Sunday, April 06, 2008


Poor Hillary!

You've got to feel a lot of sympathy for Hillary Clinton. All her life she's been planning to become the first woman to be President of the United States. She married an ambitious and capable young man who became governor of a small State, then President. She spent eight years in the White House learning all the things that a President must do. She put up with a husband who was notoriously and publicly unfaithful. Then she succeeded in winning election to the Senate from a large and important State. Since then she has been assiduously courting influential Democrats all over the country to get their support for her presidential bid. She had it all wired. The skids were greased. All the observers and political junkies predicted that she would be the Democratic nominee for President in 2008.

And then this upstart two-year Senator from Illinois got in the way. He was going to be the first person of African descent to be President of the United States. Now he is running a bit ahead of her in delegate count. All the Democratic officials and other party functionaries who make up the "super" delegates are having second thoughts about supporting her. It's enough to drive a person insane. Stark raving mad insane!

Clearly she's angry. She's angry enough to make intemperate statements about her upstart rival. Recently she has disparaged his experience or knowledge of foreign affairs. That is, she says he has no such experience. She goes on to assert that she and Senator McCain are the two people in the race that do have the experience to deal with foreign affairs. That's a very damaging assertion and it may be the statement that loses the election for whichever Democrat wins the nomination. One of the strong arguments the Democrats have had until now is that McCain is temperamentally not to be trusted in dealing with foreign affairs. She has given that argument up in her increasingly desperate attempt to win the nomination from Senator Obama.

Until now I was willing and happy, even, to accept either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton as the Democratic nominee. I still believe that either of them would be a much better president than Senator McCain. I am no longer happy with the choice. I wish that Senator Clinton would just shut up and go away and I wish that the unwise statements she has uttered recently could somehow be undone if not forgotten completely. I'm afraid they can't be undone or forgotten. The Republicans will remember them and use them to advantage against whomever the Democrats nominate.

We Democrats seem to have a tendency to mouth off and shoot ourselves in the foot. We lose elections that we should win. We should have won the election of 1988 when President Reagan was termed out. Instead of waging a campaign of criticizing his policies, which were never very popular, our candidate made the assertion that nobody was prepared to believe that Democrats were "more competent" than Republicans. Today, of course, after seven years of Bush, that argument might sell. It didn't sell in 1988. In 2004 the Iraq war was already very unpopular. However, John Kerry blew the election when he said that he would still vote to threaten war on Iraq if the vote were held that year, assuming he knew only what he had known in 2001. John Edwards, on the contrary, said that he would not vote for the war and apologized for his vote for it in 2001. Incidentally, Senator Clinton is still having difficulty with her vote for the authority to go to war in 2001.

There hasn't been a year this favorable to a Democratic victory since 1932. Why do our political leaders have to blow it by talking too much? Why is Senator Clinton being such a poor sport that she attacks her Democratic rival in a way that gives the Republican opponent a big advantage?

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