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Hillary's Hypocrisy

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As Hillary Clinton has escalated her struggle against the rules by which the Democratic Party decides its nominee, many voices in the media have certainly been skeptical. They have pointed out, that while she keeps arguing that she has won the popular vote (assuming you count Florida and Michigan, and assign zero votes to Obama in Michigan) that isn’t the way the party makes the decision. They have pointed out that the math is insurmountable for her. Some have even pointed out - though I haven’t heard it often, other than on progressive talk radio - that Clinton herself signed a pledge to go along with the DNC rules on Michigan and Florida. Nancy Giles brought this up on Dan Abrams’ MSNBC show, but with all the shouting, the details of that pledge were not fleshed out. As pointed out on the Daily Kos, Hillary did not, as Lisa Caputo claimed to Dan Abrams, merely pledge not to campaign, she pledged not to participate. I have only heard progressive talk radio hosts (and liberal blogs) point out that counting the popular vote means discounting caucus states.

But each time I hear the skepticism, I always end up feeling like they never get to the heart of Hillary’s hypocrisy. The entire espoused basis for Hillary’s concern about Florida and Michigan, of course, is disenfranchisement. She even goes as far as to invoke monumental struggles for equality through history, and the 2000 Florida debacle. Yet, without batting an eye, she and her supporters effortlessly pivot from that argument, to saying that it’s up to the super delegates to determine who is the stronger candidate. In other words, after she has rescued those who voted in Florida and Michigan (never mind the ones that didn’t vote because they thought it wouldn’t count, or because their candidate wasn’t on the ballot), she will urge the super delegates to step in with their own judgments. Votes for her in Florida and Michigan? Sacrosanct. Obama’s lead in the pledged delegates? Not so much.

But besides the hypocrisy, the scariness of her relentlessness was truly brought home to me tonight by Rachel Maddow. For weeks Maddow has been criticizing her colleagues in the media for not taking Hillary’s refusal to concede seriously enough. And for a while, I didn’t understand why Rachel was making such a big deal about this. After all, I thought, the numbers are the numbers. But tonight Rachel fleshed out her theory with some knowledge of the DNC process. You see, according to Maddow, the meeting of the rules committee at the end of May is not the end of the dispute over Florida and Michigan. It’s just the beginning. Apparently there’s a long appeals process that takes the decision all the way up to the Convention in August. And, Rachel points out, once things get to the Convention, all bets are off. So, by Maddow’s account, the harping on Florida and Michigan is not really about those states at all - it’s just a stalling tactic, to get things delayed ‘til the Convention. If Rachel’s right, then Hillary is not being merely hypocritical. She is being ruthless, since the chances (as Rachel also points out) of a Democratic win become greatly reduced by such a delay.

I’ve heard the theory voiced by some - including MSNBC contributor Michelle Bernard - that Hillary actually wants a McCain win so she can run in 2012. I don’t know if I believe that. But it’s looking more and more like she doesn’t care what her quest to become the first woman president does to her party.

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Amy Fried applies her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior to writing and activism on church-state separation, feminism, reproductive rights, corruption, media and veganism.

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
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