If I were a member of the Democratic Party, I think that I’d be just a little bit annoyed with Senator Hillary Clinton’s remarks made to a group of Texas reporters Saturday, March 1, just three days before the Texas Primary. Not that taking potshots at your fellow party candidates is not part of the political game during primary season. No, that is expected.
What is not expected is the acknowledgment that Senator John McCain, a Republican rival and supposed ideological opposite, would be a better president than Senator Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat and supposed ideological equal (more or less). According to Fernando Suarez of CBS News in Forth Worth, Clinton told the reporters: “I think you’ll be able to imagine many things Senator McCain will be able to say. He’s never been the president, but he will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Senator Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002.”
The speech she referred to is an anti-war speech Obama made in Chicago before assuming his duties as a U.S. Senator for the state of Illinois.
But let’s skip forward in time and say that Senator Obama sweeps the four state primaries on Tuesday (Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island). Democratic Party officials have already intimated that it would be best for there to be one Democratic contender for the nomination after Tuesday’s voting, so as to give the nominee more time to consolidate support against the Republican nominee (who, for all intents and purposes, will be John McCain after Tuesday’s primaries). So, in our future scenario, Barack Obama has become the nominee of the Democratic Party.
And then the highly aggressive, expertly manipulative GOP party machine starts running political ads with Senator Clinton’s aforementioned endorsement of McCain’s experience. The most famous person in the Democratic Party not having confidence in her fellow party candidate to be an effective commander-in-chief.
Clinton needs to be careful with her “kitchen sink” strategy, the “do anything to win” mentality that her campaign seems to be fueled by at present. There are a lot of Independent voters and her ambitions for the White House could cost the Democratic Party the general election if she’s not careful. Could she have handled that situation better, phrased it more favorably to reflect that both she and Obama would make better presidents than McCain? Of course she could have. But she did not.
It was the verbal road not taken in this case that says it all. Senator Hillary Clinton apparently sees nothing wrong with denigrating the assumed governing abilities of her own party member, even to the point of favorably comparing herself to a Republican rival. She also apparently does not see that it makes her look desperate, pulling out all the stops, doing anything it takes to gain the nomination of the Democratic Party for herself. And if that means taking the low road and aligning herself momentarily with the Republican frontrunner, so be it.
But if I were a Democrat (or an Independent with Democratic sympathies), I would not think too highly of this tactic of Senator Clinton’s. In fact, if I were a Democrat (or an Independent leaning toward the Democratic ticket), I might find this the deciding factor in which of the two Democratic candidates I would want running for president.
Fernando Suarez, “Clinton Says She and McCain Offer Experience, Obama Offers Speeches,” CBSNews.com