Monday, June 02, 2008


Count me among those who don't think this is in any way a sign that the end is near:

Members of Hillary Clinton's advance staff received calls and emails this evening from headquarters summoning them to New York City Tuesday night, and telling them their roles on the campaign are ending, two Clinton staffers tell my colleague Amie Parnes.

The advance staffers ... are being given the options of going to New York for a final day Tuesday, or going home, the aides said. The move is a sign that the campaign is beginning to shed -- at least -- some of its staff....

She's just shifting to efforts that don't require a lot of staff -- and those efforts are clearly still ongoing. She says she's going to keep trying to flip superdelegates. She's talking relentlessly about her lead in the popular vote, which is highly questionable.

Iowa, Nevada, Washington state, and Maine haven't released popular vote totals. We can make educated guesses, but they're not precise. How do we count non-binding primaries? Do we count voters who can't participate in the general election (from territories, for example)? How many voters supported Obama in Michigan? It gets a little complicated. Depending on which measurement you prefer, you can say Obama has a very narrow popular-vote lead, or Clinton has a very narrow popular-vote lead.

I keep hearing that Hillary Clinton has stopped attacking Obama, but she hasn't stopped trying to delegitimize him, by delegitimizing his delegate lead. In a party that takes voting rights seriously, suggesting that he's winning by skulduggery is no better than hinting that he's an icky black guy, or that he's unfit to be commander in chief.

Deligitimizing her own loss is a big part of this, and -- what do you know? -- there was Clinton surrogate Geraldine Ferraro in The Boston Globe on Friday doing just that, by playing the sexism and reverse racism cards:

... That sexism impacted Clinton's campaign, I have no doubt. Did she lose a close election because of sexism? I don't know....

As for Reagan Democrats, how Clinton was treated is not their issue. They are more concerned with how they have been treated. Since March, when I was accused of being racist for a statement I made about the influence of blacks on Obama's historic campaign, people have been stopping me to express a common sentiment: If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist. They see Obama's playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They're not upset with Obama because he's black; they're upset because they don't expect to be treated fairly because they're white....

Translation: Obama won only because Hillary Clinton was prevented from winning by sexist pigs and anti-white racists. Thus, he's not a legitimate nominee.

The fact that Ferraro is still out there mouthing off is all I need to know about whether Clinton is staying in the race. Oh, and Gerry? I'm Italian like you, I'm from the outer boroughs (Boston equivalent), essentially like you -- but I'm a single mother's son who got to the Ivies just like Obama, and when you denigrate him, you denigrate me, and, as a millionaire, you have some gall doing it:

...Whom he chooses for his vice president makes no difference to [Reagan Democrats]. That he is pro-choice means little. Learning more about his bio doesn't do it. They don't identify with someone who has gone to Columbia and Harvard Law School and is married to a Princeton-Harvard Law graduate. His experience with an educated single mother and being raised by middle class grandparents is not something they can empathize with. They may lack a formal higher education, but they're not stupid....

Sorry -- I guess I got above my station by being a truck driver's son at Columbia. I should have known my place and become an ethically dubious real estate mogul, like your husband.

In any case, it seems obvious to me that if Hillary Clinton can't beat Obama for the nomination, she desperately needs to try to defeat him in November. I'm not even convinced that this is a calculated strategy to emerge as the front-runner for 2012. I think it's more on a gut level than that: the Clintons believe you can't win the presidency as a Democrat any way but their way, and an Obama victory would be a twin humiliation -- not just a defeat of Hillary Clinton personally, but a public demonstration that they don't have a monopoly on political savvy within their party.

They can't live with that. So the attempts to undermine Obama will continue -- to the convention and beyond -- unless they're stopped.

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Howard Dean, it's time to play some real hardball.

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