Saturday, May 10, 2008


If John McCain wins the presidency, it may be possible to mark the precise dates when the balance tipped. The start date, quite possibly, was this past Tuesday, sometime in the evening. The end date is anyone's guess.

On Tuesday night, Barack Obama was the presumptive Democratic nominee. Several polls being conducted on Tuesday would show Obama leading John McCain.

There was an opportunity for Hillary and Bill Clinton to do right by the party, which had made its choice. But Hillary and Bill Clinton think they are the party. So they decided to embarrass Obama by running up the score in two rural states, one of which no Democrat will win and the other a state with a whopping five electoral votes, all the while continuing to reinforce what will certainly be Republican lines of attack on Obama in the fall.

And it's working. Clinton is up by anywhere from 29% to 43% in West Virginia and up by 34% to 36% in Kentucky. Which means that instead of taking a victory lap right now, with a party uniting behind him, he's going to suffer through more weeks of bad press. For days if not weeks after these returns come in, even though he'll still have delegate math on his side, plus a likely win in Oregon, he's going to think his first and middle names are "Doubts" and "About" -- he's going to be a question mark again. After losing two relatively small rural states, he's going to look like a loser again -- and the Clintons will probably put the boot in even more. This is what Democrats will be dealing with rather than trying to build on his current nationwide lead against McCain, which is just about the same as Clinton's lead (and she may be beating McCain only because she's not enduring any GOP attacks whatsoever and is not the target of a scorched-earth campaign from her Democratic opponent).

Yes, Obama's brought a good deal of this on himself -- but the Clintons have exploited every vulnerability. And this is where I ask the Clintons and the hardcore Clintonites: Which side are you on? Do you want a Democrat to win -- or do you only want Clinton to win?

And don't tell me you want Clinton to win only because Obama can't win -- he's winning right now. He's beating McCain. After Wright. And Wright again. And "bitter." And a billion e-mails calling him a Muslim. And he's doing it while fighting off one and (nearly) a half of the two major parties.

Can you imagine how he'd be doing if the Clintons were helping him now? If they actually went into some of these states and said he's a good man and will be a good president? Said he was a friend of working people? Said he's not a madrassa-bred Muslim America-hater?

Yeah, but I hear you say, Doesn't Hillary have the right to stay in the race? (muttering under your breath, "you sexist pig"). Yes, she has the right -- just as I'd have the right to take my paycheck and drink up the rent money if I had kids at home. Just because you're allowed to do something doesn't mean you should do it. Just because you have leeway to screw over people you supposedly care about doesn't mean you should.

But, as I said, the Clintons don't give a damn about the good of the party because they think they are the party. And, sure, they could have been -- about fifteen Obama victories ago. But he became the favorite, and for a long time now we've had two choices: a decision to unify around Obama the front-runner ... or blood on the floor for months, while John McCain gets a free ride.

The Clintons have made their choice. By rubbing Barack Obama's nose in West Virginia and Kentucky dirt, they've chosen to weaken him again for maybe another month, maybe more, even though they still don't have much more than a snowball's chance in hell of winning this nomination.

If we're crying in November, remember the Clintons in May.


Deja vu all over again: Here's an Obama-basher in West Virginia now:

"Obama just doesn't sound right for an American president."

His doppelganger in 1988 -- Miss Loretta Lynn, the country singer:

At one stop, Miss Lynn said Mr. Dukakis was simply not her kind of politician. Thickening her Kentucky drawl, she added: ''Why, I can't even pronounce his name!'' The crowd roared with glee.

Somewhere in hell, Lee Atwater is smiling. A beer and a shot are this year's pork rinds.


Meanwhile, Clintonmania doesn't extend to a somewhat larger state:

California voters would change their February primary vote for Hillary Clinton to a vote for Barack Obama if the vote were held again, according to an exclusive poll commissioned by CBS 5.

While voters in the California Democratic Presidential Primary backed Clinton by a 10-point margin, a new SurveyUSA poll shows that if given the chance to vote again, Californians would choose Barack Obama by a 6-point margin, 49%-43%....

California, by the way, has as many electoral votes as eleven West Virginias.

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