This is not an ideological matter. It is more like a leading pitcher who is now throwing nothing but balls and no one can quite figure out why.
Except if you look back to last season, it’s actually not quite so much of a mystery. Here are some assessments of HRC’s 2008 campaign at the time that include things no one mentions today:
Newsweek, 2008 - The flip side of Obama's respect for voters was Clinton's disrespect. It began with her announcement of her candidacy in early 2007, when she said she was "in it to win it." …. The not-so-secret assumption behind her entire campaign was that she was the inevitable nominee. But voters don't like to be told how they will vote by politicians (or pundits). It's disrespectful….
Patti Solis Doyle, the campaign manager, was in over her head, and communications director Howard Wolfson convinced himself that being rude to reporters (or complaining to their bosses) would somehow improve the tone of the coverage. His subordinates followed this approach to press relations, sometimes verbally abusing TV bookers and others in the media. The problem with "working the refs" (a basketball term for riding referees in hopes of a good call later on) is that, while it can sometimes succeed in the short term, it's always a long-term loser. Reporters wait in the weeds..Since a Republican victory this year may well be the most damaging political event in our history since the secession that led to the Civil War, it would be helpful if the media took a little more critical look at the Clinton campaign. If, in fact, it is having problems of political pragmatism, excessive exercise of control by its candidate, false assumptions of inevitability, emotional or health issues, or lack of a workable plan - just to name a few possibilities – it’s not too late to face this reality and come up with a better solution.
The reason Clinton didn't adjust more quickly, alienated many potential donors, antagonized the press and had so much trouble winning over uncommitted super delegates, is that from start to finish her campaign gave off a distinct whiff of arrogance. Campaign staffers, internalizing that victory was inevitable, felt that Clinton's stature in the party gave them license to play rough with anyone who wouldn't come along. So early on donors coughed up money, super delegates pledged their support, and media outlets bought into meaningless national polls showing her way ahead, but few were happy about it. Unlike the die hard Clinton lovers, they felt intimidated. So later, when she desperately needed their support, they weren't there for her.
Suzanne Goldenerg, Guardian, 2008 -Voters were not impressed by Clinton's skills as a survivor - they wanted to move past the battles of the 1990s. Her campaign's failure to read the signs left her cast as a creature of the status quo, said Ken Goldstein, an expert in campaign advertising at the University of Wisconsin. "Hillary Clinton could have been portrayed as a change candidate," he said. "If you look at the way women candidates typically run, they typically run as change candidates because by definition they are not old white guys." Instead, Clinton stuck to a blandly centrist message that was calibrated to voters in a presidential election rather than the Democratic party activists who dominate the primary process.
Rick Klein, ABC News, 2008 - Her campaign, it would turn out, was based on a series of fundamental miscalculations — about the mood of the electorate, the threat posed by Sen. Barack Obama and even the basic rules of the Democratic primary process. In retrospect, the mistakes started with a faulty assumption: That inevitability itself could underpin the rationale for a presidential candidacy, even in the face of a deep Democratic desire for change and the wide enthusiasm that greeted a first-term senator from Illinois.
When the veneer of invincibility slipped away, so did much of the campaign's strategic foundations, leading to the staff infighting, public eruptions, financial woes and a string of devastating defeats that contributed to Obama's clinching of the Democratic nomination…
She seemed to have a lengthy policy prescription for every problem a voter had — meanwhile, Obama fired up arenas filled with thousands of enthusiastic supporters. She seemed to alternate between offense and defense almost by the day, or by the debate.
Meanwhile, since I first began covering the Clinton story over twenty years ago, I have never heard such caution, concern and lack of passion from her own supporters. It’s too early to provide a clear explanation but not too soon to say that something may not be working right.