Thursday, April 3, 2008

Democratic Triumph or Crackup?

My prognosticating skills got quite a workout during the 2006 election, and I was proved grossly wrong, predicting that the Senate and House would stay in Republican hands. I would say they are both still in Republican control -- what with the BushDogs and the Rs forming a working majority in both houses -- but nominally, both shifted to Democratic leadership, surprising quite a few people (including some House and Senate Democrats.)

Now we have this strange situation developing over the presidential campaign -- which has already been under way for a year or two -- with two "interesting" Democratic candidates battling it out for the nomination, versus a cranky old man who's the "presumptive nominee" of the Republican Party.

Over much of the so-called "progressive" blogosphere, there is a concerted campaign to get Hillary to drop out so that Obama can sail to the nominating convention Triumphant. Hillary refuses to do so, even though she cannot win enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination. Neither can Barack, but that's ignored by the Obamamaniacs. The nomination depends on the superdelegates, no matter what the results of the popularity contest turns out to be. There is intense pressure being put on those superdelegates to support one or the other Dem candidate, but many refuse to commit at this point, nor are they willing to join the chorus demanding Hillary's withdrawal.

Can't say that I'm reading these signs correctly, but apparently Hillary and Bill Clinton have been going around to the supers saying straight out that "Barack cannot win." This is often interpreted by Obamamaniacs as a racial slur, and maybe it is. But maybe it isn't.

Given the tension in the Democratic ranks, and the strong popular appeal that Obama has among many, many people, Hillary's dropping out might be the smart thing to do. She and Bill Clinton are very smart politicians -- though I can't say either one of them has been particularly "smart" in this campaign -- and they know the value of strategic retreat. But Hillary is pretty much absolute: she will not withdraw, no matter what the popular vote is in the primary.

And I ask why she is so absolute about it, and why she and Bill are apparently going around saying Barack can't win, but not saying why they think that.

The Rev Wright controversy seems to have eroded some of Barack's support among white Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. The Noise Machine is pushing it for all it's worth, and then some. Despite initial assumptions, it was not the Hillary campaign that started and fanned this "issue," it was the media itself, beginning with FOX, thence to ABC, then everywhere, fanned by the McCain campaign. And interesting progression.

Might there be other "issues"? It hardly seems possible this would be the end of the smears and media frenzies about Obama's potential "unsuitability" for the Presidency. They're quite happy to dig things up themselves, but we can be sure that the McCain campaign has been doing its own opposition research.

I wonder if Hillary -- and Bill, and other Big Democrats -- know some of what's been turned up. I would suspect they do. Despite accusations, Hillary and Bill have not impugned his character, his sexuality, or his honorable intent. But what if they know something, or have heard something, about his sex life, or about -- say -- something corrupt in his years in Chicago's ward politics? Let's say they would never release it to the press (and maybe the press already knows what it is). But they know that somebody is going to drop the stink bomb on Obama sometime, say right after he is sure to get the nomination. Blam!

And let's say Hillary drops out prematurely.

What happens if the Democratic candidate is built up the way Barack has been built up only to be destroyed by "something" that comes out. (This being American politics, the "something" doesn't have to be true or even real, viz: Dean, Howard; Kerry, John.) What's the option? In 2004, we didn't have one. The attackers waited until Kerry was the nominee, and had a field day. Of course they would try the same thing with Obama.

And if the Clintons know -- pretty much -- what's going to be used against him, maybe that's why they are insisting Barack can't win.

I could be completely wrong of course, but there is something going on in the background, things are not as they appear to be, and if I am right, I think it would behoove someone from the Clinton camp -- or even better, a neutral -- to clue the Obama camp to what may be in store.

Maybe they already have.

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