Friday, February 22, 2008

The Mirror Has Two Faces

I NEED TO let off some steam. This diatribe might go on for a minute, but bear with me. I do have a point or two.

Last night's debate between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton in Austin, Texas, wasn't all it appeared to be. And it wasn't Obama who proved unauthentic.

I won't summarize the debate here. A quick Google search will reveal countless links in the blogosphere where (over)analysis about what happened can be read.

But I want to point out two points that struck me when watching. The first is that Clinton completely dodged the question about the seating of delegates as something that would work itself out, a nominee would be elected and the party would be unified in its march to taking back the White House.

Pundits took this to mean that Clinton agreed with Obama's premise that the will of the voters ought to be the ulitimate decider and that Clinton wouldn't contest any delegations that had been denied by the rules or fight for a brokered convention where superdelegates would have to decide the outcome.

The second point regards Clinton's much touted closing statement where she reached out to Obama, stating how honored she was to be sitting on the stage with him, and then in John Edwards fashion let the world know that she would be fine with whatever happened in this election. She backed that up with her Bill Clinton moment. If you click here you will also see that Senator Clinton is as much a "political plagiarist" as is Obama by lifting lines from speeches both Edwards and her husband have given. I don't think either Senator Obama or Clinton are plagiarists, but if you're going to call out your opponent for it and then turn right around and do it yourself within the hour....

But anyway.

Many thought her tone in her closing statement was so genuine and conciliatory that she was planting a seed to concede gracefully if she wasn't able to win in Texas and Ohio, her all-eggs-in-two-baskets approach to attempt a comeback.

Viewers took Clinton's words and their apparent meaning quite well. Some thought she might have read this eloquent and impassioned plea from a devout supporter to step aside. Pundits couldn't stop talking about how valedictory her remarks were. Party unification is exactly what we want heading into November. The sooner it happens, the better our chances of reclaiming the White House.

But this morning, Clinton had an about-last-night moment. In an interview with Evan Smith of Texas Monthly that will air next week just before the Texas primary, Clinton informed us:

There’s been a lot of talk about what your campaign would do should it get to the convention. Would you commit today to honoring the agreement made earlier not to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations?

Let’s talk about the agreement. The only agreement I entered into was not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. It had nothing to do with not seating the delegates. I think that’s an important distinction. I did not campaign--

The press seems to have missed the distinction if that’s the case. The talk is that you agreed not to seat the delegation.

That’s not the case at all. I signed an agreement not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. Now, the DNC made the determination that they would not seat the delegates, but I was not party to that. I think it’s important for the DNC to ask itself, Is this really in the best interest of our eventual nominee? We do not want to be disenfranchising Michigan and Florida. We have to try to carry both of those states. I’d love to carry Texas, but it’s usually not in the electoral calculation for the Democratic nominee. Florida and Michigan are. Therefore, the people of those two states disregarded adamantly the DNC’s decision that they would not seat the delegates. They came out and voted. If they had been influenced by the DNC, despite the fact that there was very little campaigning, if any, they would have stayed home. But they wanted their voices heard. More than 2 million people came out. I mean, it was record turnout for a primary. Florida, in particular, is sensitive to being disenfranchised because of what happened to them in the last elections. I have said that I would ask my delegates to vote to seat.

So your intention is to press this issue?

Yes, it is. Yes, it is. It’s in large measure because both the voters and elected officials in Michigan and Florida feel so strongly about this. Senator Bill Nelson, of Florida, early on in the process actually sued because he thinks it’s absurd on its face that 1.7 million Democrats who eventually voted would basically be disregarded, and I agree with him about that.

I try not to bash Hillary Clinton because she's a brilliant and determined woman who's taken more than her share of irrational criticism. But this about face turns me off just as I was thinking about warming up to her.

No wonder why she dodged the delegate question and then got all warm and fuzzy at the end.

I don't know that I've ever seen a presidential campaign so duplicitous in my entire adult life. One pundit called it schizophrenic. I'll buy that.

Either you're going to be negative and divisive or you're going to be positive and unifying. She's trying to do both things at once and it's pure folly.

Here's my thing: If she were that concerned about enfranchising voters in Michigan and Florida then why didn't she protest against the DNC, whom she practically owned, before she started losing, and tell them to take their rules and shove them? She calls herself a fighter, battled tested and ready to take on her opposition. Well, why not fight for what you believe among your allies?

Because she thought she'd have the nomination wrapped up on Super Tuesday with no plans to do anything beyond that.

I despise entitlement.

All potential presidents must have huge egos and a thirst for power. I get that. Can't rule a nation without it. But being addicted to power for power's sake and trying to wrest it and keep it at any and all costs is simply not what I'm looking for in the next leader of the mess this country is facing.

I think it's time for Senator Clinton to look in the mirror and get real.

A commenter who went by West_Virginian_in_Texas had this to say: "I don't agree with this tactic and I told a Clinton staffer that yesterday at the Watch Party. However, this Obamamania has gotten a little out of control, and I fear it has become more of a bandwagon to be a part of history than a reasoned decision."

I couldn't hold back anymore, so I responded as follows:

The only thing that has gotten out of control is the media's coverage and perpetuation of the myth of "Obamamania." As Obama himself pointedly stated, it's an insult to him, his supporters, his voters, his endorsers.

Somehow only those who support Hillary have reason, and yet when confronted with stuff like this, she's defended at all costs.

Enough already.

You know what's really out of control? The cult of the Clintons as America's Democratic Royal Family.

Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Clinton.

There's the rivalry right there in two words. That's what this election is all about for the Clintons. They want to even the score with their rival Republican Royal Family at the expense of what's best for the nation and it goes against everything they say about being in it to bring about change for the American people. But then again, she announced at the very beginning that she was in "it to win it." Enter the senator from Illinois. When victory wasn't achieved quite as she expected, well, here we are.

I'm fed up with the American political stage being hijacked for 20 years by two families determined to fight out their personal and professional battles.

Texas vs. Arkansas.

Enough is enough. Close the curtain.

I hope the voters in Texas and Ohio and Vermont and Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, etc... haven't been duped by Hillary's duplicity, jump off the Clinton bandwagon of entitlement and just due and cast a vote for real change.


Anonymous said...

Well said! I thought Hillary looked great last night ( i start to sound like Paula Abdul on American Idol..........), but ( and here come Simon) she was utterly predictable and boring, she did not convey why i should pick her over Barack.
Like someone said, she is a PC, Barack is an Apple. One is used by most and reviled by many, the other is inovative, dependable, in touch with the needs of users, and gaining market share.

I think she has the skills to be a great Senate majority leader, while he is the president. That would be my dream team.

I kinda feel sad for her. She has developed the 'perfect' resume; did the 'right' things to position herself as a formidable candidate - and yet the American public sees that she does not have 'it', and Barack does.
What that 'it' is is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. If we just needed policy proposals this would be a race between Hillary and Joe Biden. If it was experience then Goerge Bush would NEVER been appointed/elected president. But the succesful candidate has always been in tune and able to succesfully react or embody the Zeitgeist of the moment.

Barack questions conventional wisdom (for good reasons since it has destroyed this country), He offers a different paradigm and the establishment is freaking out.....just for that he should be given a chance to lead.

Craig Hickman said...

The American Idol analogy is absolutely hilarious.

Speaking of which, when are they going to take that mess of a show off the air?

Speaking of which, I hope the voters take another competition off the air.

But I said that already.

rikyrah said...

Great post. And, I fault the MSM for not asking why the Presidency of the United States should be shared by 2 families for 30 years. It's obscene. I agree with your entire post. I also say this, without hesitation:

IF Barack Obama wins the majority of PLEDGED DELEGATES.

IF Barack Obama wins the majority of the VOTER TOTALS...

And the SuperDelegates give it to Hillary Clinton...

The Democratic Party is OVER.



Craig Hickman said...

rikyrah, I totally agree.

A note about the popular vote:

It's underreported because several caucus states, including Maine, only report the number of delegates each candidate won. Many people think that less than 5,000 people voted in Maine, but the actual number is 45,000.

Unfortunately, there is no accurate breakdown of the popular vote in my state.

Whatever the case, since Obama won the overall delegate totals by 60/40...

I put this out there, because if Clinton prevails in her fight to count the votes from Florida and Michigan we have to urge the DNC to try to get accurate popular vote totals from those caucus states that only report delegate totals.