Monday, March 10, 2008

The Machine's Faint Hope

Ok, so now that I've broken down the Clinton machine, we can see why Clinton is still in this race when Obama (were the situation reversed) almost certainly wouldn't be.

Remember that the Clinton machine is the Democratic machine. For various reasons, mostly revolving around her husband and her former "inevitability", she has had a lot of people riding on her success.

Well, think about the superdelegates, or "automatic delegates" in the mouths of Clinton supporters. They aren't chosen by the grassroots of the party. They're the people who are part of the Democratic party in-and-of themselves: elected officials (current and former), organizers, leaders, managers, fundraisers... all the people that are the glue that hold the "party" together as a coherent organization.

Or, to switch metaphor, machine Democrats.

Get it now? Clinton is staying in because she believes that the machine will support her. Even if Obama is the clear choice of the grassroots--as he almost certainly will be--she thinks that all these other people matter just as much, if not more.

She's confident that the machine will choose the candidate that has most closely embraced it, and spurn the insurgent. Even if Obama is a stronger candidate, even if the polling suggests that Obama would crush McCain, even if the grassroots has clearly made its choice, it doesn't matter. She has embraced the machine, perhaps is the machine, and she believes that those Dems that are committed to the machine will choose her. And why would they not? She's not running on change, or reform, or--God forfend!--anything that would force these people to do anything they don't already do. She likes them just the way they are, and wants them to love her as much as she loves them and everything they represent. I know I'd find that pretty attractive, were I one of them.

That's why we're seeing these "experience" talking points from the Hillary camp. The grassroots are unlikely to respond that strongly to it, and both Hillary and Obama are going to get absolutely gobsmacked by the "war hero" thing from the McCainiacs no matter who comes as the (D) choice. It's intended for the superdelegates, to remind them that what really matters is the insight and political acumen that they have developed. The grassroots (bless their innocent little hearts) can choose whomever they want, but the people who should be making the decision are the ones who are politically experienced: the superdelegates she's courting.

Keep that in mind when you're watching the news over the next few weeks/months. Nothing she says is aimed at you, whether you're in an upcoming primary state or not. It's aimed at those "wiser heads" whose opinions--in Clinton's eyes--are worth more than yours: the "automatic delegates".

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