Thursday, March 27, 2008

 

Hillary and the "Tonya Harding option"

Everyone is puzzled these days why Hillary continues her hopeless campaign for the Presidential nomination to the detriment of Democrats. Now a meme to explain it has been launched. It goes like this: Hillary knows she can't win the nomination but is looking to 2012. Her strategy is to engineer the defeat of Barack Obama to John McCain this fall so that by 2012 everyone will really be ready for Hillary.

I first heard this mentioned on a cable news program last week. Yesterday NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd picked up the beat—

Even some Clinton loyalists are wondering aloud if the win-at-all-costs strategy of Hillary and Bill — which continued Tuesday when Hillary tried to drag Rev. Wright back into the spotlight — is designed to rough up Obama so badly and leave the party so riven that Obama will lose in November to John McCain.

If McCain only served one term, Hillary would have one last shot. On Election Day in 2012, she’d be 65.

Why else would Hillary suggest that McCain would be a better commander in chief than Obama, and why else would Bill imply that Obama was less patriotic — and attended by more static — than McCain?

Why else would Phil Singer, a Hillary spokesman, say in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday that Obama was trying to disenfranchise the voters of Florida and Michigan. “When it comes to voting, Senator Obama has turned the audacity of hope into the audacity of nope,” he said, adding, “There’s a basic reality here, which is we could have avoided the entire George W. Bush presidency if we had counted votes in Florida.” So is Singer making the case that Obama is as anti-democratic as W. was when he snatched Florida from Al Gore?

Some top Democrats are increasingly worried that the Clintons’ divide-and-conquer strategy is nihilistic: Hillary or no democrat.

(Or, as one Democrat described it to ABC’s Jake Tapper: Hillary is going for “the Tonya Harding option” — if she can’t get the gold, kneecap her rival.)

I certainly don't know what's on Hillary's mind other than an overarching desire to be President, so I take no position on the truth of this notion. Surely the Clintons couldn't be that cynical, we'd like to think. But if this meme gains currency and Obama loses to McCain, I can assure the lady that she will not be the Democratic nominee in 2012.

It really is time for Hillary to return to the Senate and take her seat.

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