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April 25, 2008

Why the Uproar?

Roy Meachum

Reading closely the Pennsylvania Democratic primaries this week, it's difficult to see why the Clinton camp is in such a joyous uproar.


Taking in $10 million in one day definitely gives solid reason for celebration, especially to a campaign some $9 million in debt. The size of the donations suggests, at least, a lot of that is cover money, insurance in case Barack Obama actually loses.


Giving her best shot to a state forecaster figured the New York senator should trample through, Hillary Clinton exulted at the 10-point victory, the absolute minimum she needed to stay in the race. Her 55-45 percentage triumph exactly hit the mark.


At this writing it looks like she marched into nearby Indiana's May 6th showdown with something like 12 delegates more than Mr. Obama snagged in the Keystone State. The same prophets allow as how more Hoosiers will flock to her. There are 74 delegates up for grabs.


The looming North Carolina primary, with 115 convention votes at stake, does not automatically fall into her camp. If anything, the Clintons' crowing augurs to instill a do-or-die spirit in the Illinois senator's drive. He could win enough delegates to wipe out her late gains.


Forget the popular vote. Pennsylvania managed to trim Mr. Obama's lead to approximately 700,000 – since Florida and Michigan are off the table. Only if Mrs. Clinton suffered no competition in the primaries left, would she have the possibility of claiming the people were on her side. Then, maybe not.


In her public life, Hillary Clinton has gathered enough political enemies that could soil her chances if Barack Obama did not exist. Her campaign of slurs and lies leaves her reputation shattered whatever the outcome of the primaries' fight.


Former President Bill Clinton angrily denies he introduced the race card into the South Carolina primary held months ago. He did, as the record shows. He has gone from being the nation's first "African American president" into just another Razorback opportunist. His wife is not far behind.


The changed perceptions spring entirely from how she has transformed from a first lady's dignity into a candidate willing to do anything it takes to win. The most fractious to her party are the tricks and stratagems to portray Mr. Obama as walking in lock step with the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.


Since that proved impossible, the Clinton campaign circulated among the media quotes from the pastor of the church attended by the Obama family. The insinuation was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright delivered the controversial quotes with the Illinois senator's approval.


At one point Hillary Clinton proudly pronounced she would have walked out of the church, with no confirmation her opponent was ever present for the quoted sermons. He said he was not. His record and history say he would not condone any of Mr. Wright's quoted remarks.


Those who rank the low blow as politics-as-usual miss the core of the Obama campaign; he's running on a promise of change in the Washington establishment, especially politics. He may not succeed. But electing his senatorial colleague absolutely guarantees more of the same old, same old.


And that's exactly why Democratic political machines deny the candidacy that he has already earned. That's why the racial card triumphed in various states and especially in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Indiana looks set to go along.


By arguing, in their last desperate lunge for national power, that Mr. Obama's black blood could never prevail over GOP candidate John McCain, the Clintons are very close to losing African Americans for their Democratic Party. With GOP positions barring them from the competition, they could very well sit on their hands in November.


In a worst case scenario, they might flock to the Greens, elevating the splinter party into a force that could not be ignored; they loom over the political scene now only because of their spoiling capability. With the majority of black voters, there could be a first Green president in the Oval Office.


Hillary and Bill Clinton's never-say-die strategy has already split Democratic ranks; it's self-serving illusion to consider the primaries only another catfight, to be resolved when the convention speaks.


The Clinton tactics rendered basically asunder any notion of unity for a party that's always had a reputation for being disorganized. The next months may very well determine whether the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt will, indeed, survive!


The uproar could very well turn into a funeral dirge.


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