Hillary Keeps Losing Florida Strategy

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Florida, Hillary

She won tonight, and her team is pushing for her delegates to be seated.

From Mark Penn:

Most of the voters in Florida fully expect that their votes will not be wasted again — they expect to have a voice at the convention, and Hillary has asked her delegates to support their being seated.

What gets me is how transparently bad this strategy is. There’s no winning here. This makes Hillary look like a liar, not only to her fellow senior Democrats, but also to the voters in places like New Hampshire and Iowa…

Courting voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, last August Sen. Hillary Clinton signed a pledge not to “campaign or participate” in the Michigan or Florida Democratic primaries. She participated in both primaries and is campaigning in Florida. Which proves, again, that Hillary Clinton is a liar. [...]

“I will try to persuade my delegates to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida,” Clinton said last week, after the New Hampshire primaries and Iowa caucuses were safely over.

Clinton coldly and knowingly lied to New Hampshire and Iowa. Her promise was not a vague statement. It was a signed pledge with a clear and unequivocal meaning.

That’s from the New Hampshire Union Leader, and it feeds this growing meme that she will say and do anything to win.

So why did they campaign in Florida? Here’s part of the explanation:

This result comes after Senator Obama ran TV commercials that reached Florida homes and after the enormous publicity he received for South Carolina and for the Ted Kennedy endorsement.

Let’s put SoCo and Kennedy aside and focus on the TV commercials. Note the careful phrasing of the words there. The TV commercials “reached” Florida. You want to know why they said the commercials “reached” Florida but didn’t “run” in Florida? Because it was a national cable TV buy that couldn’t exclude any state. This would be the same as buying national time on a network show like CSI, and people from Florida tuning it and happening to catch it. If his team had bought media the other way and excluded Florida, they would have had to make 49 separate buys instead of 1. So yes, some of Barack’s commercials “reached” Florida. This coming from the team that didn’t take Hillary’s name off the Michigan ballot when everybody else did? Please…

In the end, I go back to how bad a move this is on Hill’s part. She didn’t win anything tonight, just like she didn’t win Michigan. And she’s not going to get their delegates seated if this contest actually goes the distance. Again, all this does is make it look like she’s trying to cheat and that’s the exact opposite of the image she needs to be portraying right now.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 and is filed under Florida, Hillary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Hillary Keeps Losing Florida Strategy”

  1. gerryf Says:

    As a Michigan resident and one of the many disenfranchised voters (aren’t the Dems supposed to be against that sort of thing?), let me offer a slightly different perspective.

    You are correct that these votes do not (at present count) and any victory Clinton claims in Florida or Michigan rings hollow. What Hillary wins in all of this, particularly in Michigan where independents are allowed to vote in either primary, is the allegiance of voters who felt abandoned by candidates who removed their names from the ballots.

    Speaking to fellow centrists who are so disgusted with the right that they are leaning toward the Democratic ticket, many give Hillary props for bucking the national party trend.

    Instead of being totally beholden to the Party, Clinton scored with some Independents as more “independent: minded.

    We all know that the primary race is about appealing to the base; but the general election is about appealing to the middle. Maybe Florida and Michigan delegates will not be seated (who knows, maybe they still will), but come the general election those disenfranchised voters may remember Clinton as someone who did not abandon them and in a close race, that may be enough.

  2. Jammer Says:

    I respectfully disagree. It was important for her to slow the Kennedy momentum and i dont see many people thinking she cheated, I see many people wondering why the Dems are so stupid as to disenfranchise two full states of voters that they need in November. The validity of her strategy is born out by Obama’s late campaigning in FL. He recognized what she was doing and tried to counteract, too late. Its pretty funny that no matter what she does some people say she’s a cheater. This is a rough game. People who play nice get no where and achieve nothing. What is increasingly clear in the blogosphere, to the blogosphere’s discredit I think, is that bloggers are pretty universally revealing themselves NOT to be pundits, in the grand tradition of that word, but to be advocates for their bias. I know I will never view the blogosphere as a group of pundits again.

  3. Polimom Says:

    I also view the DNC’s decision to strip MI and FL of their delegates as wrong. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be a Democrat (or someone wanting to vote for a Dem candidate) in either of those two states. OTOH, there was quite a rush for the “I wanna be first” position, and we could easily have been starting the primaries up as we opened Christmas presents. YUK!

    That said — the very best face I can put on Hillary’s move in front of FL is a pander.

    When all is said and done, and the Dems get to the national convention, one of two things will happen:

    1. If there’s a clear winner then, that person will go ahead and seat the delegates from FL and MI. That would have been true regardless of the DNC penalty. Nobody wants to disenfranchise, and saying that Hillary “cares” more, or Obama “ignored” FL, is disingenuous at best.

    Alternatively,

    2. If there’s no clear winner — if the nomination depends upon the delegates from these two states — Hillary’s going to push with everything she’s got to seat them, and she may very well break the party. Why? Because the most important outcome of the DNC’s decision was a radically changed election, compared to the other states.

    Furthermore, she did not raise these issues at all until well after the fact. In fact, she signed the same pledge as the other candidates, but played both states in a radically different way.

    That may be within the bounds of hard-ball politics, but the direct result of the DNC’s penalties in both of those states was that their primary results are perceived as invalid because of the way the process was handled.

    If the fault lies anywhere, it’s at the party level, whether state or local (take your pick).

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