Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Obama's Big Mistake

OK, here's an anecdote that underscores the "lack of love" Hillary Rodham Clinton faces within her own party: Two weeks ago while performing stand-up, I casually asked the comedy club's heavily Democratic audience how many there were for Hillary. Only one hand went up. I then asked for Obama supporters -- about nine or ten hands went up. This in a New York venue. The response was such a surprise that it briefly threw off my timing.
That moment came to mind as I watched the big 'Camelot' endorsement yesterday.
The stagecraft certainly looked nice: At some point, CNN, Fox and MSNBC all went live with the Kennedy clan -- or at least three significant members of them -- endorsing Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Ted Kennedy gave one of his better speeches -- not up there with his 1980 tour de force ("the cause goes on, the hope endures and the dream will never die"), but Obama gave homage to that when he accepted the symbolic passing of the Kennedy torch. Kennedy looked better than he has in some time -- his face wasn't as bloated

After first being taken in by the theatrics of the moment, it suddenly hit me: Hillary Rodham Clinton must be loving this.

Consider: What was the big mistake the media jumped on Hillary for during her post-Iowa speech? The appearance of all of those Clinton administration officials and hangers-on, right? It made Hillary look like the candidate of the past -- not of the future.

So, didn't anyone in the Obama camp ponder the logical incongruity of their candidate saying, "[This race] is about the past and the future." as he's blessed by THE dynastic family of the Democratic Party of the last 50 years? Suddenly, the claim that Bill and Hillary are using the power of their former White House connections to beat up on this newbie doesn't ring so true when King Kennedy and several of the royal children are lining up with the insurgent. Consider these headlines as listed on DRUDGE earlier today:

Sharpton to Bill Clinton: 'Shut Up'...

Nader rails on Clinton family...


SPEECH: Backing Obama for President...'Through Barack, I believe we will move beyond
the politics of fear and personal destruction and unite our country with the politics ofcommon purpose'

Earlier there was John Kerry complaining about Bill Clinton and Tom Daschle complaining about Bill Clinton...yada yada yada.

So the insurgent is also endorsed by the most recent Democratic presidential nominee (Kerry) AND the former Senate Democratic Majority Leader (Daschle)?.

Now that might sounds like an "establishment pile-on" to the average person. But, it's actually even worse: These endorsements crowd out the less, known, but arguably politically more helpful-in-the-long run endorsements by such red-state politicians like Kathleen Sibelius of Kansas. Instead, the message getting out is that the Northern liberal establishment is coming out strong for Barack Obama -- the guy who calls himself the "change" candidate. Heck, Teddy Kennedy fought tooth and nail against Bill Clinton's welfare reform -- calling it "legislative child abuse."

What does the "change candidate" think about that?

Kennedy, Kerry and Daschle also carry another "L"-word -- Loser. Kennedy lost what was arguably the most bitter Democratic presidential primary until the current one -- his 1980 challenge of incumbent President Jimmy Carter. Kerry lost to Bush in 2004 and Daschle, the Democratic minority leader lost his seat to John Thune, also in 2004. Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but there's one "experience" he brings to the Democratic Party that is grudgingly respected -- he will do what he has to win, without apologizing. Whining over unfair tactics is only another tactic in itself for the Clintons.

So, two days after Obama became the "black candidate" by winning South Carolina with an overwhelming proportion of the black vote (and Bill Clinton belittles the impact of the win by comparing it with Jesse Jackson's '80s victories), Obama allows himself to become the "liberal candidate" by getting the blessing of the quintessential Senate liberal.
And being on the wrong side of Al Sharpton? Oh, bring it on, please!

Worse, just when Obama is forcing the media to consider the freak show that the Clintons can sometimes unleash on the body politic, out come the Kennedys. Caroline has managed to carry the Kennedy legacy with dignity and grace, but Teddy and Patrick are walking (driving?) symbols of a freak show of a different brand. They are quite literally punchlines to late-night talk shows (which are, conveniently, now returned from their strike-impacted absences). Who will be the first to come up with the Kennedy-DUI/Obama-Driving-While-Black joke?

In short, if I'm the Clinton camp, I've gotta be quite happy with these developments. There's lots of real "love" for Barack Obama in the Democratic Party. For, Hillary, not so much. However, she's playing long-term strategy, not short-term tactics.

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