I have avoided naming a horse in this race for that reason, amongst others. The ridiculous media obsession with polling and image in the Democratic primaries drives me nuts. I mean, who really cares about Senatorial cleavage and haircut prices after all? This election is so critical we cannot afford to lose it, so I'm still trying to evaluate the best candidate for the general election, regardless of their religion, grooming fees, or any other trivial detail.
To be honest, I favor John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich, but as of yet I have not decided on who I'll vote for in the primaries. Mainly because my state (I live in Kansas City, but vote Missouri) has little or no effect on the overall contest. The nomination will be decided in Iowa and New Hampshire this year, so by Super Tuesday it will already be wrapped up.
That being said, this story has decided me against Hillary Clinton permanently;
A top adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said that Democrats should give more thought to Sen. Barack Obama's admissions of illegal drug use before they pick a presidential candidate.Not only does such a move smack of desperation, it also shows a continued pattern of Hillary not being able to control her staffers (or possibly deliberately setting them loose!) It's a cheap shot, and don't let the apologies fool you. It's likely some demographic somewhere needed a nudge, and Bill Shaheen was chosen to take the bullet and drop this garbage on the press. The apology only covers up the hit to absolve Senator Clinton of direct blame, while the effect of the move will still tweak her numbers. It's similar to the race-baiting tactics of the Right in that way, though admittedly not as harsh and immoral.
Obama's campaign said the Clinton people were getting desperate. Clinton's campaign tried to distance itself from the remarks Wednesday, and the adviser said later he regretted making them.
Bill Shaheen, a national co-chairman of Clinton's front-runner campaign, raised the issue during an interview with The Washington Post, posted on washingtonpost.com.
Shaheen, an attorney and veteran organizer, said much of Obama's background is unknown and could be a problem in November 2008 if he is the Democratic nominee. He said Republicans would work hard to discover new aspects of Obama's admittedly spotty youth.
"It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" said Shaheen, whose wife, Jeanne, is the state's former governor and is running for the U.S. Senate next year.
"There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome," Shaheen said.
Clinton's campaign said it had nothing to do with his comments, and Shaheen said later he regretted them.
"I deeply regret the comments I made today and they were not authorized by the campaign in any way," Bill Shaheen said in an e-mail released by the campaign.
My point is America doesn't need another political machine at the wheel. The Clinton campaign's gaffes have shown that, at least in some small way here before the primaries, Hillary's organization can trump her leadership at times. Not to mention the political calculus of it; Bush set the precedent for handling past sins by avoiding all questions and casting aspersions on the questioners, so it's not like Obama doesn't have a hundred ways to offset this skeleton if he wins the nomination.
Leadership, morality, and great ideas should drive this contest, not political machinations and skullduggery. If the leader doesn't or won't eclipse the organization, we end up with a similar situation to the Bush debacle; disparate interests held together by political pressure from the machine and individual ambitions, rather than a true movement led from the front by someone with deep, progressive convictions.
Hillary's move here either showed her inability to reign in particularly vicious staffers, or worse, an underhanded play for a few more percentage points somewhere. Either way the politics trumped the morality, and I, for one, do not think we need more of that at 1600 Pennsylvania.