Sunday, February 10, 2008

Why Obama?

Frank Rich spells it out, putting into words much of my dismay of recent days:
“...you now hear Clinton operatives talk ever more brazenly about trying to reverse party rulings so that they can hijack 366 ghost delegates from Florida and the other rogue primary, Michigan, where Mr. Obama wasn’t even on the ballot. So much for Mrs. Clinton’s assurance on New Hampshire Public Radio last fall that it didn’t matter if she alone kept her name on the Michigan ballot because the vote ‘is not going to count for anything.’ […]

“Last week, Mr. Dean became sufficiently alarmed to propose brokering an ‘arrangement’ if a clear-cut victory by one candidate hasn’t rendered the issue moot by the spring. But does anyone seriously believe that Howard Dean can deter a Clinton combine so ruthless that it risked shredding three decades of mutual affection with black America to win a primary?

“A race-tinged brawl at the convention, some nine weeks before Election Day, will not be a Hallmark moment…it will be a flashback to the Democratic civil war of 1968, a suicide for the party no matter which victor ends up holding the rancid spoils.”
Clinton’s campaign personifies the worst of machine politics, making it impossible for me to trust her to treat the non-machine regular folks like me with fairness and respect. If you like what “free” trade agreements have done to our economy, and if you want a Republican in Democrat’s clothing as your President, and you value ruthlessness in your public servants, and expedience is more important to you than integrity, then Clinton is your candidate.

But if you value forthrightness and courage and fairness to all, not just the moneyed class, and if you are repulsed by backroom deal-making, but want a President who will represent all of our interests and not just those of the favored few, Obama is your candidate.

If Clinton cares about how she is perceived, or would argue that her campaign operatives do not reflect who she is, it is her duty to rein them in, and to demand that their divisive and cut-throat tactics end. Otherwise, she is responsible for all the ugliness that they create, and she must be held to account.

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