Tags: clinton | obama

Clinton's 'Rule or Ruin' Strategy

Monday, 10 Mar 2008 07:55 AM

By Lowell Ponte

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Sen. Hillary Clinton more than a week ago began a “rule or ruin” strategy to overcome likely delegate-count defeat and win the Democratic presidential nomination.

She launched attacks implying that the rival now outrunning her, Sen. Barack Obama, is unfit to be commander-in-chief.

Clinton said that she has the “life experience” to be president, and that presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain is likewise qualified to sit in the Oval Office — but that Obama has only “a speech he gave in 2002.”

Presidential candidates routinely claim to be better than their opponents. Clinton has gone far beyond this, fragging her Democratic rival by implying that he lacks the qualifications to be president.

In effect, Clinton repeatedly said that Obama is inferior to the Republican candidate — statements McCain will use in campaign ads if Obama becomes the Democratic nominee.

This is not politics as usual.

Clinton is using the scorched-earth politics of rule-or-ruin. If she is not proclaimed the Democratic nominee — the ruler — then she is giving enough weapons of political mass destruction to Republicans to ruin the prospects of a Democratic Party that picks Obama instead.

Clinton is kneecapping her opponent, leaving him too damaged to run. She is like a dirty linebacker who deliberately sets out not to win by the rules but by breaking the opposing quarterback’s leg.

Clinton is giving a megalomaniacal ultimatum to Democratic superdelegates: choose me, or I will guarantee that the Democratic Party loses in November.

The health of our democratic republic can benefit when candidates test one another, but Clinton and her many media allies have been far from honest or fair in their one-sided testing of Obama.

Is Obama unqualified? As first lady, Clinton reportedly never held a security clearance and never attended National Security Council meetings. She never faced a 3 a.m. national crisis. She continues to stonewall release of her complete tax and national archive records. Why are few reporters asking if she is better qualified?

Now-resigned unpaid Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Power said during a BBC interview last week that Obama would have to reassess Iraq troop withdrawal policy based on circumstances when he becomes president next January.

Clinton made a similar statement months ago, but last week the Clinton campaign immediately used Power’s words to accuse Obama of reneging on promises to withdraw from Iraq.

What got almost no press is that days ago a top Clinton military adviser, retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane, told an interviewer that in Iraq, contrary to Clinton’s political claims, she “generally supported the surge strategy,” and as president she would hold off on authorizing a large-scale U.S. withdrawal.

Just before the Ohio primary last week that could have sunk Clinton’s campaign, a leaked Canadian internal diplomatic memo surfaced. It implied that an Obama economic adviser had secretly reassured Canada’s government that the Illinois senator would use tough campaign rhetoric about changing the North American Free Trade Agreement but if elected would do little to change NAFTA.

The Clinton campaign trumpeted this memo as evidence that Obama was as two-faced as other politicians, and this facilitated a Clinton victory in Ohio, where NAFTA is viewed as a threat to jobs.

Within days a Canadian government internal investigation tracing this leak confirmed two things:

(1) the memo was false because Obama’s adviser never quite said what the memo claimed, and

(2) the Clinton campaign also approached the Canadian government and gave the same confidential reassurances falsely ascribed to Obama.

The liberal mainstream media in the United States gave wide play to Clinton’s hypocritical and untrue charges against Obama, but it has given almost no coverage to this new evidence against Clinton.

Democratic voters in Ohio who were deceived by this NAFTA story deserve a “do-over” now that they know Clinton did the very thing she falsely accused Obama of doing.

Worth mention, too, are apparent attempts by Canadians to manipulate America’s presidential election. One of these is the ongoing propaganda use of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” to smear Obama.

The latest such smear came last Saturday night. It depicted Obama having a breakdown at 3 a.m. in the White House — dovetailing neatly with Clinton’s doomsday “daisy”-like ad — and frantically calling Hillary Clinton for advice on handling crises.

The hands-on executive producer and co-founder boss of “Saturday Night Live” is Canadian Lorne Michaels, who has repeatedly used his position to promote his own preferred liberal candidates.

The latest Clintonoid chant is that neither Obama nor Clinton can win a majority of delegates needed for nomination, so the superdelegates choose the more “electable” candidate.

One Catch-22 here is that roughly 1 in 5 delegates are unelected superdelegates, Democratic insiders. To win without them, a candidate must get more than 62 percent of delegates selected in primaries and caucuses. These delegates are apportioned, not given on a winner-take-all basis, so a landslide 62 percent of them is effectively impossible whenever more than one strong candidate runs.

The entire Democratic Party system for picking a candidate is thus rigged so that no one can win without undemocratic superdelegate support. When will the Federal Trade Commission rule that the so-called Democratic Party can no longer label itself “Democratic,” this being a clear violation of the truth-in-packaging laws?

If patriotic Mrs. Clinton loses her party’s nomination to Obama, will she throw her support behind the only other presidential candidate she deems qualified, McCain?

Oddly, to the contrary, Clinton has raised the possibility that she might offer Obama, a man she suggests is unfit to be president, a job as her vice presidential running mate.

The Clintons have always used such “boob bait for the Bubbas” to seduce gullible voters. For those who like both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, this latest pitch is a way to hold out the possibility that they need not choose.

Democrats can have both if Clinton wins.

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