What Ifs?

Rich Galen

1/14/2008 11:26:10 AM - Rich Galen

Back home in Your Nation's Capital for a quick change of laundry and a Sunday show, all the chatter over the weekend was "What if…?

Interestingly, just last week the answers to any variant of that question from the mouths of High Level Politicians, Pundits, Pollsters and Political Hacks stating with mind numbing authority that they knew exactly what was going to happen in New Hampshire, then in Michigan, then in Nevada, then in South Carolina etc., etc.

But, alas, when New Hampshire voters actually went to the polls John McCain reprised the surprising result from 2000 and Hillary Clinton produced a shocking victory which rocked the High Level Politicians, Pundits, Pollsters and Political Hacks back on the heels of their oh-so-trendy Lands' End and Aquatalia (by Marvin K) 'March' boots (available in black suede only, $325 from Nordstrom's).

So now the general answer to "What If?" is: I have no Earthly idea - or words to a like effect.

In the hyper-sensitive world in which all major politicians live, Hillary Clinton was dinged for saying last week that President Lyndon Johnson had more to do with the passage of Civil Rights legislation than Rev. Martin Luther King.

Black supporters around Barack Obama used that as evidence that Hillary is not as committed to the cause of African-Americans as Obama.

Hillary had one of her high-visibility Black Supporters, Bob Johnson (founder of Black Entertainment Television) tell a crowd in South Carolina: "As an African American, I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won't say what he was doing that he said it in his book."

Foxnews.com reminds us that
"Obama admitted using drugs in his 1995 autobiography 'Dreams From My Father.' A top New Hampshire adviser to the Clinton campaign was fired last month when he brought up that drug use in an interview."

Obama then hopped into the fray by claiming his campaign had nothing to do with highlighting the MLK/LBJ dust-up saying, "The notion that somehow this is our doing is ludicrous."

Thus calling the Clinton campaign "ludicrous."

The Clinton campaign had to issue a statement explaining Johnson's remarks to a skeptical press corps (which is, in any event, growing weary of changing in and out of boots for Michigan events and soft, hand-crafted loafers for those in South Carolina):
My comments today were referring to Barack Obama's time spent as a community organizer, and nothing else. Any other suggestion is simply irresponsible and incorrect.

Thus calling the Obama campaign "irresponsible."

The State newspaper in Columbia, SC analyzed the whole thing thus: Obama has gotten under the skin of the Clintons by painting Hillary Clinton as a calculating politician whose election would take the country back to the bitterly partisan years of the 1990s.

The Clinton team mostly ignored Obama's digs in the early months of the campaign. But, as Obama moved closer to what became a resounding victory in the Iowa caucuses, Clinton and her supporters began to attack Obama.

Neither Obama nor Edwards are competing in Michigan because of sanctions put on that state by the DNC for moving its primary up too early, so Hillary will win there to no great effect.

However, both Hillary and Barack are competing in Nevada whose caucuses will be held this Saturday (the same day as the Republican primary in South Carolina. Democrats are a week later in the Palmetto State).

Thus the two candidates may well come into South Carolina for the election on January 26th tied in terms of wins and losses, if not in actual delegates.

There is nothing in the history of Clintonian campaigns which would lead anyone to believe Bill and Hillary will try to "out-nice" Obama.

They will use every tool they can get their hands on and give those tools to as many people as they can cajole, bully, plead with, wheedle, or threaten to get their hands as dirty as necessary in the process of trying to destroy Obama while the Clintons pretend to be above the fray and are photographed holding hands, gently sailing into the sunset down the River of Victory.

So, what if neither Obama nor Clinton has a clear path to the nomination three weeks from tomorrow on February 5?

What If, indeed!