June 4, 2008

Hillary's End Game and a Comment on the Bitter Taylor Marsh Crowd

Last night, Obama clinched the democratic nomination. With the superdelegates flocking to him in great numbers, several abandoning their support of Clinton in the process, and the party leadership openly acknowledging him as the presumptive nominee, Obama spoke to the nation.

But one voice notably absent in recognizing Obama as the presumptive nominee was that of his chief rival, Hillary Clinton. In her speech last night, she neither conceded the nomination nor suspended her campaign. Hours before, after several rounds of campaign message anarchy, she leaked to the media her supposed willingness to serve as Obama's vice president. However, in her speech last night, she said she was making no decisions and would confer with party leaders. And today, at AIPAC, in a speech she delivered immediately following Obama, she did not acknowledge him as the nominee and delivered remarks very much as though she remainded an active candidate.

Sophia Nelson, editor in chief of Political Intersection, observes:

"I am at a profound loss as to why it is the Senator Clinton has now made two public appearances since last night and she has YET to 1.) concede the democratic primary to Senator Obama, 2.) to acknowledge the history and historic nature of his becoming the presumptive democratic nominee (as he did acknowledge her last night for her historic candidacy and breaking down barriers for women) and 3. to give her resounding support for Senator Obama against John McCain in the fall.
.....I have no idea what Hillary is thinking and why she is not being more cautious and respectful of someone who is likely our next President of the United States."

Indeed, this is the question on the minds of many. The answer is manifest. Hillary is still running and she is gaming not for the VP spot, but the top spot. Were this not so, she would have acknowledged Obama as the nominee, pledged to support him and begun taking affirmative steps to unify the party. She is doing exactly the opposite, engaging in active psyops with seemingly conciliatory statements , while refusing to concede the nomination. She intends to maintain strategic ambiguity for as long as she is permitted to do so and hold open an option to challenge Obama in Denver based on her popular vote metric.

This is a massive show of disrespect to the party's presumptive nominee, one which grows more egregious the longer she carries it out, even as Obama has extended every grace to her, as I suspect he will continue to publicly do, as he did during his AIPAC speech.

Sophia's commentary continues: "Hillary will be Obama's first test of strength and resolve. If he cannot stand up to her, how can he stand up to the tyrants and villains of the world?"

This is absolutely correct. As irksome as I find it, Obama will have to use a great deal of political deftness in finishing off Hillary in order to prevent the party from fracturing irretrievably and deeply eroding Hillary's demographics. How the party responds now will be key. How long will they tolerate her continuing to undercut the nominee with tactics designed to supplant him even now with an end run at the convention or at a minimum preserve her leverage for a fall back VP spot?

I believe Obama has demonstrated he is up to the task. He beat her at the outside game and demonstrated that his inside game is equally strong against even this most consummate of insiders with his clearly favorable outcome at the Rules & Bylaws committee meeting. So I believe he and Michelle are more than capable of facing down this continuing challenge from Hillary and Bill. They are America's new political powerhouse couple. Thus far Team Obama has beaten Team Clinton and I believe they have done so without engaging in the wholesale tactics of smear and fear or displaying open and complete disrespect.

Speaking of open disrespect, I've kept an open eye on the Taylor Marsh blog through the primary campaign because I like to read viewpoints that challenge my own view of things. Other perspectives help to assess whats going on. But as this primary fight has worn on, I have increasingly found myself losing respect for the level of commentary coming out of this blog and basically now ascribe her to the dedicated Obama haters camp of people who have lost the ability to be fair in anyway to Obama. I suppose she might read my blog and conclude that I am equally as biased towards her candidate. Unfortunately for her, I'm right and she's wrong.

I was very curious to see how this crowd would handle defeat at the hands of Obama and this post is a clear indication of what the dominant response will be: BITTER BILE & SOUR GRAPES complaints that the process was unfair and undemocratic. While the democratic primary process clearly has its own share of perverseness, Taylor Marsh nor the crowd she represents would be making any of these vociferous complaints if Hillary had wrapped this thing on Super Tuesday. When they were not being beaten in the race for delegates, the rules were fine. When they began losing, when it became clear that they had tragically miscalculated in relying on a Super Tuesday strategy to win and took a beating in caucus states, losing the chance to make up the delegate lead, THEN they wanted to change the rules. They want the metric to be the popular vote, because they couldn't get the delegates. Simple as that. No matter how much they want to deny it or cover it up, the basic fact is that if Hillary can't win playing by the rules, then its okay to win by changing the rules in the middle of the game.

As a prime example of the most virulent of Obama haters (critics is inaccurate, as an honest critic would demonstrate a higher level of fairness and credibility) Taylor Marsh has engaged in a nasty level of vitriol and encouraged the Obama haters in race baiting in my view (Note: I am NOT and do NOT accuse her of being a racist). They have continually posted the most demeaning and hatefully toned ranting against Obama I have seen anywhere, alongside and often copiously more prevalent than any relevant, honest criticism. She has considered every tactic and action by Clinton as a fair game attack. She was profiled in the Washington Post, and the story observes her watching Obama's speech on clinching the nomination:

"On the TV screen, Obama paused from his talk of moving toward victory to praise Hillary Clinton’s "courage, her commitment and her perseverance."

"He better do this," Marshall said. "He better do a lot of this."

When Phleger spoke of a sense of entitlement in his pandering disparagement of Hillary Clinton, he was appropriately rebuked by Obama and others for the manner in which he rendered his comments, which were inappropriate in tone, phrasing, timing and place. However, Harriet Christian and in my view, Taylor Marsh, in the above comment, certainly display the type of entitlement attitude which does in fact exist and which Phleger so inappropriately referred to.

Obama has rendered gracious comment after gracious comment of late, but Hillary Clinton has returned all of that thus far with disrespect. Taylor Marsh and her comrade in arms Harriet Christian I'm sure, both feel that Obama should essentially genuflect, bow and scrape before Hillary and by extension, them, the Clinton demographic. He must extend her every courtesy, while she kicks dirt in his face. They demand respect, nay fealty even, while giving none in return. That is entitlement, and Taylor Marsh is guilty of it.