You know, I’ve only been a moderate fan of Bill Clinton’s presidency, but I used to be in awe of his political skills.
Now, I’m not so sure…
I figure Bill Clinton must be one of those people who is really good about knowing what to do with himself politically, but can’t really relate his political skills to other people. Of course, when you look back at reality, it’s difficult to make the case that he’s all that incredible, politically speaking. Forget the Lewinsky mess, which was as politically stupid a move as I have ever seen; here’s a guy who supposedly has all of these awesome political skills, but he never received a majority of the vote in a general election, and his coattails were apparently non-existent, because Democrats lost more than they won during the 1990s. And do I have to mention the Telecom Act and "welfare reform"?
But now, The Big Dog’s just going off the deep end. Allow me to cut the crap, will you?
This is from an ABC News Report:
News’ Sarah Amos reports: Former President Bill Clinton in South Dakota
today delivered a harsh critique of how his wife has been treated
during her presidential bid, telling the crowd that he has "never seen
a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running," and that,
"she will win the general election if you nominate her. They’re just
trying to make sure you don’t."
Clinton spent more than six minutes calmly discussing what he
called a "frantic effort to push her out" of this race, saying that no
one asked Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson or Gary Hart to end their
presidential campaigns early.
There’s more, but let me stop there for a moment.
Has there been disrespectful commentary regarding Hillary Clinton? Sure, there has been some. But could we please think about the major context surrounding her presidential run? She’s supposedly better able to handle the right wing attack machine. That’s what she’s telling us, anyway. Hell; that’s what you’ve been telling us, Bill.
There have been attacks coming from both camps, to be sure. But the attacks coming from the Obama side have never been as personal and vindictive as the attacks coming from Hillary’s side. I mean, for Chrissakes, in the last debate (and it should be the last debate, thanks, Hillary!), Obama took 52 minutes of attacks on his religion, his associations with various people with whom he actually has no association to speak of, and lapel jewelry. What’s the worst question she’s been asked?
"Why haven’t you quit?"
That’s it. That’s probably the most insulting question she’s been asked all campaign season, yet all Bill and Hillary do is whine about it. Obama and his campaign have never asked her to quit, and it’s very simple to just answer, "Because I haven’t lost yet." Instead, we get diatribes about how rude other people are for asking an honest question and admonitions about other nominations that went to June and beyond.
Face it; the amount of whining coming from the Clinton camp should make one wonder if THEY would be able to handle the sure swiftboating that is bound to happen over the next several months. I mean, if they can’t handle such a simple question without whining about how badly they’re being treated, then how are they going to handle more pressing questions?
And for the record, people did go after Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson and Gary Hart to end their race before the convention. They may have been less adamant about it then, because the campaigns back then didn’t start in January of the previous year, and the first primaries weren’t until March. I would also add that none of the above candidates ran a Karl Rove style campaign, in which personal attacks take the place of discussions of policy.
Here’s more from that piece. From a speech he gave in South Dakota:
"If you vote for her and she does well in Montana and she does well
in Puerto Rico, when this is over she will be ahead in the popular
vote," Clinton said. "And they’re trying to get her to cry uncle before
the Democratic Party has to decide what to do in Florida and Michigan
because they are claiming that it only takes 2029 votes on the first
ballot to win, and it takes a lot more than that if you put Florida and
Michigan back in. Well, they will have to unless we want to lose the
election. I mean, look, so there is that that is going on."
The former president was strong in his assertion that his wife has
the best chance to win against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the
presumptive Republican presidential nominee, arguing that many
electoral map predictions have his wife winning more electoral votes
than Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., the Democratic frontrunner, in a
"She is winning the general election today and he is not, according
to all the evidence," Clinton said. "And I have never seen anything
like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just
for running. Her only position was, "Look, if I lose I’ll be a good
team player. We will all try to win but let’s let everybody vote and
count every vote.’"
Look, I get it. You can’t campaign for someone and not put a positive spin on your rhetoric. But could we please make a few things clear here?
She will not be ahead in the popular vote, because the Michigan and Florida votes were not legitimate. Voters were told going in that their votes would not count, and none of the candidates campaigned in either state. To count those votes would actually serve to disenfranchise more voters than counting them, because no one who voted had the information necessary to make an informed choice. If you think they did, then we should just outlaw campaigning altogether, and just list names on a ballot and let people vote for them. A lot of people stayed home because the election was bogus, and a lot of those who did vote registered a protest vote. I would point out that, had everyone campaigned in Florida and Michigan, it’s possible that Edwards, and not Obama, may have emerged as the strongest challenger, and she may have had an even worse time than she’s having. Those two primaries were illegitimate on every level, so they are not included in the popular vote. By the way, Clinton only received 50% of the vote in Florida and 55% in Michigan, anyway, so the most she can lay claim to, even with the illegitimate primary results, is about half the delegates, which is not enough to get her over the top, anyway.
I would also point out that "the popular vote" as the Clintons define it, does not include the millions of caucus goers who voted overwhelmingly for Obama. In other words, there’s a reason why the nomination isn’t decided by popular vote.
And can we please cut the crap about translating primary election results into general election predictions? They’re not the same at all. In order for you to believe they’re the same, you would have to believe that no one who voted for one Democrat in the primary would ever vote for the other in the general election. I don’t know about anyone else, but if Hillary Clinton had won, I wouldn’t think twice about voting for her in November, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
As for who’s strongest in November, I have my own opinions about this, but I tend to think Obama will be. But that’s for psychics to decide, not serious politicians. Anyone who thinks they can use current polling to determine who is most likely to beat John McCain isn’t thinking very hard. The head to head results are bound to be skewed right now. if you ask a strong Clinton supporter who will win between Obama-McCain, what will that supporter say, in order to make Clinton look good? And vice-versa, too.
I am happy to see that Bill Clinton will be a team player when Obama gets the nomination, and I don’t mind that she’s continuing her campaign. But I really wish the Clintons would just campaign on her merits, and stop making it about Obama sucking. And frankly, if she’s trying to make the case that she’s stronger against the right wing, a bit less whining might be in order…