Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Personal Aside: There Was Never Any Suspense AnyhowObama Will be Nominated and Hillary Wont Quit (for Which I Salute Her).
At this writing a little before midnight Tuesday the hype about Hillary losing North Carolina and either carrying Indiana by an eyelash or losing by an eyelash iseyewash.
It presumes the race for the nomination is suspenseful. It has not been for many weeks. Barack Obama has been slated to win the votes of a majority of the Super-delegates for many weeks now. Those mathematicians who are calculating the numbers dont understand that at this point it is not a mathematical game but a strategic one. Literally a no-brainer since it involves the long range future of the Democratic party. Why?
Because the future of the Democratic party is tied up with its huge lock on the black vote. Super-delegates are all for the most part practical politicians. To snatch the nomination away from Obama when he is ahead in delegate count would irreparably destroy much black loyalty to the Democratic party. That loyalty is essential if the party is to continue to win slots up and down the ticket. Can you imagine what would happen to congressional races, state and county offices from top to bottom in every major state in this nation that has black votes? Not going for Obama would be a catastrophic mistake and its devastation could last for at least a generation. Not that disillusioned blacks would vote for McCain. There would be a tremendous fall-off in turnout.
This doesnt mean Hillary will or should quit. She should definitely not because in the last weeks she has impressed many who are not in her corner with her resilience and toughness, two qualities vital for the presidency. In contrast, I have noted among my Democratic friends that Obamas attractiveness has started to fade. Whybecause of Jeremiah Wright? No, not necessarily although it was definitely a distraction.
Obamas attractiveness as a candidate has been that he presents a different approach to politics, that the old see-saws, parsing, lies and doubletalk will end with him. In the campaign he has engaged in studious doubletalk that is not even slightly muted. Take his passing the ethics bill in the state Senate. He was allowed to put his name on it because Emil Jones, the ex-sewer worker turned senator, allowed him to. He overstates minimal accomplishments in the Senate; he outright lied just as Hillary has lied in trying to link himself to great events i.e. stating in Selma, Alabama that the bloody 1965 attack on the bridge impelled his parents to marry. How touching. But they had been married several years previously. How does that differ from Hillarys claim to run through sniper-fire or that she was named after Sir Edmund Hillarytwo events that have been disproved factually?
His entire career in the Senate has been marked by caution and fear of substantive legislating. The Gang of 14 composed of Democrats and Republicans who cut through the impasse in the Senate to achieve votes for court nominees (and I am not convinced of its overall value) was accomplished without him. He is a straight Emil Jones-like party line hack. In the past few days Ive been checking with people who knew the early Barack to see if they had perceived a searching for Jesus Christ which led him to Trinity United Church of Christ. The answer uniformly is no. His goal as has become clear now was to hang with a church that had at least 10,000 members who could supply the nucleus to his political career. If he found Christ somehow in that search, finebut politics was the basis. The inflammatory rhetoric of Jeremiah Wright, not much different than any other storefront haranguer, didnt faze him. Nor actually was he in the pews for any considerable time at all. He was doing a shake and howdy with people and his presence as a parishioner was, as Wright candidly admitted, very slight.
I am rather alone, I think, in imagining that a Barack Obama candidacy might well be easier for McCain to beat than a Hillary one. Hillary is not prone to make such huge mistakes as Obama. She is a better debater than Obama. Understand, I think the odds are very-very slight that Republicans can win this one but I feel that quite by accident, we got the strongest candidate in John McCainone whom I didnt favor for first, second or third place. But given the nature of the contest, I think he is the best we could find. I think the contrast between McCain and Obama will be a better contrast than between McCain and Hillary.
I am sure Hillary will continue to run even if she has to live off the land and while she will give token support to Obama in the general, events my dear boy, events will occur that will make the Clintons valuable to the McCain forces by November. After all, Hillary would be foolish to accept the vice presidency given the age of this young man. Unlike the eccentric and erratic Fr. Andrew Greeley I wont speculate on contingencies involving threats to life. Obama is a young, healthy man who if elected and if he does reasonably well could be reelected. A Hillary vice presidency would be an impediment to her. Her game plan should be to encourage a McCain victory with the understanding that if hes around at age 76 and is able to comprehend, he should expect she will be running in 2012or if he wants to pack it in, so much the better.