Traditionally, when politicians realize that they no longer have a chance at winning a race-in this case, a presidential nomination-they exit gracefully. This was not the case a few months ago when Gov. Mike Huckabee refused to leave the Republican race, citing his work in miracles rather than delegate mathematics. And it is once again the case, it seems, with Democratic contender Sen. Hillary Clinton.
But Clinton has added something new to the mix. Instead of just hanging on for dear life, she seems more than willing to hand Sen. Barack Obama the nomination. She and her campaign are essentially committing political suicide. This is most evident in her recent fumble over her 1996 diplomatic mission to Bosnia, and campaign advisor James Carville's Judas comments about Bill Richardson.
The mainstream media recently picked up on Clinton's fabrication of the landing conditions on her 1996 envoy to Bosnia. Clinton was describing the trip, which she was sent to because it wasn't considered "important" enough for her husband to leave the country. She stated that, upon exiting the plane, she had to run, ducking behind her escort to avoid sniper fire. But, as video footage of the event illustrates, this is a complete fabrication.
There was no sniper fire. In fact, Clinton even brought Chelsea with her. Clinton was either blatantly lying or she has severe memory issues. In either case, this does not make for a grounded commander in chief.
But this isn't the only Clinton gaffe of recent weeks. The New York Times reported on March 22 that, after Bill Richardson endorsed Obama, Clinton supporter James Carville compared the move to that of Judas. Judas, of course, told the Roman soldiers where to find Jesus for a few silver coins in the Biblical story. There are several problems with this story, most notably that Clinton is not a Christ-like figure.
After these two major downfalls, the Clinton campaign must now ask itself how much damage control it can muster up before the Pennsylvania primaries. Obama was able to successfully rebuke the racially-charged comments of his minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, with his impassioned speech on March 20, effectively removing the Reverend's impact on his campaign.
It looks like Clinton will not be able to do the same. While Obama has based his campaign on ambiguous (albeit effective) phrases like "change" and "hope," Clinton has attempted to establish herself as the candidate with both a voting record and actual experience through her work as first lady in her husband's administration. Obama's Reverend's blunders had nothing to do with his overall campaign strategy. Clinton, however, has made her experience in the White House a central point of her campaign. She cannot separate herself from her own statements as Obama was able to separate himself from the statements made by his minister.
Her entire campaign has rested upon the fact that she is the most qualified to be commander in chief for the next four years. If there is an emergency at three in the morning, she wants to be the one to answer that call.
And if she was going to give examples of that readiness, one would assume that she would move to her strongest examples, the moments where she has made the biggest difference in foreign policy.,Douglas P. Case