Sunday, May 11, 2008

What Is Clinton Doing?

Peggy Noonan points out that the Democratic Party now knows beyond a reasonable doubt who their presidential nominee is, but they can't yet break out the champagne:

The Democratic Party can't celebrate the triumph of Barack Obama because the Democratic Party is busy having a breakdown. You could call it a breakdown over the issues of race and gender, but its real source is simply Hillary Clinton. Whose entire campaign at this point is about exploiting race and gender.

The continued presence of Sen. Clinton in the campaign, depending on whom you talk to, is either to convince delegates that she is the better choice (though Democratic voters have declared otherwise) or to permit all the voters in the remaining states a chance to participate in the race (though that has never been a priority in past primary elections). Her ongoing attacks on Sen. Obama's ability to appeal to voters beyond his base, while representing a desperate attempt to pull a rabbit out of a hat, concern Democrats who recognize that she is weakening his appeal in the general election. However, one who is cynical, and it is sometimes difficult not to be when dealing with the Clinton's, might ask if Sen. Obama's diminished ability to take on John McCain is a matter of much concern to the Clinton's.

Consider this: a victory by Barack Obama in the 2008 general election almost guarantees that he would again be the nominee in 2012. That essentially pushes the Clinton's permanently out of the leadership of the Democratic Party. However, a loss by Sen. Obama opens the door for the Clinton's to claim that they were right in the first place and that the Democrats should have never turned away from them in favor of an upstart. That revitalizes them in the role of party rebuilders and saviors as the nation moves toward the 2012 election.

Of course, the Clinton's will proclaim loyalty to the party and promise to work hard for its nominee. They will express umbrage at the accusation of disloyalty. Then, someone will ask whether it is really believable that the Clinton's would throw their own party under the bus in order to promote their own personal agendas.

At that point, thoughtful people will become quiet. We already know the answer to that question, don't we?

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