The West Virginia primary today is all show and no substance. it will do nothing to change the direction of the race. All the media will be there tonight covering the spectacle of Hillary’s grandiose, double digit victory, but even it, will be hard pressed to make much of it. Hillary will take a victory lap, talk about how she has the coalition required for victory in November, and hopefully not much will be made of that either.
Obama will graciously acknowledge Clinton’s victory, refer to her as a formidible opponent, appeal to her supporters and hopefully too, take some shots at his McBush opponent this fall.
In other words, we know the narrative and the candidate’s role for the evening. The question is whether the media will play along, or will they shamelessly promote the idea that the race is still a contest, that Hillary is still a candidate worth covering as such. Since the horse race is over, I hope the media take’s its prime time role tonight to begin a process of revising the Clinton’s legacy.
This is the far more interesting angle, for me. The time is right, in this pre convention period, for the media to reframe the race, and for the Clinton legacy, to undergo some important revisionism.
Finally, after about 10 years, democrats are taking closer look at the Clinton duo and beginning to reconcile a recognition many had back in 1992 that they were an imperfect vehicle for progressive dreams. Not since their McGovern days were they truly liberals. Perhaps not even then.
Liberal democrats winced and pretended Bill really was one of them. Bill had some liberal ideas, who was all to willing to horse trade them away. He always sounded to me more committed to “reinventing government” and welfare reform which embraced the pro market mantra that the market was better equipped to handle social problems than government. This was Reaganesque. His claim that the “era of big government is over,” was a Milton Friedmanesque statement, and the press has rarely vetted it as such.
I think the Obama candidacy is giving spirited progressives the chance to reclaim some of their ideals, and to pack them into the imperfect vessel of a new candidate, one perhaps with a vision closer to their own.