Following the Yellow Brick Road to Pennsylvania

March 6, 2008

Democratic Candidates Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Pennsylvania PrimaryAbout two years ago, we recall having a conversation with friends about the possibility that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic Party’s Presidential nominee in the November 2008 elections. The subject came up again a few weeks ago, and the consensus remained the same: The only way that Democrats could blow the 2008 Presidential race would be to. . .nominate Hillary Clinton. Why? Because she’s perceived as a divisive figure, not as one who can unite the party. People either like her or loathe her. Most people we know loathe her. So as Barack Obama and Billary follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City Pennsylvania and the 22 April primary, we thought we’d explore some of the reasons why people feel this way.

Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National CommitteeFor openers, there’s the immediate whining that Hillary began the second the Texas and Ohio primaries ended, to the effect that she’d also won both the Florida and Michigan primaries — even though the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has already said that those votes won’t count because the primary voting dates were pushed up, to 15 January in Michigan and to 29 January in Florida. As DNC chairman Howard Dean said today: “You cannot violate the rules of the process and then expect to get forgiven for it. . .You’ve got to play by the rules.” He also said: “Out of respect for the presidential campaigns and the states that did not violate party rules, we are not going to change the rules in the middle of the game.” Had the primaries counted, there were 210 delegates at stake in Florida and 156 in Michigan. Suddenly, a crisis is being manufactured to revisit this issue. Is Hillary saying she can’t play by the rules?
A Parrot, Surprisingly Similar to Some PoliticiansShowing a complete lack of originality, her campaign has been mimicking Barack Obama’s “Yes, we can” slogan and Hillary now says “Yes, we will.” Doesn’t it make you wince to hear that? Give us a break. Did you think we wouldn’t notice? Perhaps because her campaign has been financially strapped recently, she can’t afford to hire copywriters who’ll come up with more effective branding slogans. However, she was quick to appear on TV this morning, with the news that her campaign raised $3 million online yesterday.

There’s the way that, immediately following the Texas and Ohio primaries, she began hinting at the possibility that Obama might be the vice presidential candidate on her ticket, despite the fact that he’s leading in the overall delegate count. This tactic may fool some voters into thinking that they can somehow have the best of both worlds: by voting for Hillary, they’ll also get Barack. A two-fer, so to speak. And who says that Obama would ever agree to such a plan? Charles Hurt of the New York Post called Clinton “the strife of the party” and wrote that she can’t win without destroying the Democratic party. Her only real chance to win is by betraying the will of the people, as expressed in the popular vote, and calling in all her chips to gather superdelegates. Hurt commented: “He is the movement candidate. She is the retro candidate. If she wins the Democratic nomination in spite of the overwhelming demand for Barack Obama, many of his supporters — including the party’s crucial bloc of black voters — will desert the party. Whenever Clinton finally does surrender — or she’s booted out of the convention — she can rest assured she will have left her mark.”

Russell Hinkle, Obama SupporterOut here in the hinterlands, in the Bible Belt, there’s a fundamental sense that many things are broken in America, and there’s a deep yearning for change — fundamental changes in our economy, in foreign policy, in our healthcare system. One mobile home we pass, which is singularly devoid of other ornamentation, has a sign in the front yard reading: “Support our troops. End the war.” The war is bankrupting us. And yet Clinton, who voted for it, admits she was mistaken but can’t quite find it within herself to apologize. Obama, of course, voted no on Iraq war funding. There’s her inability to congratulate Obama on his wins: She prefers to skip town. We don’t recall any other candidate, Democrat or Republican, who doesn’t have the good graces to congratulate the winner of a race well run. Little details like this say a lot about her as a person.

Obama Supporter in Tiny Town 1We stopped at a Tiny Town area home, which has been proudly sporting Obama signs for quite some time. There, we met Russell Hinkle, a grassroots Obama volunteer who most recently returned from getting out the vote in Ohio. When this former Clinton supporter was asked why he supports Obama, he said: “The main thing I like about him is, he’s not going to make the changes, we are.” Hinkle spoke of the Kennedy-esque excitement and hope that Obama generates. Obama has sensed and tapped into people’s desire to fix the many things which have damaged and hurt the American spirit during the Bush administration, but not broken it.

Obama Supporter in Tiny Town 2Obama has been too nice to Clinton so far and it’s time to take off the gloves and fight for Pennsylvania like there’s no tomorrow. Some of his most pointed jabs have begun; yesterday, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe called Clinton “the most secretive politician in America today.” Because Clinton can’t win with pledged delegates, Plouffe predicted that the Clintons would try to create “alternative nomination strategies.” The Obama campaign plans to raise questions about her regarding disclosure, ethics and foreign policy. Plouffe added that Clinton has “exaggerated her experience and can’t name anything she’s done.” The Obama camp once again called on Clinton to release her tax returns.
1950s Advertising, After Total War Comes Total LivingHillary can’t possibly out-McCain John McSame McCain, the ultimate insider who would keep alive the politics of fear that we’ve lived with since 9/11 and which have been used to erode our Constitutional rights, to damage the American economy and to create a center of terrorism in Iraq where previously there was none. Oil prices shot up to over $106 per barrel today, and we’ll be paying more for foreign imports as well, due to the ever-weakening dollar. Clinton will meet with fierce resistance from hard-pressed people who don’t want to be forced to buy health insurance, as she proposes — including the 900,000 Americans who are losing their homes due to the mortgage meltdown. Today, she claimed she helped bring about peace in Northern Ireland. Say what? What, exactly, are her achievements anyway besides, as Jack Cafferty put it, answering the White House phone at 3 a.m. and saying: “It’s for you, dear.”

Read more political news, if you have the stomach for it, or learn more about what the money spent in Iraq could have bought us here at home.

Copyright ©2008

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