Monday, March 31, 2008
That Which Should be, But Is Not
Senator Obama took the high road here and affirmed Clinton's "right" to keep campaigning lest he appear to have un-democratic ideals. Of course his immediate surrogates must also follow the official line, so it has become widely accepted orthodoxy in the last couple of days that Clinton should not withdraw from the race.
The Workday Liberal is little read and I have no ties whatsoever to the Obama campaign so let me spit the wrong way into the wind and affirm the seemingly defunct notion that Senator Clinton should indeed withdraw from the Democratic nomination. The following are truisms from my perspective. These are the veritable things which the Clinton camp claim should be, but which actually are not. The logic which is posited by those who favor her continuation in the race sounds good in soundbites, but the least bit of prodding shows those arguments to be entirely empty of substance.
Before I continue, let me establish a basic premise which I am more than willing to defend if pushed to do so. The odds favoring Barack Obama to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States are overwhelming. The odds that Hillary Clinton can be the nominee are prohibitive. We're talking 95%-05% odds here and that number tilts more in Obama's favor with each passing day. Having established this premise let me take an honest look at the arguments posited by those who favor Clinton remaining in the race.
The most common argument for Hillary to soldier on is invariably an appeal for allowing all of the people to be heard. "Why not let the final few states have their say in the process and then settle the outcome?" ask the Clinton dead enders. Today we heard that over 40 million people have not voted, and Obama wants to end the voting. My reply: It is a very rare circumstance when the nomination process allows for all of the states to have a say in who wins. Understandably, this is the process the parties prefer because allowing the nomination to drag on and on tends to cause division and strife in the party. Typically the evident nominee is allowed to sweep through the majority of the primaries uncontested, despite the fact that the given nominee has not garnered the number of delegates needed to win the nomination outright when the other candidates leave the race. The later states may not appreciate having little or no say in the nomination (see Fl. & Mi.), but it has been a given for decades that the nomination would be settled prior to the final votes being cast.
I look at this plea for allowing all of the votes to count as a stall tactic by the Clinton campaign. If it is true that Obama will be the nominee unless some earth shattering event happens I wonder why the sudden concern for all the states to vote in order to decide what, for all intents and purposes, we already know.
The next most common argument follows the logic that if Hillary can win Pa. by a landslide, and sweep the majority of the coming races, and we allow for Fl. and Mi. to count, that she would win the popular vote and be able to make an appeal to the super delegates to not overturn the will of the people. To which I respond that if a UFO traveled across the universe and panned for gold in just the right spot, and then bagged up the results and left the bag on my porch, that I would wind up being independently wealthy. Both scenarios are theoretically possible I suppose (and I'm even willing to stipulate here that Clinton's scenario has a slightly better chance) but neither is going to happen. The only state which Clinton has won the popular vote by margins she would need is Arkansas. She would have to have Arkansas type landslides in multiple states to win the popular vote and she simply has not shown the ability to pull that off. Further, Clinton trails Obama by ten points in the latest polls nationwide, which makes future landslides even more unlikely.
The oldest arguments from the Clinton side have them appealing to superdelegates to overturn the delegate and popular vote to give the nomination to someone who can defeat McCain in November. We are told that this is the exact reason that superdelegates were given their status in the process... to stop the next McGovern. To which I say that Obama is no McGovern, and the only way he will become one is if he is hobbled by repeated attacks from both the left and the right for the next several months. Indeed, hobbling Obama may well be the entire purpose of the Clinton campaign at this point. Just to be fair, though, let me note that I have sensed a certain pullback recently from the most negative and personal attacks. I believe this is because Senator Clinton's negatives really shot up while Senator Obama remained on course with his numbers during the recent nastiness.
Really, what it comes down to is that the Clintons must know the damage they would do to themselves and the party if they do what they must to make the "Obama is McGovern" line actually work with the superdelegates. Besides, if Hillary is really more electable than Obama she sure has a weird way of showing it by losing election after election during the nomination process.
Which brings me to several lines from the Clinton camp which are really too laughable to even give the opposing viewpoint on. Clinton is winning big states which means Obama would lose them to McCain? The Electoral College map somehow relates to the primary? You can trust Clinton to answer the phone at 3 am? It's like they are trying to play Jedi mind tricks on us gullible citizens. Unfortunately for them those mind tricks only work when employed by Jedi Knights... anyone else trying to use them just winds up looking silly.
So yes... for the good of the Democratic party and the nation, in the best interests of defeating John McCain this November, Hillary Clinton should step aside and support our nominee. If you are not convinced by that summation, maybe that's because I am not a Jedi Knight...
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