Will Clinton Spoil the Party? by Robert Reich | March 11, 2008

Will Clinton spoil the party?

US elections 08:

By claiming a Republican would be a better president than her
Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton is on dangerous ground

By Robert B Reich

March 10, 2008, The Guardian (UK)


I’m thrilled at the record Democratic turnouts across the
country, and at the ground-breaking reality of the Democrats’
two candidates. But I’m also becoming anxious at the prospect
of a fight that could reduce the possibility of either of
them entering the White House in January of 2009.

Is Hillary Rodham Clinton willing to sacrifice that
possibility in order to preserve a tiny possibility that
she’ll get the nomination? With her primary wins in Ohio and
Texas, that seems so. In the days leading up to the Ohio and
Texas primaries, we had HRC’s statement that both she and
McCain have the experience to be commander-in-chief but Obama
doesn’t. This is the first time in my memory that a major
candidate in a primary has said that the other party’s
nominee would be a better president than his or her own
primary opponent. We also had the outpouring of negative
advertising from her campaign that both candidates had
largely managed to avoid up to this point.

And while I can understand her decision, bolstered by last
week’s results, to fight on in this primary election, the
reality is that she can only win by convincing large numbers
of superdelegates to join her and re-engineering the Michigan
and Florida primaries to her advantage, and then taking the
fight all the way to the convention in August – which if she
gets that far, will be one of the most divisive in 40 years.

I suppose I should not be surprised. If HRC has experience in
anything, it’s in fighting when cornered. When Bill Clinton
lost his governorship of Arkansas in 1980, it was HRC who
commissioned Dick Morris to advise the Clintons on a no-
holds-barred campaign to retake the governor’s mansion. At
the start of 1995, when Newt Gingrich and company took over
Congress and the Clinton administration looked in danger of
becoming irrelevant, it was HRC who installed Dick Morris in
the White House, along with his sidekick Mark Penn, to
“triangulate” by distancing Bill Clinton from the Democratic
Party and moving the Administration rightward. (When Morris
was subsequently discovered to have a penchant for the toes
of prostitutes the White House dumped him but kept Penn on.)
And now Mark Penn is the “chief strategist” of HRC’s

The sad news is that whether the Clinton scorched-earth
strategy ultimately succeeds or fails, it will have caused
great harm. In the unlikely event it succeeds, the result
will be a shame and not a little ironic. Barack Obama has
breathed life into the Democratic Party, and into American
politics, for the first time in 40 years. Not since Robert
Kennedy ran for president has America been so starkly
summoned to its ideals. Not since then has America –
including, especially, the nation’s youth – been so inspired.
The Clintons would prefer to write off Obamania as a passing
fad, but the reality is that idealism and inspiration are
necessary preconditions for positive social change.

Nothing happens in Washington unless Americans are energised
and mobilised to make it happen. HRC’s tactics are the old
politics the nation is recoiling from – internal division and
national fear. This only serves to deepen Americans’ cynicism
about politics, and makes social change all the harder to

1 Comment »

  1. It is time for cooler heads to prevail. For the same reasons that friends do not let friends drive drunk, Hillary’s friends need to protect her from herself.

    Hillary would make a good, maybe a great Senate Majority Leader if she does not continue this scorched earth policy that she is now pursuing.

    Comment by gasdocpol — March 11, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

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