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Sen. Clinton and the CampaignExcerpt from The Wall Street Journal - 2008-05-09
There is a lot of talk that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is now fated to lose the Democratic nomination and should pull out of the race. We believe it is her right to stay in the fight and challenge Senator Barack Obama as long as she has he desire and the means to do so. That is the essence of the democratic process.
But we believe just as strongly that Mrs. Clinton will be making a terrible mistake - for herself, her party and for the nation - if she continues to press her candidacy throughout negative campaigning with disturbing racial undertones. We believe it would also be a terrible mistake if she launches a fight over the disqualified delegations from Florida and Michigan.
The United States needs a clean break from eight catastrophe years of George W. Bush. And so far, Senator John McCain is shaping up as Bush the Sequel - neverending war in Iraq, tax cuts for the rich while the middle class struggles, courts packed with right-wing activists intent on undoing decades of progress in civil right, civil liberties and other vital areas.
The Democratic Party must field the most effective and vibrant candidate it possibly can. More attack ads and squabbling will not help achieve that goal. If Mr. Obama wins, he will be that much more battered and the party will be harder to unite. Win or lose, Mrs. Clinton’s reputation will suffer more harm than it already has.
She owes more to millions of Americans who have voted for her (and particularly to New Yorkers, who are entitled to expect that if she loses, she will return to the Senate with her influence and integrity intact).
In addition to abandoning the attack ads, Mrs. Clinton must drop her plans to fight to seat delegations from Florida and Michigan, which defied the Democratic Party and moved up the dates of their primaries. A lot of people voted in Florida anyway, but Mrs. Clinton should not pursue this nuclear option. It would make the Democratics look unable to control their own, just when they want to make a case that they can lead the entire nation.
Both candidates have been vowing in the last two days to unite the party, and Mr. Obama could do more to rein in his anonymous campaign aides and other supporters who spend their days trashing Mrs. Clinton. The undeclared superdelegates should stop their coy posing. With few exceptions, there is no reason left (other than the hope of making back room deals) for those whose states have voted to keep their positions private. The rest should state their allegiance as soon as their primaries are held in the next few weeks.
There is a lot that Senators Clinton and Obama need to be talking about in coming weeks, starting with how they will extract the country from President Bush’s disastrous Iraq war. A robust debate about health care and the mortgage crisis would remind all American voters of what is at stake in this year’s election. It would also prepare whoever wins the nomination to be a better debater and campaigner in the fall.
We endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and we know that she has a major contribution to make. But instead of discussing her strong ideas, Mrs. Clinton claimed in an interview with USA Today that she would be the better nominee because a recent poll showed that “Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again.” She added: “There’s a pattern emerging here.”
Yes, there is a patter - a familiar and unpleasant one. It is up to Mrs. Clinton to change it if she hopes to have any shot at winning the nomination or preserving her integrity and her influence if she loses.
The Clinton DivorceExcerpt from The Wall Street Journal - 2008-05-09
No, we don’t mean Bill and Hillary. We mean the separation now under way between the Clintons and the Democratic Party. Like all divorces after lengthy unions, this one is painful and has had its moments of reconciliation, but after Tuesday a split looks inevitable. The Long co-dependency is over.
Truth be told, this was always a marriage more of convenience than love. The party’s progressives never did like Bill Clinton’s New Democrat ways, but after Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis they needed his epic political gifts to win back the White House. They hated him for their loss of Congress in 1994, but they tolerated Dick Morris and welfare reform to keep the Presidency in 1996.
The price was that they had to put their ethics in a blind Clinton trust. Whitewater and the Missing billing records, Webb Hubbel, cattle futures and “Red” Bone, the Lincoln Bedroom, Johnny Chung and the overseas fundraising scandals, Paula Jones and lying under oath, Monica and the meaning of “is.” Democrats, or all of them this side of Joe Lieberman and Pat Moynihan, defended the Clintons through it all. Everything was dismissed as a product of the “Republican attack machine,” an invention of the “Clinton haters,” or “just about sex.”
Democrats and the media did make a fleeting attempt at liberation when Bill Clinton left office after 2000 amid the tawdry pardons. Barney Frank, the most fervent of the Clinton defenders throughout the 1990s, even called the pardons a “betrayal” and “contemptuous.” More than a few Democrats also noticed that George W. Bush’s main campaign theme in 2000 was restoring “dignity” and “honor” to the Oval Office, and that Al Gore had somehow lost despite two-thirds of voters saying the U.S. was moving in the right direction.
But Hillary Clinton has also won a Senate seat that year, and she had Presidential ambitions of her own. So the trail separation was brief. Democrats acquiesced as the first couple put their own money man, Terry McAuliffe, in charge of the Democratic National Committee. As the Bush years rolled on and John Kerry lost, they watched Hillary build her machine and plot a Clinton restoration. They watched, too, as the New York Senator did her own triangulating on Iraq, first voting for it, then supporting it before turning against is as the election neared. Party regulars fell in line behind her, and her nomination was said to be “inevitable.”
Then something astonishing happened. A new star emerged in Barack Obama, a man who had Bill Clinton’s political talent but Hillary’s liberal convictions. He had charisma, a flair for raising money, and he held out the chance of a 2008 Democratic landslide. Something more than a return to the trench warfare of the 1990s seemed possible - perhaps the revival of a liberal majority, circa 1965.
More remarkable still, Democrats supporting Mr. Obama had a revelation about Clintonian mores. David Geffen, channeling William Safire, declared that “everybody in politics lies,” but Clintons “do it with such ease, it’s troubling.” Ted Kennedy was shocked to see the Clintons play the race card in South Carolina. The media discovered their secrecy over tax records and Clinton Foundation donors, while columnists were appalled to hear her assail Mr. Obama for his associations with radical bomber William Ayers. Listen closely and you could almost hear Bob Dole asking, “Where’s the outrage?”
By the time Mrs. Clinton made her famous claim about dodging Bosnian sniper fire, Democrats and their media friends no longer called it a mere gaffe, as they once might have. This time the remark was said to be emblematic of her entire political career. The same folks who had believed her about Whitewater and the rest now claimed she never tells the truth about anything.
As the scales suddenly fell from liberal eyes, the most striking statistic was the one in this week’s North Carolina exit poll. Asked if they considered Mrs. Clinton “honest and trustworthy,” no fewer than 50% of Democratic primary voters said she was not. In Indiana, the figure was merely 45%.
Slowly but surely, these Prisoners of Bill and Hill are no walking away, urging Mrs. Clinton to leave the race. Chuck Schumer damns her with faint support by saying any decision is up to her. Columnists from the New York Times, which endorsed her when she looked inevitable, now demand that she exit so as not to help John McCain. With Mr. Obama to ride, they no longer need the Arkansas interlopers.
If the Clintons play to their historic form, they will ignore all this for as long as they can. They will fight on, hoping that something else turns up about Mr. Obama before the convention. Or they’ll try to play the Michigan and Florida cards. Or they’ll unleash Harold Ickes on the superdelegates and suggest that if Mr. Obama loses in November she’ll be back in 2012 and her revenge will be well, Clinton.
The difference between now and the 1990s, however, is that this time the Clinton foes aren’t the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” This time the conspirators are fellow Democrats. It took 10 years, but you might say Democrats have finally voted to impeach.
Adams Dreams, City TumblesExcerpt from The Portland Tribune - 2008-05-08
Sam Adams’ idea of moving the old Sauvie Island Bridge sure beats moving the Interstate 5 freeway.
When he and former mayor Vera Katz came up with that one, I suggested moving the Willamette River instead, but no one listened.
Now, I suggest that we move the bridge farther south where it would have a practical application. Couldn’t we use it to link Oregon to Mexico? We could bypass California and hit the Beach
Billy Kidd - Northwest Portland