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I'm Brendan Loy, a 26-year-old graduate of USC and Notre Dame now living and working in Knoxville, Tennessee. My wife Becky and I are brand-new parents of a beautiful baby girl, born on New Year's Eve.

I'm a big-time sports fan, a politics, media & law junkie, an astronomy buff, a weather nerd, an Apple aficionado, a Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fanatic, and an all-around dork. My blog is best-known for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, but I blog about anything and everything that interests me.

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Forgive and forget?

Ross Douthat on Hillary's decision to concede:

"If only she'd done this weeks ago," Matt writes. I take his point: It would probably been better for the party if Hillary had conceded defeat somewhat earlier (though there would have been the potential embarrassment of having the presumptive-nominee lose primaries to a rival who'd dropped out), or at the very least campaigned less fiercely against Obama once his victory became a near-certainty, and certainly her non-concession speech on Tuesday night was bizarre and faintly pathological. But I think that once a few months have gone by, at least some of outrage that Hillary Clinton has generated among liberal pundits by campaigning to the bitter end in a race that she ended up losing by just over a hundred pledged delegates and roughly half a percent of the popular vote will seem, in hindsight, faintly hysterical.

Ban Johnson, a commenter on Douthat's post, responds:

I'd grant your point if I believed your characterization of most of the outrage as about Clinton merely "campaigning to the bitter end" were accurate.

Most of the outrage wasn't about her campaigning in itself. It was about the malignity of her campaign -- suggesting McCain was better equipped to be commander of chief, dishonestly ginning up Michigan and Florida resentments, characterizing her supporters as "hard working white people": basically trying to sabotage Obama, the overwhelmingly likely nominee of her party, whenever she could get away with it.

(Hat tip: Sully.) I think they're both right, in a way.

Nobody got angry with Mike Huckabee for campaigning more than a month after it was clear he had no chance to win, because he didn't say or do anything that would really damage McCain. The same is quite obviously not true of Clinton and Obama. As Johnson says, it's the way she ended her campaign, in combination with the timing, that got people so upset. And it will be hard to forgive her for it entirely, particularly if the McCain campaign continues to use her words against Obama, as in this clip and this clip.

That said, Douthat is certainly right that much of the seething anger will fade. It won't disappear, but it'll diminish. To what extent it diminishes depends in part on what Hillary does from here on out. For instance, publicly backing off the ridiculous veepstakes blackmail (veepmail?) is a good start, but she really needs to privately flex some muscles and actually control her prominent surrogates like Lanny Davis, who are pushing this unseemly nonsense. Otherwise, her statement today will be viewed as yet another example of a Clinton saying one thing and doing another. Nobody will take her words ("the choice here is Senator Obama's and his alone") seriously if they aren't backed by action.

Even more importantly, as I wrote yesterday, she needs to do more than just endorse Obama and embrace him with superficial enthusiasm, which I have no doubt she'll do. She also needs to "aggressively counter" the brushfires of hostility toward him and his legitimacy that she started with her scorched-earth rhetoric of recent weeks. Again, she needs to "make perfectly clear that she was not robbed, that she lost fair and square." She is the only one who can effectively deliver this message to her die-hard supporters -- and she needs to do it despite the self-contradiction it entails, and despite the risk of disillusioning some of her true believers. If she doesn't do it (which I suspect she won't), there will be continuing sullenness and bitterness among a non-negligible portion of her base (particularly the die-hard feminists), and you can be sure Obama and the Democratic/liberal establishment will notice her failure to be, ahem, a "fighter" for the nominee and the party/movement in this regard.

In any event, although the seething anger will indeed fade, the image of the Clintons among countless Obama supporters and many other Democrats and liberals has been irrevocably damaged. People like my mother have long memories about this sort of thing, and although Hillary and Bill can now recover from the Bush/Lieberman abyss of liberal hatred that they were beginning to fall into, they'll never regain the high esteem in which they were once held. People may partially forgive, but they won't forget, and the anger will come back if she runs for president again, particularly if it's after an Obama loss. In a potential 2012 bid, she would definitely not start out as an "inevitable" nominee. Indeed, I'd say that any future attempt at a Clinton presidential bid will necessary require another intraparty civil war.


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I know you and Becky keep saying that you are undecided between Obama v. McCain and I know its early but it would be nice to hear about your thought process - especially with things like this going on.

At the end of the day, campaigns are about winning, and HRC did everything she could to win. If Democrats want to hate her for that, fine, but she just did what comes natural to being a Clinton, and her behavior is nothing unusual from what she and her husband have been doing since their days in Arkansas. Republicans have reviled the Clintons for their unsavory politics from Day One; Democrats were fine with their behavior as long as it was convenient to the party, but when their Golden Boy Messiah suffered a tarnishing from the Clintons' bruising tactics, well now, now that's just unacceptable and "unforgivable"!

Machiavelli once said that if you win, people will question your tactics, whereas if you lose, people will only remember that you lost. When it comes to campaigns, the Democrats seem to operate on the opposite principle: Win, and people will for forgive and excuse whatever distasteful things you did to achieve victory; lose, and you will be criticized and hated for all the nasty things you did.


You are half right but where you are wrong about Clinton is that she cant take the beating that she likes to dole out.

Thats where i began to get sick of her right in new hampshire where she slouched down in her chair as if she were truly hurt by some comments about her being less likable than Obama.

The woman will kick you in the teeth but cry sexism when you punch her back.

If Obama was the type of person to beat, stomp and kick like Hillary he would have been blasted by everyone for treating a woman unfairly.

He fought this fight, imho, with one hand tied behind his back.

And someone please tell me what all of these woman are so upset about? What did Obama do or say that would piss all these woman off like this? Maybe they think he abuses Michele or something because in any other race Michele would have been lauded by all woman for rearing a family hav ing a career and dealing with a husband running for the highest office in the Hillary was back in 1992.

eh. as fred (or george) weasley would say, "what a waste of parchment."

clarification of above: responding to brendan.

There's no way on earth I'll vote for Obama, with his scanty record and crummy list of associates; there'd have been no way on earth I'd have voted for Clinton, with her reliance on her "experience" as First Lady and her crummy list of associates. I still can't quite believe that in an election that was essentially the Democrats' to lose, these two are the best they had to offer. I suppose it may have been a consequence of that "theirs to lose" thing; maybe they thought they could run an empty suit and win, and decided to try, just for grins. Sadly, we may end up with an empty suit in the highest office in the land... (Actually that might be the better outcome than a filled suit disguising a set of policy prescriptions that can do great harm. SIgh.)

But it does appear to me that Clinton's shot her wad, or poisoned the well - pick your metaphor. It'll be terribly hard for her to try to run in future because of this campaign. Still, I give her two things: 1. Reluctant admiration for her fighting spirit, and 2. A bit of benefit of the doubt that perhaps she ran so hard because she honestly believed she would serve the nation's interests better than Obama.

The two video links cited in Brendan's first paragraph are identical, and yes, we do need a candidate who can pass the commander-in-chief test.

Out of arrogance and poor judgment Obama is running for president with almost no experience and no accomplishments. That's not Hillary's fault; it's Obama's.

Huxley, thanks for the heads up on the identical clips. I just fixed 'em.

The Dems seem astonished to learn what us conservatives have known for a long time. For instance that the Dems actually had their own "attack machine" or that Bill and Hillary are less than honest and will do anything to win. Or even that blacks have voted in monolithic proportions in the last two presidential elections. This is news? As it turns out the big tent that the Dems profess to have seems to be nothing more than picnic benches at a park. And some folks aren't sitting with other folks.

I fully recognize that Obama has no major accomplishments and I certainly don't support his bid. But what precisely are Hillary's major accomplishments? Has everyone bought into this "35 years of experience" nonsense? Please list (anyone if you can) anything that she has done that is a success. This is why Senators have a hard time being elected. They are merely part of a (previously know as congenial) debate forum. Like someone already said in this campaign, "She hasn't even run a corner grocery store".

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