Months ago. Eons ago, as it feels in this Democratic Primary, there once was a sense of inevitability. There once was a candidate that was untouchable and embodied all that one would consider an insurmountable lead, in a race that had not even had it’s first vote or ballot cast.
Everyone else who had tossed their hats in the ring seeking the Democratic nod, were spinning their wheels while one candidate was spinning what it would be like to return to the White House. For everyone else, it was the “Big Spin” in a state lottery. The state was Iowa and all but one Democratic candidate was window dressing. This race was so over that the candidates all agreed to write off swing states such as Michigan and Florida for being bad children in the Democratic family and not listening to “Daddy Dean” and the other family elders. They could write these states off because, of course, there was an inevitability that was going to happen on Super Tuesday, that would render all other voting meaningless.
Little did anyone know that this was the beginning of a dysfunctional family bond that would pit brother against sister and cause parents to take sides. Super Delegate Uncles and Aunts would shake their heads in wonderment and become shockingly silent and reluctant to umpire the softball game at the family picnic, when one of the siblings keeps changing the most fundamental rules that everyone agreed to play by. And why? Why is all of this? What could have possibly happened to make things go and go and go and keep heading towards a Denver abyss?
Third place happened. Not first. Not second. Third. Hillary Clinton is still spinning from her third place finish in Iowa. But Hillary’s spin is not a gyro that moves in one place, her spin is an unpredictable erratic top that scurries across the political playground and changing depending upon it’s terrain. Sometimes its spin is as calculated and simple as answering a question with the ambiguity of “as far as I know” when asked if her political brother is Muslim. Then again, the spin can be as impromptu as a stand up comic or character from Saturday Night Live, as long as the character ridicules her opponent.
The very double standard that Mrs. Clinton currently complains about was partially created by her own spin early on in the campaign. However, even that was spun in a manner to point its origins to the media. It was not the media that welled up in tears at the thought she would loose New Hampshire. Double standard? Sexist? Can one imagine what would have happened if Obama welled up just before the Indiana or Pennsylvania contests? She received and accepted a pass on those tears because she is a woman and the tearful display was for the benefit of solidifying the New Hampshire woman vote. Yet, it is not a move or spin that Thatcher or Meir would have made. Her spinning was so great that by the time her campaign got to Indiana she was completely turned around and the tears were replaced by a shot of whiskey at Bronko’s Restaurant and Lounge in Crown Point. A shot that was taken far after the shots she misspoke about in Bosnia.
At first, Hillary’s big spin comes across as politics as usual, presidential politics at that. But at closer look, the tail spin caused by Iowa leaves footprints that collectively creates a troubling picture. A picture that says, if you want to be President of the United States be willing to throw a kitchen sink at your political brother and be proud you did it. The spin for this one is that Presidential politics is a contact sport. “Put your pads on”. But wasn’t it Clinton complaining early and hard about the press? If I remember correctly she opened a debate asking why she had to have the first question. When it came to the race card former President Bill Clinton said he was misrepresented when he brought up Jesse Jackson’s name after Obama’s convincing South Carolina victory. Okay, let’s give a pass on that. Geraldine Ferraro, a Clinton surrogate says that Obama would not be where he was if he were not a black man. Alright, let’s get past that one. Ed Rendell, a Hillary super surrogate says, a lot of white people in Pennsylvania will not vote for Obama because he’s black. Let that one go, the candidate herself did not say it.
However, when all spin fails the candidate speaks: “Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me. “Could it be that the Clinton’s campaign strategy was to turn Obama into the black candidate? When that did not work, they decided to do it by making Hillary the white candidate and let the press do the rest? The blogs and news sites are abuzz now about the fact that Obama is African American. Newsweek Magazine is doing a story which includes a photo of dark hands reaching for the Presidential Seal that is attached to a black background. Great effect, however, Obama isn’t nearly as dark as the portrayed hands and seldom do you see the seal against a black back ground. It is as if a ghost of the “Southern Strategy” past had suddenly awakened editors with a rattle of it’s chains and whispered in hushed tones of urgency and genuine surprise: “Obama is black… well, half black and that’s enough for alarm”. The article asks, “Are you really ready?”
One would think that the spin deed was done, but not yet. A national campaign is long a grueling road. Candidates get tired and say things that… just don’t come out the way they intended. Most recently, Ms. Clinton used the word “Assassination. This was unfortunate for tons of reason and by no means should anyone believe she meant malice towards Mr. Obama. But what followed was more residual spin from Iowa. The Clinton campaign found a way to implicate and blame the Obama camp. It is said that the Obama camp fueled the flames behind the scenes. That’s hard to believe since the Clinton Campaign did not fan Rev. Wright flames, Ayers flames, bitter flames, or race flames. Conspiracy theory or hardball presidential politicking spin. Spin that requires a helmet and pads and the ability to duck a kitchen sink.
Then there is the small matter of delegates. First it’s agreed that Florida and Michigan would not count and now “every vote should count”. In fact, not counting Florida and Michigan’s vote as all agreed to is akin to “slavery”, “the civil rights movement” and “the march on Selma”. There was a time that all agreed the nomination would be decided by delegates. When Super Tuesday became a super bust, not only did the delegates come into question so did Florida and Michigan. The rally cry became the popular vote shows “the will of the people”. We will march on the DNC during the Rules Committee meeting and let our voices be heard and galvanize the electorate so their muted voices and votes can be heard. Of course, the Clinton campaign had nothing to do with the decision to mute their voting voices. The Clinton campaign states they always wanted Michigan and Florida to be fully seated no matter what. With regard to Michigan, where Obama’s name did not appear on the ballot, tough cookies. He took his name off the ballot after we agreed the election would not count. He should have known we weren’t serious, at least not until Clinton needed them. If that’s not going to work and in fact the nomination still rests with delegates, than lets change how many. No longer is it 2026, it’s now 2170 or 2280 or whatever will put the nomination out of the reach of Obama and make it more favorable to Clinton. Spin has turned into rule changing.
Unfortunately, for Hillary Clinton, spin is spin and at the end of the day the Super Delegate Uncles and Aunts must weigh in. Though you are the favorite of some and your political brother the favorite of others, they will have to heed the truth: the United States has had eight years of spin in the White House. America has to and must break towards change.