Hillary Clinton Strategy for Remaining in Race Now Obvious

If it wasn’t already clear before, Hillary Clinton’s strategy now seems quite obvious.

She is going to avoid bitter personal “mudslinging attacks” that will undermine her own political future along with her rival’s, and instead focus on the issue of her superior general election viability.

She is claiming that she will remain in the race through the bitter end unless the votes and delegates are counted in Florida and Michigan. Rather than presenting herself as the cynical, manipulative, power-hungry, utterly self-centered politician who is determined to stay in the race even if her party burns down around her, Hillary Clinton is presenting herself as the selfless champion of the will of the people. How noble of her!

We see here the schism that too often lies between substance and rhetoric in modern Democratic politics. Normally, Republicans are the ones on the unpopular side of this divide, but here the victim is clearly the more liberal Barack Obama. When Florida and Michigan (seeking to be more ‘relevant’) violated the DNC’s rules by determining to hold their primary earlier, all the Democratic presidential candidates agreed to abide by the DNC’s exlusion of those states’ delegates. But now, regardless of the rules that she personally accepted, Hillary Clinton is claiming that the states’ decision to violate DNC rules has nothing to do with the people of the states that made the decision. They are, in the words of Mongo from Blazing Saddles fame, merely “pawns in game of life.” Obama played by the rules, and is calling for those rules to be followed.

Hillary Clinton gets to throw out the rules that she agreed to accept in what is clearly a self-serving gesture, and take the credit for being the champion of the “victims” in Florida and Michigan. It’s the same play that Democrats relied upon today when they (as the ones who actually caused our current energy crisis by refusing to allow domestic oil production) proceeded to hang the blame on the oil companies and the White House.  On a day like this, it’s frankly fitting that a Democrat would use the same junk rhetoric against her own party.

If Hillary gets Florida and Michigan included, as she demands, she will clearly be able to officially claim that she obtained more of the popular vote than Barack Obama.

And, of course, it is now practically an article of liberal faith – from the 2000 election – that the candidate who wins the popular vote should be president.

Hillary today said, “We believe that the outcome of our elections should be determined by the will of the people. Nothing more. Nothing less. And we believe the popular vote is the truest expression of your will. We believe it today just as we believed it back in 2000 when right here in Florida you learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren’t counted and a candidate with fewer votes is determined the winner.”

Notwithstanding the obvious insult to President Bush, Hillary Clinton’s statement serves to show that the Democratic position is – and has been – that such things as “the rules” shouldn’t matter, and that the process should rather be used in a cynical, self-serving way to attain partisan or personal advantage.

Do you think for a nanosecond that if the roles were reversed, Hillary Clinton would not be demanding that the process both candidates agreed to be followed? For that matter, do you think that if Barack Obama were in Hillary’s shoes, he wouldn’t be demanding the same things that Hillary is demanding now?

Including the delegates from Florida and Michigan will not affect Barack Obama’s lead in the ultimate measure that determines the winner – the delegate count. But it will undermine Obama as the nominee who failed to win the popular vote.

Rather than attempt to chop Obama down with bitter attack ads, Clinton will continue to focus on Obama’s inability to build a coalition capable of winning in November.

Her remaining in the race (oh so selflessly for the sake of those tired, poor huddled masses yearning to have their primary votes counted in Florida and Michigan) will have its own culminative effect on the Obama run, as the fractured Democratic convention bears the same fruit as all the fractured conventions that have occurred before.

Hillary’s plan is to allow Obama to be the latest McGovern-Dukakis-type fiasco, and then loudly trumpet to Democrats, “I told you so.”

She will claim that she was trying to point out Obama’s manifold weaknesses as a candidate for the good of the party, but Democratic leaders refused to listen to her wisdom.

Which will position her – as the wise leader who understood the dynamic all along – to make her own run from a superior political position in 2012.

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