Sunday, March 2, 2008

Why Hillary Lost: "Mrs Clinton Tries Hard to Fake Sincerity"

It took a British newspaper columnist to expose the real Hillary Clinton:

When Texas and Ohio vote in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries, they may bring Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency to an end. If she loses either of those states, her bid is over barring the formalities. This is a position few expected her to be in. Not long ago, success in the primaries and victory in the general election were regarded as almost inevitable. What went wrong?

For the answer, one should turn (as always) to the teachings of Marx. “The secret of success in life is sincerity,” Groucho once famously observed. “If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

This truth about the human condition applies with particular force to politics. Mrs Clinton tries hard to fake sincerity – so hard it is painful to watch. Sometimes, in fact, I suspect that she really is sincere and only looks as though she is faking. Barack Obama, on the other hand, may actually be sincere – and if he is not, he fakes it so well it makes no difference. Elections are won and lost formany reasons, but if I had to point to just one in the present case, this would be it.

It is surely telling that the most effective moments in Mrs Clinton’s campaign have been those rare times when a real person has appeared to break through: the tears in New Hampshire, the moving and seemingly unaffected tribute to wounded soldiers at the end of the Houston debate the other day. But for most of the time she has veered from one false personality to another, often during the course of a single debate or interview. One moment she would be acting tough, the next warm; now aloof, now approachable; now a fun person, fond of a joke (that was the worst), now stern and serious. In every moment of repose came that scary rictus smile, to emphasise the lack of authenticity and remind one irresistibly of Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

Meet The Press Transcript 3-2-08: Looks Grim for Hillary

Clintonista, James Carville, was forced to admit that if Hillary Clinton doesn't win Tuesday she is toast (read the entire transcript here):

MR. SHRUM: Do you agree with me that if Obama carries one state, it's effectively over?

MR. CARVILLE: It is very, very, very difficult. And I've--and, and I said that earlier; President Clinton has said it. It becomes exceedingly difficult if she, if she loses either Ohio or Texas. That's, that's evident. You got to...

MR. RUSSERT: It's over.

MR. CARVILLE: It's very, very, very difficult.

MR. RUSSERT: Oh, you're...


MR. RUSSERT: Two weeks ago, you said it was over.

MR. CARVILLE: It--I don't know what the difference is. It sounds good to me.

MR. MURPHY: It's one sentence he'd like to have back.

MR. CARVILLE: It's--I don't have this reject...

MR. RUSSERT: I think he got a phone call this morning, "Don't say it's over." Right?

MR. CARVILLE: No, I--in, in effect, I, I agree with President Clinton.

MR. MURPHY: There you go.

MR. CARVILLE: And I--I'll leave it at that.

Then Carville tries to explain away Hillary's position on NAFTA by making an unverified claim that she sort of opposed it when Bill was President:
MR. CARVILLE: I can--something I can attest to personally, and I, I have checked, she--in, in 1992, she was decidedly cool toward NAFTA. Came up with--we came out for NAFTA during the campaign. And I--the reason I remember it so well is it's one of the few times that I actually disagreed with, with Hillary Clinton on anything. I made it my business to try to agree with her on, on most things. Now, I don't know what happened in between 1992 and this campaign, but I do know that she was decidedly cool on, on the idea of us endorsing NAFTA during that campaign.

MR. MURPHY: But she has a theory about what happened...

MR. RUSSERT: But in 2004, she did say, "On balance, NAFTA has been good for New York and for America."

MR. MURPHY: Right.

MR. CARVILLE: I, I--again, I, I do know that--what it was in 1992. I can't attest other...

Bottomline: if she doesn't win big on Tuesday she won't win the nomination:
MR. RUSSERT: All right, let me show you, though, there's a map, and this is a map of the remaining 12 states, 611 delegates starting with this Saturday--next Saturday be Wyoming and in Mississippi, our calculation is, even if Senator Clinton wins Ohio and Texas say 52-48, she'd have to win 70 percent of the vote in each of those states in order to get enough delegates to surpass Obama among selected delegates. If she didn't, James Carville, I understand--I'm hearing you, that even if she was behind amongst elected delegates...


MR. RUSSERT: ...she could say "I finished strong.

MR. CARVILLE: Yeah. Of course.

MR. RUSSERT: I won Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, I should be the nominee."

MR. CARVILLE: And, and, and we're also forgetting they have to do something about Florida and Michigan. Now, you can say we, we discount the, the previous election, they have to go to like what they call a firehouse caucus or something. But part of her calculation would be that she's showing strength...

MR. SHRUM: Right.

MR. CARVILLE: ...and then she does--you got to put the--they're not going to not seat something from Florida and Michigan. It may not be based on the previous...

MR. RUSSERT: But what you're saying is that she would go to a convention and say, "I did not win elected delegates, I did not win as many states, primaries, caucuses as Obama, I did not win as much popular vote, but I should be the nominee because you should seat Michigan and Florida."

MR. CARVILLE: Well, well, well, we may not--wait, I mean, look...

MR. RUSSERT: What would happen inside that convention?

MR. CARVILLE: Well, first of all, I'd say now many Idahos does it take to count as California? I mean, come on, that's a little bit of a...

MS. MATALIN: Wait...

MR. SHRUM: That would be...

MR. CARVILLE: But it would be...

MR. MURPHY: That's the beauty of it.

MR. SHRUM: Someone from the Clinton campaign is a fraud.


MR. SHRUM: Barack Obama is going to carry California if he's the nominee, he's going to carry New York, he's going to carry New Jersey.



That's not the issue. The issue here--the issue here is you cannot go into this convention and not have some moral claim to this nomination.


I think she can acquire one in the next few weeks, but she's got to acquire it by winning these two states, then winning Pennsylvania, and doing better.

MS. MATALIN: I agree.

MR. SHRUM: But she cannot in the end, "By the way, nominate me by giving me the delegates out of the Soviet-style primary in Michigan where we only had one person's name on the ballot."

Report: UK energy Firms told to Surrender Profits

Maybe it could be solution in the U.S. also:

British gas and electricity companies are being ordered by the government to hand over part of their bumper profits or face a new windfall tax, according to a newspaper report on Sunday.

Chief executives of utility firms have been told that, unless they agree to subsidise a new nationwide "fuel poverty" scheme aimed at the 4.5 million poorest households, a levy will be put on their profits, the Sunday Telegraph said.

Finance minister Alistair Darling plans to unveil the fuel poverty programme in his budget on March 12, it added.

The move follows widespread protests at ballooning gas and electricity bills. Five of the six big suppliers to British homes and small businesses have announced big price increases this year, blaming soaring wholesale energy costs.

The Britain's energy watchdog Ofgem launched an investigation into power and gas supply markets because of growing public concern on Feb. 21.

Iraq War Hurts Economy: Economics Nobel Winner

Now we have an important voice making an economic argument against the Iraq War:

The Iraq war has contributed to the U.S. economic slowdown and is impeding an economic recovery, Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government is severely underestimating the cost of the war, Stiglitz and co-author Linda Bilmes write in their book, "The Three Trillion Dollar War" (W.W. Norton), due to be published on Monday.

The nearly 5-year-old war, once billed as virtually paying for itself through increased Iraqi oil exports, has cost the U.S. Treasury $845 billion directly.

"It used to be thought that wars are good for the economy. No economist really believes that anymore," Stiglitz said in an interview.

Stiglitz and Bilmes argue the true costs are at least $3 trillion under what they call an ultraconservative estimate, and could surpass the cost of World War Two, which they put at $5 trillion after adjusting for inflation.

The direct costs exclude interest on the debt raised to fund the war, health care costs for veterans coming home, and replacing the destroyed hardware and degraded operational capacity caused by the war.

In addition, there are costs not accounted for in the budget such as rising oil prices and social and macroeconomic costs, which the book details.

Doctor: 40 Dead in Pakistan Attack

The new Iraq. Will we end up fighting in Pakistan too? If things continue at this pace the issue will fall on the lap of the next President:

A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday at a large meeting called by tribal elders pushing for peace in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 40 people and injuring more than 100, witnesses and officials said.

It was the third suicide bombing in as many days in the volatile northwest, where security forces were battling pro-Taliban Islamic militants.

Thousands of people were at the meeting in Darra Adam Khel in North West Frontier Province about 25 miles south of the provincial capital, Peshawar. The five tribes involved wanted to finalize a resolution calling for punishing anyone who sheltered or helped militants, including those of al-Qaida and the Taliban, Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said on state-run Pakistan Television.