Friday, March 07, 2008

Hillary & Obama Square Off to Duke it Out---or is it Patty-cake?

John Dickerson has a lot to say on the impasse that the two remaining Dem candidates find themselves in. Basically, Obama is going to win and the Clinton Camp, who a month ago expected the nomination as a Divine Right, is flailing and thrashing and threatening, Samson-like, to tear down the Dem temple around their ears.

Clinton Inc. has several white males at the top who are in equal parts nasty and incompetent. Ickes, Penn, Wolfson, and Mandy Grunwald [an honorary male] all delight in the circular firing squad Dem habitually resort to. As the old saw goes, the Revolutionaries devour their young---and the living-fossil Clinton Inc crowd is chasing Obama with choppers clacking & Polident at the ready. Their Ken Starr comment demonstrates how silly & incompetent Wolfson is, ready to dredge up Bubba's philandering just to make a cheap shot on Obama more resonant with the deranged Dem left. In response, Obama's to start with the conventional attack on Clinton's tax returns. Hillary's campaign has no substantive reason for not releasing the returns she's filed since she left the White House. They're presumably in a drawer in Chappaqua, N.Y., or in an accountant's office. It seems that she could present them in an afternoon if she wanted to.

The good news for Obama is that Clinton also may run into trouble if she looks too mean. It's not so much that primary voters in future contests might get turned off—they've proven to be pretty resilient this cycle. It's that Clinton's path to the nomination is highly volatile, and she'll only increase the chance for a political explosion if it looks like she won by playing ugly. Barring some extraordinary event, Clinton is not going to catch Obama in the race for pledged delegates. To win the nomination, she'll have to persuade superdelegates to upend the pledged-delegate totals. Her best chance at making this case may come if she wins the popular vote, at which point she could say that the people are with her. Absent that, she's going to have to argue that while Obama has the people and the pledged delegates, she's more electable because Obama is deeply flawed.

And Obama could reach lightly on some of the following arrows in an anti-HRC quiver:
she’s never been exonerated about the cattle futures windfalls, since there was never full disclosure. And she’s never been exonerated about having her so-called health care task force operate in secret in direct violation of the law. In fact, that was confirmed. Of course, she’s never been exonerated about any of the Castle Grande lies and overbillings - or how the missing Rose Law billing records just happened to show up near her office, conveniently, right after the statute of limitations expired. Although Bubba claimed she was, she’s never been exonerated for her role in the Whitewater development…but hey, that was only a simple resort scam designed to fleece seniors.

She’s never been exonerated about her role in the disgraceful Travel Office scandal, where nonpartisan career government employees all lost their jobs to make room for her friends, nor for trying to cover it up with a fraudulent IRS audit and criminal charges against Billy Dale - charges which took a jury only minutes to laugh out of court. And of course, the Vince Foster suicide, which had her rummaging through his office while his body was still warm.

How about the FBI files on her political opponents, which were illegally obtained by her chosen aide, Craig Livingstone? How much of that information did she copy? How much does she still have and plan to use? Exonerated? I don’t think so.
As I recall, one of the deputy independent counsels during Whitewater even prepared a draft indictment of her for perjury, which Janet Reno quashed. That’s not exoneration either.

And the Hsu campaign donation "bundling," which hasn't really been seriously investigated. Her husband was disbarred for perjury, but so far she hasn't had to undergo Grand Jury proceedings for dozens of serious felonious charges.

And of course, her own tax returns, her husband's Presidential Library donators, the White House correspondence on the scandalous pardons, including Marc Rich, whose wife Danielle practically lived under the Oval Office desk seeking a pardon. Wonder if Marc or his holdings made a significant donation to the Bubba Library in Little Rock. The Phirst Philanderer won't release the records. Dickerson eds on a querulous note:
According to the exit polls from Tuesday, two-thirds of Democratic voters said the superdelegates should vote based on the outcome in the caucuses and primaries, which means they should choose Obama. Clinton would be asking the party that thinks of itself as the protector of voting rights to unseat an African-American candidate who, if he stays ahead in the popular vote, has the voters' will behind him.

The strongest argument Clinton aides make on this score is that it's completely legal and fair for the superdelegates to choose whichever candidate they think is better. But legal and fair doesn't mean people will buy it. They'll be even less pleased if they think Clinton cheated or attacked Obama unfairly. According to those Tuesday exit polls, two-thirds of voters already do. That's why the Obama campaign will up the public umbrage they take at each little Clinton jab. Time to start sounding that alarm.

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