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David Bender Headshot

Perceiving Reality

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I am continually astonished at the absence of irony -- call it an "irony deficiency" -- in the ever-shifting declarations of the participants in this presidential campaign.

No one needs a bigger booster shot than Bill Clinton.

Shortly after Senator Clinton's near-loss in Indiana (she ended up with just an 11,000 vote victory out of almost 1.3 million cast, a margin of less than one per cent), the former president turned revisionist-historian-in-chief said that ""In Indiana she came roaring from behind..." Only an inveterate finger-wagger could point to Hillary's near collapse --almost every poll had her well ahead for weeks-- and describe it as "roaring from behind."

This "win is a win" narrative should be treated as what it really is, "a spin is a spin." The truly extraordinary thing is that the media (whose long-term memory lapses are as striking as the shameless-faced pronouncements of the professional spinners) has failed to point out that the "Comeback Kid" himself actually lost the New Hampshire primary in 1992 by nine points to Paul Tsongas. That was the 'win" that launched Bill Clinton toward the nomination and the White House.

Expectations aren't fair, nor are they static. Seantor Obama was supposed to lose New Hampshire by double digits before winning Iowa, then he was expected to win it by double digits on the morning of the primary. Senator Clinton "lost" Indiana because she didn't win it before most people went to bed on Tuesday night.

Bill Clinton might still have been awake to get the 3:00 AM call that his wife's campaign had barely survived the Indiana Primary. But by that point everybody else had turned off their phones. And the Democratic Party, for the first time in months, was sleeping peacefully again.