Blaming teh left for a bigger than expected loss just don’t make any sense because they didn’t do a damn thing to hurt her campaign. Did they field a primary challenger or support a third party bid against her? No. Hell, I donated some cash to her and wish she’d won. So she’s mad that she took some flak for her bland positioning and bad votes? Criticism and pressure are hardly reprehensible in politics, particularly because they could be used as evidence of her moderation, as this good Slate piece notes. And also, like, what are political groups for if not to persuade politicians to vote in their preferred way? One sees here a rather annoying sense of entitlement: moderate Dems like McCaskill apparently believe that liberal groups should never try to push them to the left, which pretty much justifies the darkest criticisms of lefty critics of how the party thinks about its activists. What are they supposed to do, go hang out at TGI Friday’s while the right sets all the terms of the debate?

At any rate, Claire really has nobody to blame but herself but I do have some empathy for her. She did everything she thought would bring a win and it didn’t work at all. The Slate piece notes how she played every single piece of the DLC/Blue Dog/Third Way playbook. Distancing herself from the national party? Check! Downplaying any divisive issue to the extent that it makes you seem like a total phony? Check! Emphasizing noncontroversial bipartisan moderate issues that focus group through the roof (but that probably aren’t salient enough to drive votes)? Double check! Also talk a lot about bipartisanship talk, like all the time. She did it all and lost badly, and in casting around for someone to blame she’s found a group to scapegoat that provably did not do her in. Did the left also tank Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly? I guess they just barely missed Manchin and Tester. Heitkamp and Donnelly flopped doing largely the same thing as McCaskill but the thing is that Evan Bayh also flopped two years earlier doing it. It’s not like she couldn’t have known that this model failed in a comparable state in spite of having a solid candidate. More solid than Claire, honestly, who has always been defined by her close ties to the national party as one of Obama’s greatest allies in the Senate and thus was not a good fit for triangulation as a strategy. But Clintonism can only be failed I suppose.

The one thing that the Slate article gets wrong is in speculating that she’s prepping for another run for office. Nah, man, she’s just putting together her reel to be the next president of No Labels. That’s all this is about.

{ 1 comment }
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  1. Metavirus says:

    You have to love this bit:

    These are “young women who have not spent any time outside of the group of people that agree with them,” McCaskill said. “Shame on them that they’re not working as hard as they can for me.”

    Aren’t millennials supposed to be the ones who go around feeling entitled?

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