I caught the replay of the debate late last night, and that attack line clearly bombed with the audience, and was probably why Hillary Clinton felt the need to be gracious to Barack Obama in her closing remarks. But what struck me more about the rest of her answer to the exchange over Obama’s “plagiarism” was that whatever you may say about Obama, the case he makes for his candidacy is coherent, while Clinton is utterly incoherent.
Obama argues that everybody has policy proposals, but that if you don’t inspire the American people to get behind a given cause, nothing can happen. He can point to the movement he has created as evidence of his ability to inspire people, to get them to rally around the idea of change.
At every turn in this campaign, when Obama talks about uniting the country, she turns it into a discussion of the need to be prepared for battle, for fighting the wicked “right wing machine,” because she is a woman utterly trapped in the 1990s. But what did the 1990s do to advance liberal ideology? All of their “victories” over this right wing machine were about winning two elections, avoiding being removed from office via impeachment, and leaving with high approval ratings–all personal triumphs rather than victories for liberalism.
Then she cited a familiar example:
But if anything, the case of her disastrous health care reform effort makes Obama’s point for him. Hillary arrogantly approached the task, held closed door meetings, tried to steamroll through the opposition, alienated members of Congress, turned off the American people, and the plan ended up going down in flames. The one actual executive task she was given in her life became one of the most colossal legislative failures in modern American history. And it was all because of the very attitude that she is displaying in her race against Obama–that the way to win is to destroy all of your opponents. Whether or not his speeches are empty platitudes, Obama understands that to get anything accomplished, you need to convince people to agree with you. That’s why he’s beating her.