The numbers do not add up

From Chicago to Atlanta to New York, the Tygrrrr Express is glad to back in Brooklyn.

The fallout from the Presidential race is still being dissected, but my thoughts tonight turn to cold hard numbers.

On a happy note, my favorite number at the moment is 99. That is the age of my grandmother, who I made absolutely sure made it into her bed safely. She turns 100 in less than a month, and the few days I will spend with her are invaluable.

She still wishes there are things that she could do. She was married for 67 years, and when my grandfather died at age 97, she was 94. She had always cooked for me, and walked on her own. The last 6 years have been tougher than the first 94 for her. I kept telling her that I knew how to walk across the street and get my own dinner, but she was always used to handling everything. She worries about one of her children (not my mother thank God) pre-deceasing her, and had to witness one of her 5 grandchildren predecease her at age 42.

She is a tough, strong, smart woman, and just knowing my grandmother was sound asleep in the next room made me feel at peace. Yet that peace is tempered with the reality that numbers are what they are. My grandmother simply cannot play tennis or dance the Charleston anymore. While she has not happy about such realities, she has done what many people do not do. She has accepted her situation, and gracefully prepared for what comes next. To her, what comes next making sure the next generation is prepared to grow.

Life is about growth. We either grow or we die. Yet some people feel that their time is on the verge of passing. It is now or never. Desperation sets in.

This is what I see from Hillary Clinton.

I have never taken a psychology course. I am not a psychoanalyst. Yet as much as I enjoy watching the democrats beat each other’s brains in, a cold detached perspective sees a woman on the verge of collapse. She has locked herself into a viewpoint that if she persists, the world of numbers will cease to exist, and she will be President of the United States.

I have offered many reasons why she should never be President. I have discussed her numerous negative qualities. I have repeatedly stated she cannot govern.

Yet I have never counted her out. I kept saying that she would find a way to win. he would resort to any tactic, and it would work.

I was right about her willingness to try and destroy Barack Obama, but her window for succeeding seems to be closing. She defeated him by 10 points in Pennsylvania, but his pledged delegate lead only shrank from 160 to 145. There are only 9 conests, left, none of them as large as Pennsylvania. The largest remaining contest is North Carolina, which Barack Obama should win in a landslide.

I am not going to tell Hillary to drop out. As a republican, I am comfortable with her ripping the democratic party to shreds. As somebody who simply accepts that 2 + 2 = 4, I do not see Hillary surpassing Obama in the pledged delegate count.

So why continue?

I believe Hillary Clinton believes that something, somehow, will give her the nomination. Yet at what price? How much further should she and her husband enrage many of her past supporters?

Hillary often wrote about the “politics of meaning.” I wonder if she truly can find meaning in her life if she fails in her quest to be President. Al Gore found meaning in raking in millions of dollars and having people tell him they love him. John Kerry? He does not seem to have found much.

Chelsea is all grown up. Bill has his life making speeches. Hillary could focus on being a great senator, but her passion was never to be a Senator. She wanted to lead. She has always had to follow others. This was her turn.

The argument that somebody has paid their dues, and therefore it is their turn, smacks of entitlement. Bob Dole was gift wrapped a nomination for what seemed noting more than it was his turn. What neither of these people failed to do was inspire people.

Bob Dole was a great Senator, but he did not make people rally around him. John McCain inspires people. Barack Obama, for all his flaws, has energized the political process.

Hillary and Dole are technocrats. Michael Dukakis was a technocrat. Technoratic is a polite way of saying boring. President George Herbert Walker Bush once admitted that he lacked the “vision thing,” but the vision thing is important.

Ideology will trump competence because ideology is about passion. People run on competence when they cannot inspire passion. People govern effectively not by managing the bureaucracy, but by motivating people to do what they want. Leadership is not about making people do things. It is about getting them to want to do those things.

Hillary expected a quick primary victory based on name recognition. The fact that she lasted longer than Rudy Giuliani and Joseph Lieberman does not change the fact that when the numbers came in, people wanted somebody they could believe in to reach for the stars and deliver greatness.

Americans put a man on the moon. We won the Cold War and freed millions of people living under Communism. We invented the internet, and created a fledgling democracy that is the envy of the world.

Yet what Americans are most are realists. It is not about what we desire It is about what we can achieve. Ideas can seem farfetched, but if the evidence refuses to tell us that our goals are fantasy, then we persist.

Yet at some point we do decline. We decline healthwise. We become worse at things we used to do with ease. We move slower, think slower, and react slower. Everything around us moves faster.

Hillary Clinton sees her very best chance of being the leader of the free world slipping away. She will claw tooth and nail against all odds in search of a miracle because she know that the consequences of failing is most likely a rapid decline, at least from a political standpoint.

It is a cold reality, but people who run for President and lose are forced to confront the fact that their opinions barely matter more than the average person on the street. Nobody argues that Michael Dukakis is a bad person, but he went from almost being President to teaching at a college. Yes, that is a respectable profession, but it is quite a come down in prestige.

Hillary has more than most people will ever have, but like any hard driving person, falling short will hit her hard. Jon Corzine was fired as the head of Goldman Sachs. He eased his pain by becoming Governor of New Jersey. Richard Nixon bounced back from a tough loss to reach the top 8 years later.

Hillary does not have 8 years. She has maybe 8 weeks.

This is why she will do whatever it takes, regardless of who she hurts. The hourglass is running out of sand, and a life after a failure is not something she would handle well. She is not Fatal Attraction psychotic, but coping with rejection is not her strong suit.

We will know in several weeks, but 80% of traders on intrade are betting on Obama, with only 16% betting on her to win the nomination.

regardless of what anybody thinks about her, her only options at this point are destruction, cheating, or quitting. She will not quit, which makes for an ugly endgame.

She can protest all she likes, but it is about the numbers. They do not add up for her, no matter how hard she tries to manipulate them. She may rail against corporate greed, but she is the political equivalent. The air is out of the balloon, and the numbers cannot dance any more.


18 Responses to “The numbers do not add up”

  1. Jersey McJones says:

    She still has the SDs, and they may well know that Hillary (of all people) is a slightly better bet against against McCain regardless of the fallout from a divided convention. Don’t forget those numbers. They are real and they could make all the difference.


  2. Eagle 6 says:

    Eric, Great analogy with grandma and the itch that needs scratching with a B sting…Obama has time…this is it for her. Jersey may be right – as odd as it may seem, she is more electable today… Obama seems to be losing favor with those who aren’t on the super left, and even though he receives about 85 – 90% of Black vs white vote, and Hillery gets about 60-65% of white vs Black, there’s a whole lot more whites…and the story recently was how racist white voters are because they are voting for Hillery 2/3ds more than for Obama… Only in America…

    …I would like to be able to vote for Obama…if only his proposals were anywhere near a less than socialistic agenda, he could be good for America as a unifier. Unfortunately, we don’t need to be unified by a Big Brother of one size fits all spread the wealth while killing capitalism and disarming the US… the New Testament has some interesting philosophies… most people believe that “turn the other cheek” means accept another blow…it may mean turn so you can get a better angle for a counter punch… and the coat you give to strangers, rather than a charitable donation, may be infested with lice… OK, now that I have offended forgiveness-oriented Christians, I’ll concede that God the father is conservative, Jesus is a liberal, and fortunately, the Holy Spirit provides a balance…

  3. micky2 says:

    Eagle 6;
    I’ll concede that God the father is conservative, Jesus is a liberal, and fortunately, the Holy Spirit provides a balance…”

    Man, that debate would be some Pandoras box.
    Thats like a bad call at an Irsih soccer game

  4. charly martel says:

    Does anybody think that Hillary getting the nomiination will tear the democrat party to pieces? Can you hear the howls of racism already?

  5. micky2 says:

    If it were the other way around it would be misogyny.
    You cant win.

  6. Jersey McJones says:

    Exactly Micky. The Dems have painted themselves into a corner of their own making. They’ve made themselves feel so good they forgot what the whole point was in the first place – to win the White House. I have a blogger friend who hypothesized a couple of years ago that the Dem establishment actually wants to lose the election. He seems more prescient every day. The next president is facing an unprecedented disaster, inheriting many problems not of their own making and blamed for every one of them. It wouldn’t surprise me, if that shameless AUMF vote five years ago was any clue, that the Dems would throw one. It’s easy. Gutlessly, spinelessly easy.


  7. micky2 says:

    I believe it was the Iguana who said that.
    So chalk one up for him.
    Maybe after this disater the Dems will stop using racism and bigotry as a defense so quickly.
    But from past history I wouldnt put my money on it.
    If they do succeed I wont have any money anyway. :-(

  8. Jersey McJones says:

    Bush already spent your money, Micky. It’s on an installment plan. You can only blame that on the Dems insofar as they agreed with the GOP.


  9. micky2 says:

    I dont mind most of what hes spending it on. It is my money right ?
    Unfortunatly one of the main negatives for both Dem candidates is the they will take more.

  10. Eagle 6 says:

    If I remember correctly, the Dems took the majority a couple years ago because the “people wanted change”… and even though things have been sliding further into the gutter with unemployment, housing ‘crash’, recession, et al, we still have a less than 6% unemployment rate; 99% of the people are paying their mortgages, and the stock market was still around 12,600 or better yesterday… There’s reason to tighten things up, but the sky isn’t falling…well, it LOOKED like it was falling yesterday in Kansas with hail and balckness all around, and why Dorothy was so glad to be back is beyond me…

  11. Jersey McJones says:

    Eagle, I do not share your optimism. Joblessness is up (unemployment is a useless statistic), poverty is up, crime is up, we have over 2 million people incarcerated, we’re going on our third year of negative personal savings, the trad/accounts balance/budget deficits are up, inflation is through the roof (they don’t even include gas and food in the measurement), mortgage defaults are at record highs, housing stocks are at 38 year highs, our debt has almost doubled in the past 7 years, and the problems are beginning to spread abroad to our trading partners (British home prices are down 10% this year), and it goes on and on.

    I can’t imagine how anyone could put a smiley face on this pile of ….


  12. Eagle 6 says:

    Jersey, The reason I can put a smiley face on this is because our prime lending rate isn’t 21%, more people own homes today than ever before (to include minorities and otherwise unqualified citizens), we have a higher standard of living than we’ve ever had before, and I am free to work, sit on my butt, trade philosophies, humor, and insults with anyone I please, and nobody’s holding a gun to my head to do or not do anything…

  13. micky2 says:

    And someone somewhere cant find his morining NYTs because the sky fell on it

  14. Eagle, there’s a fine line between positivism and fatalism.


  15. Joshua Godinez says:

    People I know are split as to whether Obama or Clinton would be harder to beat in the general election, but we all agree that she’d rather shred the Democratic Party than give up.

  16. micky2 says:

    Jersey, that line goes like this; ” life is what you make it’

  17. Eagle 6 says:

    Jersey – I agree with Micky that life is what you make it. I also subscribe to the serenity prayer about changing the things I can and accepting things I can’t… I’m not convinced there’s that fine of a line between being positive and fatalistic… What would be fatalistic is to get the government involved in subsidizing housing, subsidizing business over the long term, and subsidizing health care. The economy, just like the housing market,, goes through cycles. Prices were climbing because interest rates were low, and more people could afford homes, creating demand…then more tickler rates were offered, and banks loaned money to people who wouldn’t otherwise have qualified because the banks figured they would get their money, even in default, because prices were so high…and others borrowed huge amounts of money against their over-valued homes, creating more debt and/or betting against more pay at work. And the cycle spun out of control but will level out. My daughter and her husband are hammered all the time about buying a home, but they can’t even afford health insurance…but they should buy a home? They live with us, and if it were up to me, (which has absolutely nothing to do with this argument) they won’t move out until my grandkids are grown!

    The people are adjusting as well. They are starting to realize that the union-led high wages for menial labor are going fast, so they must get creative in figuring out how to make a living, and/or learn a trade, get educated, get motivated. Uncle Sugar can give people a leg up for training, schools, whatever, but we don’t need them as a primary feeding system – the more we depend on the government, the bigger it gets, and the less freedoms we have.

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