Monday, March 10, 2008
From the beginning Barack Obama has been running for President of the United States of America while his rivals were seeking the nomination of their respective parties. Such a sweeping approach provided Senator Obama with more bricks and mortar than his competitors from which to build a redoubt to fend off attack.
According to Richard Neustadt, a president's effectiveness comes from their capacity to create choices and enlarge their reservoir of influence. These abilities are derived from personal reputation among shareholders of power in Washington and public prestige enjoyed abroad within various constituencies, foreign and domestic.
Rising from the battlegrounds of February, Mr. Obama established an insurmountable lead. During a moment of candor, Bill Clinton acknowledged that his wife would have to respond with similarly overwhelming victories in both Texas and Ohio on March 4 in order to be viable.
After failing to do this, Mrs. Clinton has been waging a campaign to create the illusion of resurgence and circumvent her way to the nomination. She was all but pleading for the Democratic Party elites to do for her what the Supreme Court did for George W. Bush against Al Gore in 2000: ratify an outcome not supported by the numbers on the scoreboard.
The Republican Party egged on this drama and the mainstream media had an incentive in reinforcing this intrigue. It was a rare delicacy for 24 hour news beasts. But as time drew on, it became apparent that the nuclear fallout from the internecine struggle engaged by Hillary Clinton would lay the party apparatus to waste.
Indeed, Mrs. Clinton went so far as to practically endorse the Republican challenger over the potential and presumptive Democratic nominee, Mr. Obama. It seems that party leaders have finally said enough. Gary Hart emphatically denounced the maneuver by Senator Clinton as an unwise and inappropriate act which signals betrayal. And Tom Brokaw reported rumblings about a swing in uncommitted superdelegates to the Obama camp that essentially confirms the nomination for Senator Obama. With proportional allocation of delegates, even with victories in Florida and Michigan it is unlikely that Clinton could overtake Obama. The party elders surely recognize this and also are alert to the benefits awarded to Senator John McCain by such internal conflict among Democrats.
In their futile and desperate attempt at a pyrrhic victory, Hillary has amputated herself from a newly emergent force in the Democratic Party and Bill Clinton has resigned his legacy to the dustbin of history. The only way to salvage what little capital they have remaining, the Clintons must announce their complete and total surrender to Mr. Obama before the Pennsylvania primary on April 22. Such capitulation must be accompanied by an enthusiastic and unequivocal embrace of Barack Obama as the new dauphin. The Clintons must exit gracefully of their own will or risk forceful ejection. Bill and Hillary must now ask themselves a question.