Friday, January 11, 2008

C'mon already

Anyone else getting sick of the endless analysis of Hillary Clinton's crying jag?

Sure, the reaction to it is an interesting sociological study in gender bias and the politics of projection. And there's a side story about how Hillary is perceived as so controlled that anything spontaneous -- including tears -- is a notable break in the facade.

But c'mon: it's embarassing that grown men and women, supposedly deeply knowledgeable political observers, can aver with a straight face that Hillary tearing up is the reason she won in New Hampshire.

Besides seriously dissing the intelligence and judgment of the average New Hampshire voter, let's try to follow the logic.

Polls showed Obama with a pretty good lead. The undecideds generally weren't big enough to be the swing factor.

So we're supposed to believe that there were a large number of voters who intended to vote for Obama (for instance) but then saw footage of Hillary crying and thought, "Wait a minute! That's the one for me."

Does that make sense to anyone?

As I noted before, the results in New Hampshire were surprising mostly because they contradicted the pre-election polls. But if you hadn't been paying attention to the polling and someone came up to you and said Clinton and McCain had won in New Hampshire, you'd say "Well, duh." Because in their respective primaries they're the closest match to that particular electorate.

There certainly is a story into why the polling was wrong. My pet theory: A bunch of Biden, Richardson and (particularly) Edwards supporters threw their vote to either Clinton or Obama at the last minute, knowing that their preferred candidate had little chance and wanting to influence the frontrunners. Or maybe the polls were just, you know, wrong. It happens.

And I certainly understand why embarassed pundits had to scrap around for something to blame for their poor prognostication.

But putting it down to Hillary's tears is contemptuous of both Hillary and the voters.

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Blogger Dyre42 said...

There's also the theory that since Obama was way up in the polls some independents instead decided to help McCain out.

1/11/2008 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And let's not forget the Diebold theory:

I'm not saying I agree with it, but...


1/11/2008 7:48 PM  
Blogger GK said...

Living here in NH . I can tell you that Clinton tearing up was a bigger story for morons in the media like Chris Mathews than was for the electorate.
Here are my two reasons for why she won......
Going on from NH, people here wanted a race not a lock on the race (if Obama had won) with 48 states yet to vote......
the biggest college (UNH) in Durham was not in session. with a majority of kids from in-state they were eligible to vote. Caucusing for a candidate (like in Iowa with many schools not in session), I guess is a communal activity for everyone. Voting is not a communal activity (at least not for 18-22 year olds not living in college towns, particularly so when the ski season is in full swing )
These two would represent the margin of Obama's defeat.

1/12/2008 1:09 PM  
Anonymous caracarn said...

A good reflection on the state of our politics. Even with all the critical issues facing us from war to energy to economy, the tearing up of Hillary produces more buzz than comprehensive critiques of the candidates' issues. I don't know what's more to blame, voter apathy or the shallow sound-bite sensationalism of mainstream media.
Regarding the NH outcome, I second the Diebold theory. It looks like a hand recount will be taking place beginning Wednesday. I'm continually amazed that the issue of vote fraud doesn't get more attention, considering how it's been shown by numerous studies how easily votes could be hacked or rigged with these optic scanners and especially touch-screen machines.
How about an analysis, Sean?

1/14/2008 7:55 AM  

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