Category Archives: Hillary Clinton

if Clinton’s campaign goes with the “nuclear option,” I won’t vote for her

Tuesday I’ll be voting in the Indiana Democratic primary, and I’m thoroughly excited that my vote will actually count for something this time around. For a little while, the race was running neck and neck, but for the last few days Real Clear Politics has Clinton’s lead increasing; today she’s in front by an average of almost 6%. At the same time, Obama’s lead in North Carolina keeps shrinking: today it’s averaging 7%.

I assume that these shifts are due in large part to the knee-capping operation undertaken last week by the Rev. Jeremiah “Throw Barack Under the Bus” Wright. They make me nervous, because they seem to herald a continuation of the race for the nomination. I’d been among those fervently hoping that a strong show in Indiana and a blow-out in North Carolina would seal things up for Obama.

And then this morning, I saw this on the Huffington Post:

http://cnycircus.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/hillary-clinton.jpgHillary Clinton’s campaign has a secret weapon to build its delegate count, but her top strategists say privately that any attempt to deploy it would require a sharp (and by no means inevitable) shift in the political climate within Democratic circles by the end of this month.

With at least 50 percent of the Democratic Party’s 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee committed to Clinton, her backers could — when the committee meets at the end of this month — try to ram through a decision to seat the disputed 210-member Florida and 156-member Michigan delegations. Such a decision would give Clinton an estimated 55 or more delegates than Obama, according to Clinton campaign operatives.

Sure, there’s that fact that making such an attempt “would require a sharp (and by no means inevitable) shift in the political climate.” But when my husband and I were on a walk during this beautiful spring evening, I realized that I have no doubt at all that if such a shift occurred, perhaps following unexpectedly strong Clinton showings in the next several primaries, Hillary and Co. would absolutely undertake their “nuclear option” to force through a convention decision on her behalf. I think they’d do whatever it took to get her the candidacy.

And here’s the next thought that came to me, very unexpectedly, on my walk: if Clinton and her people pull this kind of stunt, I won’t vote for her in the general election.

My husband’s immediate response to my saying so was, “But any Democrat is better than McCain.” I agree with him. But if she does this, then she’ll demonstrate something I’ve thought all along, and which has influenced my decision to vote for Obama: when it comes right down to it, I believe that Clinton’s campaign is 100% All About Her. If she shows that she’s willing to do anything and everything to get the nomination, including stomp all over the process and ignore the wishes of Democratic voters, then she’ll show me that she’s no better a person than the worst Republican. I won’t vote for someone like that.

It’s the first glimmer I’ve had into understanding why people vote for Ralph Nader; they see such fundamental flaws in the candidates of the two major parties that they refuse to vote for either of them. I hope that Clinton won’t cause me — and, potentially, a lot of other people — to leave the President box empty on my ballot in November.

Update

This morning, the Huffington Post says the Clinton campaign is absolutely planning to push for seating of the Florida and Michigan delegates at the May 31 meeting of the Rules and Bylaws committee. One response:

Political analyst Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia said: “Wow. The nuclear option will yield nuclear winter for the Democratic Party.”

Unbelievable. Clinton apparently has no concern for what this action will do to her party and the country.

delegate counter

Oh, this is way too much fun: Slate has a delegate counter that lets you move a slider for each of the remaining Democratic primaries and watch the delegate totals shift. You can indulge your wildest blowout fantasies and also see what will happen if every remaining race is a squeaker.

My personal guesses (which are probably hugely off, based on the general inaccuracy of the science of political prediction this primary season) keep Obama ahead by about the same margin he is now.

For those who are just dying to see Clinton in the lead, move the sliders so she wins 100% of the vote in Ohio and 86% in Rhode Island: See? For the moment, your wish comes true.

https://i1.wp.com/www.coxandforkum.com/archives/07.07.26.KnockDown-X.gif

the candidates spoke, and I’ve revised my opinions

https://i0.wp.com/www.moveon.org/images/home/features/endlesssticker200pxhome.gifLast evening’s MoveOn virtual town hall about Iraq was an extremely interesting event. Five other MoveOn members joined us at our home; we snacked, talked, petted our assorted cats and dogs as they wandered through, and listened to each of seven Democratic candidates. (About 1,000 such gatherings were held around the country.)

Each candidate gave a 3-minute response to the same opening question: “What is the best and fastest way to get out of Iraq?” They also each answered two questions submitted by MoveOn members, and then gave a 1-minute closing.

Go here to access audio of all the responses, transcripts, and a podcast of the entire event.

The candidates included three that I thought I knew well (Clinton, Edwards, Obama), two I knew marginally (Biden, Kucinich), and two I knew almost nothing about (Dodd, Richardson). I came into the town hall with firm opinions as to my favorite candidate. But by the end of the evening, I’d been impressed in ways I didn’t expect — and, just as unexpectedly, underwhelmed by a couple of the presentations. Following are my thoughts about the candidates in the order they spoke.

John Edwards. I came into the evening an Edwards supporter. I’ve been talking for a long time about Edwards/Obama as the perfect ticket. But he didn’t sell me last night. I went back this morning and listened again to his opening response, hoping to hear something that I missed — after all, he went first, so maybe I’d been getting settled in my chair and hadn’t paid full attention. Nope. As my husband put in this morning, Edwards sounded pragmatic but not presidential — not strong enough. Compared to some of the other candidates, his Iraq proposals don’t have sufficient coherency and specificity.

Joe Biden. And then came Joe. Wow. Talk about a surprise! I had no expectation of finding him remotely interesting — but he blew me away. His proposals were strong, specific, and intelligent, and I was absolutely convinced that they would work. After the town hall we agreed that Biden had impressed us all. Unfortunately, as one of our attendees said, gesturing to some of the snacks on the table, “Joe is no more going to be elected president than this bowl of peanuts is going to be elected president.”

Dennis Kucinich. (A confession: I was distracted by Kucinich’s ugly neckties in the photos shown onscreen while he was talking. Can a man really be an effective president if he goes out accessorized that way? There; I’ve admitted my shallow attention to sartorial detail.) I didn’t know much about Kucinich coming into last evening, other than the fact that many people consider him The Guy when it comes to fixing American’s health care problems. Maybe when MoveOn does their health care town hall, he’ll impress me; he sure didn’t last night. His approach was to repeat (four times) the fact that he was the only one of the candidates to vote consistently against the Iraq war and to also repeat (five times) the fact that his proposal, HR1234, will fix things. Based on the details he mentioned about his proposal, I don’t believe it will work. And regardless of how smart he is, and how experienced, he doesn’t sound strong or presidential.

Bill Richardson. Richardson did well. I learned more from some of the attendees about his extensive foreign policy experience. His plans are coherent and sensible, and he presents them clearly and effectively. But, you know, he just didn’t stick in my head with any sort of lasting impression. He’ll need to put himself out there a lot more in order for people to get a sense that he could be presidential material.

Hillary Clinton. This, ladies and gentlemen, was the big surprise. Clinton completely sold me last night. I came into it firmly believing that she can’t be elected, that she’s only in it for personal political power, that she isn’t an effective speaker, and so on. I’m still not convinced that she can win, because of the numbers of Republicans who will head to the polls specifically to vote against her — but she’s got my support. She sounded incredibly strong, focused, and smart. She’s got clear objectives and plans and the skill, experience, and determination to make them work. She sounded — presidential. (She was also the only one of the seven candidates to use the phrase “when I’m president…,” which sounds corny but was very effective in the context.) In MoveOn’s follow-up poll, I voted for her as my choice for the evening as the best candidate to lead us out of Iraq.

Chris Dodd. See my earlier comments about Bill Richardson. He did well, he’s clearly smart, experienced, and so on, but I still don’t have a memorable image of him as president. He’s got a lot of work to do.

Barack Obama. Very disappointing. I expected to hear fire, enthusiasm, great plans — all the things we’re told to expect from Obama. Instead, he sounded not terribly strong, not terribly energetic, and not terribly focused. When asked the opening question about the best and fastest way to get us out of Iraq, he spent much of the time reciting casualty statistics. He finally mentioned that he has a plan, but he didn’t go into much detail about it — at least, not details that impressed me. Obama absolutely did not give me what I wanted and expected last night.

If you have time, I highly recommend listening to the podcast of the entire event. It lasts about 80 minutes. It could be that, like me, you’ll be surprised.