Baggage and Pressure Will Decide Outcome

With faith in government at an all time low, the party that prefers more of it rather than less is at the beginning of a tortured 65-week process designed to choose its standard bearer.

Four cataclysmic forces, two of which include actual people, will clash between now and the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, and the result of the collisions will be the Democratic nominees for President and Vice President.

The two forces involving actual people are Hillary Clinton and the other six who are Nosing Around. The former First Lady is one force all by herself and the six Nosers Around are the other.

The Nosers Around once included 16 additional candidates who have been mentioned, but not recently, and 31 others who have declined. One of the 31 is Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts and former Harvard Law Professor. Nobody really believes her and, depending on the two non-human cataclysmic forces, they might be correct.

The non-human forces likely to shape the outcome are baggage and pressure.

Hillary Clinton (a.k.a. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hillary! or H with the cross bar depicted as an arrow) has been on the political scene for almost 30 years and is well known to all. 62% of Democratic voters favor her but 54% believe she is neither honest nor trustworthy. She is 68 years old and, along with her husband, Bill, and daughter, Chelsea, is in charge of a web of foundations generally known as the Clinton Global Initiative. Hillary, Bill and Chelsea make a great deal of money from doing good works or at least talking about them.

The Nosers Around in order of popularity among Democratic voters are:

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren favored by 13% despite saying she won’t run. Hates Wall Street and all things money.
  • Vice President Joe Biden favored by 10%. Gaffe master.
  • Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders favored by 6%. Socialist.
  • Former Baltimore Mayor and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley favored by 2%. Pressuring the others to the left.
  • Former Virginia Senator, former Secretary of the Navy and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Jim Webb favored by 1%. Much decorated Marine Corps officer, who later called the invasion of Iraq “the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory.”
  • Former Rhode Island Senator and Governor as well as a former Republican Lincoln Chafee favored by just north of nobody. In addition to graduating from Andover and Brown, he has a degree in horseshoeing from Montana State University at Bozeman and seven years’ experience as a farrier.

If viewed from left to right on the political spectrum, the order would probably be Sanders, Warren, O’Malley, Biden, Webb and Chafee, but nobody really knows what any of the candidates would do when the talking points become real decisions.

The Nosers Around do not, as they say at the end of regular seasons in pro sports, “control their own destiny.” The baggage does and maybe the pressure. Unless the baggage or the pressure delivers a timely assist, the Nosers are losers. But, if the two non-human factors do emerge, the Nosers Around and perhaps some of the 47 others who have said or been told “no” could spring back to life.

Every candidate has political baggage and it is not necessarily bad. Sometimes, for example, political baggage results from making a decision in the best interest of the country despite its unpopularity. Okay, not very often. Mostly political baggage is gathered by making the best decision for yourself even if it is far from the best interest of the country. Sometimes political baggage results from finding large stacks of cash wrapped in aluminum foil in your freezer.

Among today’s candidates, Hillary Clinton is the league leader in the baggage category, especially when measured by the lifetime body of work. No listing is ever complete, and students of political baggage become apoplectic if their favorite is omitted. The Rose Law Firm billing records and Whitewater are unlikely to reappear. Bill’s “trouser issues” are always a threat. The biggest current problems for Hillary’s baggage handlers are probably the private email server she used while Secretary of State and the increasing pungency of the family foundations and their donors.

Defending yourself from scandal usually means resorting to a legalistic defense (“in compliance with existing legal requirements” or, if dudgeon is high, “full compliance”), but the mere absence of criminality might not be the best standard to apply to the leader of the free world. Voters sometimes notice that difference though baggage handlers rarely do.

Baggage can also be misused as endless repetition of Benghazi without any new news to report has amply demonstrated. The best measure for assessing baggage is probably the “other team” test. If an issue is raised against your side, ask yourself if you would believe it if it were raised by your side against the other. If your side raises it, ask yourself if you would find it important if the roles were reversed. For more than 90% of voters, who have already made up their minds, the “other team” test might as well be quantum mechanics.

The fourth factor is pressure. Athletes recognize the value of pressuring their opponents into mistakes. If your opponent’s fitness is in question, run him from side to side until the rest of his game breaks down. If your opponent has a tendency to lose heart or get down on himself, give him many reasons to do so. At age 68 and in possession of a brittle demeanor, Hillary Clinton is vulnerable to both.

The most important forces that will determine the Democratic nominee for 2016 are most likely not the human ones.

13 Responses to “Baggage and Pressure Will Decide Outcome”

ctm, April 27, 2015 at 9:48 pm said:



Haven Pell, April 27, 2015 at 10:38 pm said:

Charlie, your prognostications are noted with both interest and thanks. Haven


Jane Lippincott, April 27, 2015 at 10:39 pm said:

So where’s the choice? A rather dismal group to choose from. What does it mean for Republicans? As to Chafee…provided lots of interesting commentary on the talk radio shows for 4 years!


Haven Pell, April 27, 2015 at 10:46 pm said:

possible none of the above


Peter Gerry, April 27, 2015 at 11:43 pm said:

Lincoln Chaffee , despite switching teams, is an interesting possible candidate. I can attest firsthand that he became an excellent farrier. He shod many of my family’s racehorses for two or three years and helped them achieve beyond our expectations. He can fight in the trenches. He is as comfortable in a business situation as he is in a redneck bar.

More importantly, he is probably the most honorable among the Nosers Around crew. He is married to a woman from one of Rhode Island’s most respected families, he has class and he comports himself with style and humility. He is very charming. He certainly has a better personal presentation than Hillary

My fear is that he will be forced to become too calloused by the process and lose his charm.


Haven Pell, April 27, 2015 at 11:49 pm said:

I thought the farrier bit was unique and interesting. Not totally surprised you liked it!


brandy, April 28, 2015 at 12:27 am said:

Farrier, that’s first class and works mostly for cash. No baggage but maybe some evasion?


Haven Pell, April 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm said:

no evidence of that and Peter Gerry’s comment below suggests it would be out of character.


stan hatch, April 28, 2015 at 1:51 am said:

I wonder how she will do in the campaign in the debates. You can’t plead the 5th.


Haven Pell, April 28, 2015 at 12:45 pm said:

legions of poll testers and spinners to the rescue


Dale Jenkins, May 01, 2015 at 12:11 am said:

It would be more attractive to some to be calm, discerning and nuanced as the political season evolves. I do not think we have time for that, given our domestic unrest, confusing international involvements, and a federal debt that grows toward $20 trillion. With regard to the debt, the higher it goes the more everyone just chooses to forget about it. Scary.

There is one candidate that is serious, mature, suffciently intelligent, experienced, and has integrity. At least in comparison to the others, including Hillary. That is Jim Webb. Everyone should Google this guy, and then impress upon him that the country needs him. Sorry to be blunt – there’s no one else.


Haven Pell, May 01, 2015 at 9:32 pm said:

debt, deficits, dollars the 3D engine room issue of all politics. Will not be resolved until it is too late. Those responsible will have long since ducked for cover.


Krish licensed, December 21, 2016 at 6:37 am said:

Nice speech


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