HILLARY CLINTON: FRAT BOY

A smart, liberal, female Democratic friend of mine repeatedly points out to me ways in which Barack Obama often comes across to some women as arrogant. She says a lot of women who are backing Hillary Clinton will find it hard to support Obama in the fall because, in her words, “he’s another frat boy” candidate: the cool and charming jock who gets his way and doesn’t appreciate or work hard enough to have gotten where he did.

But, at least as concerns this campaign, who really gave it the old college frat boy try? One candidate claimed to be “in it to win it,” as if it were a mere vanity or popularity contest worth winning for winning’s sake. One candidate casually dismissed the notion that the campaign might go much beyond the February 5 Super Tuesday contests. One candidate prepared, as one television political analyst put it recently to me, “absolutely nothing—zilch, zero” insofar as a delegate-capture strategy. One candidate proved to be a stubborn, bad listener who clung to advisers who were not serving the campaign well out of a sense of loyalty.

Isn't, after all, Clinton who ran a much more presumptuous, just-need-to-show-up “frat boy” candidacy than Obama? Wasn’t she the one who proved unprepared and who underestimated the task facing her? Clinton supporters have every right to complain about the asymmetric national media coverage that was tougher on her and, until recently, more favorable toward him. He certainly benefited, to at least some extent, from his gender. But beyond that, she was the frat boy candidate in 2008.

--Tom Schaller

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