Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hey, look over here!

Hillary Clinton is still in this -- in spirit, anyway. She has way fewer delegates than Barack Obama has, and while it is literally the case that neither is in a position to win enough support to capture the nomination before the Democratic National Committee's national convention in Denver, Colo., she already looks like the bad guy (oh, I mean bad gal -- or do I?). And she will look the same way in Denver no matter how well she fares in contests here on out.

It's almost as if she's lost in a bad Maine joke: She can't get there from here. This is where things get interesting. We now begin to see just how antagonizing an antagonist she'll be by the time August rolls around.

The powers that be in the Democratic National Committee don't like Mrs. Clinton. It seems that way. Doesn't it? They never have, for all we know. But that's neither here nor there. They don't like her right now; that's for certain, and few if any Democrats in power these days even like political rock star incarnate Bill Clinton anymore, either. OK, enough do; I suppose the Clinton campaign wouldn't have anyone to run it if nobody liked them anymore.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is many, many people in high places are upset that Hillary Clinton is still in this. We have no proof. Well, I wouldn't go that far; the most important Kennedys, for instance, back Barack Obama, and we may infer from their actions a not-so-subtle, indirect request on the part of party elders (or wise men or drunks, depending on your sentiments) for Hillary to get out. Think the scene from "The Amityville Horror" where the unseen, evil entity tells the priest to get out of that room upstairs (and sends a regiment of flies to make sure he does so).

Let's just say no smoking gun on this theory has surfaced. But I have my suspicions. And the past couple of 24-hour news cycles have been suspicious indeed. I give you two exhibits, dear reader(s), that encapsulate what the warring factions want us to think. But you get more than what they want you to have: an explanation of what these developments really mean.

Exhibit A: Geraldine Ferraro

Word surfaced this week of seemingly less-than-media-savvy remarks from Geraldine Ferraro, former U.S. congresswoman, 1984 vice-presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket, and heavy-hitting fundraiser for the Hillary Clinton campaign. The words were a heavy hit indeed. Evidently, Ferraro suggested that Obama had achieved his success in this campaign by virtue of his skin color alone, and further suggested that Hillary Clinton, by virtue of being a woman (who knew?), had not achieved the success that the former first lady's achievements warranted.

Geraldine Ferraro is a smart woman. She knows better than to make such gaffes. Let's call a spade a spade (if we still can...): Ferraro is sabotaging the Clinton campaign. This part is easy to figure out:

Does anyone think blacks (i.e., Obama's "corest" of core political bases) will appreciate Ferraro's comments? No, they'll flank ever more steadfastly behind Obama, and with good reason.

And does anyone think Ferraro's comments were some huge revelation to Hillary's supporters (e.g., women who think everyone's against them because they're women)? No, they'll follow Hillary over a cliff, and with characteristic lack of reason.

These dynamics we know. But what has got to be galling to Hillary's campaign is that Ferraro may have said all this in public on purpose -- orchestrating it, no less.

I submit to you, my loyal reader(s), that Ferraro is already on the proverbial commune in Guyana with the rest of the Obama backers, drinking the metaphorical Kool-Aid. For this, she may not be so smart, but we'll leave that well enough alone for now, because here's where the "Geraldine Ferraro is a smart woman" part does come in:

Ferraro damaged Hillary's campaign while pretending to support it. That took not only smarts, but balls (or ovaries, depending on your sentiments). She is now free to leave Hillary's campaign for superficially legitimate reasons and work behind the scenes for "someone else's" campaign. Eventually, she may publicly atone for her sins against political correctness and come out swinging for Obama in a big way.


Exhibit B: Now-former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer

Talk about a convenient distraction. You see, the internecine battle in the Democratic Party, which Obama's failure to deep-six Hillary in Texas and Ohio has wrought, is great for Hillary and horrible for Democrats. Every opportunity for a food fight gets Hillary in the news, where she wants to be and where the DNC doesn't want her.

What is a poor anti-Hillary Democrat leader to do? Leak a sex scandal!

But Republican sex scandals are just so old hat these days. No, no Republican sex scandal would have done the trick (sorry...) this time around. The bloodletting had to be internal, and this sex scandal's villain had to be a Democrat.

Enter Eliot Spitzer, another pawn in the Democrats' civil war. (Remember: Ferraro is no pawn. She's just a woman who made a shrewd move that will make her better...stronger...faster.)

Just as the presidential campaign for Hillary Clinton, that put-upon woman who's put up with so much that she now deserves the presidency if for no other reason than simply being a woman whose husband cheated on her with a zaftig intern, was ramping up for a major offensive, Eliot Spitzer rolled in to (again) spoil her momentum.

You've got to hand it to Eliot. He's the most inept political friend ever, a useful idiot for anyone who might need one.

First, he unwittingly leaves the steaming pile of doggy doo that is driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Hillary's enemies on the left and right pounced on that bumbling piece of legislative excrement, and those of you following the saga know Hillary tried to scoop up the doo at a debate earlier this year, only to leave pieces on the ground.

And now Eliot leaves another steaming pile of doggy doo, one of such grand dimensions that the media can't even pay attention to Hillary, so enamored they are with this pile of doo that spans the political sidewalk's entire width. (Any sex scandal will yield this effect. Try it at home. You'll see.)

As politician, Spitzer seems like a dunce. Democrat elders aren't. And that's why they easily made short work of him, the unwitting political fall guy, when they needed all of us to "look over there" while Hillary wanted us to look at her (nooooooooooo!!!!!!).

Dear reader(s), some of you may hypothesize that Eliot Spitzer is in fact a shrewd foe. If you're right, my hat is off to you, for Spitzer's machinations would then put Ferraro's to shame. Only time will tell. Let me know if Spitzer reemerges, Phoenix-like, from the ashes to spit his jive another day -- say, to serve as Obama's attorney general.

(Next time: How all three campaigns and others have tried to use these developments to their advantage.)