“It’s Over” For Hillary? Not So Fast…

Austin Hill
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Posted: May 11, 2008 12:00 AM
“It’s Over” For Hillary? Not So Fast…

It’s not a matter of “if,” but of “when,” Hillary will step down from her campaign - - right? I’m not so convinced.

Over the past many months and in multiple media venues (talk radio, television, and in textual editorials like this one) I have repeatedly stated my belief that both our American politics, and our culture, will be better off ,when the Clintons are finally out of the national spotlight. I’ve also maintained that our nation will be “in a better place” when the Democratic Party is no longer held hostage to these two questionable characters.

The Clintons’ stranglehold over the Democratic Party has steadily weakened in the past several months, and was dealt a severe blow in the North Carolina and Indiana Democratic primary elections last week. But they are most certainly still in the national spotlight. And, politically speaking, the Clintons have faced near-death experiences before - - indeed they seem to create these kinds of experiences for themselves as though it is part of their chaotic personalities to enjoy it - - only to bounce-back and return to a position of greater strength than they had known previously.

Consider the Clintons’ earliest days in the White House. They weren’t pretty. Having campaigned as a “new Democrat” who promised to “end welfare as we know it,” Bill quickly alienated Americans in 1993 with, among many other things, his proposal to dramatically expand federally funded welfare programs. This (along with those “many other things” about the Clintons’ early days in office that are too numerous to mention here) helped lead the Democratic Party to an embarrassing loss of majorities in both the House and the Senate in 1994. Yet, despite this, President Clinton ended up signing a Republican bill that dramatically scaled-back welfare, and then took credit for having “reformed welfare” during his successful re-election bid in 1996.

The point here is simple: the Clintons make it work for them. Always. And there always seems to be just enough willing participants hanging around who are ready to participate in the Clintons’ grand plans, no matter how disingenuous or self-serving or destructive those plans may be.

So how do the Clintons get themselves out of the current jam? Some of the strategy seems to be emerging already. The vote counts of last Tuesday’s primary elections hadn’t even been completed, before Clinton loyalist Terry McCauliffe explained on nationwide television that A) the DNC’s decision to not count the Clinton delegates from Florida and Michigan is a violation of their own procedures; and B) it will require “litigation” to get the situation set straight, but that Hillary’s delegates WILL be seated at the August convention.

As for campaigning - - well, that hasn’t slowed-down much at all, and it would seem that Hillary is poised for at least one more “first place” victory in the upcoming West Virginia primary (call me crazy, but West Virginia seems more like “Clinton country” than it does “Obama country”). Bill was campaigning heavily in West Virginia last Thursday and Friday, and even managed to generate another “hit” video on the internet with yet another purple-faced, righteously indignant “you interrupted my speech, but now you’re gonna listen to me” moment, as he shouted-down a lone pseudo-heckler in the audience who dared to question Hillary’s credibility on healthcare reform. Meanwhile, Hillary campaigned heavily in the more competitive primary state of Oregon. She even inched a bit further to the left last Friday during a stop in the town of Central Point, vowing to be the President who will “end the war in Iraq,“ just as Obama has been promising (this is, of course, the same “war” in Iraq that she voted in the Senate to authorize six years ago).

So imagine that the Clintons win in West Virginia. And imagine that they pull off an “upset” victory in Oregon, or win (as they may very well) in Puerto Rico. Any combination of these hypothetical victories will add fuel to the Clintons’ public relations fire, and will help them make the case in the media that they need to sue their own Democratic Party so as to ensure that their delegates participate in the national convention. And if the Clintons can concoct a clever slogan that creates a rhetorical link between the Florida vote re-count fiasco of 2000 and their present-day debacle with their own delegates (“don’t let ‘em steal our votes again” or something of this sort), well, then, all the better. There will be people who buy it.

But they’d end up destroying the Democratic Party in the process of doing these kinds of things, right? And why should this stop the Clintons? At the end of the day, the Clintons belong to the Clintons’ Party; the Clintons do what is in the best interest of the Clintons.