Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Commodity of the Day

... I am a proven commodity and I think actually that is a much better place to start if you're worried about our winning in November. —Hillary Clinton in an interview with Peggy Fikac

Yesterday I caught a sound-bite of Clinton using the line "I am a proven commodity" at a campaign rally in Wisconsin. After a little googling I discovered that discussions of Clinton as a commodity are rather common among our talking heads.

My goodness! I can recall the day when the phrase "the commoditization of women" designated one of the most loathsome evils of patriarchy to be found in the feminist lexicon. Now we have a presidential candidate declaring herself to be a "proven commodity."

In the quote above she was trying to express her superiority to Obama in combatting Republican slime—

Senator Obama has never had a negative ad run against him. I don't think that will continue. If he were to be our nominee, I think the Republicans will do what they always do, which is to try to make a negative image of whoever our nominee is. They can't do that to me. I mean I have a proven track record of being able to beat Republicans, of withstanding whatever they send my way. So I am a proven commodity and I think actually that is a much better place to start if you're worried about our winning in November. "

Her choice of words seems unfortunate, and somewhat illustrative of the problem with Hillary. She might have said she was a "proven fighter" or a "proven winner" or even a "proven campaigner"—but a "proven commodity"?!

First, it seems evident that declaring yourself to be a proven commodity may make a few hearts on Wall Street flutter but is not likely to excite the masses who, if they deal in "commodities" at all, are likely to do so on Ebay.

Second, anyone with a bit of historical memory or googling expertise would quickly discover that it was Clinton's earlier commodities trading that created a ruckus during her husband's first term in office. It's bad form to dredge up unpleasant associations.

And third, it leaves this viewer with the impression that she really thinks of herself as a commodity. While George Bush has been a commodity—and nothing but—from start to finish, I don't believe the electorate will be cheered by the prospect of another. As Investipedia notes, "When a product becomes indistinguishable from others like it and consumers buy on price alone, it becomes a commodity."

Over at CNN's Political Market Hillary's price has fallen to $29.64 against Obama's $70.32. While the price seems cheap, I cannot recommend a buy.

Related post
"I'm Hillary, fly me" (6/27/07)


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