Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why Hillary Should Not Be President

As of May 13, Barack Obama leads Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination by 1,884 delegates to 1,718. He leads in pledged delegates by 1,600 to 1,445, and in superdelegates by 284 to 273. Edwards' endorsement of Obama should lend at least six and up to nineteen superdelegates to Obama's tally. That is a thin margin, but with only 142 delegates separating Obama from victory, still substantial. Clinton would have to sweep the remaining contests to win. But what else could she tell the voters of Oregon to overcome her 20-point deficit there? She may not lose all of the upcoming contests, but she will assuredly lose some, and some is enough to leave her in second place.

Not many believe that extending the nomination race is a good idea either for the party as a whole or for its nominee's prospects in November. Not many outside of the Clinton camp, anyway. Yet to extend is exactly what Clinton intends - - or at least says she intends.

The scenarios by which Clinton lands the nomination now all involve some sort of unsavory twist. Perhaps she loses the primaries and caucuses count but strongarms the superdelegates into supporting her; perhaps she orchestrates an upending of the Democratic party leadership which permits Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated, and then complicitly accepts these delegates. Perhaps she jimmies a primary count or caucus count or popular vote count or some other kind of count into a moral mandate. Perhaps she reinvents herself, finally - - for the umpteeskiddieighth time - - into the candidate that everyone loves, and sweeps the remaining races. In all possible scenarios, her win is by artifice.

So one asks, is this the sort of person we want in the White House? Her mentality at this point looks somewhat kamikaze-ish. If she obtains the nomination, it will come only at the sacrifice of her own personal integrity, the integrity of the party, or - - more likely - - both. The damage would be significant and lasting.

Perhaps by shrewd politicking or shrewd campaigning she can still win. But if she does, not everyone who voted for Obama (which is most of the Democrats, at this point) will smile and shake their heads and say to themselves, "Gosh, she really is the better candidate, I should have like her all along." Nope. Come November, they will likely stay home. Or they will do what I do when I feel as if I can't connect with any of the candidates: they will go to the polls and cast a write-in vote for Mickey Mouse.

A good leader, in effect, knows when to quit. By campaigning well past that point, Clinton is showing that her judgment - - which is what really counts in the White House, not so much campaigning acumen - - is a cut above poor at best.

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