White men give Hillary a lesson in realpolitick
By Carey Roberts
Oh, what a difference a year makes. When Hillary Clinton made her "I'm in to win" announcement on January 20, 2007, her path to the Democratic nomination looked like a rose-petal strewn cakewalk.
Since three-fifths of the Democratic electorate are female, it was reasoned that most of these women would line up obediently behind Hillary's campaign. Clinton would reassure her media adorers that "this campaign isn't about gender," and then huddle with her all-female staff to plan the next Women for Hillary rally.
If anyone criticized her record, Hillary's advisors would mount a "Politics of Pile-On" counter-offensive. And the New York Times could always be counted on to run a sympathetic "wounds I gladly bear" front-page story.
Lacking any real competition, Mrs. Clinton would sweep the February 5 Super Tuesday primaries, and begin practicing her acceptance speech while the Republican contenders battled it out through the Spring.
But one day reality intruded.
A charismatic politician from Illinois threw his hat into the ring, assembled a cracker-jack team, and began to rake in a craterful of cash.
As chance would have it, last December 13 their private jets were parked side by side at Washington's Reagan airport. So Hillary summoned the political upstart to her plane for a little talking-to. Soon she was "flapping her arms" over Barack's charge that she was log-rolling the release of her first lady papers.
A few weeks later the Iowa caucus-goers cast their votes and Hillary Clinton placed a disastrous third place. In a single day Hillary the Inevitable had become Hillary the Question Mark.
Then came Super Tuesday. Mr. Obama didn't corner the male vote in every state, but he racked up enough male and African-American ballots to prove Barack the Movement had arrived. Following his convincing win in South Carolina, Obama delivered a masterful victory speech in which he declared himself the candidate of unity.
Last week it was revealed that Clinton had been forced to shore up her campaign with an emergency $5 million loan. Then came the string of weekend losses, followed by more set-backs in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia on Tuesday
It's a little too early to write the obituary on Hillary Clinton's historic quest, but indulge me while I hammer out the first draft.
David Paul Kuhn's recent book The Neglected Voter: White Men and the Democratic Dilemma surveys the politics of last half century and concludes, "No factor has been more instrumental in causing the Democratic decline in presidential politics than the loss of white men."
Likewise pollsters like Celinda Lake have been warning the Democratic Party to reach out to the white male voter. Time after time the Dems ginned up a presidential candidate who failed to exemplify the qualities of constancy, resilience, and strength. No surprise, the white male electorate turned its back on these effete apologists for the Nanny State.
Hillary not only ignored the white male voter, she repeatedly tweaked men's collective noses. She staged a preposterous "Iron My Shirt" protest at a New Hampshire rally. Her campaign's nearly palpable message is, "Step aside mister, the pantsuits are here to run the show."
And women turned out to be far more independent-minded than Hillary's advisors were counting on. Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Linda Hirshman recently revealed that compared to men, women are less interested in public affairs, less likely to follow "hard" news, and are less knowledgeable about political issues.
This is Hirshman's most revealing quote: "With the possible exception of 1996, women have never voted a candidate into the White House when men thought the other guy should win."
Every two years the leftist media undergoes a political mating ritual that goes something like this:
First remind the candidates that women represent 54% of the electorate. Then browbeat the Republican candidate because he is lagging with the ladies, while ignoring his greater lead among men. And after your candidate loses, come up with some loopy explanation like, "The Democrat lost because he didn't endorse reproductive rights for teenage girls."
The nation's 97 million white males represent the second largest block in the American electorate, after white females. What white men lack in raw numbers, they more than compensate with electoral cohesion and political acumen.
If Barack Obama goes on to sew up the Democratic nomination, which seems more likely every day, his triumph will be a testament to the hubris and folly of Hillary Clinton, who once believed she could ignore the white male voter.
Carey Roberts is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
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