Sunday, June 1, 2008

Much ado about nothing

In the daily grind of a presidential campaign, it is fascinating to watch how an off-the-cuff remark by a candidate can be blown way out of proportion.

This recently happened to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton when she was talking to the editorial board of a South Dakota newspaper.

South Dakota's primary is on Tuesday, and she was responding to a question about all the pressure she is receiving from Democrats to drop out of the race. Barring an unforeseen event, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee in November's general election.

Responding to the question she said: "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know, I just don't understand it."

All Clinton was trying to say was that there is a historical precedent for Democratic campaigns lasting into June, and that she had the right to continue her campaign because of that.

However, her opponents and critics immediately jumped on her reference to Robert Kennedy and expressed outrage. An Obama spokesman said her comment "has no place in this campaign."

Eventually, Clinton made an apology, but I'm still trying to understand what was so offensive about her remark.

Obviously, her critics thought she was wrong to bring Robert Kennedy's murder into the political arena, but there was nothing in her comment that was offensive. She was simply stating a fact about recent Democratic campaigns and that the 1968 campaign did last into June.

She was not insensitive to Kennedy's memory in any way. Unfortunately, for her, she is the target of Democratic leaders who want her out of the way so there can be nothing to deflect attention away from Obama.

Because of this, they will exploit any comment she makes to marginalize her.

The truly fascinating aspect of this is that the same people who are pounding her also dream of an Obama/Clinton presidential ticket.

They believe with Obama's charisma and Clinton's ability to attract women voters that they would be unstoppable against the Republicans in November.

At this point, I would have to agree with that. Obama's charisma seems to intoxicate people and unless there is an "October surprise" lurking in the shadows, I don't see him losing to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Adding Clinton as the vice presidential nominee would provide Democrats with a powerful ticket.

However, they should not get their hopes up just yet.

After years of being the darlings of the Democratic Party, the Clintons have taken quite a battering over the last few months. Former President Bill Clinton has become an afterthought on the campaign trail, and Mrs. Clinton recently made a comment about how she has been the victim of sexism.

Don't expect their wounds to heal quickly. When people have been on top, it is difficult to accept being second banana, and that is what Mrs. Clinton would be if she accepted a vice presidential offer.

So, at this point, it is hard to imagine that she will be the Democrats' vice presidential nominee. Obama may offer it to her as a way for her to gracefully exit the campaign spotlight, but it's hard to believe that she would accept it.

However, if there is anything we know about the Clintons, it is that they do not stay down long when they have been knocked to the ground.

Hillary Clinton will remain a presence on the political scene as a senator.

Who knows? She may have another chance at the White House some day.

1 comment:

Joltin' Django said...

"Hillary Clinton will remain a presence on the political scene as a senator."

The only reason Hillary Clinton moved to NY and sought - and won - a seat in the U.S. Senate was to enhance her political viability. (You know it, I know it ... hell, everybody on earth knows it.)

If Hillary Clinton loses the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, she should immediately resign her seat in the U.S. Senate. That would be the proper and honsest thing for her to do.

A Clinton doing something "proper" and/or "honest" ...?! What am I thinking?