Ways of Winning

Kevin Drum pronounces himself bitter:

Am I feeling bitter? You bet. Not because Hillary Clinton seems more likely than not to lose — I can live with that pretty easily — but because of how she's likely to lose. Because the press doesn't like her. Because any time a woman raises her voice half a decibel she instantly becomes shrill. Because we insist on an idiotic nominating system that gives a bunch of Iowa corn farmers 20x the influence of any Democratic voter in any urban area in the country. Because the fever swamp, in the end, is getting the last laugh.

As Troy Aikman just said to Joe Buck about an unrelated issue, "I agree with that to a point." But consider the alternative -- had Hillary Clinton won because she'd been able to coerce the support of a large number of elected officials, union leaders, donors, and other elites on the basis of the idea that she was inevitable and retribution would be dealt out to those who failed to support her and because we insist on an idiotic nominating system that gives wildly disproportionate influence to lily-white Iowa that would have sucked, too. We have a screwed-up political process in this country, and political outcomes naturally reflect that fact.

I agree that Clinton gets a bad rap from many in the press, but at the end of the day there are limits to my sympathy for the ill-treatment she and her husband have received over the years. Or, rather, there aren't limits to the sympathy, but there are limits to what the sympathy can buy you. Resentment at the inanity of the media isn't a good reason to make one particular person President. If she loses, Hillary Clinton will still be a multimillionaire US Senator, so there are people out there who I'll feel sorrier for. Meanwhile, it's not as if Clinton had some visionary plan to fix these problems; it's Obama with the ambitious media reform program, and Clinton who's benefitting from Murdoch-hosted fundraisers.

On top of all that: Getting good press is part of being an effective candidate and part of being an effective president. Will Obama continue to get this kind of worshipful coverage in the general election campaign? Probably not, especially if he has to run against Saint John of Arizona. But will he get better coverage than Clinton or Edwards would? Almost certainly. And I don't think it makes sense to let resentment be the governing consideration here.