Shaheen Falls On His Sword

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire Co-Chair, Bill Shaheen, set the headlines ablaze when he, to use an oft repeated Clinton term, used Republican talking points to frame Barack Obama’s prior drug use.  Today, Shaheen finds himself garnering headlines again in the disastrous comments’ aftermath.

One has to consider the timing of all this to fully appreciate the negative impact it is likely to have.  First, Hillary had a moderately decent debate performance tonight, not enough in reality to slow the current momentum of her downward spiral and Obama’s rise on its own, but it was at least spinnable.  Also, we must take into consideration that the debate, and now Shaheen’s announcement, will be among the last nationally reported scraps from the campaign that have any potential of affecting the race; it’s all groundpounding from here on in.

The announcement I speak of, of course, would be Mr. Shaheen’s resignation as Hillary’s New Hampshire Co-Chair:

In a statement first obtained by UnionLeader.com, Shaheen said, “I would like to reiterate that I deeply regret my comments yesterday and say again that they were in no way authorized by Senator Clinton or the Clinton campaign. Senator Clinton has been running a positive campaign focused on the issues that matter to America’s families. She is the best qualified to be the next President of the United States because she can lead starting on day one. I made a mistake and in light of what happened, I have made the personal decision that I will step down as the Co-Chair of the Hillary for President campaign. This election is too important and we must all get back to electing the best qualified candidate who has the record of making change happen in this country. That candidate is Hillary Clinton.”

Between you, me, and all seven internets, I ain’t buyin’ it.  One thing is for certain, Shaheen’s comments about Obama and his youthful transgressions with illegal drugs was no accidental slip of the tongue; the original statement was far too in depth and deliberate.  I further reject the idea that he was acting as some kind of rogue agent in all this.

Let’s remember, he was Co-Chair to one of the most vital states in the current contest.  We’re not talking about some no name grunt in Minnesota.  This guy had Hillary’s ear, and she had his.

I also scoff at Shaheen’s near joke about how Hillary has ran a positive campaign, specifically considering that the past few weeks have been driven by the narrative of how not positive the campaign has been (Kindergarten essays anyone?).

Now, earlier today, I stopped by my favorite polling site (pollster.com), and I noticed that finally the trends show Obama pulling dead even with Hillary, and in New Hampshire, I would say it’s only a data point or two away from showing the same thing in New Hampshire.  She’s in a bind, she knows it, everyone in her campaign knows it, and it has been reflected in the desperate tone her campaign has adopted lately.

All this taken into account, I go even odds that Clinton knew about Shaheen’s original remarks before hand.  Slightly worse but still respectable odds that it was mapped out.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the desired effect was kind of like when you whatch tv court dramas where the witness says something condemning, opposing lawyers object, the judge strikes from the record, but… ooops… too late, the jury has already heard it, you can’t take it back.  If it was planned, the idea was to drop the drug reference, get it out there and get it talking, and then attempt to amicably retract it.

Strange thing to bring up at this point.  For a woman who has established a fact checking site to adress issues in real time, it took an awful long time for the Clinton campaign to respond to the scandelous remarks despite the near immediate uproar.

Even odds she knew.  Slightly worse odds that it was planned.  I’ll even give long but plausible odds that Shaheen said what he said KNOWING he was going to have to take a dive in the end.  After all, it’s not like Clinton can’t find another Co-Chair, and the only way to bring the already known Obama drug use back into wide media coverage, and frame it exactly how you want to is to have a high level campaign player do exactly what Shaheen did.

Granted, I know this all rings of a conspiracy theory, but, in my defence, I don’t often go for that sort of thing, and it’s not like Hillary isn’t viewed with high negatives because people misinterpret all the sunshine and daisies coming from her, is it?

I’m just saying.

4 Responses to “Shaheen Falls On His Sword”

  1. David says:

    Shaheen and I agree on one thing, “The election is important, and we must all get back to electing the best qualified candidate who has the record of making change happen in this country.”

    But change and Hillary Clinton having a record of making change does not compute. CLINTON = BUSINESS AS USUAL (this country cannot afford it.)
    OBAMA or EDWARDS = REAL CHANGE. The choice is simple. No more debates needed. No more stupid comments by stupid politicians and over the top news media in need of a wagon to jump on.

  2. Ken says:

    Good reporting! The thing is that the top people in the Clinton campaign are losing control. First the kindergarten attacks and now this. Check out the following: http://inlandechoes.blogspot.com

  3. Awesomely put David. I think Shaheen’s statement really acted as fingernails on a chalkboard for me, largely because he was still campaigning as he did it. I do have to admit that this was the best path for the campaign to take, but it still stinks to me.

    Ken; I think it’s possible, but it is also rather difficult to believe that a campaign that was once so strictly disciplined has pretty much had the wheels come off. I know that lately Bill Clinton has gotten a little miffed at how the campaign is being run, andhas in fact injected himself more into it, and get this, Bill wants to go more negative.

    What I do know is that Mark Penn, Hillary’s campaign manager, has been running Clinton as an incumbent, but I think what we are seeing is there being a lack of a plan B. It worked great when not too many people were paying attention, but now that people are, more and more folks are picking up on the disparity of the incumbent campaign she is running, and the fact that she’s not an incumbent.

    And then you have the Iowa problem in that, Hillary and her apparatus just don’t understand Iowa, compared to both Edwards and Obama who do. From what I’ve been reading, while the big three are in a statistical tie in Iowa, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if Hillary gets left in the dust there.

  4. Word on the street is Obama didn’t inhale. And I refuse to inhale the dog n’ pony show both of these zombies are putting on as “populists” ready and willing to “take on” the big lobbies. Goldman Sachs, perhaps the most crooked lender on Wall St., is funneling big money into both camps. You buy the zombies with their palms up. Kucinich/Paul ’08. Impeach Bush. And New Yorkers, re-call Killary.

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  1. Chuck Adkins » Memo to Bill Shaheen and the Hillary camp: WTF?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!???!?!?!? - [...] Washington Post, TIME: Swampland, Riehl World View, Oliver Willis, Connecting.the.Dots, Hot Air, Comments from Left Field, Washington Wire, Wake…

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