Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hillary forgot America isn't San Marino

The Hillary Clinton campaign for 2008 really began back in 1993, when one of the US network anchors -- I believe it was the late Peter Jennings -- asked Bill, shortly after the Clintons moved into the White House -- if he thought the day would come when there would be a First Gentleman. Slick Willy said that he hoped so; in a tone that said he hoped it was him.

Today, Mrs. Clinton formally "suspends" her campaign and will officially endorse Barack Obama. The way things have gone for her family this year, one would think she'd be leaving the Democratic Party and running a third party candidacy. It's hard to believe that this day has come, that the front-runner for the last three and a half years would throw in the towel to an insurgent from the Land of Lincoln; from the kind of people she allegedly represents.

There are all sorts of reasons to explain her loss -- her husband wittingly playing the race card, her relying on a donor list of rich people, not understanding that 2008 is not 1992. Personally, I thought something was afoot when John Kerry decided to give Obama and not Mrs. Clinton access to Kerry's e-mail address book of 3 million. Then other people of Clinton's own generation including Caroline Kennedy and Julie Eisenhower -- Tricky Dick's daughter! -- announced they were behind Obama. They understood what Clinton could or would not, the desire not just for change in policy but in generational change.

As for Obama's "pastor problem," let's not forget that McCain has had his own issues with some preachers and even Mrs. Clinton has rubbed noses with the First Estate on a whole bunch of issues.

I think this really is tied in with the culture wars; that after forty years people are sick and tired of the Puritans telling Americans what they can read, see on TV, surf for on the Internet. Mrs. Clinton of course is on the left of these wars but much of her money does come from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, those who support attitudes towards culture like "Independent Democrat" Joe Lieberman who without surprise is supporting John McCain this year.

Money from certain kinds of people can prove to be corrupting. And in her desire for absolute power, she was corrupted absolutely by that money given $2300 at a time, the maximum allowed under law. Obama avoided that, instead taking donations from a much larger pool and in much smaller amounts. Mrs. Clinton could not have seen that strength in numbers and it ultimately demonstrated itself in the delegate count. For every attempt she made to create New Math she made herself even more desperate looking.

Today should have been Clinton's day to have stood on top of a pedestal. Instead, she made herself one -- not just for the above reasons but also because of her husband who couldn't just keep his mouth shut. Who knows what will happen on November 4th, but I for one thank God that we no longer have to deal with "Two for the Price of One." This isn't San Marino which actually has a co-presidency under its 400+ year old constitution (there are two captains regent, not one, and from opposing parties to keep an eye on each other -- and they only serve for six months before giving two other people their chance). Napoleon admired this system so much he refused to invade the tiny country while he took over most of the rest of Europe; and even Abraham Lincoln, Obama's and Clinton's fellow Illinoisan, admired the Sanmarinese for creating a model he thought America should emulate.

But the country at stake is America. There is only one boss, only one President in America. And beyond generational issues, there were serious concerns that Hillary would not be running the show but that Bill would. She's proven she can run the country on her own, but the perception would always be there. Besides, the two term limit was put into place for a reason.

Hillary should be welcome in any administration (I've already said I think she'd make a great Attorney General), but Obama has to make his first act banning Bill from the White House precinct. The presence of his official portrait is enough of a distraction.

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