Word has been bubbling about the Democratic presidential nominee battle gearing up Nevada. That was the noise you heard in the background if you watched the Democratic debate Tuesday night, the one where Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were playing nice.
Sure, nice makes me happy, but last time I checked no one’s running for me. Folks are running to WIN. (And by folks, I mostly mean, Hillary.)
Add this up in the column under “I don’t mind you trying to kick folks in the nuts, but do you have to do it when I’m looking right at you” — the delegate meeting sites for Tuesday’s caucuses are in dispute. Last year the state Democratic party agreed on having several of the caucuses in hotels on the strip so unionized culinary workers and hotel employees could participate more easily. Everyone liked it. Everyone thought it was a great idea. And the unions didn’t have any problem getting anyone to sign off on it because the Democrats are, as we all know, amazingly pro-union. Whether Labor or Civil. They’re open-minded, to say the least.
But imagine the shock! Shock, I say, of a Clinton-friendly teacher’s union and six Democrats joining together to haul everyone in court to stop the caucuses from being held in the hotels.
And it was a mere coincidence that this happened two days after the culinary union endorsed Obama. This is a classic political jack move. We set the rules. We approve the rules. You play by the rules and get the culinary union to endorse you. So I’m trying to change the rules.
No one, of course, is taking this matter lying down. Pro-Obama folks are calling the Pro-Clinton folks out on their shenanigans and are running ads about the hypocrisy of disagreeing over rules everyone once supported.
The Clinton folks say they didn’t do this, but then Bill turned around and endorsed the suit, which is basically saying, “Yeah, yeah. I did it. It was me.”
I don’t know. I guess this is sort of an improvement over trying to use Obama’s youthful indiscretions against him. Or trying to use Bob Johnson when you really should have stuck with Magic Johnson.
But this situation is forcing me to recognize why I felt the Democrat vs. Republican, “Mutually Assured Political Destruction,” fight had been woefully lopsided the last 7 years or so. Basically, the Clintons’ have always been ruthless, and often more ruthless than their adversaries. Sure, other people try to get away with stuff, but Bill Clinton was considered amazingly brash in the 1990s. There was a time when a few ex-mistresses could keep a man from becoming the nominee (see “Gary Hart“). But Bill did such devastating damage to that argument that twice- and thrice-married individuals are running on the Republican side.
But Bill Clinton was so bold that it caused the Republicans to lose their mind. Did he not know the rules? Marital infidelities meant you resign, not run for re-election. Resign. Not have sexual relations with your intern. So the Republicans went insane and went nuclear on him. Then went nuclear on every Democrat. (Although you could argue, the ICBMs started flying at individual Dems. after Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House in 1994 and Rep. Tom Delay of Texas was going after people with sticks like an extra from “Gangs of New York.”) And they now continue to fire napalm across the Potomac a few times every day.
So I’ve gotten used to just hearing Democrats either whine (or be accused of whining) about how the other guy is not playing fair OR cover their balls and vote for the war in Iraq out of fear. (Or cowardice. Well, if we’re honest, it was a little of both.) And while I like to see people take the high road. I’m tired of seeing people take the high road only to lose and not get SCHIP passed.
I want people to have their eyes on the prize here.
So while I don’t like to see political jack moves like this out of the Democratic primary, I have to stand by my belief that there needs to be a real fight for the Democratic nomination in order to toughen the resolve of, well, everyone.
Just don’t smash each other in the face too hard and don’t do anything illegal. That’s all I ask.