Dear Hillary: How to Bow Out Gracefully

[Have a question for Stumped? Send it here. Questions may be edited.]

Dear Stumped,
I am running for leader of the free world, seeking to replace a deeply unpopular president. I am the spouse of his very successful predecessor. To the extent that my opponents want to make this election a referendum on the 1990s and my husband's administration, we've thought we'd be in good shape. My chief opponent is an unvetted neophyte colleague of mine in the Senate, who probably couldn't tell the difference between Kyrgistan and Uzbekistan. And yet he trounced me in the Iowa caucus, and now some of my advisers are second-guessing my decision to deploy my husband on the campaign trail and tap into people's warm, fuzzy memories of his time in the White House.

Time is running out, and I am not sure what to do. What do you think? My husband was very successful, and I was part of his team. On the other hand, people want change. But there is a personal issue here, too -- I mean, how can I tell my husband he is a liability and needs to lie low? Our marriage has been through a lot, and I don't want to hurt him.
-- Anonymous in New Hampshire

Dear Hillary -- I mean, Anonymous,

Okay, you didn't really write me. But you should have. You need some good advice, not to mention a reality check.

Here's the problem: Americans don't want to see the presidency turned into a dynastic club with two families monopolizing the White House for 30 years or more. (After all, there's always Jeb to follow you.) I know you are qualified in your own right, and you've worked hard to get where you are, and you've been all about change since before Barack Obama was born, etc., etc. But don't you see that what you're trying to pull off is deeply un-American?

One of the disquieting aspects of this campaign is that the dynastic issue is only obliquely raised. You talk about your "experience" in the White House while Obama mocks it, and you both talk of change. You may think your opponents and the press have been rough on you, but I think for the most part you've gotten a pass. Yes, Obama and Edwards talk about moving forward and changing the ways of Washington, but they don't come out and say, "Hey, America -- do we really want to return to dynastic rule? Isn't that one of the main reasons we fought a revolution?"

Your problem, frankly, is that voters are saying that. (Okay, maybe not verbatim. But they feel it in their gut.) As much as this campaign may be about the possibility of electing the first woman or black president, it's also a referendum on whether we want to devalue the presidency, and make it, like plenty of lesser offices around the country, a family business. Your campaign's strategy of preemptively overwhelming opponents by seeming to be the inevitable choice, and your sense of entitlement, only magnify this sense that you see this as a dynastic restoration, not a democratic campaign.

I know what you're thinking: What about George W. Bush? Well, Anonymous in New Hampshire, to quote another president from another dynasty, life is unfair. In fact, Bush's election in 2000 makes it more difficult for you. Two members of the same family as the 41st and 43rd presidents can be deemed a quirk of history; make the 42nd and 44th presidents also related to each other, and it begins to look like the way of the system.

As for your immediate query: It's worth remembering that Bush was savvy by running in 2000 less as the familial heir to Bush than as the political heir to Reagan. I concede that your husband was a very successful president -- far more so than Bush the Elder -- but this talk of whether he should be out there campaigning is irrelevant. More than that, it's insulting to voters, because it's a tactical discussion that ignores the larger point: You are asking Americans to ratify the notion that the White House has become a royal domain, the preserve of dynasties.

And now for the good news: This isn't personal. It's not about whether people like you, or like Bill, or whether they find you competent. Get over all that. Instead, relish these final moments of your first -- and possibly last -- national campaign (and take comfort in the fact that you're still a powerful senator). Enjoy yourself. The next few weeks may be the farewell tour of the Clinton duo on the national stage. Make it a victory lap, not a sour-grapes extravaganza. Don't concede the race before you are ready, and you have every right to stay in at least through Super Tuesday. And by all means, take Bill on the road.

But stay positive about your Democratic opponents. Tell us about your qualifications. Engage in some nostalgia for the '90s -- the oncoming recession helps you. Bash Bush to your heart's content. And when the day comes for you to bow out, do so gracefully. People will applaud you. Let no one say that, when the time came, the Clintons had to be dragged kicking and screaming from the national stage.

[Editor's note: Just to reiterate, Hillary Clinton did not send in this question. She's a little busy today. But you're not too busy -- especially if you've made it this far! We need your advice questions. Send them here.]

By Andres Martinez |  January 8, 2008; 12:00 AM ET
Previous: How to Vote Twice -- Ethically | Next: How to Eat Crow Gracefully


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First, impeached..
second: disbarred
third: flogged by Dems. {feb,March 08}
fourth: Run out of town..

but, lucky France it's the

From: The Wind in The Willows:

"They noticed the trembling lip of
the poor disappointed Toad.
''It's no good," Toady;
'you know well that your songs are
all conceit & boasting & vanity;
& your speeches are all self-praise,
..and, well..gross exaggeration, and
"And gas," put in the Badger,
in his common way.."

"She saw that she was trapped...
They understood her, they saw through her,
They had gotten ahead of her...
..the pleasant dream was shattered."

Bill & Hillary sat & stared at each other in dumb misery..The wind of despair blew.
Shock & disbelief deepening..
darkness set in..

So they set out to immediately write the revision of the recent past..lest the
remembrances grow..

quote of the day..
"If you keep knocking on the Devil's door, someday the door is going to open.."

George Shieman
San Francisco/Eureka

Posted by: George Shieman | March 28, 2008 1:38 PM

this is march 18 barack was just on tv about his preacher and i think he should bow out with his rasist preacher and very unhappy wife we all know why she was not proud of america now dont we also he should be impeached as ill senator

Posted by: dean | March 18, 2008 4:41 PM

Hello, of course I came to visit your site and thanks for letting me know about it.
I just read this post and wanted to say it is full of number one resources. Some I am familiar with. For those who don't know these other sites they are in for a treat as there is a lot to learn there.

Posted by: Male Enhancement | March 5, 2008 5:42 AM

"In their effort to gain lost ground I find that Bill and Hillary's distortions, scare tactics, and exaggerations directed toward Obama to be reminiscent of Bush's effort to convince the world of the existence of WMD."

Then you're the biggest moron on the planet.

Bush, you retarded idiot, started an ILLEGAL WAR that's killed hundreds of thousands of people, and has made the U.S. look like torturing storm troopers under President Stupid and his line to God.

Learn how to post.

Posted by: Lyons Steve | January 18, 2008 10:39 AM

I wonder where we get all these ideas about Hillary or anyone. By the way, why do the journalist keep saying that it is America who doesn't want Hillary. Why don't they use first person as in "I". Despite of negative bashing of Hillary, she still leads in polls as likely to be the next president of this country. And I agree with the poll.

Please media, let the voters decide who they will elect by informing us the facts instead of selling opinions and fiction.

By the way I don't care what the name of our next president is. What I care about is that our next president is intelligent, insightful, and understand that this country's middle class needs to be once again stregthend among other isuues. And the school teachers don't need to read more papers written by young boys who say they will drop bombs to resolve conflicts or glorify Obama because he did drugs.

Policts can't change unless greed and envy ends. Meanwhile the rest of us in the middle will have to find our own answer to revive ourselves.

Posted by: Yoonmi | January 15, 2008 1:57 AM

A great read and home page leader in today's
"The Witch Ain't Dead, and Chris Matthews is a Ding Dong"
theorizes that Hillary's NH victory is owed partly to the graceless dancing on her grave that caused a sudden surge of, "I'm not a Hillary supporter...but these media guys are gloating...have I been unfair to her, too?" Naughty, naughty MSM.

Posted by: jhbyer | January 9, 2008 5:17 PM

Maybe you will go back and re-examine your own motives for writing this piece. With all the "liberal media" trashing Hillary it's amazing she's got this far!

Posted by: Happy to See you Wrong | January 9, 2008 2:04 PM

I congratulate Hillary Clinton on her WIN. I love her and right now Democrats just acted like they wish to take back the white house.
Media should stay away from Hillary and the Clintons case.

Posted by: clairex | January 9, 2008 11:44 AM

Oh dear.. I expect Andres to have a hearty breakfast with a generous serving of crow.

Posted by: HaHa | January 9, 2008 9:54 AM

Back to the Drawing Board Martinez! Hillary is good and tough. We shall see if Barak is better and tougher. I suspect that the answer will be "neither."

Posted by: A Hardwick | January 9, 2008 9:17 AM

William Madden (below) made an excellent point about Ted Kennedy, whose dedicated public service does rank his overall influence up there with presidents. Not for nothing is his name invoked by Republicans to scare each other.

Posted by: jhbyer | January 9, 2008 2:54 AM

This is extraordinarily prescient, if inevitably offensive to those who will mistake Andres' perceptions of people's perceptions for a personal attack. But who among us Dems didn't wince to read that Bhutto's Will bequeathed her Party's leadership to her son, whose underage status tossed control to her husband? Will we sacrifice Hillary to uphold our ideals? Yes.

Posted by: jhbyer | January 9, 2008 2:29 AM

You could have been more wrong Andres....................not!
Haw, haw (like Nelson Muntz)..

Posted by: Doctor Philthy | January 9, 2008 12:36 AM

How about a farewell tour for credulous and sarcastic journalism?

Posted by: Paul Festa | January 8, 2008 11:20 PM

This is the best thing I've read on the WaPo website in a long, long time. More of this, please.

Posted by: autoegocrat | January 8, 2008 11:16 PM

Wow, Clinton leading in NH.
That must be really embarrassing for you Mr Martinez.
Let me know if you want any advice on how to bow out gracefully as a "political expert".

Posted by: XYZ | January 8, 2008 9:24 PM

Mercy, a wapo writer has her retiring already.

Will you now write a column about Obama bowing out now that she has a 4 percent lead at 8:30 pm?

Posted by: ciap | January 8, 2008 8:40 PM

Andres, this is the coolest advice column I've ever read. Hillary really needs that advice.

I'd like to add, though, that it's the fault of your own colleagues at the Washington post that the profoundly disturbing dynasty issue has never been engaged.

Fourth estate, will you start doing your collective job -- raising and discussing the important questions of the day? It's no good to reply that you can't discuss these questions if Obama and Edwards don't; everybody knows that the media would dogpile both of them if they started talking about dynasty and democracy. Nobody needs to be showing journalists the way to the news; it's the journalists' job to find it.

Consider: Post readers have to look to a funny advice column just to find a frank discussion of the gigantic elephant in the room. Why should that be?

Posted by: MyManGodfrey | January 8, 2008 7:06 PM

God almighty, those Hillary people they don't have a minimal flair or sense of humor. It is funny anyways. I know you all desperate because they told you, you moving to Washington in 2009, getting pimpin'cars like the ones the Bush Neo-Cons got, flying 1st class, partying on the Air Force 1, and then this black guy shows up from nowhere and steals your tax-payer's-expensed party ticket! I would be upset as well. But the guy is good you have to admit... He is like some crossover of Barry White with MLK, and when he speaks girls feel like throwing their pants on the stage. My girlfriend even called me 3 times today asking how Obama was doing in NH! He got the mojo, nothing you can do about. As for Hillary, well she won't want to live on the White House again, Barbara changed the interiors and they look damn ugly, Texan style.

Posted by: Flair please | January 8, 2008 6:29 PM

Hillary, get out of public eyes! Do not ask your husband to campaign for you, as he is hating you, and doing everything directly vice versa. You-censors, find yourself better boss! Hillary is done and finished and can't pay you any more!

Posted by: aepelbaum | January 8, 2008 5:49 PM

Hillary's censorship doesn't allow me to post comments. I have been suffering her censorship at least six years before Ptriotic Act appeared the first time. Who gave you rights to prevent me from placing comments. By the way, it is one of most important reasons why your boss is so miserably failing now.

Posted by: aepelbaum | January 8, 2008 5:46 PM

Now, when hillary is already failed, neo cons want another jackass, neo con on the top. It would not work.

Posted by: aepelbaum | January 8, 2008 5:43 PM

Now, when hillary is already failed, neo cons want another jackass, neo con on the top. It would not work.
Why can't Mrs. Clinton quit just after her next failure. She has poured a lot of dirt on her opponents, a lot of tears lately in front of the public , etc. Who knows what other kind of liquid might she start to pour, if for a month more on the campaign road, suffering one defeat after another and getting more, and more desperate.

Posted by: aepelbaum | January 8, 2008 5:42 PM

Why can't Mrs. clinton gracefully step down after her next defeat, for example? She would lose NH. In my opinion, it would be already okay for her to conceede. Enough of the dirt, she has poured on her opponents, tears, she has poured in front of the public, etc. And who knows which liquid more would she pour, if becoming more and more desperate on the campaign road, while experiencing one defeat after another?

Posted by: aepelbaum | January 8, 2008 5:36 PM

I think this column is spot-on. Bravo!! Hillary--you had your eight years in the White House and I, for one, don't want any more of the back-stabbing, power and infidelity struggles of the Clinton White House years. Anyone who has any doubts about that should read Sally Bedell Smith's new book, "For Love of Politics" about the Clintons, which just came out in October.
Hillary--you were fine as a senator. What makes you think you need to sit in the White House again? You claim to have "35 years of experience" and been a major part of all of Bill's presidential decisions, but for the last two years of his presidency, you guys were barely on speaking terms because of Monica.

Here's to moving on, America! No more Clintons, no more Bushes!!

Posted by: Ann S. | January 8, 2008 5:27 PM

Boy, that's a pretty shallow column. Tell me, did you or any other writer object to George Bush becoming president because it would be a dynasty? If not, please keep quiet on that silly argument, which is, lessee, your thesis. Hillary Clinton, by the way, is much more qualified than Bush was or is. You are aware she's polling at around 30% or more? Pretty shallow work, nor is it entertaining.

Posted by: Batocchio | January 8, 2008 4:41 PM

Does this Martinez guy get paid for writing this stuff? "Here's a dumb concept - I'll ramble on about it for several paragraphs as if I had any authority or expertise whatsoever." The Washington Post, or, could probably find dozens or maybe hundreds of college students who could write better and more informative pieces than this.

Posted by: John | January 8, 2008 4:32 PM

The premise of this column is insulting and the logic of your premise is faulty. Using the arguments you have raised, after only two states have voted the primaries are over. Don't know who you are or what qualifies you to make condescending declarations about what Mrs. Clinton should do, but I for one want to have the opportunity to vote for her in my state primary. She has been an excellent senator for New York and she should not drop out of the race to satisfy those who refuse to give her the same opportunity that any of the other candidates has to compete. And to really drive some crazy, I'd extend the same opportunity to Jeb Bush if he wanted to enter the race. He should not be automatically disqualified because of his name. It's un American .

Posted by: Roseann | January 8, 2008 3:39 PM

In their effort to gain lost ground I find that Bill and Hillary's distortions, scare tactics, and exaggerations directed toward Obama to be reminiscent of Bush's effort to convince the world of the existence of WMD. To me, this offers us a glimpse of her LEADERSHIP style, and quite frankly I don't like it. I guess for them, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 8, 2008 3:14 PM

Just like you can't teach an old dog new tricks, you can't teach Hillary to be graceful. Her mindset is that win at whatever cost. Her statement that 'I am going all the way' and 'all options are on the table' is a hint at how she is going to thrash Obama before Feb 5th. If she continues after defeat in N.H. she can't do it without doing character assasination of Obama. She never gave the audience a line of hope that puts her view of the future into the minds of the voters. Without that it is hard to go forward. Edwards can go forward even if he comes third in N.H. since he is on the fight for a just cause. He is not simply saying elect me. Where as the Clinton's have instilled fear in peoples mind, a fear that the future will be bleak without another Clinton handling it for the country. That's what people are not buying.

Posted by: JohnMcCormick | January 8, 2008 3:06 PM

Look at Hillary's employment history. What makes her the "experienced" candidate exactly?

Posted by: Terry | January 8, 2008 2:54 PM

Point taken.

Think John Quincy Adams. An absolutely brilliant career BEFORE he became president.

Hillary, take heart. Ted Kennedy became far more influential and powerful as a post-Chappaquiddick, dead-end Senator than he would ever have been as President. In some respects (whether you like his policies or not), he might well be regarded as the most effective and influential of all the Kennedys.

Anyway, you go girl! (Gawd. Did I really write that? Sorry.)

Posted by: William Madden | January 8, 2008 2:38 PM

Here's what you do Hillary.

You ride this thing out and if by some miracle Obama does get the dem nom then you run as an independent.

Because by the time the Republicans get through with him, there will be nothing but a greasy spot left where Osama was and an opening for an Independent large enough to drive a semi through.

Posted by: Ciap | January 8, 2008 2:36 PM

I agree with the writer above who wrote that this country needs a veteran as Commander-in-Chief. As for Hillary, I think she should drop out of the race, and embrace Obama immediately. That would do more for her stature than getting trounced on February 5th. Right now it is Obama 2, Hillary 0, and a complete shutout would really tarnish her.

Posted by: ArmyVet | January 8, 2008 2:25 PM

I am bothered by the idea of a dynasty in the Presidency. This is why I refuse to support Hillary Clinton. But do not think that most Americans think this way. If Hillary was in fact more likable the dynasty issue would not matter. Americans are just as likely as anyone else to fall into the dynasty trap that can happen to democracies (see: the senate and congress). The dynasty issue is an intellectual one that will never reach the heart of the average voter. I predict you will see some Carters running in the future.

Posted by: Cnote | January 8, 2008 2:22 PM

Curious in this "letter" the presumption that the Clinton presidency was anything other than a complete joke. The military despised him; he blew it in the Balkans; he blew with "dot.bomb;" he blew it with terrorism; and he just plain blew it. A total disgrace, and his wife was complicit. Obama is a joke as a potential president too - neither one of those two "front-runners" have any experience leading a large ofganization. A Dubya on his worst day is still better for America than any Democrat ...

Posted by: T | January 8, 2008 2:20 PM

It goes beyond the notion of dynasties, although that is no doubt a factor for some. The Clintons have pridede themselves on becoming masters of the system. Unfortunately, that system is corrupt, and it has to go. You can't be trusted to change the menu when you have spent most of your life gorging on it. We need to change course in this country now, and going back to the 90's isn't going to to it.

Posted by: Peter | January 8, 2008 2:19 PM

XYZ said "For myself, I wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton because she had plenty opportunity to oppose Bush in the Senate over the last seven years and chose not to do so."

So you gonna vote for McCain?

Posted by: ziggy | January 8, 2008 2:17 PM

One important comment: NO person should ever be commander in chief of our military unless they have been through it and have served themselves. Without that you have no idea of the inner workings of the military. Our military knows this and probably resents a non-military person in charge. We need new blood in all of Washington.

Hilliary can't even warm up to the american public, how would she do when it came time to negotiate with a foreign diplomat?

Posted by: Ro from CT | January 8, 2008 1:51 PM

Its really pretty simple: We're tired of the weak, and for-sale-to-the-highest-bidding-lobbiest manner in which congress is run by dinasaurs, and the criminal way in which the whitehouse is run by dinasaurs. We're tired of civil rights dinasaurs telling people success can't be earned in america.

We want smart, thoughtful, creative, and NEW IDEAS. We want a CLEAN BREAK with the old congressional partisan way of doing things and... then whoring out to a lobbying firm.


Posted by: onestring | January 8, 2008 1:45 PM


Posted by: eeeee | January 8, 2008 1:44 PM

I see this column as totally wishful thinking on the part of the WaPo--and smarmy to boot. Hillary Clinton is not the fragile little girl who will run crying from the room because of setbacks in two small and unrepresentative states, no matter how much you wish she would. She is a strong, intelligent, and capable woman, who has been tested by her life experience. I only hope the nation is wise enough to realize what an excellent president she will make.

Posted by: Lamentation | January 8, 2008 1:44 PM

LISTEN: 1st Hilliary had some nerve running for pres. did she really believe Americans would go for the dynasty thing? This is what we mean by change- partly.

My husband is an accountant but that doesn/t make me one. You are loosing because the public knows that you are running on an empty tank. No experience, no accomplishments in the best interest of the middle class citizens and would only put them in the poor house al together. The public knows this. Now go to bed like a good little girl Hilliary.

Posted by: Ro from CT | January 8, 2008 1:39 PM

Crackhead black music will be the title from this corporate writer if Obama wins Democratic nomination. Any Democrat taking que from these corporate writer need to be very careful what they wish for.

Hussain Obama will be torn to pieces by these people if he wins the nomination. Republicans know who their friends are, we don't. We just trust the talking heads again and again.

Posted by: Seed of Change | January 8, 2008 1:01 PM

Hillary Clinton has 35 years of pertinent experience? Excuse me? My husband is a mathematician--does that mean I balance my checkbook better than most?

Posted by: Caroline | January 8, 2008 1:01 PM

Nice piece but rather than the Clintons taking a reverse victory lap between now and February 5, why don't they gracefully bow out now and give any money that they would waste between now and then to Democratic candidates who might be able to defeat additional Republicans in November. That would help rather than further hurt their reputations and increase Hillary's chances of becoming Majority Leader some day, a position to which she is much better suited.

Posted by: Robert Pyke | January 8, 2008 12:33 PM

Hillary, pack your bags and go back to Arkansas! New Yorkers deserve better than this!

Posted by: willig | January 8, 2008 12:30 PM

Uh, would you let some of the other states vote before you tell Hillary to quit gracefully? I am deeply resentful of the primary system and the media in this process. You are taking away my constitutional right to choose by making these decisions with less than 1% of the population heard from. After Iowa, Andrea Mitchell was smiling as she said "it's over for Hillary." Go to Hell, Andrea.

Posted by: Susan Goldstein | January 8, 2008 12:29 PM

Intellectually, Obama is waaaaay smarter than Bush, if that were ever a standard. He has a deep understanding of the Constitution and has the judgment to dissect and analyze good advice. That's what matters to me.

Having a president with a humble but confident point of view that develops through hardship and understanding the nuances of international sensitivities could not be more important to America at this time.

Experience is a euphemism for "can you trust a young, black man." Obama may not be as well-versed as Hillary in her mastery of political maneuvers but he excelled at Harvard Law, a type-A shark tank and remains a very grounded, non-entitled person. His world knowledge is right up there with hers.

I'm with Obama because a Hillary victory will be twice as divisive as the Bush years. It's time to move on. Many very moderate/unsure Republicans can see themselves voting for Obama and living with it. Hillary seems to draw a visceral reaction from her detractors... not good for America's problem solving in the next 4 decade. It's not a sexist thing, there are smart, powerful women who have a warm, inspiring persona. Hillary isn't on of them.

Posted by: Axl, Boston,MA | January 8, 2008 12:10 PM

This "cute" column says it all for me and many of my fellow Democrats where I live.

Bush has so sabotaged the workings of our government with first of all, inaction and a failure to carry laws passed by Congress in regards to the environment and safety regs. Then you can add all the other screw-ups, intentional and otherwise.

The Republican culture of "hating big government" has morphed into "hating ALL government" -- including the United States of America. Might want to re-think that one, boys.

I agree with posters here who wonder what was so "good times"-ish about the Clintons giving the GOP the best 8 years they've ever had to raise money and promote their ignorant agenda? Oh, and the Dems lost Congress, remember?

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | January 8, 2008 11:39 AM

"But there is a personal issue here, too -- I mean, how can I tell my husband he is a liability and needs to lie low? Our marriage has been through a lot, and I don't want to hurt him"

Her relationship is already overpowering her decisions in ploitics, and this is only a campaign. How she will cope with bigger issues as a President, would she honor her husband decision or will she do what she would think right for the country??

Posted by: Anonymous | January 8, 2008 11:34 AM

I do have some tactical advice on the subject of how to deploy Bill Clinton. I won't repost it all here, but you can read it if you're interested.

Posted by: Chops | January 8, 2008 11:00 AM

Obama's (I mean the Country's) famous LAST words if Obama is in the White House = "OK...NOW WHAT DO I DO???"

Posted by: Anonymous | January 8, 2008 10:17 AM

If by qualified, you mean the person has met the threshold of being a native US citizen and is over the age of 35, then yes, Hillary is qualified as is every other American who was born in the US and is over 35.

But if you mean qualified in any other sense, then no, Hillary is not qualified. Being someone's wife, or being a shady lawyer, or being an ineffective Senator that you got because you were someone's wife, are not "qualifications" in the real meaning of the word.

The Presidency is not an entitlement. It's not something you get because your husband was a rotter. It's not something that you get because it's your turn. You need to make the case on your own. Hillary can't do that.

Posted by: bandmom22 | January 8, 2008 10:07 AM

Whomever voters elect next November, Bush will exit office smiling and enjoy smirking at the successor's fumbling efforts to exit Iraq without causing an awful mess. The mega-bases in Iraq are insurance that no post 2008 president will be able to leave, since the media spectacle of seizure of the bases by jubilant jihadis would be a collosal nightmare.

Posted by: Jkoch | January 8, 2008 10:02 AM

Your original post had the "Hillary Clinton" character misspell Kyrgyzstan as "Kyrgistan."

Posted by: Chad | January 8, 2008 9:58 AM

Martinez, you didn't happen to be one of the two individuals at Hillary's event yesterday mocking her to iron their shirts, were you?

Posted by: Tim | January 8, 2008 9:09 AM

I'm confused. Who's this 'Highly Successful' predecesor she's talking about? Everyone talks about the Clinton Presidency like it was the Renissance. I'm at a loss as to what the 'Good Times' were. The first four years were such a disaster, that the Republicans took control of both houses of Congress after FORTY YEARS being in the majority. The last four years were spent on the public viewing of the life story of a serial woman abuser, a liar, and a cheat.In between, we had a bombing at the World Trade Center, a cowardly retreat in Somolia, twin bombings at our embassies in Africa, the Khobar Towers bombing and the attack on the U.S. Cole. We had the campaign finance scandal with Chinese nationals fleeing the country rather than testifying before Congress. We had the White House turned in to a motel, if you had the cash. And we had James Carvilles' hideous face and hateful harrangues to endure every Sunday on Meet the Press.And please, don't embarass yourself by proclaiming he balanced the budget.Without a Republican Congress, he'd of raised taxes some more. Ah, the good old days.

Posted by: Timothy L. Pennell | January 8, 2008 9:07 AM

So Hilary should quit because of her last name? Isn't that just un-American?

Posted by: Bart | January 8, 2008 9:04 AM

"I have no issues with a "black man" seeking the "highest office" ... we're way overdue for that." Posted by: Kevin McAleavey | January 8, 2008 04:38 AM

B.S. of course you do. All one has to do is read what you had to say.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 8, 2008 9:03 AM

America is a free country and anyone can strive to become President.But,honestly, I feel she would be a liability to the American people if she wins.With her husband beside her,it would be back to square one for America.Go forward America,choose someone who can restore your greatness and leadership of the free world.From Dr.Sam Sjodin,Malaysia.

Posted by: Dr.Sam Sjodin | January 8, 2008 9:00 AM

Hillary would be more divisive than George Bush because she all about power and nothing about conciliation. It is a good thing for her to be getting ready to be beaten. However the Clintons are so ruthless and corrupt that Barack will have to watch his back closely. Let's hope the Clinton don't sink so low again.....

Posted by: Nancianne | January 8, 2008 8:53 AM

In fact Bill Clinton was a partially successful but personally disgraced president. Having him campaign for you distracts from YOUR message. He should understand this but his main concern is his "legacy" of which you and your candidacy are part. This is of course what drives him. You need to control your campaign. Tell Bill it's not about him and move him behind the scenes.

I am a lifelong Democrat and have no objection to Hillary and will vote for her if she is nominated. I am however, sensitive to Bill's indiscretions and am not interested in having him in the White House.

Posted by: Cycledoc | January 8, 2008 8:45 AM

Martinez has captured the spirit of political irony in a bottle here. The essential point that America was founded on rejecting royal family rule is right on the mark. It is the bedrock of our Republic regardless of what you think about the Adams, Roosevelts, Bushs or Clintons.

Posted by: Rely on it | January 8, 2008 8:43 AM

This endless fascination w who will be president is past getting old.

Few presidents change anything, or for long: it's a checks and balances system that stops revolutionary change by design. Thank God, when you consider the feckless weasels we've had.

It's childish and irresponsible to believe any one person will "save" America. It negates the heavy lifting required in a democracy. Obama will no more save America than Clinton.

When the next president doesn't deliver, and who could possibly meet these hyperbolic expectations you read here, people can get revved up over the next new person. This way, people can continue to be invested in and believe in a (broken) system and believe one magic person will rescue us all. Joan Didion recently called this magical thinking. Or, they become jaded and say why bother, another easy way out.

The reason we're at each other's throats politically these days is because there is no external, existential enemy to unite us: the Soviet Union bogeyman was the last example. It might actually be a good sign for America that we have the respite to debate about which candidate believes in evolution and other meaningless things. It's not a coincidence that this domestic internecine nastiness really started w Clinton: the USSR had vanished in 1991 and "history" (danger) was over...

Democracy is messy and testy by great design. Get used to it. It doesn't mean the world is coming to an end. It means the system is working. If all you do is appear once every 4 years to vote and fall in love w the next new thing expecting him/her to do it all for you, you'll be disappointed. Get involved.

Posted by: Andrew | January 8, 2008 8:23 AM

Why do journalists keep on giving Hillary a free ride with her claim that she has thirty five years of experience? She was a lawyer with an Arkansas law firm and then the wife of a Governor and a President. None of that is relevant experience for the Presidency, unless you argue that she knows where the White House is.
Also, why is no one raising Travelgate and the Cattle futures scandals?

Posted by: Ian | January 8, 2008 6:35 AM

While I can't blame her desire to grab the brass ring, what I'm struck with is the fact that as President she would only last a max of 8 years. However, should she choose to remain a Senator, I believe she would have not only many more years to help forge real change and good for America, but that her legacy would be so much stronger.

I don't think the issue is America's willingness to accept a woman as President. It's the unfounded fear mongering that will be raised against her personally that would shift the vote to any Republican. The resulting loss would then be unfairly hung around her neck as a loss caused by blind arrogance and ego.

Posted by: John | January 8, 2008 6:31 AM

I just read this again. Does Martinez want Givhan's job? Or just to match her writing? Perhaps he can comment on Hillary's makeup, then. Or make up something about tears. Or some other reason to not want a woman in office.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | January 8, 2008 6:16 AM

..."she had plenty opportunity to oppose Bush in the Senate over the last seven years and chose not to do so.:

Where have you been?

Do you know the difference between a majority and a veto proof majority?
Or had you rather have a Senator that opposes everything the other side wants or just does the right thing?
Clinton has been doing the right thing.

For many that is reason enough to be critical.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | January 8, 2008 6:06 AM

:Kevin McAleavey when a rabbit hangs its head to the side for 10 seconds the entire forest wakes up.:

Looks like someone (ones) are trying to make a "Muskie Moment" again.

The problem is that it did not happen. She looked tired, not teary. But who knows - they might sell it as they sold the "Dean scream." Bogus opinion that only mirrors their own fears.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | January 8, 2008 6:02 AM

Bill did not win in Iowa and was second in New Hampshire. Should he have quit then? Free advice is worth every penny it costs, but not much more.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | January 8, 2008 5:58 AM

Hillary Clinton is a strong woman? Yesterday the whole world stopped looking at Spears and turned their attention to Hillary. This 5 minute video showed the weak side of Hillary.In Germany or France, Russia the comments are that she is breaking down. In the Middle East I can imagine that they pleased to see the beginning of a crack in the leadership of the USA. Hillary is the only one who has a chance of beating the Republicans is a weak argument. She is damaged. Hillary is now in an unprotected situation. She has got to come out into the open and fight a battle. Does anyone think that a Putin will take the time to wipe the tears from her cheek and push her in the right direction?

Roxanne a short tip from Europe, get use to the fact that your president for the next 8 years will be a black American Male.

Kevin McAleavey when a rabbit hangs its head to the side for 10 seconds the entire forest wakes up. Everyone knows that there is something to eat. Every animal starts to attack and wear the rabbit down until it dies. This is hard. Imagine Hillary as President sitting in Paris and telling some American tourist with a tear in her eye how hard it is to deal with Sarkozy.

Martinez did a good story. I hope that Hillary reads this and can find a way out. She has gotten 100 million dollars from special interest groups to be President. They want something back for their money. What is she going to do? These people did not give her money because she was a nice girl. They want favors. The DNC set this deal in NH up for Hillary to win. They have given their time and money to block Obama from further success. Bill Clinton is also a cost factor and on top of this he is making mistakes and wandering around doing and saying foolish things. Hillary mentioned that she is not the person that she sees in the Internet. Hillary is learning in a brutal way what it is like to be on the short list of someone like Hillary. She protected Bill in his sexual affairs or crimes and really put pressure on the girls that wanted to go to court. Now she is getting it and hard. She is mad because in addition to her other problems she can not hurt Obama. He does not crawl in the dirt.

I feel sorry for Hillary. I also feel sorry for the rabbit when he is worn out and can not run any further. Both will be eaten and 1 hour later no one will ever know that they were there.

Posted by: coatesmoe | January 8, 2008 5:55 AM

Obama has hit the top of the charts with the same speed as an old Brittney Spears album. These things are quite ephemeral. Either the wave will last thru Super Tuesday or it won't. No sane person in Clinton's position would "bow out". Certainly, if the narrative that Hillary is the only one who can win in November comes back into play, and she can pull an even delegate count on Super Tuesday, she gets back "the big mo'". Wouldn't it be nice if politics as a whole was a deliberative process again, rather than a press induced mosh pit of opinions like these?

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | January 8, 2008 5:18 AM

Hillary is our Senator. And in upstate New York, a predominantly republican area where she was passed off as a "carpetbagger" planning to get to the White House on "our" backs, she's done an excellent job of *proving* that she not only cares, but listens, pays attention to the details, and DOES the job. For those of us considered "ingrates." In fact, she's more popular with us republicans up here because she's *done* more than we ever expected for us.

Obama on the other hand, talks "circular speak" with little detail, and offers very little beyond glittering generalities. And in many of his speeches, seems to have resorted to sloganism or "symbolism over substance." And that's truly *sad* that it's actually working. Says disappointing things about the disappointed American electorate.

I have no issues with a "black man" seeking the "highest office" ... we're way overdue for that. I personally wish it had been Colin Powell before he was castrated by Bush. But Obama is more VP material at this time than "prime time" and I'm saddened to see that his empty words, and voting "present" gets him a pass with his empty rhetoric. I'd much rather see a Clinton/Obama ticket myself and let him have a little bit more time to get ready for the most important job ahead "in these times." And I'm not pleased at him reaching out to republicans in order to win - the "contract on America" was a pyhrric victory at best given all it's cost America. :(

It's a shame that America isn't even capable of the attention span of a two year old given the challenges ahead, and saddened that Obama (who I originally favored) has demonstrated that he doesn't have the proper command of the job he's seeking.

Posted by: Kevin McAleavey | January 8, 2008 4:38 AM

Actually, I thought this piece was very funny - and wise. People sure do take the primaries seriously. Only a month to go, people, before we can sing "Kumbaya".

Posted by: DoctorPangloss | January 8, 2008 3:38 AM

Obama is not veted and Hillary remains a viable candidate. Yours is a mean-spirited article. As a voter here in New York waiting to vote for Hillary, I say some people really need to get over themselves and face reality.

Bush used to chant like a mantra what the Republicans and many Independents fell for, "I am a Uniter, Not a Divider!" and "I am a Compassionate Conservatism!"
Now we have "Change, you can trust!"

You would think that we would have learnt by now that substance and not rhetoric should be what we look for in our canditate.

I am a Black woman who prays to God that the Hil stays in at least until Feb 5. Then we hope to demonstrate to Iowa, NH and whichever else state that would be moved by Obama's Cum-By-Ya, La-De-Da, One-love, let's-get-together-and-feel-alright how to use the little mass of tissue right beneath our hairline.

Please, let's vet Obama!

Posted by: Roxanne | January 8, 2008 2:45 AM

Quoting the article: "I concede that your husband was a very successful president -- far more so than Bush the Elder"

Let me give you my take on that premise:

George the Elder: WWII fighter pilot, long career of service to country, outstanding personal character. Upheld the honor of his office.

Her husband: Constantly embroiled in scandals (I won't argue their validity). One of the most hypocritical "feminists" in history; Had sexual relations with a young subordinate, literally in the workplace, which would entail immediate termination in 90% or more of corporate America these days. Made the office of the president a running joke for years.

Posted by: Steve | January 8, 2008 2:39 AM

This is just stupid. When I see the phrase "America wants..." from a columnist, I cringe. How are you qualified to say what America wants? There are 300 million different opinions about what America wants: the opinions of 300 million individual Americans.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 8, 2008 2:38 AM

The news media and op-ed columnists are nearly all worthless. Every election is a horse race to them, so that's how they address it. Pay little attention to actual issues, and devote all their time to the "Who's ahead this minute" play-by-play.

NEWS ALERT! Iowa decided 46 delegates. Out of 4367 to the convention. Wake the f up. That is just about 1% of the delegates. And New Hampshire decides 30. Or about 0.75% of the convention.

So you are dismissing a candidate, who basically tied for 2nd place in Iowa, and will probably be in 2nd place in NH, when both of these contests together don't even amount to 2% of the nominating delegates to the national convention.

Cover some damned issues instead of horse race play-by-play, and spewing endless conjecture, dramatized and magnified in the heat of every moment. When an hour later, or a few days later, it will mean nothing at all.

You media are pathetic. A waste of oxygen. Get a life.

Posted by: Joe Realist | January 8, 2008 2:35 AM

This is a really mean-spirited piece of writing.
Hillary Clinton is a person in her own right.
But you wouldn't know that.

Posted by: alain James | January 8, 2008 2:22 AM

Hillary lost her chance when she could have won; that being in 2004.
Nuff said.

Posted by: Mike | January 8, 2008 2:18 AM

Sen. Clinton's earlier inevitability strategy came off to me as a blatant statement ownership which referenced a family connection to the WH. Ms. Clinton represented Bill Clinton's time in office as her qualification, her time in office. While I did not clearly see this as dynastic, I regarded it as her sole claim to possession at that time. Further, Sen. Clinton took a centrist stand against the liberal base, which came off as in-the-pocket and arrogant at a time when the country is making a decided liberal shift. Her message has changed, but in changing it has rendered her as rather desperate. Further, Sen. Clinton's touted experience is clouded with stellar failures and Babbitty Senate votes. I don't know what she offers.

Posted by: Staggo Lee | January 8, 2008 2:15 AM

Does not America treat people for what they are than who they are ?

Yours is a hateful, narrow-minded opinion. I would not exclude a person since he or she has a privileged background. Hillary Clinton is a strong woman with her own short-comings.

If Obama is not vetted properly, America may end up with a "liberal" George W Bush (dont we remember the "Uniter not a Divider" mantra of Bush). Obama acts centrist but votes Liberal, and weaves the dreams and imaginations in abstract.

What is his record in Senate ? I dont see much. I am Joe Biden supporter, he is the one of the most qualified Candidate who unfortunately had to drop out because of media's love with Obama and obsession with Hillary.

The Main Stream Media yet again failed America, first with Iraq war and now presidential elections. Kudos.

ps: Tell Bob Woodward from writing another crappy book on how irresponsible Bush administration was with Iraq was. It is too late and too repetitive.

Posted by: srikanth | January 8, 2008 2:01 AM


There are plenty of opinion polls on this issue already run. Most of the reason Hillary is running on a "I'm an agent of change" policy coopted from Obama is because that's what all the entrance/exit polling from Iowa said people wanted.

There's nothing wrong with an opinion writer interpreting what the polls are saying in an opinion piece.

Posted by: Jim | January 8, 2008 1:50 AM

Mr. Martinez, I think you are a Hillary hater so amused by political perceptions and punditry. Mind you, I'm not even supporting Hillary but Al Gore. However, based on the Democratic candidates on hand, Hillary is the only one who has a chance of beating the Republicans. Do you think these Dreamers of Change could beat the dirty Republican attack Ads or Machinery in Sept-Oct. With Hillary, she's seasoned being attacked by Republicans, she should just stay with the message or "facts" what happened in 1992 - 2000 compared to the results of 2000 - 2008. Eventually, the democrats will unite after Super Tuesday.

Now having said that, the Clintons have to do their part with Democrats and Independents. Mr. Clinton should explain in contrite way his liability to his wife because of the sex scandal he has caused. He needs his friends, Al & Tipper Gore to support her. He should ask forgiveness to the American people that he has been reformed since he left the Presidency. She has dragged her family to shame and also caused the loss of Al Gore to unqualified George W. Bush. I hope campaign managers let Chelsea be Chelsea and Hillary be a sweet woman than an angry politician.

Iowa and NH are independent states sometimes they go for democrats, other times republican tested in two elections. Therefore, the results does not reflect the true sentiments of the democratic states.

Posted by: Ebuc from California | January 8, 2008 1:45 AM

Oh brother. All I can say is--yours is just one man's 'opinion'.

Posted by: sabrina | January 8, 2008 12:54 AM

Heres the problem with the Washington Post in a nutshell.
If you want to find out why the voters currently prefer Obama to Clinton (if that is the case) then run an opinion poll and ask them. Do some work.
Otherwise the Post has no value as we can get plenty of mindless or agenda-driven speculation elsewhere.

For myself, I wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton because she had plenty opportunity to oppose Bush in the Senate over the last seven years and chose not to do so.

Posted by: XYZ | January 8, 2008 12:15 AM

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