Hillary Clinton’s twisted road to the White House
John McCain has a new ally in his quest for the White House, and her name is Hillary Clinton.
It seems odd, but Clinton has been doing a better job of campaigning for McCain than the senator himself.
These past few weeks, Clinton has been going out of her way to praise McCain, and pointing out that he would be a better president than Barack Obama.
“I have a lifetime of experience I will bring to the White House,” Clinton said. “I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he made in 2002.”
She repeated the feat again a few days later, claiming that she and McCain had “crossed the commander-in-chief threshold,” but questioned if Obama had. That begs the question, just what has Clinton done that would prove her mettle as commander in chief?
And those scary ads about the phone ringing in the White House? “Please keep running those 3 a.m. ads about who you want to answer the phone,” said Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s top foreign policy adviser, “because we like those.”
Yes, Clinton is doing a wonderful job of getting McCain elected president.
Despite Clinton’s wins in Ohio and Rhode Island (and what amounts to a tie in Texas), she still is too far behind in the delegate count to have much of a shot at winning. She would have to win all the remaining contests by huge margins, something she has done in only one state: Arkansas. She could only muster 55 percent in the doesn’t-count Michigan primary where Obama wasn’t even on the ballot.
Her only chance now is to destroy Obama, to make him so toxic that the uncommitted super delegates turn back to her.
And her current strategy for doing this is to make McCain look good?
It seems to be the only trick left in the bag of the flailing Clinton campaign, which had hoped to have the nomination wrapped up on Super Tuesday. Since then, they’ve been so off their game that Clinton’s top campaign strategist Mark Penn can’t even remember how many primaries are left.
This is where we see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who wants to be president more than she wants to help her cause or party. Her ambition for the top job, like that of her husband, overrides everything.
The danger in Clinton’s strategy, besides making McCain look good, is that Obama’s supporters may not take too kindly to their candidate being savaged like this. It’s one thing to point out legitimate differences. But the Clinton team has stooped pretty low, and is going lower.
Like the television ad where they darkened Obama’s face to make him look more “sinister.” Or attacking Obama for the NAFTA/Canada controversy when it was their people who were telling the Canadians not to worry about Clinton’s anti-NAFTA statements.
Or comparing Obama to Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr because he thinks Clinton should release her tax returns as he has.
What’s next? Are they going to start referring to him as Hussein?
Obama-mania drew millions of new voters into the primaries. Nearly every contest had a record turnout, sometimes doubling or tripling the old records. These people were inspired by Obama’s message and life story. Many of them are independents and moderate Republicans. The ones who don’t stay home may end up voting for McCain.
While it’s sad to see Hillary’s dreams of being president ticking away, it’s sadder to see how far she will go to keep the dream going, even destroying her party’s chances of winning the White House. It’s a desperate gamble, one that’s likely to end badly.
Democrats who were enthusiastic about their chances to win in November are now getting very worried. Clinton’s scorched earth campaign isn’t going to sit well, and if she ends up losing to McCain, there will be pitchforks out for her and Bill. They may have to join Joe Lieberman and start their own party.
• Kirk Caraway writes for Swift Communications, Inc. He can be reached through his blog at http://kirkcaraway.com.