For several weeks now I have wracked my brain, like millions of others, wondering what it is that Hillary Clinton is really after? After all the primaries and caucuses, after all the millions of dollars spent in the campaigns, she finds herself behind in delegates. She keeps pushing the issue of the popular vote, but these were primaries and not everyone votes in the primaries. Primaries are polls of the Democratic community to choose delegates for the convention.
Despite what Fox news might tell you, no one is disenfranchised. These are private affairs held inside each state; the parties make the rules and they can change the rules at any time that they like. The episode in Michigan between the Clinton campaign and the Michigan Democratic Party has moved me past wonderment to sickened and angry. What played out was a remake of Bush v. Gore, complete with street signs and chanting crowds.
Everyone from the party chairman down to the mice in the corner agrees that the Michigan primary was fatally flawed. The Clinton campaign pushed for a rerunning of the primary, and while that sounds all well and good, this wasn’t the only candidacy on the ballot. This was the primary for the entire state of Michigan’s Democratic candidates. So do you hold a do-over for the whole slate? In which case all the winners will object. Or do you hold a presidential primary only? In which case the losers of the previous primary will object.
The Clinton’s argument was that since Mrs. Clinton won the lion’s share of the vote she should receive the lion's share of the delegates. But the National Democratic Party had asked the candidates not to participate in the Michigan primary. The Clinton campaign, through it’s representative Mr. Ickes, argued that no one had made the other candidates withdraw, that they had done this to curry favor with the DNC. That somehow the other candidacies were sucking up to the party big wigs. But the party leadership runs the party and sets the rules.
Is Mr. Ickes argument that the Clinton campaign is exempt from the rules?That Obama and the other candidates were somehow suckers for following the requests of party leadership and that the Clinton campaign should be rewarded for being shrewd enough not to follow the rules? Every time Ickes spoke I heard the voices of James Baker and Katharine Harris. Mr. Ickes then argued that No Preference was a legitimate voting position, that thousands stood in line for the privilege of voting No Preference, the same argument the Bush campaign had used in the machine count of the under vote in Florida.
But you can’t do a do-over; it invalidates the vote counts that weren’t mishandled. You can’t do a do-over for just the one candidacy, because not everyone will return to vote again or even have the ability to return. So you will never satisfy either side; someone will be adversely affected, so who would you choose? The candidate that followed the rules? Or the candidate that implies only suck ups follow party rules?
But everyone wants to win, and Mrs. Clinton goes from contest to contest moving the goal posts. Her campaign insists the polls show that she is the best candidate to defeat John McCain in the fall. “Interesting but quite illogical,” is what Mr. Spock might answer, that the candidate who argues in Michigan that polls are unreliable rests her argument for being the better candidate on poll results. But what is it that Hillary wants? Why does she argue that she can carry the big states in November, taking the Orwellian stance that all votes are equal but that some votes are more equal than others?
Now she's threatening the nuclear option to destroy the party’s chances in November by filling the Republican ammunition locker when she can’t win the nomination. I have often wondered if she was a stealth candidate running on Republican money to weaken the party. The Republicans know that John McCain is an incredibly weak candidate, he inspires no one and is barely able to read platitudes from three-by-five index cards. John McCain could run unopposed and still lose, so the race for the Democratic nomination is the race for the White House.
The only scenario by which the Republicans could possibly win is to destroy the Democrats now. The conservative media and the mainstream corporate media, which have savaged Mrs. Clinton for a decade, now describe her as tenacious and a fighter and a woman to be admired and respected. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, is held accountable for things that others have said. He has now been forced out of his church and before long we will hear the right wing media ask, “If a man of true faith would leave his church over politics, how strong then are his principles?”
Sean Hannity, in a preview of the fall, has implied that Obama is a terrorist-supporting, Muslim-loving radical bent on destroying Israel if elected. There are claims that Hamas and Al Qaida hope for an Obama victory in the fall. Let’s bring that question a little closer to home, who do the right wing media want John McCain to run against in the fall? The answer to that is clear and so is the reason why and it all reverts back to Mrs. Clinton’s motives.
I had speculated that Mrs. Clinton, who is now 61, would be almost 70 if Obama were to win two terms. She would be in the same boat that McCain finds himself in now, the straight prunes for breakfast regularity tour. Could Mrs. Clinton believe that this is her moment? That it is now or never? I wondered, what could she possibly gain by taking the party down to defeat this fall? If Clinton campaigns through the convention and helps the Republicans by doing their dirty work for them, poisoning the party using terms like hijacked, she would effectively split the party.
Those same nasty, awful polls show that many Clinton supporters will not vote for Obama and will stay home in November if he is the nominee. Already there are rumors circulating in the Clinton camp that something is being taken from them, a sort of November criminal’s conspiracy stabbing them in the back. That the party leadership stole this nomination from her, this is beyond troubling, this is sickening and a disaster for Democrats nationwide. Something honorable candidates would stamp out immediately, it's called preserving the dignity of the institution.
If Obama loses in the fall, Mrs. Clinton can then present the “I told you so” defense. But could she be that cynical? When this scenario first came to me I said to myself, no, she wouldn’t do that, to put Americans through four more years of war, economic suffering, a shredding of our rights and dissolution of everything that being an American means. Then a cold shudder of realization ran through me, that’s exactly what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have been doing for the last two years!
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