Monday, January 28, 2008

Remember Another S.C. Primary Winner

Bill Clinton responded to a question about why Senator Obama is having to run against two Clinton's by invoking Jesse Jackson's primary victory's in South Carolina.

Clinton swears that was not an attempt to inject racial politics into the debate... and even though I am an Obama supporter, I have to agree with Bill on this one. In fact considering previous South Carolina primary winners may be cause for believing that Obama is on the march to the White House. After all Governor Clinton carried the state in the 1992 primary. But sadly, when we consider that Bill has been widely labeled as the 1st black President, maybe invoking past primary winners actually does raise racial questions. Shucks! There goes my illogical attempt to justify President Clinton's oddly out of context 'Jackson won S.C.' too answer.

This past weekend has only served to further settle my opinion on the state of affairs regarding the Democratic nomination. The behavior of the Clinton campaign after Obama's landslide victory veered from classless to weird to maddening. I think it was classless to lose the primary but forgo the standard post election perfunctories and continue campaigning through out the evening as if S.C. never really mattered. It was weird to have Bill Clinton be the voice of the campaign immediately after the votes were counted and classless for him to brush aside the results as meaningless in the face of the upcoming super primary, and Florida. It is underhanded and maddening for the Clinton's to start chortling over Hillary's certain win in Florida after all the campaigns agreed to forgo campaigning in that state, insuring her uncontested victory. Clinton's Jesse Jackson answer to a totally unrelated question was weird, classless and maddening.

I've spent the last couple of weeks fighting the impulse to go along with the rest of the crowd and start bashing on the Clinton's. I've been a fan for a long time, and even when I decided to support Obama I was careful to note that I held the Clinton's in high esteem. I thought a lot of the criticisms against Bill could be chalked up to the media putting an unfair focus on stuff that really did not deserve that focus. As a longtime fan of the President and his wife it is easy to chalk up the overwhelming noise against them to the same old unfounded and unreasoning Clinton hatred.

But the 'Jackson won S.C. too' answer, coming as it did completely out of context to the question asked of Clinton, crossed a line from my perspective. There can be no doubt now as to what Bill is doing. It is Nixonian/Rovian and ugly. At this point Bill is damaged goods and he would do his wife and the Democratic party a huge favor by retiring from the scene, at least for the duration of this election. He is doing great work beyond politics, and he needs to focus on that for the time being to rehabilitate his image in his own party. I say this as a true fan. I still have his autographed picture and fondly remember him signing it on a rope line.

The wave of Kennedy endorsements for Senator Obama have come at a crucial time in this nomination process. I only saw a brief blurb of Kennedy's speech immediately prior to coming to work, but that one small part was very exciting.

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