Sen. Clinton. And by your logic, that shortfall of Obama voters would be erased once everyone decided to pull together behind a candidate. Do you really believe that the women who voted for Clinton will switch to McCain if Obama gets the nod?

    As to your contention that a dragged-out nominating process is “only a good thing,” this is a really naive statement and based upon self-contradictory contentions. A competitive primary is good and healthy. One that drags needlessly on and degenerates, as this one has (and I’m not pointing any fingers *ahem*Hillary*ahem), into a discussion not of how candidate A would be a better president than candidate B, but how not only would candidate A be a better president, but candidate B would not and could not ever be a good president and is not qualified to be president and would not be competent — well then you have something that is just ugly and pointless, giving fuel to the enemy’s fire, and especially distressing when one candidate has a literally insurmountable advantage in votes cast and delegates won.

    I do not approve of how Sen. Clinton has conducted her campaign (in case you couldn’t have guessed) but until this week I respected her right to soldier on. But it’s reached the point now of being ridiculous, sad, and desperate and unseemly.

  8. @Michael:

    “It is beyond the realm of practical possibility for Hillary to win the nomination. She is far more than a ‘longshot.’ It is simply not possible without running the table by hefty double-digit margins AND convincing an overwhelming majority of superdelegates that the will of the voting public should be overturned.”

    Um, OK. You said she was “far more than a ‘longshot'” and then described exactly what a longshot is. It means it’s not probable that she’s going to win. I said as much.

    “In any case — you’re not only making a straw man argument of sorts, you’re also wrong in your data. Obama’s support particularly among white women was up significantly in this week’s primaries. If this wasn’t the case, he wouldn’t have come within 2% of winning Indiana outright.”

    If his support is so good among Clinton’s base, why did he lose the primary in Indiana? Obama’s support among Democrats is poor in Clinton’s traditional base, and Clinton’s support among Democrats is poor in Obama’s traditional base. It’s disingenuous to suggest that Obama is far and away the most popular Democratic candidate, because he doesn’t have a significant advantage over Clinton. It’s a mere 150 delegate advantage, in a system that has a total of over 4000 candidates. Democrats are essentially split down the middle between Clinton and Obama, with a slight preference for Obama. But to suggest that Obama is overwhelmingly the favorite is just false.

    What I’m pointing out is that despite the Clinton’s mathematical prospects at this point, garnering 47% of the vote is sufficient for her to be able to fight all the way to the convention if she wants. There are *no* rules to suggest that she should do otherwise, and there are *millions* of voters to suggest that she *should* do this.

    The premise in Ihnatko’s article is that because Clinton’s mathematical prospects are dim, that she should withdraw from the nominating contest, and that because she hasn’t done so, she proves that she’s somehow inferior to Obama. I’m sorry, but that’s just not true. 47% of Democrats across the nation prefer Clinton; that’s not something to be ignored or taken lightly. The discussion and debate about whether or not Obama is the right person to be the Democratic nominee this year should continue, out of respect for those who voted for and still want Clinton as their nominee. To suggest that Clinton is a “vanity candidate” because she wants to continue is selfish.

    “Furthemore, voter registration, if motivated by the primaries, is over and done with. These ‘motivated’ voters are already registered. 4 more weeks of this nonsense does nobody any good, least of all Sen. Clinton. And by your logic, that shortfall of Obama voters would be erased once everyone decided to pull together behind a candidate. Do you really believe that the women who voted for Clinton will switch to McCain if Obama gets the nod?”

    Come on. Did you not read my comment? I explicitly said that Democrats who voted for Clinton in the primary will vote for Obama in the general, and Democrats who voted for Obama in the primary will also vote for Clinton in the general, if it ended up that way. I NEVER SUGGESTED OTHERWISE. Please read my comments before you respond to them. Now who’s taking down a straw man?

    And, by the way, in most states you have up until 15 days before an election to register to vote, so a few more weeks still motivates people in Kentucky, Oregon, South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia to come out and vote. If you think that these states won’t matter in a general election, and that a few thousand more voters won’t matter in determining the next president, then it’s *you* that is hopelessly naive. Every state matters, and if a few thousand more Democratic voters will help us swing a state from the Republican to the Democratic column in the general, then it’s absolutely worth it. Have we forgotten the year 2000 already?!

    “One that drags needlessly on and degenerates, as this one has (and I’m not pointing any fingers *ahem*Hillary*ahem), into a discussion not of how candidate A would be a better president than candidate B, but how not only would candidate A be a better president, but candidate B would not and could not ever be a good president and is not qualified to be president and would not be competent — well then you have something that is just ugly and pointless, giving fuel to the enemy’s fire, and especially distressing when one candidate has a literally insurmountable advantage in votes cast and delegates won.”

    I think it’s pretty amusing how you say how the discussion has degenerated, while simultaneously making a snarky swipe at Clinton. Nice.

    In any case, I never said that I wasn’t annoyed by the issues that have dominated the news cycle in past weeks and months. I am *incredibly* annoyed that substantive issues like net neutrality and the war’s effect on the U.S. economy and such are not discussed, whereas pointless things like Rev. Wright and snipers in Bosnia get discussed ad nauseam. But unfortunately, that’s not for me to decide. I can talk to people and educate them about the real issues, but if the news cycle devolves into Rev. Wright anyway, then that’s what people care about.

    And that’s what people *do* care about. Around 50% of voters in Indiana said that the discussion about Rev. Wright was an important factor in their vote. (But Obama got close to “winning” Indiana, anyway. What does that say to you?) So apparently things that are important to voters *are* being discussed in the media. Whether you or I personally think that these issues are stupid are irrelevant. We can make our own decisions on what factors effect our vote, but we can’t do that for others. That’s why it’s a *democratic* process, not one in which people are forced to vote one way or another.

    As to your contention about this being “fuel to the enemy’s fire”, that’s also pretty much untrue too. If these things are brought out and discussed in the Democratic primary, the effect of these mini-controversies on people’s votes down the road will be dampened out. In contrast, if this controversy broke two or three days before the general election, it would have a severe effect on Obama’s ability to become President. If you think that publicly available information is “fuel to the enemy’s fire”, then again, it is *you* who is hopelessly misguided.

    Clinton is not a “vanity candidate”. She’s a “candidate with 47% of Democrats supporting her”. If anything, Ihnatko is a “vanity voter” for being selfish and dictating to millions of people that their candidate should just give up and sit down, even though there are still thousands of people waiting left to vote, and many discussions yet to have.

    The U.S. is a democratic republic. Please start acting like it is one.

  9. @Simone – Hillary has been mathematically-eliminated as the Democratic nominee. Her only remaining chance of success is (a) hope for a dead transvestite hooker to be discovered in Obama’s hotel suite, (b) Convince the DNC that the current mathematical system of allocating delegates is out-of-date and needs to be changed before the nomination; (c) Convince damned-near ALL of the superdelegates to change their minds and support her nomination; (d) Make that four dead hookers, minimum.

    It’s not going to happen.

    Obama’s campaign is rolling in cash. This means that he still has such enthusiastic support that people are willing to actually give Obama money that they could otherwise spend getting HBO for a couple of months.

    Hillary — and this was the main point — has to write checks to herself to keep the lights on and the coffee urn filled. THAT’s what makes her a vanity candidate.

  10. Although I support Hillary Clinton, and will until they pry the voting lever out of my cold, dead hand, I have to agree this is an extraordinarily well-written post, Andy.

    One thing I wish you had acknowledged: Hillary Clinton is 60. In 8 years she’ll be 68. Sadly, in an era when women start getting botox at age 17, Hillary is right to believe that this year is her last chance to be able to attract at least a portion of the male vote. If anything, in 8 years Obama will be considered even more attractive both as a candidate and as a person.

  11. @Ihnatko:

    “Hillary — and this was the main point — has to write checks to herself to keep the lights on and the coffee urn filled. THAT’s what makes her a vanity candidate.”

    Yes, I was addressing specifically this point. That it’s mathematically “impossible” for her to win and that she has to write herself checks for her campaign is irrelevant to whether or not the campaign should continue on or whether she is somehow “inferior” to Obama because she is somehow “vain”.

  12. Simone,
    Andy did not say she was vain. He said she is now running a vanity campaign. She is. If she has not got the support to make her campaign financially viable from without, and must support it with a large influx of her own cash, she is running for office for HER reasons, and not the good of the people she claims to represent. (Now that was a horribly run on sentence – can you tell I don’t write professionally?).

    I suspect her personal reasons are much darker than a simple case of personal vanity.

  13. @Tattooed Dad:

    I am not confused on what “vain” means in this context. She is *not* running a “vanity campaign”. There are still millions of people who want her to become the nominee, regardless of whether she has an influx of cash from them or not. That she has no financial support from the voters who want her to be the nominee is irrelevant, and doesn’t make her campaign a “vanity campaign”.

    What I’m saying is that Clinton continuing this contest all the way to the convention *is* for the good of the people that voted for her and for the good of the people who voted for Obama.

  14. As to the issue of Hillary “writing her own checks”… Well, don’t believe that she isn’t going to be getting that money back, somehow. She’s too much of a political pro. In fact, money could be the reason she stays in the race.

    Did she say she was going to SPEND all that money? She merely said she was going to LOAN it to the campaign. The states remaining are smaller and cheaper to campaign in. At this point, the front pages and airwaves are packed with so much campaign news that huge media buys are redundant anyway. This is a time where she can spend more time and effort fundraising than campaigning.

    The statement of putting her own money in is a gesture to show the donors that she’s still serious, and that their money is not going to go to waste. (She’s priming the pump, so to speak.)

    And to escalate the cynicism even more: Much of Hill & Bill’s income comes from Bill’s huge speaking fees. These could be considered “back door” political contributions, laundered through the process of paying income tax on them. This could become a political liability if the press chooses to sniff around exactly who is paying the big bucks for Bill, especially his foreign engagements.

  15. @Simone The difference of opinion here seems to be that you believe the de facto Democratic Presidential Nominee* should be busy fighting a meaningless battle within his own party while the others believe he should be running for President.

    *If we accept that Hillary it is impossible for Hillary to win the nomination.

  16. If it really is so impossible for Hillary to win, then the “de facto Nominee” can simply just ignore her. If the battle is meaningless, then don’t fight it, don’t waste resources to it.

  17. @Shawn – It’s not as simple as that, is it? With Hillary out of the race, Obama can campaign with a certain authority as the sole Democratic candidate. It’s an advantage that McCain has been enjoying for months (leaving aside the Republican candidates who are nowhere on the radar).

    The story, day after day, is NOT “Sen. Obama outlines his plans for economic recovery” or “Obama rejects McCain plan for Iraq, describing it as an extension of the Bush strategy.” The story is Clinton’s campaign appearance in which she claims that Obama is opposed to the gas tax holiday because he and his economists are “elitist,” and her stumping to Party leaders that Obama can’t attract white, blue-collar voters, and that Obama doesn’t have a plan to revitalize small-business in the Rust Belt…etc.

    Again, I’ve seen no analysis that describes a way that Clinton can win the nomination. If there she had any sort of a scenario for winning the nomination that didn’t involve the phrase “…and then, 127 specific superdelegates have to die in a plane crash on the way to the convention,” I’d feel differently. But nope, that’s the facts.

    The public and the press’ attention is being split between two Democratic candidates. And Hillary is using her media time to (in so many words) underwrite the first two months of McCain’s campaign ads.

  18. From the perspective of one of the legions of Obama volunteers who are daily skinning our knees and cutting our hands as we put in time, energy & contributions, Andy’s analysis seems spot on.

    I coordinate a group of almost 100 volunteers for Obama called Voters For Hope. It’s a highly diverse group — not many people under 30, actually. Lots of women and seniors, some folks who are minorities. And we’re just one of thousands of groups. Mostly we do phone banking to primary states. But some of us have travelled to volunteer personally in primary states, using up vacation time & dollars to do so. Others target publications and media outlets with information. Two who are CEOs were so inspired by Obama that they set up a pilot program for “outsourcing” jobs to economically hard-hit areas in the US called Americans Work.

    We don’t find grassroots volunteer organizations in the Clinton campaign that compare in number to those for the Obama campaign. The same people who get our phone calls — which are placed by real human volunteers — usually get robo calls from the Clinton campaign. As an Obama field organizer said, there is no Voters For Hope for the Clinton campaign. While Clinton is loaning her campaign money, the Obama campaign is awash with cash.

    Sen. Clinton has dedicated her professional life to public service, and I respect that. If there were not a Barack Obama running, she might get my vote and my support. As a woman, I would love to see a female president in my lifetime. But I can say with assurance that Sen Clinton would not get the level of passionate activism I’ve given to the Obama campaign. It takes an inspirational leader to do that, to get 1.5 million people to contribute to a campaign, to get hundreds of thousands out knocking on doors, getting active in politics for the first time ever or for the first time in a long time. The last time I saw a leader like that was as a young girl in the days of MLK & RFK. Taking up where they left off is Barack Obama.

  19. Andy,

    Actually it is as simple as that. And to his credit, I think Obama IS doing that for the most part. He’s been contrasting himself more with McCain than with Hillary lately.

    It’s some of his supporters who are going off the deep end and going nuts about Hilary being in the race. This divisive over-reaction over her not dropping out is more damaging than her actually being in the race.

    I find the complaints about the current situation silly, when people were once worried that it would be all over too soon before many states got to vote.

    Then again, I’m an amused outsider to this. At the end of the month I’ll be at the Libertarian Party convention, which will probably take several ballots for us to get a presidential nominee. (Watch the fun on C-SPAN this Memorial Day weekend! ;) )

  20. I just want to thank you for so accurately portraying the struggles involved …

    … in getting a book published [grin].

    As someone at the just-shy-of-editor-jumping-on-desk phase, that really resonated for me.

    Oh yeah, and that bonus political material supporting the main point was OK too [g].

    -dan

  21. Yeah, the metaphor was a good one.

    I’m now formulating a spin off paralleling 3rd parties as indie comic publishers, and the ability to get listed in Previews with Ballot access laws. ;)

  22. When you mentioned Al Gore winning and then conceding the presidency, it was all over. Every left wing paper on earth recounted the votes and Bush won every time.
    As to his reputation growing – I think you are referring to his head size for trying to pass off global warming as science. Even the fanatics are having to admit the planet has been cooling for 10 years.
    Sheesh!

  23. Say what?

    Had Gore conceeded before putting the country through the recount mess you would have a point- and President Gore would be running for his second term while Hillary and Obama were relegated to trading pleasantries in the Senate Cloakroom.

    Gore doomed himself to a fringe existence when he retracted his concession late that fateful night in 2000.

  24. Andy,

    I think your metaphor is awful. Scary even.

    So you’re giving up on the whole democratic/voting thing? Giving up on the political process, the nominating convention, the casting of votes at that convention? Instead you prefer that whoever has the most money should win?

    No, I suppose that is putting words in your mouth, you never said that Senator Clinton should lose, instead you said that if a candidate runs out of money from others, they should cease being a candidate. But if you take that to a logical end, Senator Clinton should drop out (lose) since she’s out of money and can’t get as many people to give it to her as Senator Obama.

    But the fact remains, Senator Clinton can win the nomination the old fashioned way, because no matter what the Super delegates say, they haven’t voted yet.

    But go ahead and instead base your opinion on how people spend their money. And given your attitude, it is “spend” their money, not donate since they are “voting” with their dollars and whichever candidate get the most dollars obviously wins.

    Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to wait for the actual voting. I may not like the Democratic Party process with their super-delegates and penalizing Michigan and Florida, but it is a process and should be respected.

    Your “vanity candidate” statement reminds me of the Michael Dell statement about closing Apple and giving it’s money back to the shareholders. It it appears to have more to do with your own self-interest than any analysis of the facts. Apple didn’t close down and Senator Clinton hasn’t actually lost anything yet.

    But I can tell you I know of more than one Microsoft Windows user who think like you do. With the overwhelming majority of computers using Windows why is Apple even trying? Apple computers are vanity computers.

  25. Wow Andy, you are way off on Gore…recount after recount has proven he would *NOT* have won the election. He is also selling a bill of goods regarding global warming and stands to make a lot of money if the cap and trade crap is pushed through, and you and I will be paying him. Drop the glass of Koolaid.

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