Hillary Clinton’s “Shame On You” Moment Tells A lot about Why She’s Loosing to Barack Obama
Posted February 25, 2008 | 01:01 AM (EST)

Hillary Clinton generated another telling campaign moment Saturday as she waged her finger and angrily said, “Shame on You Barack Obama”. Her statement came after increasingly effective attacks by Obama on the Clinton Administration’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – a pact that is widely despised by the working class Ohio voters upon whom largely rest her hopes for keeping her candidacy alive.

But it’s the style and tone of her response that tells volumes about why her campaign against Barack Obama is gradually sinking.

Granted her “shame on you Barack Obama” was aimed at her opponent, not the voters, but it is symbolic of the tone of her entire campaign, and that tone is what is heard by the voters.

Hillary Clinton tends to lecture. She tells voters to “get real”. She wags her finger, and reminds them of the way they felt when their sixth grade teacher told them that if they didn’t stop talking in class and turn in their homework, they would never amount to anything.

People respond to being inspired and uplifted – called upon to live up to their potential. They don’t respond to being shamed, scolded or hectored.

Inspiration makes people feel empowered. It gets them to behave differently – or vote differently – through positive reinforcement. It makes them feel that they can do and be more than they are. People like being in the presence of someone who inspires them. Barack Obama is all about inspiration.

Clinton’s tone is anti-inspirational. A lecturing, scolding tone makes people feel un-empowered. People don’t like to be lectured. That’s because lecturing tries to change people’s behavior through negative reinforcement – by scolding them. The fact is that positive reinforcement trumps negative reinforcement almost every time.

And that’s not some “softheaded” liberal notion. The research on business management and motivating employees is almost unanimous: inspiration and positive reinforcement get results. Negative reinforcement gets results too, but often unexpected and counter productive results.

In Clinton’s case, her scolding, “get real”, “shame on you” tone just enhances the doubts of the many Americans who feel negatively about her in the first place. They don’t like the prospect of her finger wagging at them on the TV and being lectured and scolded for the next four years.

Voters like the brief glimpses of the generous, personable Hillary that they saw at the end of the last debate. But the “shame on you”, scolding Hillary drives them right into Obama’s inspirational corner.

Much of the blame for this grave political problem rests with the Clinton campaign’s early decision that she would run as the “Margaret Thatcher”, iron-lady of American politics. That might have worked if she had been paired against many, run of the mill opponents. But it was a fatal decision in a race against a master of inspiration.

Being the anti-inspirational candidate is even more disastrous in a context where the overwhelming majority of Americans want fundamental change. Barack Obama says: “Yes we can change the way things are done in Washington.” However she intends it, Clinton’s anti-inspirational, finger waging style translates to: “Get real, you don’t really think things are going to fundamentally change, do you?”

The contrast of inspiration and anti-inspiration has also contributed mightily to Obama’s superior field operations and fund raising. Of course, tapping into the promise this inspiration presented required excellence in execution as well. But in things big and small the Obama Campaign has executed flawlessly and out hustled the Clintonistas at every turn.

Obama’s grass roots, Internet driven fundraising superiority required an inspirational candidacy to work. And the Obama campaign harnessed the grass roots energy with precision, vision and sophistication.

Obama’s spectacular field operation has been fueled by the massive influx of inspired volunteers. And its superior organizational skills successfully turned motivated volunteers into phone bankers and canvassers.

I’m not of the school that it’s all over but the shouting. With all of her negatives, Clinton may very well hang on for weeks or months. But with every wag of Hillary’s finger, Obama’s odds get better and better.

Comments (13)
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mexamerican (See profile | I’m a fan of mexamerican)
clintonistas only want to shoot down obama now. that’s all they have going for them. it’s pathetic.
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 03:30 AM on 02/25/2008
raptor (See profile | I’m a fan of raptor)
“Shame on You” at your age. It’s “losing”. not “loosing”. I see “loosing” in LOTS of comments, but expect factual and grammatical/spelling correctness in posts. Unless some else wrote the headline.
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 03:24 AM on 02/25/2008
wakeupeverybody (See profile | I’m a fan of wakeupeverybody)
Mr. Creamer, I could not agree with you more, I hate it with a passion when someone points their finger in my face and scold me directly or indirectly for that matter.

Hillary is not my mother,my mother has passed on, and I am not looking for a new one. So she can take her condescending attitude back to the “Little Rock” that she crawled out from under.

Once she gets under that rock,maybe she can learn how to communicate with people. There is an old saying that I grew up with, the author is unknow so I cannot accredit him/her with it; “You can catch more flies with honey than you can vinegar”.

Stop spewing the venom, and stop with the yellow pantsuits. Just because you’re dressed like a bee, doesn’t make you the QUEEN bee.

Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 03:12 AM on 02/25/2008
ParaplegicNomad (See profile | I’m a fan of ParaplegicNomad)
I’m an Obama supporter for a variety of reasons, but I just want to point out that if we (the voters) refuse to vote for Hillary because “she makes us feel bad about our behavior,” ummm… That says a lot more about who we (the voters) are than about Hillary Clinton or our sixth grade teachers.

Sure, it’s a dumb way to try to win a popularity contest or a national election. But let’s not forget that the underlying problem, here, is that we the people are churlish, petulant brats. “We don’t like to be scolded; it makes us sad.” Yeesh. I don’t mind the Hillary criticism, but isn’t this also a good time to remind us all to take responsibility for our own reactions and behaviors?
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 02:50 AM on 02/25/2008
HowardRoarke (See profile | I’m a fan of HowardRoarke)
The presidency is a popularity contest. To win a general election, you need more than your browbeaten base. You need independents, swing voters, or whatever term you prefer for the so-called “independent thinkers” who are often swayed by crazy things like say human emotions.

So unless you’re seeking the robot vote, it is political suicide to pick unpopular unlikeable candidates. Even a robot should understand that.

Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 03:13 AM on 02/25/2008
ParaplegicNomad (See profile | I’m a fan of ParaplegicNomad)
Yes, but the cynical voice of unwavering fatalism does not excuse our own complicity in this. We are the swing voters, the independents, and the so-calleds that fall for shiny-toothed smiles and “make us feel good about ourselves” campaigns.

Hillary is losing the popularity contest: her fault. The presidential election is a popularity contets: our fault. You’d think that by the time we hit voting age we’d have enough experience with our crazy, mixed-up human emotions to be able to control them long enough to pick a lever in a voting booth based on crazy things like say foreign policy.
Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 03:46 AM on 02/25/2008
GLU (See profile | I’m a fan of GLU)
Yeah but at the same time, I thinks its reasonable to want to at least be able to stand the person your voting for.
Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 07:49 AM on 02/25/2008
mcnote5150 (See profile | I’m a fan of mcnote5150)
That’s why they call her Hill the Shrill. It’s not the so called “Hillary haters” who are running her discombobulated campaign, giving uninspiring speeches, galvanizing half the country, it’s Hillary. Let’s face it she’s no Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton in 1992 was inspiring, smart, funny, warm, a people person, a leader of a generation ,a great speaker… in some ways Obama is the Clinton 92 of 2008 without the baggage. Before anyone says …well without Hillary…Bill could never get elected. She came up with “a place called Hope”. Well no one denies Hillary it’s a great politico behind the scenes but she a terrible campaigner. Yes she’s smart but she doesn’t connect. She’s great on “paper” and that’s why she was seen as the nominee for four years(she been trying for close to ten) but people want a personality change away from the Bushes and the Clintons. Obama is a really good campaigner that has tapped into this “change” ground swell. He is NOT the second coming(fill in the blank)as Hillary is not the next Eleanor Roosevelt or Golda Meir as some have hoped. Hillary’s failures are Hillary’s(or the great right wing conspiracy or Obamaactics or misogynists or maybe HERSELF)
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 02:25 AM on 02/25/2008
thicky (See profile | I’m a fan of thicky)
though i am undecided in this election, clinton’s anti-inspirational campaign’s repeated whining about the obama-supporters acting machine-like, robotic, cultish, or messianic reveals a contempt for his supporters that is as soulless as it is offensive.
it seems the gist of clinton’s argument is that we should ridicule obama’s supporters because they are enthusiastic and filled with passion, filled with the fervor to join with others to try and make this a better country. how insulting. perhaps clinton thinks the founding fathers should be ridiculed for their enthusiastic passion for democracy in 1776?
aren’t people who are filled with passion filled with life? without passion, there is only a dull kind of numbness. a kind of numbness that ignores its leaders when they betray their constituents(fisa). a kind of numbness where some think it is ‘cool’ to be dead to the world, letting someone else tell you what to think and do.
i guess when clinton-supporters try and decry obama-supporters as belonging to a cult they are actually projecting the passionless and mindless delusional support they themselves bestow upon their cult idol: hillary clinton.

hmmm, i am beginning to wonder: because clinton repeatedly denigrates passionate people, does that mean the clinton-idolators are actually passionless zombies, unable to conceive of supporting/obeying anyone else other than hillary clinton, while simultaneously bent on converting all to their cold sterile so-called way of life?

Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 02:02 AM on 02/25/2008
lynnn (See profile | I’m a fan of lynnn)
Read Taylor Marsh or and tell me what you think! (I’d say they are zombies)
Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 02:11 AM on 02/25/2008
Querent (See profile | I’m a fan of Querent)
I stopped reading Taylor Marsh awhile back. Even when I was still undecided, I found it difficult to read her. It’s like a defensive exercise. She throws whatever she can think of at the reader, in rapid succession, not necessarily examining the validity of any argument, just intent on finding one that will work. Leaps and twists in her exposition have to be canceled out. If I try to follow the thread of her argumentation, I lose my orientation.
I used to enjoy reading Ms. Marsh. However, for her, Clinton vs. Obama is war. I’m sure that after the 2008 election is over, Ms. Marsh’s work will again be something I can enjoy. She has a lot to offer. And I don’t mind that she has lost perspective. But I prefer to keep mine.

Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 02:46 AM on 02/25/2008
dryfactoidobotanoid (See profile | I’m a fan of dryfactoidobotanoid)
if I am scolded justifiably, it is my instinct to take heed. if I am scolded irrationally, it is my instinct to despise the scolder and have contempt for their foolishness.
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 01:46 AM on 02/25/2008
jem286 (See profile | I’m a fan of jem286)
I think you mean “losing,” not “loosing.” I guess you could say she’s losing, but has also recently come loose.
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 01:18 AM on 02/25/2008


  1. Darrell Davis Says:

    Oh my…You’ve got to look at this lecture!!!!!!
    The Planned Distruction of Black People called
    The King Alfred Plan and REX 84

    Their are 6 parts. I will give you the first 3 (part 1) (part 2) (part 3)

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