On Friday evening, I was surprised to see on the evening news that Senator Hillary Clinton had finally joined Senator Barack Obama on stage in the obviously chosen site of Unity, New Hampshire for their public coming out party, to show supporters and skeptics alike that the feud in the Democratic house is over. The candidates have kissed and made up. Hillary is now fully on board to help Obama win the presidency in November. They even coordinated outfits (Obama's tie matching Clinton's pantsuit) like some married couple.
I hate to be cynical, but the Clintons inspire that in me. I keep thinking that the Clintons are plotting something, because they just don't give up power that easily. Hillary has long dreamed of becoming the first female president, yet here she is, giving her full public support for Obama. Pundits have pointed out that in previous races, it took a longer time for the runners-up to fully embrace the nominee, and none of them came as close as Hillary did to winning the nomination. There had to be certain deals made behind the scenes, and I'm not talking about the paying off of Hillary's campaign debts.
But about that debt...I think it's outrageous that she spent a lot of money on high priced lobbyists to help run her campaign. Some have reported that she paid one person over $7 million, which, if true, is absurd. Why would anyone deserve that much money? Even a salary of $200,000 would be too much for a campaign. It's the reason why I don't donate money to presidential campaigns. They are just boondoggles for corporate lobbyists who don't want to give up their high salaries on K Street to run someone's campaign unless they get paid the same wages. I say, give the campaign staff jobs to people who don't require that outrageous salary. People like me who live and breathe politics and would gladly work for $30,000 a year during the course of a campaign. So, I'm of the view that Hillary should pay off her campaign debts, not Obama or his supporters. If she couldn't afford to compete against Obama and ran up huge debts, it's her fault for overpaying high priced consultants and basing her support on low wage income earners who can't afford to give money to her campaign.
Whatever deal they came up with, I hope that it's not the Vice Presidency or any cabinet level appointment. Hillary said in 2006 that she loves being a Senator and gave no thought to a presidential campaign in 2008, so she should be made to live by those words. We'll see if she's truly happy in the Senate when Obama is president. Will she run for reelection in 2012 or will she run for president again (if McCain is president)? This all remains to be seen.
For now, we'll have to take this rally at face value. Perhaps she made peace with the fate the Democratic primary voters gave her. Maybe she's far more graceful than pundits make her out to be. Whatever she truly feels, we'll see if she's serious in the months ahead. I'll be watching body language, because it betrays whatever image she wishes to present to the world (see photo of Gore with Obama from an earlier post...it looks like Gore is thinking that maybe he should've run for president after all, for Obama is smiling like usual while Gore looks serious and lost in thought).
I'm just extremely happy for Obama and this moment, the "fierce urgency of now." I truly hope the Hillary supporters who intend to vote for McCain really question themselves why they'd do that. What possible motive would they have for doing such a thing? If they're thinking that making Obama lose to McCain will guarantee another Hillary campaign in 2012, they better think real carefully on that one for a few reasons: (1) Hillary might face stiff competition with Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who has executive experience and knows how to win in a "Red State"; (2) Obama might run again; (3) McCain might be the one to appoint the Supreme Court Justice to replace one of the ailing liberal ones (Souter or Ginsberg), thus putting an end to Roe v. Wade; (4) Hell, Gore might run again and win the nomination; or (5) sabotaging Obama this year might result in a lot of angry Obama voters who want payback in 2012. So, it's not a good scenario to play like spoiled children who don't get their way. Suck it up and vote for the party. I did in 2004 when I wasn't happy with Kerry's nomination. I voted for him anyway because the alternative was worse.
Besides, when the choice comes down to adding one more white male president to the list of 42 white males who served as president, why vote against a truly historic figure whose election would signal to the world that the America they once loved is back, and back with a global superstar that we haven't seen since Mandela was president of South Africa? When the choice is between change versus more of the same, why would any Democratic Hillary supporter choose an unofficial third Bush term? Something's screwy in their logic and they ought to examine their true motives for why they'd vote for McCain over Obama if they claim to be true progressives. They need to come to terms that they backed a seriously flawed candidate who ran a lousy campaign. On top of all that, this election proves that Americans just want to move beyond the Bush-Clinton-Bush years. Two families should not control the White House for more than a quarter of a century.
We will have a female president someday...but her name will not be Hillary.