Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hillary Clinton will go all the way

“Pennsylvania Women for Hillary” Event in Blue Bell

Hillary reaffirmed that she's in the race all the way to the convention despite the mounting pressure from Obama supporters for her to drop out.

JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Defying mounting pressure from some party leaders to bow out, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton told The Washington Post she will stick it out through the remaining primaries and the contested Florida and Michigan results are resolved.

"I know there are some people who want to shut this down, and I think they are wrong," Clinton said in an interview in Sunday's editions.

"I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started, and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests, and until we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we don't resolve it, we'll resolve it at the convention."

Give 'em, hell, Hill! Send her some love if you admire her grit, her strength in facing all the derisive crap and negativity that's been tossed at her. She's still fighting, still ticking. That's the kind of president I want in the WH, one who will go to the mattresses for policies that we all know will meet great GOP resistance.

And she should persevere all the way to the convention in August. Obama's lead is paper thin in delegates and the popular vote, a standing that will be whittled down in the upcoming primaries in most notably Pennsylvania. More problematic for Obama and beneficial for Clinton: the Democratic Party must fairly resolve Michigan and Florida to the satisfaction of those voters--not for what's convenient for the DNC who created the problem--or invite defeat in November having disenfranchised two key state constituencies necessary for an Electoral College victory.

Pay no attention to the poppycock of Obama supporters urging Hillary to quit like the hand-wringing Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), who "said last week that Mrs. Clinton could not win the race," an assertion based on a future that's highly unpredictable, and "that her attacks on Mr. Obama were hurting 'more than anything that John McCain has said.' " Is Leahy kidding? Or do his remarks reflect the queasiness of establishment elites afraid to take up challenges? D.C. Dems like Speaker Pelosi have failed to stand up to George Bush or Dick Cheney, stonewalling impeachment hearings, so their opinions matter now because of why?

Absent from Leahy's and Obama supporters' wackydoodle presumption--Hillary is hurting the party, helping McCain--is the damage that Obama singularly self-inflicted in his opposition of a revote in Michigan and Florida. Such obstructionism alone unmasks him as divisive, not the uniter that he paints himself, more focused on his self-interest of winning than "our most sacred rights as Americans." The more chances that voters get to see Obama's campaign tactics, the more his promise of a new kind of politics falls flat, revealing in word and deed that he behaves like an ambitious politician who will do and say anything to get elected. Such criticism has been leveled at Hillary. So what's the diff? What James Wolcott said.

But it is mighty nice of Obama to bless Hillary's determination:

"My attitude is that Senator Clinton can run as long as she wants," Obama told reporters in Johnstown, Pa. "Her name's on the ballot, and she is a fierce and formidable competitor, and she obviously believes that she would make the best nominee and the best president."

He added, "I think that, you know, she should be able to compete and her supporters should be able to support her, for as long as they are willing or able." And that could be into early June, through all 10 remaining primaries, Obama said. "We will have had contests in all 50 states plus several territories. We will have tallied up the pledged delegate vote, we will have tallied up the popular vote, we will have tallied up how many states were won by who, and then at that point I think people should have more than enough information to make a decision. "

He downplayed the notion that an extended contest could bruise the eventual winner, to Republican Sen. John McCain's advantage. "I think that the notion that the party's been divided by this contest is somewhat overstated," Obama said. "There's no doubt that, among some of my supporters or some of her supporters, there's probably been some irritation created. But I also think, every contest you've seen, in every state -- huge jumps in Democratic registration, including independents and Republicans who are changing registration to vote in the Democratic primaries. You know, those are people who are now invested in what happens. And I think that bodes very well for us in November."

Obama puts a happy face on a troubling situation and clearly, at least by his words, places a lot of stock in independents and Republicans who have switched over to the D column. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Much has already been written about a large contingency--28%--of Hillary supporters who say they will defect to McCain if Obama wins the nomination. The Gallup study showed the largest at-risk defectors are independents leaning Democratic (39%) and conservative Democrats (38%). One could speculate that these numbers will decline once the convention ends and Democrats rally around the nominee. You gotta love Hillary for jump-starting the call to unite.

Assuming that Hillary voter defections to McCain will indeed drop off, I'm still uncertain what percent will vote for Obama if he's nominated due this caveat. Some Clinton supporters such as myself cannot in good conscience vote Republican and will head to other parties--e.g., the Green Party--or stay home ultimately refusing to vote for Obama in the general election.

I've already visited the Green Party website to examine their party platform and I've explained what deal-breaker scratched Obama's name off my ballot. What initially landed me in the Clinton camp with both feet, when the race narrowed to a few candidates, was her depth of policy positions, gay/lesbian equality, women's issues, experience, and how she's changed listening to better ideas, i.e., John Edwards on health care, getting out of Iraq, among others. Sure, Hillary's made mistakes and I can cut Obama slack for some of his missteps. However, two hugely inexcusable errors--aligning with homophobes and enabling sexism--speak poorly of Obama's judgment and leadership... and honey, it will be a cold day in hell before I reward that BS, self-respecting lesbian that I am.

When co-chair Jesse Jackson Jr., ramped up the misogyny, unforgivably mocking Hillary's tears (video), I changed "that stupid lock" (thank you, Gloria Gaynor) on the door I had slammed on Obama's candidacy. Then Barry the Magnificent himself disparaged Hillary's emotions, and oh, boy. I sent a scorching email to my superdelegate congressman.

Obama's foreign policy advisor Gen. Merrill McPeak, who later apologized, clobbered Hillary with an ugly smear saying, Obama "doesn’t go on television and have crying fits; he isn’t discovering his voice at the age of 60." Aren't these acts an anathema to Change We Can Believe In? Oh, Barry, Barry. You shouldn't have written checks that go boing.

If one applies Hillary rules (See No. 4. "Sauce, goose, gander.") to Obama, then I can accept Mark Penn as long as Barry keeps his co-chairs. I can also overlook Phil Singer for peddling The American Spectator article that maligned McPeak after his recent outburst accusing Bill Clinton of McCarthyism. More repugnant is the WWTSBQ bare-fanged howling from the Big Orange 527. If Obama's campaign manager had a lick of sense he would decry the "politics of bloodsport" coming from cyber-surrogates 'cause they are galvanizing opposition to Obama.

I have read numerous comments on blogs that if the superdelegates pick Obama--and the supers will decide the nom, no avoiding that reality--then Hillary supporters will vote for McCain to punish the Democratic Party, an extreme reaction, passionate but misguided. Voting for McCain simply put is insanity. Others will argue that selecting a third-party candidate could indirectly lead to a McCain presidency. Remember Nader, 2000, Al Gore, Bush. M'yeah. For me personally, living in a solid-red southern state, I can vote for whomever I deem worthy; my ballot will not impact the outcome, why I wish presidents were decided by the popular vote, not the Electoral College.

To my way of thinking, a pragmatic solution to the Democratic nomination conundrum and a path to solidarity to beat McCain would comprise a history-making Clinton-Obama ticket that could mean 16 years of a Democrat in the WH, time enough for Vice President Obama to grow his presidential stature, mend fences with voters he's pissed off, and play a significant role in a Hillary Clinton presidency. The perils confronting our nation requires an against-all-odds relentlessness that Hillary embodies.

Arguably, Barry's not there yet, not having run a marathon of public gauntlets that Clinton has endured, overcome, and adapted. He's more an idea guy or as Wolcott articulated, "his charisma is on a more ethereal plane, and I don't look to politics for transcendence and self-certification." Or as NYCweboy said, "I need more than that. And Hillary Clinton is the person, with the specifics, who offers more. And that's why she's my choice."

So keep sluggin', Hill. We're behind you.

UPDATE: See what I get for missing the Sunday talk shows and failing to check my RSS reader. The Cuomo Dream Ticket Plan. Bring it on!