By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Has Obama Learned The Clinton Rules?
The story of the presidential primaries is becoming clearer for the moment… there is way too much time between the last primary and the next ones… enough time to create endless havoc in the media and to send the country through 3 or 4 major news swings with no real benefit.
It struck me today that the Obama folks have really pulled A Clinton this week with Pat Leahy coming out and calling directly for Hillary Clinton to step aside while Obama was saying, “She should be in the race as long as she likes.” Like the race card that was thrown down by Gerry Ferraro and then danced away from by Clinton… like the effort to slow a wave of insider support for Obama by having James “This is not coming from the Clinton campaign, shucks” Carville call Bill Richardson “a Judas” for doing just that and nothing more… the “should Hillary withdraw?” story has become the lead story of the race for a week already.
There has been some push back. And The Clintons have tried to sell their “disenfranchised” spin. But people know the reality here. When you have Mario Cuomo coming out and saying that the two candidates should agree publicly that “whoever wins, wins and the other takes the Vice Presidential slot,” that is closing in on an Obama endorsement. (It also reminds one that Hillary’s longterm strategy could now include a run for Cuomo’s old stomping grounds, the next Governorship of New York in 2010.) Of course, with Ed Rendell saying that he likes this plan, smart journalists should be pressing The Clintons on the question, “Would you accept a Vice Presidential offer from Obama if he were the nominee?’ Rendell seems to be saying, “Yes.”
It would be nothing less than rude for Obama to offer the slot to Clinton, especially after the debacle of her offering it to him, from behind in the race. But the press should be asking.
Anyway… it’s interesting… and it’s interesting strategy.
And it’s amusing to watch Bill Clinton – who had pretty much wrapped up the Dem nomination weeks before PA voted in his 1992 primary push, and who after that vote had fewer elected delegates than Obama will and more than his wife will this year – talk about how the “conversation” made the party stronger. 13% of the PA primary vote went to Paul Tsongas, who had dropped out of the race a month earlier. The only conversation going on at that point was whether Clinton could beat Perot and Bush 1.
From The NY Times…
Many Democrats have publicly worried about the strength of a Clinton candidacy this fall, and Gov. Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania spent much of the past week criticizing his party’s presumed nominee and arguing the case for an open convention at which other candidates could emerge.
But Ann F. Lewis, a Democratic strategist, said Tuesday, “I would say by now, those kinds of naysayers are irrelevant to the process.”
James Carville, a top strategist for Mr. Clinton, suggested that the elected officials and party leaders who are superdelegates at the national convention, a critical bloc, would recognize the political reality.
Alluding to an earlier body of political wisdom, Mr. Carville said: “Mr. Dooley says the first thing the Supreme Court does is read the election returns. I suspect the superdelegates do the same thing.”
At least no one is saying Clinton should be getting out now that it’s clear that Obama actually won Texas.