“Hillary Clinton — Please Exit, With Dignity”

But of course she did not, and she will not, accept that excellent advice from Katrina vanden Heuvel. Hillary Clinton is, apparently, determined to transform herself from a woman widely respected for her political accomplishments, her intelligence, her commitment to public service, and simply for what she has been able to achieve as a woman in national politics, into a laughingstock. Hell, Clinton behaved with greater dignity when her philandering husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky became national news than she has behaved in this election campaign.

Here is her speech.

On Meme, today, Clinton is being roundly ridiculed.

Maureen Dowd: “She’s Still Here!”

Whoever said that after denial comes acceptance hadn’t met the Clintons.

If Hillary could not have an acceptance speech, she wasn’t going to have acceptance.

“It’s never going to end,” sighed one Democrat who has been advising Hillary. “We’re just moving to a new phase.”

Dana Milbank:

Just before Obama officially clinched, the Clinton campaign issued a press release as if it were still in the middle of a nominating battle. “Wyoming Automatic Delegate Backs Hillary,” the e-mail said. It didn’t include the name of the brave superdelegate.

Terry McAuliffe, the campaign chairman, took the stage and read the full list of Clinton’s victories, from American Samoa to Massachusetts. Introducing Clinton, he asked: “Are you ready for the next president of the United States?”

This brought laughter from the reporters in the back of the room, but Clinton induced the crowd to boo the “pundits and naysayers” who would have run her from the race. “I am so proud we stayed the course together,” she told her backers, who interjected cries of “We believe in you!” and “Yes, we will!”

Roger Simon:

Barack Obama would like to remind you of something: He won and she didn’t. It’s about him now and not her. He has made history, and she is history.

Not that Hillary Clinton admitted to any of that in her nonconcession concession speech Tuesday night, after Obama attained the delegate votes he needs for the Democratic presidential nomination

For someone giving indications she would like to be Obama’s running mate, Clinton was surprisingly ungracious. In fact, if you had just awakened from a (blissful) 17-month sleep, you would have thought she had won.

“Because of you, we won together the swing states necessary to get to 270 electoral votes,” she told the crowd in New York City. “I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard and no longer to be invisible.”

But her fighting words only increased the need for Obama to show that he can be strong, tough and in charge. Clinton’s unwillingness to recognize Obama as the victor only increased the need for Obama to act like a president and not like a doormat. And denying her a vice presidential slot may be a way of doing that.

Michael Tomasky adds:

What’s her game? It’s this, I think. It’s not merely to be vice president. Although apparently it is that. I take it she and Bill have decided that being Obama’s vice-president for eight years is the most plausible path to the presidency. But she did not on Tuesday night merely try to make a case for herself as a good vice-presidential candidate. She held a rhetorical knife to Obama’s throat and said, in not so many words: I’m still calling some shots, buddy. You offer me the vice-presidency, or I walk away. But she has also forced Obama into a situation whereby if he chooses her now, he looks weak. So that’s the choice she is hoping to impose on the nominee: don’t choose me, and Bill and I will subtly work to see that you lose; choose me, and look like a weakling who can’t lead the party without the Clintons after all. Now that’s putting the interests of the party first, isn’t it?

I’m thinking that if Obama does stand firm in refusing to give Clinton the veep slot, and Clinton does “walk,” I would not put it past her to walk directly to the McCain campaign. Apparently, Matthew Yglesias is thinking along the same lines:

I probably shouldn’t write any more about this woman and her staff. Suffice it to say that I’ve found her behavior over the past couple of months to be utterly unconscionable and this speech is no different. I think if I were to try to express how I really feel about the people who’ve been enabling her behavior, I’d say something deeply unwise. Suffice it to say, that for quite a while now all of John McCain’s most effective allies have been on Hillary Clinton’s payroll.

Noam Scheiber at The New Republic called Clinton’s concession acceptance speech “outrageous [and] delusional.”

“Outrageous” and “delusional” fit Terry McAuliffe, too. After stating on national television that Sen. Clinton would “congratulate [Obama] and call him the nominee” when Obama reached the 2,118-delegate mark, he actually introduced her at last night’s speech as “the next president of the United States.”

Indeed, for those of us expecting a graceful farewell speech, Clinton’s remarks were a bit of a curveball. It was almost as if news of Obama’s victory hadn’t reached them yet. … Clinton congratulated Obama, not for winning, but for running a great race. At one point she said, “No matters what happens in this race…” as if the race remains unresolved. Clinton added that she would be “consulting with supporters and party leaders, to determine how to move forward,” as if she was still pondering how to launch a comeback. Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” played as Clinton smiled and waved. The Clinton campaign sent an email to supporters referring to the campaign in the present tense.

For Hillary, staying in the race is a bit like staying in Iraq is for George W. Bush — as long as she doesn’t withdraw, she hasn’t lost:

So long as she remains in the race, she has leverage. She has purpose. She has supporters who will donate to her efforts. She has reporters who will cover her statements. She has the assurance that the Obama campaign will grow increasingly desperate to facilitate her concession. She has the chance, no matter how slim, that lightning will strike, or scandal will hit, or tragedy will fall, and Obama’s campaign will unexpectedly fold in upon itself and she will step forward as the nominee.

Andrew Sullivan is scathing: Clinton’s performance last night was “[c]lassless, graceless, shameless, relentless. Pure Clinton.”

Her narcissism requires that she deprive her opponent of a night, or a second, of gratification or attention. And she has now won, in her Bush-like version of reality, 18 million votes. Her invitation for her supporters to email their suggestions to her website is pure theater, a way of keeping herself in the spotlight and maneuvering her delegates to demand a second spot on the ticket. The way she is now doing this – by an implicit threat, backed by McCain, to claim that Obama is an illegitimate nominee if she does not get her way – is designed to humiliate the nominee sufficiently to wound him enough to lose the election.

Either way, she is clearly intent on getting Obama defeated this fall if she is not offered the vice-presidency. And if she gets the veep nod, the way she has gotten it will allow her to argue that a November loss was not her loss. It was his. And she will run again in 2012.

She will not go away. The Clintons will never go away. And they will do all they can to cripple any Democrat who tries to replace them. In the tent or out of it, it is always about them. And they are no longer rivals to Obama; they are threats.

Sullivan points to James Fallows’ equally scathing reaction:

You HAVE LOST the nomination. There are NO MORE primaries. And you’re urging your supporters to nurse their bitter feelings on your web site, and keep selling their bikes to give you money that you’ll spend on… what? The unseemliness — and, yes, destructiveness — of this is too obvious to mention, though perhaps not obvious enough to have occurred to you.

This is a new low.

14 Responses to ““Hillary Clinton — Please Exit, With Dignity””

  1. Dewy says:

    I don’t understand why Clinton’s hardcore supporters are threatening to vote for McCain in November. Do her supporters (many of them women), realize that by defecting to McCain, they will be voting for a Pro-life, pro-war, pro-tax cuts for the wealthy nominee? Are they not thinking logically, or are they merely being selfish, narrowminded, caught up in their hate for Obama?

    Also, the idea of a Obama-Clinton ticket is ridiculous. He needs to show he is the Presidential nominee, and by choosing her and by association, her husbund, his own authority will be overshadowed by the power hunger Clintons. At the same time, if she isn’t chosen as VP, I fear that her militant supporters will tear the party and the campaign apart, assuring that McCain will win in the end. The whole thing is fustrating!!!!!

  2. tas says:

    How to handle Clinton is exactly why I made my last post… She is dangerous right now. She can ruin Obama’s campaign, but she has to be reminded that in doing such, she will go down in history as a spoiler. Now would she rather be seen as a dynamic politician who set the stage for a future where a woman will occupy the Oval Office, or as a petty, sore loser who enabled another Republican administration to take office? That’s what she needs to be reminded of.

    Hillary made a mess. She needs to clean it up.

  3. Chief says:

    Is Sen. Clinton staying in the race just to be able to accept campaign donations? I know she would like to be able to repay some of those loans that she made to her campaign.

  4. jheckerman says:

    I am a Clinton Supporter and I will vote for McCain if Hillary Clinton is not on the Democratic ticket-
    Hillary Clinton did not loose. She has won the support of many, many Americans. She has the responsibility of Millions of Voters in her hands. She heard us. Respect us and our Candidate- you need us. Or can BO do it all by himself. Possibly he can call his Good Old boys from Chicago. and Put a Chicago Spell on McCain. and Shazam there you have it-Change. Oh isn’t he wonderful. Maybe he can win on a technicality- maybe Mc Cain did not have enough signatures to run for the office of President. You don’t like Hillary, we don’t like Barrak. Hillary Clinton Won.

  5. Kathy says:


    Or can Obama do it all by himself? Every other president in history has “done it all by himself” without hand-holding from contending nominees. Why wouldn’t Obama be able to? Your racism is showing, jheckerman.

    Winning the support of many Americans is not the same as winning. John Edwards won the support of many Americans. So did all the other Democratic and Republican nominees. Winning the support of many Americans IS NOT WINNING the nomination. Getting 2,118 or more pledged delegates is winning the nomination. Hillary *lost the nomination.* GROW UP.

  6. tas says:

    Possibly he can call his Good Old boys from Chicago. and Put a Chicago Spell on McCain. and Shazam there you have it-Change.

    Thank you for displaying to us the kind of intelligence that Hillary supporters have brought to this campaign.

  7. DrGail says:

    JH: By no reasonable measure did Hillary win. Even if you engage in the machinations necessary to assert that she prevailed in the popular vote, the race was about delegates. It was a totally fubar system created for the Democratic nomination and I fervently hope that some serious changes are made for next time, but the system is the system.

    This is the first time (ever) that the candidate I supported enthusiastically (although not initially) won the nomination, and I must admit it feels pretty good. But I also remember how much it sucks to be on the losing end. I’ve got far more experience with that; probably more than you and most everyone else on this site.

    Hillary ran an awesome race and she did us women proud. She shattered expectations and legitimized the notion that women can become president in this country. That she failed at winning the nomination is a shame but not a crime. Have you won at everything you’ve ever tried? I sure know I haven’t.

    Whether you like Barack Obama or not really isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the issue. If you think McCain would make a better president than Obama, then you should vote for him. That’s all that is ever asked of citizens: vote for whoever you believe is the better candidate.

    To cast your vote based on hurt feelings or resentment or out of an excess of loyalty to an unsuccessful candidate, though. . .well, that’s just crazy talk. If you supported Hillary’s policy positions, then it seems natural to vote for the candidate whose positions most closely resemble hers. If you supported the notion of a history-making presidency and a woman isn’t on the ballot, then choose to make history by voting for an African-American candidate.

    To do anything else makes no sense. I would think that the best way to honor Hillary’s historic, yet ultimately unsuccessful, campaign for the Democratic nomination would be to make a rational choice when you cast your vote, rather than making a crazy choice.

    If you don’t agree, and still plan to vote for McCain, I would find it very difficult to consider you a Democrat.

  8. Quelle says:

    Is this one of those rabid right-wing blogs?
    I can’t recognize it as being in any way related
    to the Democratic Party that I joined in 1962.

  9. 1962…


    Hey THANKS!

  10. Quelle says:

    Hey, Kyle

    You are very welcome, I’m sure.

    It is because of the wise-ass attitudes and you-owe-me mind-sets that are reflected in remarks such as your that will propel me to turn my back on more than 50 years of allegiance to the Democratic Party (I.m a card-carrying Democrat, and have contributed money to the Party for years).

    But I wil lbe voting for McCAIN come November., and churlish Obama supporters such as yourself (and Obama himself) can take the credit for the MASSIVE DEFECTION that you are about to witness. And let’s not forget those Party Big Wigs such as Kerry and Kennedy (whom I deeply personally respect) who played the “old boys game” by coming out for Obama, before the primaries were over, even as Hillary was winning big in the crucial battleground states
    (like here in Ohio).

    And let’s not forget the brilliant strategists who designed the primary rules,
    creating “super delegates” who can cancel out the popular vote,
    and NOT giving us a “winner-take-all” assignment of delegates from each participating state,
    a system that does NOT mirror the way that Electoral Votes will be won…
    What genius thought this system up?

    And please…don’t blame Hillary….it is “folks like you”, Obama supporters with their attitudes of superiority and their “if you don’t vote for Barack you must be a racist” spiel that I take exception to. How about “I just don’t trust the guy?”

    It is folks like you, insufferable, uncritical Obama supporters who have tipped me into the McCain camp It’s not Hillary’s fault, it’s yours. I wouldn’t support Barack if Hillary asked me to do so “s a personal favor”.

    You’ve done” A HECK OF A JOB, KYLE”
    And you are very, very welcome!

  11. Quelle, then you’re not really a supporter; plain and simple. I don’t mean this in a snide way, I mean this critically, and really, I don’t know why you bother coming here or reading the comments here anymore. Over the next few weeks, this blog will adjust itself towards defeating McCain. When Hillary joins that effort, we’ll count her as an ally (I will anyway), same as her supporters.

    I can understand the desire to vote for McCain at the end of this primary; there’s plenty of animosity to go around. I pretty much hate a good chunk of Hillary supporters, and would probably be feeling the same emotions as you had roles been reversed.

    But let’s make no bones about it, Hillary Clinton lost the nomination. There are, with this election like any other, a slew of contributing factors as to why one politician wins and the other doesn’t, and each are important in their own way, but it has been documented countless times, both from within the Clinton campaign, and without, that she simply was not prepared for the contest to extend beyond Super Tuesday, and she did not have a gameplan to contest the February caucuses and primaries. That was when Obama won the advantage he needed in delegates that sealed the deal. In the terms of playing the game as it was established and agreed upon by all candidates, Clinton included, Obama simply played a better game and won as a result.

    Yes, there was racism, sexism, messaging issues, negativity from campaigns and surrogates and all kinds of other factors in there. But when you look at the fact that the gap is relatively narrow, all Clinton had to do was be competative in the eleven contests that followed Super Tuesday and it would be a different story than it is now, and I’m gracious enough to recognize that I would likely be gnashing teeth and swearing to work against Hillary in the fall.

    But, and here’s the other thing; a vote for McCain is not a vote for Hillary, not in any way shape or form. Hillary, on just about every single issue out there, is a polar opposite of John McCain. Voting for John McCain is a vote against Hillary in just about every way, even in consideration that Hillary will make a run in 2012. Whether you like it or not, both of the final Democrats will bear a considerable brunt of the blame should Obama lose in the fall, but unlike Clinton, Obama has the time to recover–he has about twenty years before he will be considered too old to run again.

    Again, not a threat, just laying out the facts as I see them.

  12. Tony says:

    I am a Hillary supporter. I think she’s amazing, and a better prepared candidate for President. I do, however, realize that Obama has won the necessary delegates to be awarded the nomination, and because of this I will not use shady mathematics or arguments about popular vote to change the outcome of the process –however imperfect it may have been, Quelle.

    I wouldn’t DARE vote for McCain, but that doesn’t mean that I HAVE TO automatically vote for Obama, either. He has some convincing to do if he wants my vote. And as a citizen, I have the right to abstain from voting, just as much as I do going to vote. I expect all voters —democrat or republican, Obama supporters or Clinton supporters–to respect that.

    So, if you want to talk party unity, and bi-partisan inroads, let’s talk about what Obama can do to strengthen his position in states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky. That’s what his supports need to focus on. His charisma will only take him so far, and it’s not to 271 electoral votes…

    Oh, and just because I’m not a blind-faith Obama fanatic does not make me a racist. I am, in fact, African-American myself.

  13. Kathy says:

    Staying home on Election Day, if you supported Clinton and don’t want to vote for Obama, is a lot different — in my view, at least — from voting for McCain. If you just can’t bring yourself to vote for someone, you shouldn’t. But voting for McCain is an active decision to wreck Obama’s chances (even if it doesn’t work). Not voting can be a principled choice; voting for McCain out of anger that the Democratic candidate you preferred did not win the nomination is petty, spiteful, and counterproductive.

  14. Hey, Tony, I respect your position completely and totally. In fact, had things been different, I would probably be of the same mind frame for a while; Clinton now needs to convince me to vote for her.

    I would eventually come around most likely, but I would be in about the same position. So we’re good there.

    As for the states you are talking about, to be honest, I’ve already seen encouraging reports from Pennsylvania and Ohio. Florida may be lost, but I think Florida has been falsely described as purple for a while now anyway. Florida, at least as I observe it, has some similarities to California, except it doesn’t have the massively powerful and populated liberal epicenters that California has and therefore is much more in the thrall of its conservative regions. Plus, Northern Florida is more a part of the deep South than anything else. In other words, I think Florida will be a challenge regardless of who is nominated, especially given that McCain demographically is built for the state in many ways.

    You’re right, charisma alone won’t net 271, but one thing that I think a lot of people don’t see is that his charisma isn’t his biggest strength; it’s his organization. Television pundits love to wax poetic about how great Obama is on the stump, and, yes, the ridiculously huge and enthusiastic crowds he draws make good news. But it’s his inside baseball stuff that is truly remarkable.

    In this post, I hint at it:


    But a much more detailed outline comes from Matt Stoller’s outline of the kind of organization I’m talking about:


    For anyone interested in how Obama is going to win this election, that link right there is an absolute must read, especially since there still aren’t few people who are talking about the nuts and bolts of the political campaign. When Obama described the organization that David Plouffe built as the best in history, he wasn’t exaggerating.

    I’m going to do a post on this soon, but the thing is, I think, if Obama runs this contest the way I think he’s going to run it, demography won’t be destiny. I think he’s going to outraise, out organize, and outplay McCain across the board. He’s going to dig up voters where people didn’t think voters existed.

    But back to the states you mentioned. The thing is, Obama is going to run a fifty state campaign, hands down, and what is slowly creeping into prominence is that he’s making enormous inroads into the West, specifically those predominantly white states that aren’t as inflicted by the historical inflictions that the South continues to harbor.

    And, while it’s silly to think that Obama is going to win anywhere in the deep south, he will make inroads there. One thing that few are talking about is that I think Obama is going to also win Virginia, and its 13 electoral votes. Virginia has been trending blue now for quite some time, thanks in no small part to Governor (soon to be Senator Warner), but also thanks to Obama who has invested time and effort in the state, and through Tim Kaine, has the full backing and enthusiasm of rapidly growing state organization.

    Virginia still has significant deep red regions, but the thing that a lot of people should understand is that the type of Democrats that are prominent here, Webb, Warner, Kaine, are largely Obama style Democrats, and there is a lot of symbiosis going on here.

    I think, once our party comes together, and I have every bit of faith it will (My mathematical estimates suggest that maybe one to five percent of the party may defect), I truly think that the Obama campaign will be one of the most energized and effective campaigns we’ve ever seen, and 300+ may be more than reachable.

    And as for convincing. There’s not much more that I can say to convince. My prime argument remains that Clinton and Obama are ideologically similar. That’s not much of an argument, you still want a candidate that inspires, and it’s hard to get behind someone that you’ve considered the enemy for the past year and a half, all totally understandable.

    But I’ve been covering this campaign from the very beginning, and there are few true differences.

    Healthcare: to be brutally honest, I think, and actually, I know that for Obama and Clinton, the ends are exactly the same, their prime difference isn’t where they want to go, but what they think the best way to get there is. As someone who would love to see universal single payer healthcare, something neither of these candidates offered actually, I’ve always felt that Obama’s plan was more politically astute. It’s not just the healthcare companies that are going to push back at attempts to universalize healthcare, mind you, but regular people as well, particularly people who are afraid, or opposed based on freedom and personal choice reasons, to such an idea.

    Thus, healthcare is a battle I think needs to be addressed incrementally, and is something that may not happen within the space of one presidential administration. I like that Obama only wants to mandate healthcare for kids because that will be the first step that will have the highest probability of success. It’s about emotions, and while covering EVERYBODY will trigger some of the same old ideological divides, focusing on children is, simply put, somethig you can build a successful heartstring pulling campaign off of. Then you let that simmer for a bit, let people realize that the world isn’t coming to an end just because children are covered on healthcare, and then you start a push to up the age limit, or you donut hole it and then mandate healthcare for folks over sixty or sixty five.

    Diplomacy- okay, so this is the meeting face to face with dictators deal, and it really does become a question on whether or not you think it’s a good idea. I can’t make that decision for you, but I can say, you know, why not? There’s an interesting discussion to be had here, I think, and I’d love to have it, and we can go rounds and rounds on it, and I look forward to doing so.

    Iraq vote- Believe it or not, I’m not as critical on Clinton’s Iraq vote as many others are. I think she addressed it very poorly in this campaign, and that hurt her, no doubt, but the fact is, before this presidential campaign, I defended the Iraq vote of many a Democrat, and to retract that would be hypocrtical. True, the Dems who voted for it weren’t as prescient and vigilant as they should have been, but they were getting clubbed over the head both through the selective release of intelligence, and through politics. Democrats have been afraid of looking weak on terror and foreign policy, and naturally converted that into capitulation in order to hold onto what they got, and I get that.

    But the important thing that Obama did when he made his speech against the war was not to just say we shouldn’t do it, but he accurately outlined the negative results of such an endeavor. I encourage you to go back and dig that speech up on youtube (I would link, but youtube is firewalled on my work computer), and pay attention to the reasons why he said we shouldn’t go to war in Iraq.

    As for foreign policy in general, Hillary Clinton has been, historically, more hawkish than Obama, and again, that is a matter of preference for you to consider on your own.

    But in many ways, Obama is no full on dove either. Let’s remember, he wants out of Iraq, but he wants into afghanistan and Pakistan to go after al qaeda.

    But what really does it for me, and what really solidified my support for Obama on the foreign policy front is the idea of dignity promotion, which you can read my original take on here:


    And you can go ahead and click on the link provided in that post which will give you the more wonkish explanation. This dignity promotion concept for me is enormous, and I’ll tell you why.

    One of my oldest and best friends on the internets is Cernig who runs the newshoggers.com blog. What initially brought us together is a couple of coinciding posts that we did on how to combat terrorism, and our discussions therein. This was back in 2004. I wish I could dig that post up for you, but the blog I wrote it on has long since been deleted and retired. But the basics of it was that if you really want to combat terrorism, you have to address the recruiting fields.

    You have to come to the understanding that while the heads of terrorist organizations may be affluent, well funded, and well educated, the people they recruit are often people who are turning to radical beliefs and terrorism to fill certain voids in their lives. It’s a similar mentality we see in gang membership, and religious cults, etc. You’ll never get rid of terrorism completely, but the idea here is that you can greatly reduce their ability to recruit by creating economic strength and prosperity among citizenry, and by allowing people to have a sense of purpose and contribution to their community. One of the prime factors that leads towards extremism is this disconnect with what’s going on around you, despair, and a desire to lash out against it.

    I’m being esoteric here, and I’m sorry, but if you dig through this site, or stick around long enough, you should understand where I am on terrorism, anti-terrorism, and the kind of environment that results in that behavior.


    When I read about the dignity promotion concept by the Obama campaign, I was floored. Everything I had studied and felt about terrorism, and finally there was a foreign policy team that seemed to have tailored an approach that directly addressed those concerns. So it was very exciting.

    And they were EAGER to debate on those terms which is heartening considering we seem all too eager to get into a pissing match on who can be the toughest and use more military equipment.

    Okay, so I’ve gone on way too long for what was initially my intent on this comment, but I want to thank you for your candor, and for not being antagonistic about it. I think the last thing I would ask you to read is this post:


    I share this site with a lot of folks, and not all of them are going to share my opinion, and that’s fine. We’ve got folks on our side that need some time to vent and heal and decompress after such a bitterly fought campaign, so I think some Clinton supporters should also recognize that we need a little time too before we’re all ready to offer olive branches.

    But I’m there. I’m excited about this campaign, and I want the rest of my friends, even those I’ve been at war with for the past year and a half, to join me on that.

    Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook