Much like the man recently standing in the middle of the railroad track whose soul is shaking this mortal coil after being plastered by the oncoming Burlington Northern locomotive, the Democratic party leadership is looking over the mess that is Florida and Michigan and lamenting, “I just didn’t see this coming.”
Howard Dean is quickly proving he is William Howard Taft to Terry McAuliffe’s Teddy Roosevelt. In other words, he’s not fit to carry the previous head of the DNC’s jock. The decision last year to penalize unruly Florida and Michigan last year when they wanted to move their primaries up to before Ginormous Tuesday made as much sense as the TSA allowing hand grenades on carry-on luggage as long as there’s a piece of Scotch Tape over the pin.
I won’t put this all on Chairman Dean. He merely started the stupid. There are a whole lot of dirty hands in this one, not the least of which belong to Hillary, Barack, Florida, and Michigan. Dumb as the decision was by the DNC to penalize the two states for moving up their primaries, representatives of both states voted last year that only South Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa’s contests would come before Super Tuesday. That’s merely stupid.
Almost as stupid as the states’ defiance in moving their primaries up anyway, after they were threatened over and over and over that if they did so their delegates would not be seated at the convention. Then there was the Democratic pledge to honor the DNC not to campaign in either state. You can’t be told repeatedly not to stick your finger in a light socket and then be indignant that you were electrocuted.
Oh, but it gets dumber. Next in the hall of shame is the Democratic candidates decision to pull their names from the ballots in both states and not to campaign in either. That was their idea of defending the voters of Florida and Michigan from their respective states’ mismanagement of the democratic process. That’s like Child Services punishing your parents for custodial neglect by taking away their money to buy you food and clothing.
Then there is Barack. He promised not to campaign in either state, but left his name on the ballot in Florida anyway. He doesn’t get a pass on that one, but there were mitigating circumstances in…
Hillary. Somewhere in the afterworld, between wheelbarrows of coal and the occasional poke of the trident, Lee Atwater has to be nodding and offering an approving thumb-up at the pages a liberal Democratic woman has taken from his playbook. Hillary has already proven that anything that stands between her and a return to the White House is going to get hurt, and that includes the rules.
Yes, these rules stink to high heaven, but they are rules that she agreed to and has defended. She said in October that Michigan’s votes in January’s primary were going to be as useful as a lunchroom in a mothballed Chrysler plant. Yet, curiously, only one top-tier Democratic candidate’s name remained on the Michigan ballot after everyone but Dennis Kucinich pulled out: Hillary Clinton.
On Florida’s ballot, there she was again, joined this time by Senator Obama, who likely took one look at the Michigan ballot and knew exactly what Clintonian shenanigans Hillary was up to and wasn’t about to get sandbagged by them if he could help it. Despite the promise not to campaign in Florida, in the days leading up to the Florida Primary, there was Hillary conspicuously showing up for unrelated events in the Sunshine State, having photos snapped of her with palm trees in the background, and doing everything Floridian except playing jai-alai and wrestling alligators, all the while not campaigning in the state. Then, there she was in Davie, Florida, on election night, celebrating her victory in a contest she promised not to be a part of. And now hers it the loudest voice decrying the disenfranchisement of the state’s voters and demanding that their delegates–mostly her delegates, of course–be seated at the August convention. I haven’t decided if Obama’s foreign policy aide was right in telling The Scotsman that Hillary is a monster, but she does play one on this campaign trail. By the time this campaign is over her approval numbers among women are going to be down in Leona Helmsley territory. She’s turning out to be the Zelig of everything sleazy that happens in this campaign—she’s always there on the spot, looking to all the world like she belongs but at the same time has nothing to do with anything that’s transpired.
But Clinton is as Clinton does. When a bear eats a small child, you can’t blame the bear for being hungry, yet they shoot it anyway. It’s up to the voters to shoot Hillary (figuratively).
The situation she’s manipulating is the mess that Howard Dean has wrought, though. By the time the superdelegates finish deciding between their consciences, their chances for re-election, or throwing it all away on the promise of a job in the next Democratic Presidential administration, there won’t be a big enough gap between Hillary and Obama’s delegates to ride a bicycle through. That means that all roads lead back to Michigan and Florida. And the country is barely recovering from the last time an election came down to Florida.
When the NTSB shows up next winter to investigate the disaster that was the Democratic Party, they’ll pull Hillary from behind the throttle, but the devastation is going to be rotten with the scent of the former Vermont Governor who not only didn’t see this train coming, but for some reason thought it was a good idea to stand in the middle of the railroad tracks and dare a train to face him down.