It would have seemed unbelievable to me eight years ago, but lately I have really been rooting for Hillary Clinton. One reason for wanting Hillary’s electoral fortunes to improve is a desire to see the Democratic nominating process drag on until the maximum amount of damage can be done to the ultimate winner. In that, I share the goal of Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” – an effort to get as many Republicans possible to vote in the Democratic primary for Hillary. In addition to that, though, I believed Hillary was the weaker of the two candidates and would give Republicans a better chance of winning in November. The third reason, as much as I hate to admit it, is that I derive a perverse pleasure watching that old Clinton machine back in action. The brazenness, the ruthlessness, and the sheer audacity (to borrow a word from Obama) of the Clintons is a thing to behold. Mostly though, I was just really afraid of presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Not only was I afraid that Obama would be almost impossible to beat, but I was afraid of what he would do in office. For all of Hillary Clinton’s faults, if she were elected President the next four years would be all about how to make sure she would be able to hold the office the four years following that. She might not be so timid as to go the school uniform route that her husband did, but she has been in the Beltway long enough to have become part of the establishment, and would certainly not intentionally do anything outrageous enough to endanger her chances of re-election. In other words, Hillary the President would not be the same as Hillary the Wellesley College student. In no way do I think a Hillary presidency would be good for the country, but with Obama there is greater danger. The man with the most liberal voting record in the Senate and a mandate from the people for change would be a dangerous combination indeed.
Hillary’s “three a.m. phone call” ad did some damage to Obama. Even more was done by his own advisor’s admission that Obama was not ready for that middle of the night call. At that point my fear of Obama the candidate began to subside. For the first time in months, Obama came down from superstar, if not supernatural, status to walk among the earth with mere mortals again. No longer did he appear invincible The Clinton persistence paid off and it appeared Hillary might be able to keep things close enough to hang in the race for a while.
Obama’s fall continued with extensive media coverage of the outrageous statements made by his pastor of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Obama was asked why he didn’t distance himself from Wright and his comments. Obama’s “answer” -- a speech he gave this week on race, came no where close to being enough to put the matter to rest. In light of the divisive comments Rev.Wright has made at the pulpit over the years, Obama’s self identification as a uniter will face some tough scrutiny.
Hillary is now catching up in the polls and Republicans’ wish that the Democratic primary goes on for many weeks to come appears almost certain. I no longer see Obama as the unstoppable force of nature he had convinced so many people he was. Even if Hillary Clinton is not ultimately successful in keeping him from securing the Democratic nomination, she will have done enough damage to him to merit a thank you card and bouquet of flowers from John McCain.
Anything can happen in a campaign and November is still the equivalent of years away in political time, but with Jeremiah Wright’s sermons getting hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube, the liberal blogosphere splintering with Clinton supporters’ boycott of the DailyKos blog, and no sign that Hillary is going to give up anytime soon, things are looking pretty good for the Republican candidate for President right now. But eight months is an eternity in politics and there are likely to be multiple death watches and resurrections to come.
I am no longer convinced that Hillary is necessarily the weaker of the two Democratic candidates. Whatever she lacks in charisma, she makes up for in tenacity and persistence. They both have their strengths, and now, thanks in large part to Hillary, we know they both have some pretty significant weaknesses as candidates as well.
I really, really hate to admit it, but I still find watching the Clinton machine operate more entertaining than most television sitcoms. At least I do when it is operating on the Democrat side of the aisle. If Hillary beats the odds and captures the nomination, it might not be quite as entertaining as I am finding it right now. But for today, the sun is brightly shining in GOP Presidential campaign world.
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