BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
HILLARY, WHAT'S THE POINT?
After Tuesday's primary results I had hoped that I had written the name Hillary Clinton for the last time during this election. But in spite of the fact that there is virtually no legitimate path for her to gain the nomination, she simply refuses to see the writing on the wall. Thus, she appealed to the superdelegates on Wednesday for yet more time to defy the will of the electorate.
It has been reported that Hillary's campaign is running badly in the red, so she's invested an additional 6 million dollars of her own money into her effort for the nomination, bringing her personal loan to the campaign to 11 million dollars. That has led to speculation that she is trying to hold out to strike a deal with Obama to both get reimbursement for her personal loan to the campaign, and also have Obama pay off her remaining debt in return for leaving the race. There is also speculation that she's trying to position herself for a spot on the Obama ticket as vice president.
Many pundits suggest that Obama should accept either, or both deals with Hillary if they are indeed on the table. Their reasoning hinges on what they deem to be two very important considerations. First, having Hillary out of the race will clear the way for Obama to focus on John McCain, who has had a free ride thus far in the campaign. And secondly, pundits point to the result of several recent polls.
Exit polls in Indiana indicate that half of Hillary Clinton supporters said they would not vote for Barack Obama if Hillary is forced out of the race. In addition, 70 percent of voters over 65 years of age voted for Hillary Clinton over Obama. It has been suggested, therefore, that an Obama/Clinton ticket in the general election would help Obama shore-up the demographic weaknesses in his campaign.
But Obama supporters are not happy with either prospect, and his Black supporters are particularly unhappy with the suggestion of a possible deal. Obama's Black supporters point out that the Clinton campaign has repeatedly played the race card throughout the primaries, so why should their hard-earned political donations to Obama be used towards satisfying the very debt that Hillary incurred through the propagation of racial slander? They're also unhappy over the prospect of having someone on the ticket who is capable of such slander. In addition, many indicate that Hillary's irrational behavior in pursuit of the presidency causes them great concern over Barack Obama being the "one breath" between Hillary and the White House.
The divisiveness of Hillary's campaign leaves Obama's White supporters also less than enthusiastic about using their political donations to satisfy her debt. They also point to the political baggage that Hillary would bring to the Democratic ticket.
According to many Obama supporters, Hillary has not only forged a reputation for being disingenuous and lacking all credibility, but by recently joining McCain in calling for a "gas tax holiday", she's also defined herself as out of touch, and a pandering elitist. They feel, therefore, that having her on the ticket would undermine Obama's strongest argument against the Republicans–that they are out of touch, and pandering elitists.
Then there's the issue of NAFTA and the hemorrhaging of American jobs out of the country. Obama supporters indicate that Republicans can make a strong argument that the current lack of jobs in the country is a direct result of NAFTA, an agreement that Bill Clinton signed into being and Hillary supported. They also point to the fact that even while Hillary was trying to distance herself from NAFTA during the primaries, Mark Penn, her top campaign adviser, was employed as a lobbyist for the Columbian government to create another free trade agreement just like it, or worse, which would take away even more American jobs.
Republicans can also point out, as was pointed out in the Huffington Post, that in June 2005, Bill Clinton "was paid $800,000 by the Colombia-based Gold Service International to give four speeches throughout Latin America." The article went on to say that "The group's chief operating officer, Andres Franco, said in an interview that the group supports the congressional ratification of the free trade agreement and that, when Clinton was on his speaking tour, he expressed similar opinions."
Republicans can also point to the matter of Hillary being ordered to testify in Los Angeles Superior Court in an FEC fraud case brought by California millionaire, Peter Paul. On April 25th Judge Munoz ruled that Hillary wouldn't have to testify until after the November election, but in making the highly unusual ruling, Judge Munoz remarked to David Kendall, Hillary's defense attorney, "Say hello to my friend, Bill."
It doesn't matter whether the Clintons are actually guilty of any wrong doing or not--the circumstances surrounding the case, along with their lack of credibility, and the judges remarks gives the impression of both wrong doing and cronyism, a situation the Republicans will ride for all it's worth.
But the bottom line is, most Obama supporters are former supporters of the Clintons, who at this point want nothing to do with either Bill or Hillary. Now that they see the Clinton propensity for lying, manipulation, and deceit to get what they want, these former supporters feel used. Their fondest wish, therefore, is that they could take back the loyalty and support that they vested in the Clintons in the past, but since that's not possible, they'll settle for just not having to feel like fools.
But these former Clinton supporters are not just angry and disappointed, their anger is coached in the pain of watching the Clintons' single-minded lust for power cause a once highly respected couple to completely self-destruct. It feels like a personal failure. So even though it is now clear that they were wrong about the Clintons, sometimes it's more comforting to embrace a lie, than to have to face an ugly truth–an ugly truth that has forced them to watch what was thought to be a shining legacy, go down in flames.
So at this point, what Obama supporters want more than anything else from the Clintons, is for them to simply, go away.
Eric L. Wattree
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Friday, May 09, 2008
Posted by Eric Wattree at 8:45 AM