Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Should Hillary Clinton Quit?

After last night’s returns, the blogs and press will be full of advice for the candidates, crunched numbers, and a lot of tea-leaf reading, especially after Barack Obama’s decisive win in North Carolina and Hillary Clinton’s very close win in Indiana. There’s going to be a lot of delegate counting and speculation about the super delegates and their secret amazing powers, and of course there will be the inevitable speculation about whether or not Hillary Clinton should end her campaign. Some folks are already seeing signs that she’s making a move toward the exit.

So, should she stay or should she go?

Well, I know you’re all waiting with tingling anticipation for my assessment, but as far as I’m concerned, I think the decision is strictly hers to make and I don’t think it matters what I think. I also don’t think it’s doing any harm whatsoever to the Democratic party or to the candidates for the primaries to go on. More people in more states have had a chance to examine the candidates, ignore the distractions that the press has whipped up to occupy their time (and sell more Head-On), and actually participate in the process. In the last couple of decades when the candidates were chosen by the end of February, voters in states that had yet to vote felt cheated out of the process and therefore had little investment in the election in the fall; why vote for a candidate from either party when they were presented to you without so much as a by-your-leave?

As for those people who are so wrapped up in their candidate, be it Mr. Obama or Ms. Clinton, that they are threatening to sit out the campaign if their person isn’t the nominee, all I can say is get the hell over yourself and grow up. If it’s more important to you that your candidate wins at all costs and you are willing to let the Republicans win just to make your point, then I think you really need to seriously consider whether or not you should vote at all. It’s not about one person, and most of all it’s not about you and your hurt feelings. And if you don’t think that the Republicans aren’t lying in wait just to lure in anyone who expresses just such petulant feelings with their Siren song of John McCain, Maverick Straight Talker, you haven’t been paying attention. The only way they’ve been able to get any traction with this guy is by playing off the weak-willed and the gullible. It’s all they’ve got.

To those who say they’d choose John McCain just because their Democrat didn’t win, I’m highly suspicious that those people were ever seriously considering voting for a Democrat at all. There is such a thing as a concern troll, and they always begin their screed with “I am a life-long Democrat, but I’d rather vote for McCain if the party nominates ______________.” Bullshit. They are probably a Republican sockpuppet and their sole purpose is to sow discontent among the party faithful. This is a tactic that they use for the simple reason that they have nothing really positive to say about their own candidate or to justify running a candidate for George W. Bush’s third term. Anyone who falls for that kind of mischief is probably the same person who would fall for “Hey, your shoe is untied!”

Hillary Clinton can stay in the race as long as she wants, or she can quit tomorrow. In the long run, a long run is good for the party, good for democracy, and it has generated interest in the race that hasn’t been seen in years. Despite the gaffes, fumbles, and inevitable stupidities lapped up by a narcissistic press, it has also gotten thousands more people out to the polls — and thousands more people registering as Democrats. That’s got to be giving agita to the GOP, and that’s even better.