Hillary Clinton is going down, down, down. But you’ve got to admire her tenacity. She said she was a fighter and we didn’t really believe her. But that description of her was an understatement. Speaking about Florida and Michigan, states whose delegates are not being counted:
"there’s a reason why so many have fought so hard and sacrificed so much. It’s because they knew that to be a citizen of this country is to have the right and responsibility to help shape its future. Not just to have your voice heard but to have it count. People have fought hard because they knew their vote was at stake and so was their children’s futures."
Nothing wrong with what she’s saying, so far.
It’s certainly true and voters in these important, big states deserve to have their votes counted. That’s what Al Gore said in 2000 about voters in Florida, even those too doltish to punch the right circle on their ballot. Who can forget the phrase "intended vote", as in "I intended to vote for Al Gore but was too dim-witted to punch the right spot on the ballot." Please.
But wait, there’s more:
"The abolitionists and all who fought to end slavery and ensure freedom came with the full right of citizenship. The tenacious women and a few brave men who gathered at the Seneca Falls convention back in 1848 to demand the right to vote.”
A certain part of the blogosphere is having a hissy fit over this phrasing. "Hillary is comparing Florida and Michigan to slavery"! What ever happened to counting every vote? In a historically significant, tightly-contested contest it seems important to get these states into the mix somehow.
And still more, in which Hillary finally goes too far:
“We’re seeing that right now in Zimbabwe," Clinton explained. "Tragically, an election was held, the president lost, they refused to abide by the will of the people,” Clinton told the crowd of senior citizens at a retirement community in south Florida.
Zimbabwe? That’s a bit much. Michigan and Florida deserve to have their votes counted, once anyway, unlike in the Gore election. The DNC rules? Forget them. It’s more important to be inclusive and ensure that everyone is represented. Isn’t it? That is the whole message of the Democratic party – vote for us because we’re not George W. Bush – so shouldn’t they stand by it? Bottom line: The DNC is a few guys in suits; millions of voters whose opinions could make the difference in the nomination haven’t been heard from because of their petty power play.
Disagreeing, Andrew Sullivan is beside himself over Clinton’s last-ditch attempt to keep her candidacy alive, calling it shameless:
How do you respond to a sociopath like this? She agreed that Michigan and Florida should be punished for moving up their primaries. Obama took his name off the ballot in deference to their agreement and the rules of the party. That he should now be punished for playing by the rules and she should be rewarded for skirting them is unconscionable.
True enough. But scrapping the original vote and starting over wouldn’t be punishing Obama it would be ensuring a fair and equal and complete vote. The problem, of course, is that Obama is weak in Florida, for all of his millions. Ergo he must be protected, even if it means Floridians’ delegates cannot be seated at the convention.
Here’s another question. Both Clinton and Obama have held back from truly nasty politics during this campaign for the sake of their party’s chances in November. Is there something about Obama that is compelling Hillary Clinton to stoop to anything to keep him out of the White House? Is there? Or is Sullivan correct?