Daily Archives: May 7, 2008

What’s The Point?

Narrowly squeaking by in Indiana last night, Senator Hillary Clinton has donated another $6.4 million of her own moolah to a campaign that her own spokespeople admit will not reach the necessary number of delegates to secure the nomination, even if they succeed in seating the delegates from Michigan and Florida.

Earlier in the call, Clinton officials were asked to lay out the math by which seating the delegates from Michigan and Florida would get Mrs. Clinton significantly closer to the nomination. The reporter asking the question, from the Detroit News, said that it appeared, based on estimates of pledged delegates, that even if those delegations were fully counted, “it’s likely you’ll come up behind.”

Mr. Singer said that even if the delegates were counted, the campaign would still be about 100 delegates shy of the number needed. The implication was that the gap could not be made up, even if she wins more delegates in the remaining contests, as she is expected to do. He also said he expected the Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida to ensure that all voters are represented.
Asked again if it was correct that the Clinton campaign would still not reach the full number of delegates, Mr. Singer said, “That is correct.”

Howard Wolfson and Singer argue that “the process must play itself out” to ensure all votes are counted, no one is disenfranchised and democratic values are upheld. Or something like that. Hot air. This has become a vanity campaign, a multi-million dollar venture in self-aggrandizement. As my friend Amanda commented to me this morning, “She’s turning into Mitt Romney.” Given Clinton’s tendency to echo whatever Republican talking point she can use against her Democratic rival, that characterization ain’t much of a stretch.

The only compelling argument I have heard for Clinton to remain in the race is the history-making aspect of her status as a woman coming within an hair’s-breadth of winning a major party nomination. I have a great deal of sympathy for this argument, because a) who knows when a chance like this will emerge again, b) were the tables reversed, Senator Barack Obama would be in a similar situation and faced with similar calls to drop out prematurely, and c) Clinton and Obama both have been handed the tricky task of blazing trails for their respective identities as a woman and as an African-American, so that (to extend this much extended metaphor) they are both operating without a map of defined trails. Women of all ages deserve a pioneering candidate who will provide an example to emulate, someone whose history will demonstrate the political power of competent and hard-working women. Women deserve someone who will speak directly to issues that affect them, something Clinton has done significantly better than Obama.

Yet at some point Clinton’s value as a history maker has been undermined by Clinton the typical pandering Democrat, Clinton the Neo-Liberal who runs to the Right when its convenient, Clinton the Neo-Con Dupe, Clinton the bourgeois white feminist willing to exploit racial divisions to her advantage. If Clinton were running a campaign that did not consistently appeal to lowest common denominator Republican talking points and to the worst aspects of American racism, I’d happily encourage her to carry on. As it is, it’s become a ginormous headache.

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