Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"Run, Hillary, Run"

This is a nice piece from someone in my home state of North Carolina (and from the area where John and Elizabeth Edwards live). I think he's right - Hillary needs to stay in this until the end, and continue to FIGHT for MI and FL no matter how hard Dean and the DNC keep trying to disenfranchise those voters.

And Dean seems to have a different take on MI and FL every day - there have been TWO different takes on it by him in TWO days. I think the current take is that FL will most likely be seated, but unless Obama agres to a re-vote in MI, which he seems unlikely to do, those voters will have no voice - even though - AGAIN - Obama is the one who set the strategy of taking his name off the ballot. I just cannot get over how HE is getting over with this crap, except that it seems the DNC Powers-That-Be want to game the election in his favor. Why else would they leave it up to HIM to decide if a re-vote (which I do not favor) should even happen?!?! Why doesn't the DNC set the remedy, or LET IT STAND? Obama made a dumb decision - he should have to live with that, and Clinton should get the delegates and popular votes she WON in both states. If that gives her more momentum, so be it - it was momentum she EARNED, dadgummit - she's not stealing this from Obama. If anything, he and the DNC have stolen the momentum from HILLARY!! So - let the people decide. And while they're at it, get rid of these HORRIBLE caucuses - what an incredibly undemocratic way to determine the victor. Sheesh!!

Ahem. Back to the piece below. Besides Martinez mentioning not going into the gutter in the same sentence as Clinton (even though OBAMA is the only one who seems to have done that so far with his constant, and VICIOUS, attacks on Clinton), it's a pretty nice opinion piece. Here it is:

Rick Martinez: Published: Apr 02, 2008 12:30 AM Modified: Apr 02, 2008 06:49 AM
Run, Hillary, Run
Rick Martinez, Correspondent

I'm not quite ready to slap a "Hillary" bumper sticker on my carbon-belching SUV (I'd put it next to the Dale Earnhardt license plate), but I do admire Sen. Clinton for digging in her heels and refusing to be pushed out of the Democratic presidential race.

Given that she's a member of a party whose Senate majority leader has already declared the war in Iraq lost, and whose House speaker refuses to utter the word "victory," Clinton may be the only Democrat comfortable with the concept of doing what it takes to win. If she becomes the second Clinton to occupy the Oval Office she would do well to display the same toughness and resolve in Iraq as she's showing in the campaign.

With the race so close, Clinton would be a fool to hand Sen. Barack Obama a nomination he has yet to legitimately earn.

It's true there is practically no way Clinton can secure the 2,024 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot of the August nominating convention. However, the same math applies to Obama. What's rarely reported is that it's doubtful he'll have 2,024 votes on the first ballot either. Sure, he'll have more, but not enough. And although Democratic party leaders squirm each time Hillary or husband Bill mentions it, they are correct when they point out that the rules allow delegates to vote for whomever they want -- even on the first ballot.

One of the public relations heavyweights at the Democratic National Committee needs to inform Chairman Howard Dean that all the pressure exerted on Clinton to get out is not only un-Democratic-like, it's also undemocratic. Clinton is right when she says her pulling out would nullify the voices of voters in North Carolina and seven other states, plus Puerto Rico and Guam, that have yet to weigh in.

The argument that a Clinton nomination would nullify the popular vote (provided she doesn't overtake Obama in the remaining primaries) is downright laughable as well as hypocritical. DNC leaders had no problem nullifying the voters in Michigan and Florida for the sin of trying to make their votes relevant by rescheduling their primaries closer to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Democrats shouldn't be fretting about the close race they have on their hands -- they should be reveling in the lessons it teaches. Their system of awarding delegates proportional to the popular vote is fairer and more democratic than the predominant winner-take all primary rules employed by Republicans.

Democrats like to brag that the appeal of Obama and Clinton, not the delegate system, is why they have a prolonged fight on their hands. But Republicans had a pretty good lineup too. Their final three of John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee was every bit as good as Obama, Clinton and John Edwards.

It was the do-or-die delegate system that allowed McCain to dispatch Romney after the Super Tuesday primaries, even though Romney had won 11 primaries and caucuses. At that point, McCain had won 13, hardly a mandate. Had the GOP doled out delegates proportionately, it's a good bet North Carolina Republicans would be choosing between McCain and Romney on May 6, a choice many conservatives still long for.

True, Clinton's continued underdog candidacy could split her party, but only if she or her supporters drag the campaign into the gutter. Despite media reports and punditry that Obama and Clinton are two sides of the same coin, they have significant policy differences.

In foreign policy, Clinton favors the traditional approach of using diplomacy and working through international organizations. Obama has signaled that he won't shy from using personal diplomacy and buying American prestige by passing out economic development programs like candy.

Domestically, Clinton sees government as the mechanism to solve social problems, while Obama seems at least willing to try private-sector solutions.

Both are liberal, and certainly much more progressive than John McCain. But by staying in the race and not backing down from a convention floor fight, Hillary Clinton is giving Democrats a choice of what shade of blue their banner will be in November.

Instead of subverting her act of democracy, Democrats should embrace it.

Contributing columnist Rick Martinez ( is director of news and programming at WPTF-AM.

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