During the era of the America Revolution, in Russia, the ruler was the self-proclaimed Empress Catherine the Great.
Catherine seized power with the help of her lovers, forcing her incompetent emperor husband Peter III to abdicate and then permitting his assassination.
Her imperious rule featured tours of the countryside arranged by her sometime lover and adviser Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin.
On these tours Catherine would be driven past what appeared to be prosperous villages of well-fed, smiling peasants who cheered her.
The empress was delighted that Russia was doing so well, that her enlightened dictatorship had the mandate of heaven. But what today we call “Potemkin Villages” were mere stage sets, erected and populated with actors days or hours before Catherine’s arrival to create the desired false impression.
Most of her subjects were actually miserable serfs, victims of oppressive landlords, high taxes and little food or freedom.
Potemkin wanted Russia to expand southward and restore the Byzantine Empire, the eastern half of the Roman Empire that survived until 1453 A.D. when Ottoman Turks breached the walls of Constantinople.
This ancient empire survived through “Byzantine” diplomacy and tactics, Potemkin-like displays to create the illusion of immense wealth and military might to deceive other nations.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, who both resembles and seems eager to become a modern Catherine the Great, is today running a Potemkin campaign.
Clinton and her media allies have kept this grand illusion running despite having more debts than dollars and almost zero likelihood of overtaking rival Sen. Barack Obama in elected delegates, states won, or popular votes to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
On Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s primary, Clinton won by what looked like an impressive popular vote margin, 55-45 percent. But Obama’s planners had with remarkable accuracy predicted her victory margin almost a year earlier and discounted it.
Hillary’s Tuesday victory means little. Because Democratic delegates are allotted proportionally, this win in Pennsylvania will likely close at most only about 10 percent of Obama’s large delegate lead for the nomination.
In two weeks the likely Obama victory in North Carolina should recoup most of Tuesday’s Pennsylvania delegate loss.
Only weeks ago Clinton was widely expected to win Pennsylvania by a 20 percent margin.
This state, whose Latinate name means “Penn’s woods,” has, after Florida, the second oldest population in the United States. One in four Pennsylvanians is a senior citizen, Clinton’s most devoted constituency, and 61 percent of seniors voting on Tuesday cast their ballots for Hillary.
Clinton also ran as a favorite daughter of the state. Her grandfather and father lived in Scranton, and her father played football at Penn State.
Pennsylvania is perhaps the last state where old-fashioned machine politics rule. Hillary had the backing of Gov. Ed Rendell’s powerful machine.
In October 1998, President Bill Clinton appeared in Philadelphia for a fundraiser. Two anti-Clinton demonstrators showed up at the public rally, carrying signs. The two were soon surrounded by union goons who ripped down their signs, then severely beat the demonstrators, one of whom had to be treated in a local hospital for a concussion and spinal injury in his neck.
Then-Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell’s spokesman Kevin Feeley caused public outrage when he said of the beatings that the two protestors “chose to make their views known in the faces of Teamsters — that, generally, is not a good career choice.”
Because a bystander videotaped the beating, five of the union thugs later pled guilty to various assault charges — and were given probation.
Rendell acknowledged in a deposition that he had told the union people to “drown out the [anti-Clinton] protestors,” adding: “I specifically said I didn’t want any interaction with the demonstrators. I wanted this to be extremely peaceful and extremely positive.”
Welcome to Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, still run by Rendell and Clinton-supporting Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter.
On Tuesday in several Philadelphia voting places where African-Americans were expected to favor Barack Obama, problems occurred with voting machines.
Obama won fewer, and Clinton more, votes than experts had predicted in the Philadelphia area. The Associated Press reported that Rendell last February, days after endorsing Clinton, declared that “there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate.”
Rendell said nothing disapproving of such voters. His statement could easily have been heard as giving Caucasian Pennsylvanians his permission or absolution for voting against Obama for racial reasons.
Ironically, what Clinton now offers to Democratic superdelegates as her alternative to Obama is a Hillary Clinton-Rush Limbaugh ticket.
Had she won Pennsylvania by only six percentage points, the punditocracy was prepared to declare the election a Clinton loss and Obama victory. But as exit polls revealed, approximately 4 percent of Tuesday’s voters had switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party. Without their votes, would Clinton have fallen fatally short of the vote percentage she needed to survive?
With powerful conservative talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and local superstar Bob Grant on New York City’s 50,000 watt blowtorch WABC Radio nudging Republicans to cross over and vote for Clinton to keep the nomination fight going, chaos has successfully been sown in the Democratic selection process.
In effect, the Clinton campaign for the Democratic nomination has been transformed into a Republican co-production.
Twenty-nine percent of Obama’s Pennsylvania voters questioned by exit pollsters said that if Clinton by hook or crook gains the Democratic nomination, they will either not vote at all or vote for Republican candidate Sen. John McCain.
Nominating megalomaniacal Hillary Clinton could be suicidal for the Democratic Party. It could alienate millions of young voters.
Clinton won the Texas primary by approximately 120,000 votes, but an estimated 150,000 Texas Rush-publicans crossed over to vote for her.
Did Hillary do well in Texas and Pennsylvania only because Rush Limbaugh was her invisible running mate — the co-pilot steering her sagging campaign to a winner-circle landing?
We ought to rename Clinton’s Potemkin campaign after what keeps its illusion alive.
Let’s call it Hillarush, or Hillarushy, Clinton For President.
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