Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May 28, 2008

More bad news for Hillary Clinton. She'd been hoping to get all the delegates from Michigan and Floida, but party lawyers say its Rules and Bylaws committee, whch is meeting on the issue this Saturday, can't legally seat more than half of them.

The party originally penalized the two states for holding their primaries earlier than party rules allowed and said no delegates from the two would be seated at the convention. Obviously, the party wants the two states there somehow--it is a national party and they are big states--but the question has been how. Clinton "won" both primaries; in fact, Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan; he had his name taken off when the party asked candidates not to campaign in the states. Clinton's name stayed on, and so of course she "won." But it seems a little much to award her all the delegates, given that history.

But Clinton fights on. She drew criticism--unfair, I think--for mentioning Robert Kennedy's 1968 campaign by way of saying that her campaign is not unusually long. Lots of intelligent people--including the editor of this column--thought she was somehow raising the memory of Kennedy's assassination as something that might happen again, to Obama. I didn't read it that way, but many did. She might instead have recalled Edward Kennedy's race against President Jimmy Carter in 1980. That went on into the convention itself. I remember placards "Free the Carter 2000," in reference to delegates pledged to Carter. They weren't freed, of course, and he was renominated, only to lose to Ronald Reagan.

And of course Clinton has every right to hang in there this time. Obama may have some awful secret that comes out before the convention. It's unlikely, of course, but you never know. Donna Rice appeared out of nowhere and ended Gary Hart's 1988 campaign. Weird things can happen.

So hang in there as long as you want to, ma'am. Hope springs eternal, as they say.

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