Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I'm supposed to be worked up about Obama's hiring of Patti Solis Doyle, and I understand the basic point -- that putting the now-estranged Clintonite on the payroll is a huge rebuke to Clinton and her team ("rebuke" is a mild form of the key word in the most-read story on this), and thus Obama is saying, rudely, there isn't going to be a "dream ticket."

Sigh. All I care about is the fact that it's still so easy to report on what's going on among Democrats as gossip.

We were left after the primaries with an unexploded bomb: either Obama would hurt Clinton's feelings or he'd have to take great pains not to. The big story among Democrats was still going to be emotional drama. It's a big problem that we're still talking about Democrats that way, in a country that almost always wants to think of its president as Emotionally Steady Suburban-Dad-Slash-Hero.

After the primaries, ideally, the sense that there were still bruised feelings needed to be banished. Everyone needed to make a great show of sucking it up and agreeing to pull together, for the good of the team. Hillary's final speech was an excellent move in that direction, but more needed to be done -- the question of the second spot on the ticket simply had to stop seeming like an emotional issue, at least as far as the public knew.

Maybe the Clinton camp gets that and Obama just decided on a gratuitous slap in the face. More likely, the two camps are still at odds, still thrusting and parrying. Well, enough. Get your acts together, paste smiles on your faces, deal with the running-mate issue calmly and rationally, and tell your subordinates to shut the hell up when reporters ask about any intrigues. That's how it's expected to be done. That's how you make your party and your nominee look strong and stable.

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