Still too soon to count Hillary out

Hillary has made a gaffe. But those who think she'll quit do not have long memories.

When is a gaffe not a gaffe? The answer used to be simple: when a Democrat uttered a gaffe, it vanished into the memory hole. But no longer, now that Hillary Clinton is fair game for demonization, as any Republican always has been.

It was a stupid mistake for Hillary Clinton to mark the memory of the lateness of the Democratic primary campaign in 1968 by mentioning the assassination of Robert Kennedy, something that anyone who lived through that event would remember vividly. It is a sad fact that those of us old enough to remember can mark that era with vivid recollections of where we were when we learned of certain deaths: JFK, RFK, MLK, and (for me and many others) Elvis and John Lennon. These amount to the mileage posts of my younger years.

It is indeed possible to infer weakly on thin evidence that this reveals a mindset just waiting for someone to kill her opponent. But that is speculative. Some will believe it because they want to believe. Others will not.

When we noted  that Barack Obama uttered the following gaffe, we were inundated with protests that he didn't mean to say what he clearly said  to the Atlantic:

Q: Jeff Goldberg:--- Do you think that Israel is a drag on America's reputation overseas?

A: Obama: --- No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions.

The antecedent in the question was Israel, so "constant wound" and "constant sore" logically refer to Israel.

But even Jeff Goldberg the interviewer, as well as many Obama supporters insisted that it was outrageous to take this gaffe as evidence of a certain basic attitude. No, no, no (as Pastor Wright likes to say), he was referring to the conflict, not Israel. Never mind that anti-Israel activist and Obama friend and backer Rashifd Khalidi also calls the conflict a "sore."  We are supposed to believe that Obama has nothing but love for Isarel. Elsewhere in the interview he stated his support so this gaffe must be understood in a larger context, we were assured.

Many of the same people who excused this Obama gaffe, and many others  (57 states, 10,000 tornado victims, etc.) now declare Hillary out of the race, and so do many others in the media. Because the media has decided this gaffe is fatal, it shall be so. Our own Rick Moran is among them. They are probably all correct that Hillary's race to convince super delegates is now hopeless, thanks to the negative PR.

But I am not about to write off Hillary Rodham Clinton. As I wrote during the first mania over Obama late last year, Hillary is no quitter. I take pride in having predicted that she would take it all the way to the convention, and I still think she will. Politics is full of surprises. It is still too soon to write her off.

There are, however, several notable aspects to this latest kerfuffle.

1. Once again Obama and his partisans take deep personal offense when his name is not even mentioned. Obama is, to himself and his partisans, so significant that any mention of anything that might tangentially be directed at him amounts to a personal attack. The president warns agains appeasement and that is a vicious attack on Obama. Hillary marks a memorable campaign with the most memorable event associated with it, and it is thought to amount to a call for killing her opponent. For a guy with a Teflon coating, he certainly bruises easily.

2. Many assume that this kills any chance of Obama inviting her on the ticket as second banana. I beg to differ.

If Obama decides it is useful to have her as veep candidate, he will look all the more magnanimous by inviting her on the ticket. This incident adds to her value to him. Of course, Michelle Obama is all the more likely to veto any offer. I doubt this ticket will happen anyway, but the gaffe doesn't make it less likely.

3. Hillary will fight on, with even more vigor. Even if she thinks she has no chance at the nomination. She will want even more to redeem herself and her name by proving she is serious about the race, and this gaffe was not a telling revelation of her innermost darkness. Quitting now would be an admission of guilt.

4. Assuming she loses the nomination, Hillary is even more likely to avoid helping Obama win. She must resent deeply that the press has turned on her. Watching this younger inexperienced man trump her victim card and entice the press into treating her like Newt Gingrich has got to rankle. Hillary Clinton knows about resentment, and the power of that emotion to motivate and energize a body into ever-greater efforts.

5. Now that gaffes are a big issue, there could be blowback for Obama, who is prone to them when not relying on a teleprompter and vaporous generalizations. Politics is a chess game, and you have to remember that there are more moves ahead.

6. I can't count the times I have heard the expression "the race is over" and "Hillary should concede." The people writing that have been wrong. They still are. Probably.