Let us address the central paradox of the Hillary Clinton campaign. To do that, though, we must first refresh our memories. Specifically, this ad:
Remember it? It is, of course, an edited version of the iconic Apple 1984 ad which was altered to convert it from revolutionary agitprop praising a multinational corporation to revolutionary agitprop praising an undistinguished machine politician from Chicago. And, to be fair, it was successful agitprop. We will be arguing for decades about just how Hillary Clinton managed to lose that primary fight, but she did – and videos like this probably didn’t hurt.
But… that’s the problem, isn’t it? In 2007 the Democratic electorate was told, point-blank, You do not have to ‘settle’ for Hillary Clinton. You can have something that’s better. Different. Not more of the same. And the Democratic electorate arguably responded* to that. And their reward? …Hillary Clinton has come back in 2016. Only now she’s almost a decade older, and probably considerably more bitter about life. Not to mention, really inevitable this time.
Thus the paradox. Hillary Clinton was used to establish, fix, and personalize everything that the Obama campaign wanted primary voters to think was wrong with the current system. Then they brought her into the administration, which means that she’s inextricably linked to it. So Hillary Clinton can’t run on being opposed to Obama’s policies, because she helped implement them**. But if she runs on being on-board with the Obama agenda, she’s left with two problems, the second*** one being that a large part of the Obama agenda was that he supposedly represented a break of the politics of the past, which were in no small part exemplified by… Hillary Clinton.
This situation just cycles, endlessly. Probably not what Phil de Vellis (the guy who came up with the video originally, and the guy who now works for Democratic video campaign firm Putnam Partners) had in mind; I’m reasonably sure that at the time the guy probably figured that 2008 was the important date, and that 2016 would just have to take care of itself. So it did, so it did. Doesn’t really help any poor sap who has to explain to the electorate that the exact same person used as the Horrible Old Contrast in 2008 will be the Great New Hope in 2016. Hey! Maybe they can adapt this clip!
Couldn’t hurt, right?
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*It depends on who you ask. There are four different ways to score the popular vote in the 2008 primaries; it is, however, fairly clear that the Democrats’ super-delegates decided to back Barack Obama.
**There’s also the minor detail that every successful Democratic strategy for 2016 starts with First, assume that the African-American vote will remain at full intensity. Going after Obama’s policies is an excellent way to make sure that that scenario will not happen at all (as opposed to just really unlikely to happen).
***Do I really need to tell you the first problem with being on-board with the Obama agenda? Really?