The Last Hurrah

To any mildly objective observer, it has by now become clear that the Clintons have embraced the defeat of their political party’s presidential candidate for the good of their personal ambitions.  Hillary and Bill Clinton have refused to strongly criticize the McCain campaign, they have declined to extensively campaign for Obama, and they have lionized the Republican Party candidates.

To recap:

– Hillary Clinton cheered on the Palin VP selection as a “historic nomination”, implicitly endorsing the “vote for a woman” argument.

– Hillary publicly announced that she would be do only limited campaigning for Obama, holding up commitments to campaign in senatorial races as a conflict.  That she is willing to campaign for Democrats but only a limited amount for Barack underlines how unwilling she is to throw her political capital behind her one-time foe.

– Bill Clinton, on Letterman, played up John McCain’s heroic war record and suggested that this would be an important consideration for voters in the ballot booth.  Not a very subtle hint to the supposed horde of bitter Hillary voters, next guest Chris Rock noted.

– Bill Clinton defended John McCain’s slightly erratic and pointless decision to stop his campaign because of the finance crisis.  Clinton said that his decision to postpone the debate was “in good faith”, lending credence to McCain’s political stunt by referring to another one of McCain’s crazy stunt proposals.

The Clintons are seriously embittered by their defeat in the primary.  Perhaps their refusal to help Barack is strategic, perhaps it is sullen irresponsibility.  But it seems to be in vain – if public opinion and the media’s tenor do not change drastically, an Obama victory looks inevitable.  Unless the Hillary Clinton plans to run on the Republican ticket in 2012, all her groundwork is for nought. 

But, on the other hand, what does she stand to lose?  Unlike Lieberman, she hasn’t betrayed her party on any issue tangible enough to justify her actual expulsion from the Democratic party.  And if she did choose to eventually run as a Republican, I might even vote for her if she dropped healthcare from her platform and revised her tax policy!

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