Thursday, August 28, 2008
Bad Blood Persists
By Carol Devine-Molin
August 28, 2008
Hillary Clinton gave a solid "unity" speech at the Democratic convention, ostensibly in full support of the Democrat party's standard bearer, Barack Obama. But as GOP dignitary and former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani noted, "She never really answered the key question, is he [Obama] prepared to be president?" That's the "issue she put out there, rather dramatically, during the primaries." Evidently, Hillary is not quite willing to provide the Obama campaign with the full measure of her persuasive talents.
If nothing else, the Clintons are thoroughly Machiavellian. Approximately six months ago, in a column entitled "Hillary's Revenge", I predicted that Hillary Clinton, in efforts to establish her path to the presidency, would: a) undermine Barack Obama's candidacy to the extent that's possible while, b) simultaneously maintaining the illusion of embracing party unity and a kumbaya show of support for Obama. Clintonesque duplicity comes as no surprise to political observers. Frankly, if John McCain is elected to the oval office in 2008, that makes it considerably easier for Hillary to capture the Democrat presidential nomination in 2012. Make no mistake, politics are the Clinton family business, and Hillary's presidential ambitions are as strong as ever.
Interestingly, there's been somewhat of a backlash against Barack Obama for his less-than-gracious treatment toward Hillary Clinton, which can be detected in recent polling. There's no "bounce" in the polls for Obama, despite the fact that the Democrat convention is currently underway. Certainly, that does not bode well for Obama. The fly-in-the ointment is that Obama rejected Hillary as his running mate. The public expects some fundamental fairness, particularly toward a contender such as Hillary that acquired 18 million votes in the primary. Granted, Hillary failed to succeed in the delegate count, but her popular vote was impressive.
Moreover, presidential nominees are often known to choose the runner-up for their vice presidential pick, in efforts to establish all-important party unity. Obama has ignored that sound strategy, to the detriment of the Democrat landscape. As it stands now, the party exhibits a severe split in its ranks, with Clinton loyalists insisting that "cherry-picking of primary rules" caused Hillary to lose the nomination. Hillary's "sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits" and PUMA (Party Unity My A**) members continue to be thoroughly disenchanted with the Obama candidacy. More than twenty percent of Democrats are threatening to stay home on Election Day, or vote for John McCain, or go "third party". The public is now tuning into the Democrat upheaval, and to some extent, they're blaming the Obama campaign for contributing to the problematic circumstances.
That being said, Hillary would have been the natural pick for the VP spot, in order to heal the party rift and placate her loyalists. In contrast, Senator Joe Biden is clearly not a net gain for the Democrat ticket. Biden performed poorly during the primary season; he's been all over the map on the subject of Iraq; and he's been notorious for his errant and gaffe-prone remarks that make him a "loose cannon". What does Biden bring to the table? Obviously, little, as recent polling -- taken after Biden's selection -- indicates.
According to the Gallup daily tracking results of August 27th, McCain and Obama continue to poll in a virtual dead heat, at 44 and 45 percent respectively. The Rasmussen daily poll has McCain with a one point advantage of 47 to Obama's 46 percent. If the Obama/Biden ticket gets any bump from their convention, it will be minimal, at best, and will quickly dissipate by dint of the GOP convention that's about to commence on September 1st. In comparison, the Republican Party is largely united behind its candidate, with Gallup contending that McCain is solidifying the party base more effectively than Obama. To wit, Gallup indicates that 87 percent of Republicans plan to vote for McCain, while only 78 percent of Democrats plan to vote for Obama. Given the overall political circumstances and the qualifications of the contenders, I believe that John McCain is poised to attain victory in November.
As noted by the Politico, Bill Clinton is still irked at Team Obama for some of the attacks that had been launched against him and his wife during the primary season. Journalist John Harris stated that Clinton's "resentments from the bitter campaign battles of last winter and spring are many and diverse, and people who have spent time with him recently said they fester just below the surface." Apparently, Bill Clinton still hurls a few zingers, and told one longtime associate that Obama had the "political instincts of a Chicago thug."
That being said, tensions between Camp Obama and Camp Clinton reportedly persist, even at this late date at the Democrat convention. Originally, former president Bill Clinton had been assigned the theme of "Securing America's Future", with the expectation that he would underscore Obama's readiness to become our next commander-in-chief. Can you blame Bill Clinton for dodging that chore? In any event, Bill Clinton finagled his way out of it, and spoke eloquently on a wide range of issues including the economy, healthcare, and national security. Clinton noted that Barack Obama is ready to lead [no substantive reasons provided, Clinton finessed it], and that the goal of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and restore American leadership in the world. Bill Clinton will always be the consummate speaker and word-meister, even when he speaks in platitudes.
In summary, as far as the Clintons are concerned, Obama's original sin was running for president in 2008, which was Hillary's year to shine and capture the oval office. Obama's goose was cooked right from the start. Once he dared to tangle with the Clintons, he had to be prepared to deal with the ongoing consequences, which I believe will extend far beyond the current presidential race. Remember, the Clintons not only get mad, they get even. Moreover, Obama found himself in an incredible bind -- If he had any real possibility of winning this presidential race, he had to select Hillary as his running mate for the sake of party unity. Sure, Obama would have been saddled with both Clintons, a nightmare in and of itself, and he would have been nervously looking over his shoulder for the duration of his presidency. However that would have been the price to pay for upsetting the Clinton applecart. As it stands now, the Clintons will do everything in their power [behind the scenes] to thwart Obama's chances of winning. Heck, even if Obama manages to make it to the White House, the Clintons will probably connive to get Obama impeached. It's not lost on Hillary that the Chicago political machine is among the most corrupt in the nation.