The Greatest Leader of Our Time

Is Hillary.

The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones.

 - Mark Antony, in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

The pages of history record many leaders great and small.  There have been countless would-be leaders who couldn't get anyone to follow them and died in failure.

Sometimes, like Karl Marx, the leader himself doesn't live long enough to see much success, but his ideas are carried to victory by a great follower (Lenin).  In cases like Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate, the movement is tremendously strong while the leader lives, but it's unable to survive his death and falls apart.

There aren't too many leaders that have been successful in starting a self-perpetuating political movement that can carry on through multiple generations; America's Founding Fathers have probably come closest to achieving this goal.

With leadership so essential, it's not surprising that a leader's mistakes can torpedo his movement.  Ross Perot provides a great example.  At one time, the Presidency seemed achievable for him, and there were fears that his Reform Party might become a permanent political force.

But for reasons known only to him, he couldn't make up his mind whether he was in or out.  First he was in; then, he dropped out and shut the party down; then a few weeks later, back in.  The movement couldn't survive this dithering.  It fell apart, and nobody has heard from him or from his ex-party in years.

It takes a special kind of leader to create a movement so strong, so determined, that it carries on not only despite the loss of its leader, but continues the fight despite the leader's disavowal and repudiation of the movement.

Whether by accident or by design, this historically notable feat seems to be just what Sen. Hillary Clinton has accomplished, to the dismay and potential defenestration of Barack Obama.

Listen to her address to her supporters at the Democratic National Convention:

No way, no how, no McCain.  Barack Obama is my candidate, and he must be our president.

Her words could hardly be more plain, yer the Internet crawls with tearful videos of Hillary supporters saying, in effect, "No way, No how, No Obama."  Despite calls from all sides for party unity, die-hard Hillraisers have created the amusingly-named PUMA, which stands for "Party Unity My A**."

Which is Worse, Sexism or Racism?

Their consensus seems to be that the media and Obama's treatment of Hillary was so sexist, so revoltingly unfair and wrong, and Obama himself is so exceptionally unqualified for the Oval Office as Hillary, herself, repeatedly pointed out, that the Democratic party will be better off losing this fall, hopefully learning their lesson that feminists are Not To Be Taken Lightly.

That may not be their only concern.  What if Mr. Obama wins and turns out to be as incompetent and ineffective as, say, Mr. Carter?  How long would it be before the Democrats would win the White House again?

It took twelve years and the abandonment of many cherished leftist policies for the Democratic party to recover from Mr. Carter - and even then, it took Bill Clinton, generally considered the greatest natural politician of his generation, running against the first Mr. Bush, who not only had highly-visible trouble with the "vision thing" but lost a few percent of the vote to the death-throes of Ross Perot's campaign.  For all his vaunted popularity, Bill Clinton never succeeded in winning a majority of votes cast; by that measure, George W. Bush was more popular than he.

There are always die-hards after a primary loss who want to take their votes and go home.  You don't often get thousands of them, and you almost never have their numbers growing the further their loss recedes into history.  According to CNN polls, that's exactly what's taking place:

The poll showed that 66 percent of Clinton supporters -- registered Democrats who want Clinton as the nominee -- are now backing Obama. That's down from 75 percent in the end of June. Twenty-seven percent of them now say they'll support McCain, up from 16 percent in late June.

Instead of gaining ground among Hillary supporters, the polls say that Mr. Obama is losing them.  Even Bill Clinton may harbor PUMA feelings.  He made the following statement in a speech this week:

Suppose for example you're a voter and you have candidate X and you have candidate Y," Clinton said. "Candidate X agrees with you on everything but you don't think that person can deliver on anything. Candidate Y disagrees with you on half the issues but you believe that on the other half, the candidate will be able to deliver.

This is the kind of question that I predict - and this has nothing to do with what's going on now - but I am just saying if you look at five, 10, 15 years from now, you may actually see this delivery issue become a serious issue in Democratic debates because it is so hard to figure out how to turn good intentions into real changes in the lives of the people we represent.

Mr.Clinton himself agrees with Scragged that it is very hard to turn good intentions into real changes; not everyone can do it.  There are an awful lot of people who don't need to wait five, 10, 15 years from now to confront this conundrum of good intentions versus good results - it hardly takes 5, 10, or 15 seconds to figure out what Slick Willie might be getting at.

Could it be that the Great Manipulator himself is not entirely convinced that Barack Obama is ready for prime time?  Does Slick Willie think that Mr. Obama will have trouble actually getting things done?  As we've noted before, Obama's legislative record is not reassuring on this point, and Mrs. Pelosi's legislative agenda, which Mr. Obama has promised to sign, is enough to make business owners sell out and shift their assets elsewhere.

Having buried Sen. Kennedy in the 1980 primary, Mr. Carter had the problem of what to do with Mr. Kennedy's movement.  Having buried Hillary's candidacy, Mr. Obama now has the problem of what to do with Hillary's much larger movement.

It's going to be tough enough for him to beat Sen. McCain even with all the Hillraisers firmly on board; the more people get a good look at Obama and the harder the labor unions and the media try to anoint him without bothering with trivial details such as the actual election, the further his poll numbers drop.  The last thing he needs is for Hillary's movement to go marching on without her like Frankenstein's monster - yet that's what he's faced with.  Has Hillary, in her all-consuming pursuit of power, succeeded in waking the sleeping giant of working-class Democrats and feminists, and filled them with a terrible resolve?

And so, after an interminable electoral season during which Hillary has repeatedly impressed us with her fortitude, grit, and determination, we are forced to conclude: Hillary is the greatest leader of our time.  Not the most successful, no; but in terms of inspiring loyalty, commitment, and absolute conviction in her supporters, she is without peer.

Poor Barack - never underestimate the power of a woman.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments
Greatest "leader"?? Cough, cough, hack, choke!

To be a great leader, one must have many followers. The more followers, the greater the leader. Obama, by definition, would be the greater leader - he had (and still has) FAR more followers than Hillary did (and does).

There is no question that she really sold her followers well so many of them are not ready to leave despite knowing the battle is over. But she is not the greater leader, only the greater seducer.
August 27, 2008 12:04 PM
I dunno about her being the greater seducer, Ifon, Mr. Obama seems to have seduced more people based on having even fewer accomplishments than she.
August 27, 2008 12:10 PM
That's true. Really, "seducer" isn't a great word either. My point is that Hillary's strength are in convincing people of her CAUSE. That isn't necessarily the mark of a great leader if she can't get more followers than the other guy. Obama got more followers but his group is not so nearly convinced of his cause (partly, because he doesn't have one). His army of sheep - massive though it may be - would quickly stray where Hillary's army of sheep would is small but dedicated.
August 27, 2008 12:17 PM
Ya gotta admit, though, there's a good point here - when was the last time an American politician managed to conjure up quite such a dedicated group of followers numbering in the millions? The Paulites are dedicated but very very few. The Obamaniacs are many, and frothy, but one gets the impression that they are potentially easily disillusioned - we're already seeing this happen. The Hillraisers, though, are another story.

Guess it depends on your definition of "greatest." You can be great and still lose.
August 27, 2008 12:29 PM
If anyone takes this award, based on the definition you gave, Ron Paul is the winner by far. He NEVER had a chance even from the very beginning and STILL managed to get millions of supporters. Even after he gave up, they soldiered on, managing to get him to start the Campaign for Liberty organization. They also convinced him to do the protest convention. If you're judging greatest by whose sheep were the most dedicated, RP takes the award no contest.
August 27, 2008 12:36 PM
Add to that the fact, that Ron Paul's sheep gave overwhelming amounts of money. It's one thing to say your dedicated and show up at campaign rallies. It's another thing to empty your bank account for a guy that has no chance of winning. They continued doing that even after he gathered virtually no delegates in the early states.
August 27, 2008 12:38 PM
"What if Mr. Obama wins and turns out to be as incompetent and ineffective as, say, Mr. Carter?"

You're way too kind. Obama will make Carter look like the pinnacle of competence.

"How long would it be before the Democrats would win the White House again?"

Not in my lifetime, is my hope :)

The thing is, I am becoming more and more convinced that McCain is going to win, and I don't think it's going to be one of those close 49/51 races. The media's continuing fawning over Obama is starting to turn people off.

"To be a great leader, one must have many followers."

Obama has 66,000 followers on Twitter. Does that count?

On topic - I can't help but feel there is something fundamentally wrong with calling Hillary Clinton the "greatest leader of our time", but I AM hard pressed to come up with a better example. But she still doesn't come anywhere close to those "great" leaders who managed to unite entire nations - you know, like Franco, Stalin, Mussolini, and that German guy...
August 27, 2008 7:46 PM
you're being too tactful in saying that Obama's legislative record is "not reassuring." He has NO legislative record. He's sat on the taxpayer's payroll but he's done nothing at all, he as NO experience.

Steve Forbes found out that the American electorate do not think of the Presidency as an entry-level job.
August 27, 2008 11:25 PM
It's a lamentable fact that the field of competition for "greatest leader of our time" is so desperately weak. What's more, there doesn't appear to be anyone in the farm teams of either side with the potential to be a real leader. Guess our next truly great leader is still in elementary school... hopefully a private one...
August 28, 2008 8:11 AM
VERY Well said, Joanie. Americans citizens don't like the Presidency to be an "entry level" position. I agree with Tony as well. I am beginning to think that the media fawning has gotten *so* bad, anyone who isn't a complete media-lacky (of which more and more are not if you believe the polls) is starting to despise Obama. Go McCain!
August 28, 2008 9:44 AM
"Guess our next truly great leader is still in elementary school... hopefully a private one..."

He WAS in private school, but he's being home-schooled as of this year. Since he's only 6, you'll have to wait another 30 years before he can be president, though. :)
August 28, 2008 11:18 AM
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