Sunday, June 01, 2008

Will Clinton Continue Campaign To The Convention?

It was clear yesterday that Hillary Clinton had lost control of the Democratic National Committee to the Obama campaign. She came into the day with the supposed support of 13 members of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, with 8 known as Barack Obama supporters and 8 undecided.

But when the day was over, on the key decision over splitting the Michigan delegation, she lost the vote 19 to 8, with the chairman and a Michigan member not allowed to vote. That meant such Hillary supporters as Don Fowler of South Carolina had peeled off, and, surely knowing the significance, had voted with the Obama forces on a deal that gave her just 34 and a half votes in the Michigan delegation to his 29 and a half. She had wanted all Michigan delegates to cast full votes, and a delegate margin out of Michigan of 73 to 55.

It was, I think, a fair decision, because as was frequently noted in the debate leading to the 19-8 vote, the Michigan primary had been "deeply flawed." Clinton, flouting the DNC rules, stayed on the ballot in Michigan, which had tried to skip its primary ahead of others. Obama, a more ethical candidate, had taken his name off the ballot as did most of the other Democratic candidates still in the race at that time.

But the cost to Obama of keeping his name off the Michigan ballot is, psychologically, perhaps considerable. With Puerto Rican votes in, and Clinton winning a 2-1 victory there, she may have passed Obama in the popular vote nationwide by a very narrow margin. That includes giving him no votes in Michigan, even though 40% there voted "uncommitted," and some compilations give those votes to him. Hillary claimed to have a popular vote margin in her victory speech in San Juan Sunday, giving her an argument to make to super delegates.

Although the DNC chairman Howard Dean, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in effect prevailed at Saturday's DNC meeting with the arguments they have been making for some time that it is necessary to bring the Democratic political bloodbath to an early closure, hopefully this week, Clinton representative Harold Ickes threw a vial of poison into the proceedings at the last moment.

Ickes, an attorney, proves the old adage that many lawyers are mainly liars. Before he went to work for Bill Clinton in the White House, he represented a number of mob-dominated unions. He has no real business appearing in respectable company.

But he surely has the same low ethical standards as Hillary. Claiming that the Rules and Bylaws committee had "hijacked" the Michigan vote, and using such expletives as "ass," Ickes said he was speaking directly for Hillary when he said she reserved the right to take the fight over the Michigan delegation to the Credentials Committee of the DNC, thus putting it one step from a floor fight at the convention itself.

This may be so. Clinton campaign manager Terry McAuliffe repeated Ickes' remarks about possbily going to the Credential Committee in interviews Sunday. Clinton herself made no mention of that when she made her Puerto-Rican victory speech, but later did in an interview with the Washington Post.

What would going to the Credentials Committee mean? It would mean that the highly divisive Clinton effort would go on with her and her husband's attempted power grab of the presidency proceeding months more, thus compromising Obama's campaign against Republican Sen. John McCain this summer.

Outside the Rules and Bylaws committee meeting, hundreds of fullthroated women, disappointed at the possible failure of Hillary's bid to become the first woman president, roared their dissatisfaction with the way the DNC proceedings had turned out.

This will be a sad week for the feminists who so ardently supported Hillary's campaign, if this week, with the South Dakota and Montana primaries closing out the primary voting, a large group of super delegates endorse Obama, putting him over the new majority (with half of Michigan's and half of Florida's votes counted) of 2,118 to secure the nomination. Obama campaign aides Sunday night claimed to be just 46 delegates short of that fjgure.

At this moment, Obama going over the top this week is the most likely scenario. A better woman candidate would have possibly won, the United States is certainly ready for a woman president. But perhaps not a woman with the downsides of Hillary. She had a remarkable capacity for making racially-tinged and tasteless remarks.

Both the New York Times and Obama himself are speculating that Hillary and Bill will, perhaps as early as this week, "do the right thing," recognize the insuperable odds, and get out of the race, perhaps endorsing Obama and helping to unite the Democratic party.

Having carefully observed this squalid couple, Hillary and Bill, over recent months, I personally doubt they will go so quietly. They are destroyers, not builders, and if they cannot command the temple, like Samson, they may try to tear it down.

If she continues to struggle despite an Obama majority of delegates, elected and super, Hillary Clinton would be a Lady MacBeth. She would be working to make McCain president, so Obama could not run as an incumbent in 2012. We can hope she will not follow this route, but she still may.

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