26 May 2008


KING OF THE HILL(ARY)... no pun intended

Hillary Clinton has always been a survivor. No matter the means or the circumstance, since 1982, whenever Hillary has climbed to the top of a hill of power, she has remained there despite every attempt to knock her off of it. Media investigations, dirty politics, primary challenges, Congressional investigations, not even term-limits or the election calendar could tumble Hillary from her perch.

In 2000 she but stepped from the top of one hill to another in the Senate, then proceeded with deliberation to make it into a bigger hill as a candidate for President. One with enough money, name recognition, polling data, and media coverage to make it's destination "inevitable".

Then came 2008. In the course of the first five months of 2008, the democratic base simply moved the hill out from under Hillary, to make a new one upon which they placed Barack Obama. Leaving her standing on a naked scaffolding, held in place by the echo of the 17 million voters who'd supported her, many of whom have already gone over to the new hill, while the rest see it as a point of personal pride to continue to hold up the rickety scaffold until the woman atop it releases them, by climbing down herself, to go help the others gathered to build Obama's hill into an election-winning, purpose-changing, mountain.

Only two problems. 1. Hillary has no experience in descending a scaffold. 2. Playing the "victim who fights back" has been Hillary's most effective tactic in 'surviving' for three decades.

So now what? Well, it is almost June. In eight more days, the RBC (rules/bylaws) committee "may" decide how the Michigan and Florida delegations will be treated,(ya never know when pols will delay a decision until it is 'safely' made for them) and the last of the states/territories primary votes will be counted. And nearly 200 superdelegates will no longer have voting calendar rationales for remaining "uncommitted".

Will the superdelegates carefully endorse Obama in such numbers so that the final votes in Montana and South Dakota endow him with the majority* and thus the nomination?

We'll have more of a clue next Monday morning, or perhaps Sunday night, thanks to the Internet, when the decisions of the RBC become public. What the RBC does and the rhetorical response of the Clinton campaign in the two/three days before the final votes are cast, should be quite telling.

Will Hillary accept the determinations of the imperfect process and graciously stand down?

I suspect the answer will be NO.

The loathing and suspicion I've developed over thirty years watching the Clintons, makes my default position one of always expecting the worst from them.

Earlier this year, I thought I was wrong once. On 21 February, at the debate in Austin, Hillary's concluding statement of "i'm proud to be on this stage with Senator Obama" and that "whatever happens we're gonna be fine" displayed a side of Hillary that i'd never seen and didn't think existed. You could've knocked me over with a feather. When I heard her words I thought "the Democratic juggernaut is launched, the wave building, and the battle has been well and truly joined".

I should have known better. Less than 30 hours later, Hillary was again the "victim who fights back", complaining about some flyer issued by the Obama campaign that she said misrepresented her health-care plan. Matt Taibbi has been to rallies for Hillary. He says the lyrics of the Tom Petty song "Won't Back Down" are gospel to them. I believe him.

If you thought it's been ugly up to now, get ready, it's going to get uglier. Legal fights in court are a definite possibility in my view, with all manner of recriminations, back-biting, trial-balloons, deal-making, and intimidations, both behind the scenes and on center stage presaging them.

And the outcome will be the same as it was cast months ago. Barack Obama the Democratic Party's 2008 nominee for President of the United States.

And what then?

The "victim who fights back", who "never gives up", who "won't back down", will not give up, back down, or stop fighting back. Just as Joe Lieberman, for whom Bill Clinton worked in Joe's 1970 state senate campaign, did not give up in 2006. Lieberman found a way to continue and Hillary will also, emboldened in her delusions by the fact that Joe won.

Can Hillary WIN?

You should never say never in politics, and doubly so when the Clintons are involved, except when the question becomes "will they ever stop?", in which case the answer is always "never". (just imagine a race between Clinton/Feinstein, Obama/Richardson, Edwards, or even Webb, and McCain/Giuliani)

And so, in 2008, the US will have to endure the most polarized and stratified election since 1860, thus insuring that whomever is sworn in next January, there will be no achievable change from current policies, foreign, domestic, or military. The Status Quo wins again.

Goddammit I HOPE that I am WRONG.

stephenhsmith 26May2008