Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Clintonian ethics, a case study: When you're losing, change the rules

By Michael J.W. Stickings

How utterly pathetic is the Clinton campaign? How utterly noxious has it become? And what utter loserdom. Having not won a contest since Super Tuesday, and after yet another drubbing yesterday in Wisconsin and Hawaii, Clinton is now seeking not to win the race by playing by the rules -- that is, by actually beating Obama -- but to win it by changing the rules:

This morning brings the news that the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, has launched a new
where they are announcing how they are officially preparing to make the case that the rules of the Democratic nomination process should be changed.

Among many "facts" they declare are some accurate ones, such as the idea that superdelegates, which in true nomenclatural dexterity they now term "automatic delegates" "are expected to exercise their best judgment in the interests of the nation and the Democratic Party."

But then comes this juicy non-fact:

"FACT: Florida and Michigan should count, both in the interest of fundamental fairness and honoring the spirit of the Democrats' 50-state strategy."

That's not a fact, that's an opinion.

And it's clear evidence (not that there was any mystery about it) that the Clinton campaign is trying to change the rules in the middle of the game.

Come to think of it, the Clinton campaign has a point. Why play by the rules when you can change the rules at any time? This is where Belichick and the Patriots went wrong. Sure, they were 18-0, but they went ahead and played the Super Bowl by the rules. And so they let Eli Manning drive the Giants down the field for the winning TD near the end of the game and then failed to score on a last-minute drive that went nowhere. What if the Patriots had simply changed the rules? What if, on that play where Manning scrambled and found David Tyree for one of the greatest catches ever, the Patriots had changed the rules so that touching the QB was a sack? Or what if, at the end of the game, they had simply changed the rules of mathematics so that 14 was worth more than 17?

Okay, that's crazy, I know. The rules are the rules, whether in football or mathematics.

But this is the sort of crazy coming from an increasingly desperate Clinton campaign these days. Is it any wonder that so many of us are coming more and more to despise the Clinton campaign? I am an Obama supporter, yes, but I didn't want that support to mean anything other than situational opposition to Clinton. Which is to say, I didn't support Obama because I was against Clinton in any deeply negative way but rather because I liked him more and thought he would make the better president.

This has changed. I am now genuinely opposed to Clinton and her campaign, over which she must be held responsible. It is a campaign that is losing, that is desperate, that is looking for any way to get back on top, no matter what, that is hurling attacks at Obama from all sides, that is, as we can now see, trying to change the rules.

As Steve Benen points out, Clinton still has options and hasn't yet lost the race. This is true. But it also seems that the Clinton campaign has given up trying to win the race legitimately. Indeed, as Jason Zengerle remarks, it might simply be "incapable" of doing that. It's all about the bullshit now, as Matthew Yglesias notes.

And so the attacks will continue, as will the excuses, as will these efforts to change the rules.

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Adm. Kirk admits to Lt. Saavik that, when younger, he beat the unwinnable Kobayashi Moru test by reprogamming the simulator -- that is, by changing the rules, by cheating. Hillary Clinton is no James T. Kirk, of course, and Kirk had good reason not to believe in "the no-win scenario," but Clinton's last-ditch efforts to change the rules reflects a similar outlook, a similar arrogance, however ignoble.

It is time for Democrats to say NO to Hillary Clinton.

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  • I'm not a Clinton supporter, but I am a Floridian and a furious one at that. That my vote was taken away from me by the DNC over the rescheduling of a primary is evidence that intra-party power struggles are more important to them than being an expression of the choices of Democrats who employ them and support them.

    If Democrats don't support Democracy, then why should I support them?

    Whether or not the Clinton people are using this situation, it's unjust, offensive and an affront to democracy.

    Ron Paul got a lot of votes in Florida over this affront.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:00 AM  

  • Why dont you just calm down a bit and wait to see what happens. The more angry you become at Clinton. the more angry Clinton supporters become at Obama, the less likelihood of reconciliation at the convention so we can win. Make no mistake about it: Obama will need Hillary supporters in order to win in November. There can be no reasonable dispute that this is true. Many Hillary supporters are raging mad over their treatment in the blogosphere. we all need to act in the interests of our country and cool this thing down so we can come together in August. If we dont, we are losers and deservedly so.

    Its entirely likely that this race will be over March 4 with Obama taking either Texas or Ohio, or both, and then its done. Why wait to the last minute to get so darn angry at everything? I dont see any anger over the fact that Obama wants to change the rules so Superdelegates have to vote like their states did (even Clyburn shot him down on that one). I dont know why Obama took his name off the Michigan ballot. I do know he advertised in Florida. So freackin what? I just cannot understand how the blogosphere has gotten itself so worked up into a completely partisan frenzy. Its unseemly and really useless. If the blogosphere cannot be a source of rational discussion of politics, all it has become then is yet another extremely loud partisan tool, except with anonymity people say the vilest things to each other.

    The anger here is completely misplaced and destructive, and of no use at all to Democrats who want to win in November. (By the way, i post these sentiments anywhere that I can because I want a Dem president more than I want either Clinton or Obama. This isnt about them. Its about our country and our Supreme Court).

    By Blogger Jammer, at 3:11 PM  

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