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As Long as We Remember...

June 6, 2008

Hillary Finally Out

Roy Meachum

After Iowa the handwriting stood firm and clear: Hillary Clinton will not be the next president of these United States. As far back as February, that's what my column said.

Each of the subsequent 56 primaries and caucuses confirmed my conviction. Even when Barack Obama lost individual states, he won – under the Democratic formula of allotting candidates a share based on how much support they gained at the ballot box. People can say he lost Nevada and Texas. Wrong. He emerged both states further ahead on delegates. Look it up.

All along the way, the Clinton campaign looked for labels to pin on her rival. Mr. Obama was, by turns, unpatriotic, an elitist, an atheist, a Muslim and a man who coddled wannabe Nazis (his former pastor). As serious Democrats repeatedly asked loudly “Why give ammunition to the enemy Republicans,” she and her campaign gurus played "no nevermind," as they persisted right through Montana trying to take apart her rival.

I never heard the Democratic candidate-presumptive seriously target Mrs. Clinton or her husband. He replied and moved on. His primary victory is as much a winner for a "new politics" as the candidate himself.

Even before the last primaries Tuesday, Hillary Clinton let drop that she was available for the ticket's number two spot; I hope not.

Having the ex-first lady in the same building as Mr. Obama guarantees explosions, of the verbal sort. She demonstrated repeatedly in recent months that she will not take advice, unless it happens to blend in with what she wants. The office of secretary of State's chair in Foggy Bottom may be too close. It will become available in January, as I see things.

On a positive note, readers will recall another failed prognostication on my part; I picked Bill Richardson, accompanied by Mr. Obama. Then came Iowa.

A friend, remembering the column asked me what I thought of Barack Obama's showing in the caucuses. I told him all bets were off. If the nation's first black candidate for the White House could make it there, there was hope he could go all the way. I would like to see the names reversed from my earlier failed prophecy.

Bill Richardson could bring to the ticket more governmental experience than Mrs. Clinton claimed. He's in his second term as governor of New Mexico. He sat in the House of Representatives 14 years. Bill Clinton appointed Mr. Richardson ambassador to the United Nations and later secretary of Energy. Presidents, including George W. Bush, have sent him on diplomatic missions, with no regard for his party label.

The governor's bid for the Oval Office this year aborted early. I cannot imagine the thorough veteran of the Washington wars declared so early in the primaries without something more involved. By the way, for exercising a basic American right, former adviser to the Clinton White House James Carville termed the governor a "traitor."

Mr. Richardson has Spanish, maybe as his primary language, although his English sails through, his accent rooted in standard American speech. His presence on the presidential ticket might very well lure Hispanics to vote for Senator Obama; in the primaries they did not. His governmental experience at all levels could deflect criticism of the new president, if the ticket gets elected.

In any event, Barack Obama will make the choice for his number two, but I dread the thought of Hillary Clinton back in the White House. I am resigned, however, to the senator from New York trying again. Not with my dime.


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
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