Thankfully, I missed the fabled Pennsylvania presidential debate. Instead, I attended the 64th Annual Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Vice President Dick Cheney told jokes. Like the one about his wife, who said that calling The Veep Darth Vader, “humanizes him.”
After the dinner, I got a chance to chat with former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. The prominent Black Republican’s observations about the Democratic nomination contest were instructive.
The Clinton campaign’s continuing attacks against Sen. Obama do “only one thing. Help Obama lose in November,” he said. Gov. Steele is now practicing law with a Washington firm specializing in Africa.
Later, a store clerk made the very same observation.
And then came the screams about all four of them–the two network interviewers, Republican Sen. John McCain, and Sen. Hillary Clinton, all piling on with hostile questions.
“Oh, stop whining Obama supporters,” I thought.
“This is the Big Leagues. Hardball.”
“How are you going to handle America’s adversaries on the world stage and you can’t handle George Stephanopoulos?”
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”
“Hillary’s tough. Ready to whip John McCain in November. Ready to find Osama bin Forgotten, and whip his behind, after she gets finished whipping Barack Obama’s…”
Still later, I saw something online.
“It must be clear to everyone by now that Hillary is no longer in this race to win,” Eric Wattree wrote in New York’s Black Star News Online. “Hillary’s sole purpose at this point is to stay in the race as long as she can, and sling enough mud on Barack Obama to prevent him from winning in November. Then, since at McCain’s age he’s not expected to remain in office but one term, Hillary will still be young enough to run in 2012,” Mr. Wattree said.
“Wow!” I said. That can’t be true. I posed Gov. Steele’s comment to the Clinton campaign. They insist their candidate is not helping the GOP.
“After the final Democratic primary in June, neither candidate will haveÂ enough delegates to secure the nomination. It’s important that the voters in the upcoming primary states have their voices heard and their votes counted,” Clinton campaign spokesperson Traci Blunt said to me in an e-mail.
“Senator Clinton remains in the contest because she is the strongest candidate to beat the Republicans in November. She has won the big states like California, Ohio, New York, and NevadaÂ and these states are critical wins in the general election. She will remain in the race because she has many supporters and she will see this process through to the finish,” said Ms. Blunt.
“Here’s another way to look at it. Imagine that the number of delegates is equal to dollars. If you had roughly $1500Â and your opponent had $1650 would you just give your opponent your money because he had a few hundred more dollars and there was an opportunity for you to earn more? No. There is about a 1 percent differential and Senator Clinton has worked too hard and has the best interest of the country in mind and she is not just going to walk away,” Ms. Blunt said.
Okay. If I were in Sen. Clinton’s position, I don’t suppose I’d drop out either.
But the fact remains that if Sen. Obama is elected President (not just nominated), in 2008, he’s likely to run for re-election in 2012, and Sen. Clinton may very well have gotten too old by 2016, and thus, will have missed her chance to be President. Meaning, her only chance is now.
When members of The Trotter Group of African American columnists interviewed Sen. Clinton on a conference call, I asked her about a BET.com headline that asked why was she still in the competition, being hopelessly behind in nominating delegates, popular votes, and money. I wondered then, did she know “something the rest of us don’t know” about what’s going to come out in this campaign?
Now, I accept that Sen. Clinton sincerely wants to be President and thinks she can be a better representative of her party and eventually a better Commander-in-Chief than Sen. Obama. But most people who have gone to the polls and voted on the matter over the past four or five months, don’t agree with her yet. Quien sabe? Who knows?
But I just can’t believe that in devotion to her own selfish, blind ambition, Sen. Clinton would sacrifice what’s best for the United States of America, by abetting the election of Sen. John McCain in November by dragging Sen. Obama down into the mud and dirtying him. I just can’t believe she or members of her team would stoop that low.