Hillary Clinton’s hour

It seems I’m in a zone of talking electoral politics the past few days. I’ll snap out of it soon. Today will be a short one.

The media seems to be full of commentary that Obama has “blinked” and given in to Hillary Clinton to allow her not only to speak at the convention, but have a major prime time role, and roll call vote. To many, Obama is risking letting her take center stage.

I have no idea how anyone can think a campaign that was so disciplined and successful to this point would really make such an error in judgment. Hillary and Bill will speak in a way that will not only urge her delegates to vote for Obama (many would anyway) but give passionate support for Obama’s Presidency. The reason is simple: if Hillary is to have any chance to run as the Democratic nominee in 2012 she has to both distance herself from the anti-Obama ‘puma’ folk who have gone into full groupthink mode and seem to have lost touch with reality, and she has to erase any impression that she in any way, shape or form hindered an Obama victory. If people blame her and her supporters for a potential Obama defeat, she’ll have no chance four years from now. Of course, that’s for the cynical. It’s probably the case that she wants Obama to defeat McCain and have a Democratic majority, so as a Senate leader she can craft historic legislative accomplishments.

So expect Hillary and Bill to be talking about Obama, in a way that is passionate, and will have Obama’s supporters screaming approval. Expect Hillary to urge all her delegates to vote for Obama, and give the Republicans a strong message. Expect the hopes of some for some kind of divided and bitter conference to be completely dashed. If Hillary can pull this off, she’ll erase lingering doubts that a lot of people have concerning her trustworthiness in supporting Obama and having it not be “all about her.” Bill Clinton also has a chance to regain his position as a party statesman, an ex-President the Democrats can be proud of. His reputation is now tarnished, a strong performance in favor of Obama will go far to redeem him.

There is no way Hillary can gain the nomination. Obama’s raised a lot of money, she’s in debt, and Obama has an army of committed volunteers ready to fight in the fall. If all this got turned around by insider “super delegates,” the Democratic party would collapse. The party leaders know that, they won’t let that happen. More importantly, Hillary knows that. If she really had wanted to fight it out in Denver, she’d not have ceased her campaign and called so aggressively for unity.

So expect a lovefest between Obama and the Clintons. They may not mean it, but it will not only go far to undo the bitterness of the campaign, but help Hillary and Bill recover from the beatings their reputation took towards the end of the campaign. It’s Hillary’s hour, moreso if she gifts it to Obama.

  1. #1 by jjmtacoma on August 21, 2008 - 17:36

    “she has to both distance herself from the anti-Obama ‘puma’ folk who have gone into full groupthink mode and seem to have lost touch with reality”

    You might have missed what the ‘PUMA’ folks are about. Yes, none of us want obama but the reason has less to do with Hillary Clinton than you think. Much of it has to do with rules and fairness. Yes, we all know how caucuses are supposed to work but there are plenty of people who think “gaming” them should not be viewed with the same amusement as a “flop” in basketball – basketball is a game and caucuses are about party building. Do you really want the party built on cheating and fraud? I believe there are plenty of folks who do.

    Then there is the DNC role in this activity. Caucuses are sponsored by the party and the fairness and representative nature of the process is owned by them. The DNC could have appointed obama rather than play a shell game here and make us think our votes might actually count. Many of us resent the joke that our voting, time, and money has represented.

    Oh, and don’t forget May 31st. That backroom deal could have been done much cheaper with the same outcome.

    I think you are absolutely right about how Hillary will behave at the convention AND I think you are also correct about how the obama supporters will behave if the convention went for Hillary. The DNC has set this up so that nobody will “win”.

    PUMA is more about the DNC and it’s role in assuring an obama win than it is about obama himself or Hillary. obama is just a most unfortunate unqualified candidate who happened to be the DNC choice that we won’t support.

  2. #2 by Scott Erb on August 21, 2008 - 17:49

    jjm, thanks for a thoughtful response. I’m not exactly sure what rules were broken. Are you talking about Florida and Michigan? That probably was a big error, but even Clinton supported it and her supporters voted for penalizing them early on. If suddenly those votes were counted and Clinton thus got the nomination, it would be akin to the DNC saying to the black man and his supporters “don’t bother putting your name on the ballot or voting in the Presidential primary, this won’t count” and then turn around and suddenly count them to give the nomination to the ultimate party insider! How would have that looked. I think whoever lost this would be able to find ample reason to blame it on a ‘bad call,’ but I don’t see the kind of manipulation you see. If you prefer McCain to Obama, that’s cool — you vote on what you believe. If I’m missing something let me know…and thanks again for stating your opinion in a thoughtful way, too many people on both sides of this often let emotion get the better of them.

  3. #3 by jjmtacoma on August 21, 2008 - 18:19

    Part of the problem does stem from the FL/MI sanctions and then again with the remedy, and yes, that was screwed up from the beginning. I don’t believe either candidate could have achieved a ‘fair’ result without a revote in MI. That effort should not have been blocked.

    This whole process has lost sight of the people it is supposed to represent. We have to fight to be heard and respected – so we are.

    On all sides of this “difference of opinion” there are those who prefer to operate in ignorance with emotional responses and name calling – it clouds up the real issues of fairness and representative government that all of us want. Those of us that associate with PUMA just believe this cycle of primaries was anything but fair or representative and will vote in the way that serves us best come November.

    Accusing PUMA of ‘groupthink’, ‘loosing touch with reality’, (‘tinfoil hats’, ‘sore loosing’, and assorted femine slurs) etc… just moves the issue away from the problems that could be solved.

  4. #4 by Scott Erb on August 21, 2008 - 18:56

    jjmt, groupthink is everywhere, in every organization and movement, so I think it’s a legitimate criticism, especially when it appears that some websites are saying Hillary could still be nominee, or morphing from dislike of the process to wild rumors about Obama and efforts to belittle him and paint him as a caricature.

    I’m not sure what was unfair about the primaries, can you be specific? Just the revote in Michigan? Yeah, that would have been better. The way I see it, Obama had a better strategy early on, and Clinton’s people were over-confident. She recovered and had a much stronger later campaign, but it was too late for her to take the lead. I think both of them are impressive candidates, and who knows — they still might together form the Democratic ticket!

  5. #5 by jjmtacoma on August 21, 2008 - 20:03

    I think to illustrate my complaint, you can look at results from NV, TX and WA (although not at much since clearly the vote didn’t count in WA) where there was a state sponsored primary vote and a DNC sponsored caucus held and obama received more delegates than the actual primary vote would indicate. I believe those differences can be extrapolated to the ‘caucus only’ states and it is fair to say that the obama delegates awarded by those caucuses were not a fair representation of actual support.

    There are also claims of fraud from many of the caucuses, but I’m not sure how substantial those are so I wouldn’t site them as gospel, but probably widespread enough to warrant investigation.

    I think there is enough evidence to say the results are some what dubious.

    This rush to unity without letting the process happen as the DNC rules state is annoying.

    I don’t understand why having Hillary nominated or allowed to speak at the convention is a big deal or subject to negotiation. She doesn’t have enough delegates to win, so let it go. It should have never come up as a question – or the people in charge should have worked faster so the rest of us didn’t know there was a negotiation. That was bad message control and a terrible PR decision, considering the support she has among the base of the party.

  6. #6 by Scott Erb on August 21, 2008 - 20:31

    State parties determine how they will choose delegates, that’s why it differs from state to state. The beef is with them, not the DNC. States can choose caucuses, primaries, or a hybrid. I prefer leaving it to states, but in close races that creates these kind of controversies. But you can’t blame Obama or the DNC for choices state parties make to have caucuses! That’s the “rules of the game,” by which the candidates play, choosing a candidate is an internal party process, not meant to be purely democratic. Perhaps that should change.

    I think the negotiation with Hillary was just about logistics, I can’t imagine there was doubt that she would speak or be nominated, that would have been wrong, she deserves to speak…and increasingly, I’m thinking Obama will again be compared to JFK who, after a close bitter fight in the 1960 convention (when things were even less democratic) and choose his rival for the VP slot. I like Daschle and Clark, but if I were a Obama, I think I’d go ahead and choose Clinton.

  7. #7 by jjmtacoma on August 21, 2008 - 21:04

    If he had been smart about it, he would have tried to get her as VP the day after she announced her endorsement of him. I think it would have kept PUMA from getting legs – at this point they have a ‘support group’ going and won’t back down, where before he could have instantly pulled most of her support to him.

    Hind sight is always 20/20.

  8. #8 by Scott Erb on August 22, 2008 - 04:05

    I’m not sure PUMA has legs; I think if Clinton were the VP, only some hard core activists would still be against Obama. Also, some Obama people still hate Hillary for her negative attacks on Obama, and because of PUMA’s actions. A lot of them loathe the idea of Hillary as VP. I think if he choose her then, it would have hurt him among his own supporters. Clinton and Obama are natural political allies. If their supporters let personality or disagreement about primary rules separate them, then only the GOP can celebrate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: