Hillary Proves Herself Unworthy To Be VP
I confess I've gone back and forth on this. But last night's sorry performance by Hillary, combined with Bill Clinton's temper tantrum of the day before, convinces me it would be a mistake for Obama to run with her.
More than a mistake, perhaps. As Politico points out this morning, Obama has been handed the opportunity to take a "presidential decision," right off the bat. He can announce Hillary will not be on the ticket. I think the country, and ultimately many Clinton supporters will understand.
Hillary had the chance last night to be magnanimous. But she could not even bring herself to be pleasant to Obama. She never mentioned he had gone over the top and clinched the nomination. Hers was not a concession speech at all, but one designed to rile up her followers. One of the commentators compared it to Richard Nixon's "Checkers Speech," in 1952, when he called for his supporters to write in for him. Hillary did the same thing last night.
The prospect that this awful couple, Bill and Hillary Clinton, might try somehow to hold Obama in a kind of bondage, jumping to their tune, a reversion to the slave holding South, is intolerable. He must not open his presidency, if he is successful, worrying about what the two of them are doing behind his back, or perhaps right in front of the news media. He doesn't want to have to have a taster in the White House.
Through their racial undertones, their snide suggestions, their claims Obama was not ready, and their providing the McCain campaign with all the attacks lines it could possibly use, Hillary and Bill Clinton have proved themselves unacceptable running mates, and disloyal to the Democratic party. It's possible, as some suggest, they may adopt a different tone in three or four days, but this would only be temporary.
Indeed, one of the tests Obama now faces, in running against McCain, is to prove he is up to actually being president. The best possible early way to do this is to show he is in charge and will select his own choice as a running mate.
L.A. Times political coverage is in some trouble. Just two signs of it came Tuesday in the failure to give more than a short to Bill Clinton's tantrum in South Dakota Monday, the most violent of his sorry campaign appearances that hurt Hillary so much. By contrast, the New York Times had a long story, with a reefer on Page one.
The LAT Web site also fell down on the job. Close to midnight last night, it had a story reporting only 2% of the returns in the impassioned Los Angeles County South Side supervisorial race between two lawmakers, State Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Bernard Parks. Actually, at the bottom of the story, it turned out it had 64% of the returns in terms of precincts reporting. What a disgrace! The Times did not even update the lead of a story it had on Page one of the Web site. And this is the group of numbskulls who are always saying how much they are improving the Web site.
However, Mark Barabak's story on how Obama won an epic victory, and Hillary lost, was a terrific piece, more timely than the New York Times profile of Obama.
Jim Newton, the latest short-term editorial pages editor, has been polite, frankly more polite than I would have been, about his decision to leave the paper after a distinguished career of 19 years.
But one paragraph of his departing note to the staff reveals plainly that he had the same kind of differences with "publisher" David Hiller that Dean Baquet and James O'Shea had.
"The external difficulties these days are known to all of you, and I won't belabor them here," he writes. "Let me say only that it's clear to me, as it is to everyone, that the paper still has challenges ahead. The publisher and I have discussed those difficulties, and he is entitled to an editorial page editor who shares his vision on how best to confront them."
This is Jim's way of saying that he couldn't stomach the layoffs apparently about to be announced, and, perhaps, also that he was fearful Hiller and his boss, Sam Zell, may drop their Obama endorsement and endorse only John McCain for president. (In the primaries, the Times endorsed the two for their respective party nominations. This would be yet another Chicago insult to liberal Los Angeles.
Over the years, I've come to admire Jim Newton more and more. The Times can scarcely afford to lose people of his caliber -- such as Henry Weinstein, Stephanie Simon, Lee Hotz, John Balzar, Myron Levin, Jenifer Warren, Robert Welkos, Greg Krikorian, Sonia Nazario, Cecilia Rasmussen, John Spano, Jeff Rabin, Connie Kang, Susan Pinkus, Bill Boyarsky, Bill Stall, Doug Frantz, Mark Arax and so many others. All gone. All marks of the paper's deterioration under the evil Tribune ownership.
What I find intolerable is the thought that these wonderful reporters and editors have departed, while Hiller and Russ Stanton still actually draw paychecks.
Is there a ray of light in all this? Maybe so. An insider told me just yesterday he thought Hiller might be gone by summer.
Labels: Presidential campaigning