Time to Bow Out
Time to Bow Out
By Marc Ash
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Hillary Clinton had a good day on March 4. She reminded us she exists in her own right, and we may feel free to assume she played more than a trivial role in the Clinton presidential administration of the 90s. That said, she is the second most successful Democratic presidential candidate running this year, not the first. The most successful candidate running this year is Barack Obama.
Can she make a comeback? Sure. But it would necessarily involve "politics by other means." Scorched earth politics, to be specific. As Jonathan Alter, writing for Newsweek, points out, Hillary does have an unsolvable Math Problem. To put March 4 in perspective, with three wins out of four primaries (and a caucus in Texas), Clinton gained a grand total of 12 delegates. That's according to The New York Times. Bottom line, she's not going in the front door. Obama will arrive at the convention with a pledged delegate lead in triple digits.
How we got here matters. The Clinton campaign assured us in advance they would prevail in the "big states" of Texas and Ohio; and so they did. But what made them so sure? They pursued a big state strategy from the onset, the traditional Democratic strategy of the last two decades. The Obama camp, however, went with the newly minted Howard Dean strategy, a small state, small ball game plan. Obama won. The delegate race is effectively over.
Dick Cheney was up front with Bush campaign minions during the 2000 Florida recount, "Just get control of the Oval Office ... it doesn't matter how ... just do it." Machiavelli could not have said it better himself.
If you are a Democrat, you really need to ask yourself where Hillary Clinton is going with this. Well, if she's not planing to make a frontal assault on the White House by going over the fence and charging across the lawn, then she will undoubtedly be planning to sway the Democratic Party's favored nominators, the super delegates. She must argue that the super delegates set aside Obama's victory by the rules, the results of a six-month-long campaign gauntlet, the will of the voters, and hand her the nomination. That's it. That's where this is going.
At that point, two things can happen: The Democratic Party can stand on principle and let the results of the primaries/caucuses stand, or allow the super delegates to speak for all Democrats. The second option is, of course, the explosive one. If the super delegates overrule the process, the Democratic Party could easily be looking at 1968 all over again.
It's said the Clintons really don't like to lose. But how far will they go to win? As far as Bush and Cheney? As far as Machiavelli? Farther? This past weekend, the Clinton campaign, taking a page directly from the George W. Bush campaign manual, played the "Terra" card in their "3:00 AM" ad. Where do we go from here?
Over the past seven years, the nation has suffered immeasurably at the hands of those who would rule rather than serve. The heart and soul of a democracy is the will of the people. The time has come for Hillary Clinton to respect the will of the Democratic voters and stand aside for the good of the country. Pressing on regardless is reckless and beneath the dignity of the senator from New York
You can send comments to Truthout Executive Director Marc Ash at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* PLEASE NOTE: This piece has generated an unprecedented response, both critical and supportive. While I cannot respond to everyone who has shared their comments, I am reading them all. It's great to hear what you have to say. Thank you. - Marc Ash/TO