Monday, May 05, 2008

Hillary’s Problem: Superdelegates are the “Elite!”

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In her recent ABC town hall, Hillary Clinton apparently had a moment that I think defines why her quixotic attempt to maneuver her way to the Democratic nomination has been doomed for a long time.

I’ll get back to the specifics a bit later, but first I’d like to expand on a theme I first heard in a brief comment by Keith Olbermann. After Super Tuesday, Hillary’s strategy basically took two parallel tracks. The first was to align herself with stupid low-information voters who might be susceptible to racist fears and distrust of what she calls “elitism.” The second was to appeal to superdelegates to choose her over Obama based on her superior electability.

The problem with these two tracks is that in order to campaign to stupid low-information voters, she has to make stupid low-information arguments, often about people who are too smart elitist to understand the concerns that simple-minded ordinary people have about their lives. The basic logical structure of many of Hillary’s arguments can be summarized as variations of the inflammatory rallying cry:
They think they’re smarter than you . . . just because they’re smarter than you!
This may work with those who are fiercely proud of their status as stupid low-information citizens, but requires a willing denial of reality to be accepted by those capable of recognizing faulty logic when they see it. That would be the informed populace that Hillary demonizes as the “elite,” and which happens to include, most likely, all of the superdelegates!

This is why, even though some of the racist/elitist fear mongering seems to have helped Clinton in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, the flow of superdelegates to Obama has continued steadily, and has even increased!

Now, back to the town hall, where Hillary had the audacity (of dope?) to claim she was siding with the common people against the nearly unanimous opinion of “elitist” economists who say that her support for a "gas tax holiday" is a ridiculous and harmful pander that will hurt more than help the American people.

Fortunately, there was at least one voter present who was willing to state the obvious – that perhaps people who study economics know something about economics!

What Hillary doesn’t seem willing to admit is that even most low information voters aren’t stupid when it comes to seeking advice from experts when they have the need and opportunity. I doubt she would get very far making a comparable argument that her supporters shouldn’t listen to their “elitist” doctors about their health, or ignore their “elitist” pastors about religious matters.

With her recent statement at the town hall, she might as well have been telling her supporters that they should resist the suggestion of “elitist” electricians to not take their electric radios in the bathtub - because those “elitists” don’t appreciate the desires of working class Americans to “rock out” while scrubbing the day’s accumulation of shit from their tired working class bodies!

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