The erosion of support for Hillary Clinton among key Democratic party supporters poses a more serious threat to her candidacy than most pundits have recognized or acknowledged.
This week's vitriolic exchange between David Geffen and the Clinton camp exposes a deepening resentment among donors who feel put off by Hillary's unabashed sense of entitlement to their unequivocal support for her claim to the Oval Office throne. The NY Times Adam Nagourney reports that Hillary Clinton's heavy-handed tactics have left some longtime Democratic party donors royally ticked off.
"For weeks, the Clinton campaign has been dealing with the threat from Mr. Obama aggressively, if not in such a public way as it did on Wednesday. Mrs. Clinton’s team, which includes toughened advisers like Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic Committee National chairman, has been sending signals, some gentle and some not so gentle, that it wants Democrats to choose between her and Mr. Obama and not hedge their bets.
"At a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton in Hollywood two weeks ago, as Mr. McAuliffe told the story in an interview on Thursday, he joked in a crowded room that big contributors would be honored with limo rides with the new president while those who wrote checks to, say, Mr. Obama could give up their dreams of access."
"The Los Angeles Times quoted Mr. McAuliffe as saying at that event, “You are either with us or you’re against us,” a remark Mr. McAullife and other attendees said was jocular."
Of course, McAullife claims that his remarks were
jugular 'jocular' and naturally other attendees agreed, but some office holders in New Hampshire are not laughing about the Clintons' barely veiled threats:
"Some elected officials in New Hampshire, meanwhile, said they were told that their early support would matter more to the Clintons than an endorsement down the road."
Longtime party supporter Norman Lear makes it crystal clear that he wants to see several candidates competing for the support of donors and he is more than a little irritated with the chutzpah shown by the Clinton people:
“I feel that way only because we the electorate earn the right to a vigorous debate,” said Norman Lear, the producer, who has contributed to both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton. Asked about Mr. McAuliffe’s remark, he responded: “What’s he going to do, jail me?"
When friends and party loyalists start bitterly dismissing your efforts to win their commitment, your campaign is in trouble. Mrs. Clinton has yet to convince party movers and shakers that the American electorate can warm to her in sufficient numbers to win the general election. Alienating friends with her audacious sense of entitlement is hardly the way for Mrs. Clinton to prove that she can win over an American center that has always been cool to her.