Public Comment

Commentary: Why Are the Democrats Determined to Self Destruct?

By Bob Smith
Tuesday March 25, 2008

Sen. Clinton voted for a criminal war, she declinee to disclose her tax returns and the financial sources for her husband’s library, her much talked about experience is grossly exaggerated, by exploiting her relationship with Bill Clinton, she is less feminist than a beneficiary of nepotism, and her poor management of her campaign has demonstrated an alarming weakness as a manager. This is not to deny her intellect, her grasp of the issues and her capabilities as a political campaigner. However four more years of Republican rule are unthinkable. One must be objective and consider which of the two remaining candidates is best suited for the office, and which has a better chance of winning in November. The primary numbers provide the evidence—Obama has a commanding lead—delegates, popular vote, and states. 

Hilary Clinton is behind in the delegate count, and no one thinks she can catch up in the remaining primary elections. Clinton can only win the nomination in the backroom with the super delegates. If she wins the nomination, all her weaknesses will be exploited by the Republicans and John McCain this fall. Obama has treated her with great respect and gentleness; the Republicans will not be so constrained. She is unelectable. Her continued struggle against a truly remarkable candidate only serves to divide our party—to do the Republican’s work for them. The Republicans are in a win-win situation: if Hilary is the nominee, they will have a vulnerable opponent who arouses vehement antipathy and she and the super delegates will have alienated both black and young voters; if Obama wins, the Republicans will be the beneficiary of months of cheap attacks, the result of which will be an unnecessarily wounded candidate.  

Obama has proven himself to be a remarkable candidate. In response to some very dirty politics, his speech on racism is an eloquent message on a long festering problem. Real change will only occur with courageous leadership. Obama demonstrated such leadership, something this country hasn’t seen since FDR. He addressed an explosive issue with courage, equanimity and wisdom; there was no anger, deflecting, dodging, blaming, or disavowal. He actually embraced his minister. And then he moved on to initiate a long overdue dialog. And with this dialog, we have the possibility of moving beyond a narrow focus on racism and facing the real issues, starting with the education of this nation’s youth.  

But the campaign continues. The only ‘dirt’ on Obama is guilt by association: a brief encounter with a sleazy real estate investor, and membership in a church with a highly regarded minister who made some very provocative and controversial statements in the past 30 years. Are we going to trash him over this? We have Obama’s tax returns, earmarks, private life—nothing there. Oh, he did inhale as a teen-ager. No doubt that we will hear about that in due course. Compared to Clinton’s record, attacks on Obama based on guilt by association is a very high standard indeed.  

Party leaders and super delegates should be using their positions to convince Sen. Clinton to bow out. It’s time for the race for the Democratic Party’s nominee to end, to unite behind Senator Obama, and to permit him to campaign against John McCain. 


Bob Smith is a Berkeley resident.