by James M. Wall
If Hillary Clinton really loves her country, her party and her family, she will end her campaign in Kentucky Tuesday night. She can declare victory there and congratulate Barack Obama for his victory in Oregon on the same night. She could even bring husband Bill back to the stage to celebrate her Kentucky victory as a team.
Clinton has already overstayed her campaign presence. She has already lost whatever chance she might have had to run for vice president with Obama, an honor that John Edwards may have earned with his endorsement the day after Clinton’s 40 point victory in West Virginia.
Unless Hillary has a few more Jerimiah Wright tapes, or worse, hidden in her back pocket, there is little she can do to halt Obama’s march to the nomination. This week’s endorsement of Obama by Edwards highlights the former North Carolina senator’s appeal to those working class white voters Clinton has tried to claim as h er own.
They don’t belong to her. Her late campaign, newly-created populist image arrived a little late for her to successfully pose as a shot and beer buddy to workers of the world. Populism was not in play during her husband’s tenure in the White House, and it was not in evidence earlier in this campaign; Edwards, the son of a cotton mill worker in North Carolina, was the working class hero this campaign season. She only became a populist when the Jerimiah Wright tapes struck the Obama campaign and knocked the candidate off stride for several weeks.
In the weeks leading up to the Pennsylvania primary, Clinton unveiled her new Hillary persona, bragging about her summers fishing on her grandfather’s lake in Pennsylvania. She failed to mention that her non summer months were spent back home in Park Ridge, Illinois, an upscale Chicago suburb where at one point she served as a volunteer in the Goldwater campaign, hardly a place to learn about the trials of working class voters. She did not meet many shot and beer buddies in that suburb, nor were they in her classes at Wellesley and Harvard.
After law school, Clinton went to work for the Little Rock-based Rose law firm. She served on Wal-Mart’s board for six years prior to her husband’s run for the presidency. According to Common Dreams website, for the six years Clinton served on the Wal-Mart board, the company was “rabidly anti-union, was exploiting sweatshop labor around the world, discriminating against women workers, forcing workers to labor off the clock and destroying communities that did not want them. This should not be a shock: Clinton was a partner in the Rose law firm, one of the most active anti-union law firms in the country.”
Obama has decided to ignore Clinton as long as she remains as an opponent in this race. Clinton rushed to condemn Obama’s connection to his highly respected Chicago pastor (who admittedly has a tendency to go over the top in his ministerial preaching style). In contrast, Obama has refused to indulge in personal attacks against Clinton’s past record. He will emerge as the Democratic party ‘s nominee with his high ideals still largely in place.
The same cannot be said for either Clinton or her husband. Now is the time for both of them to bow out gracefully and start rebuilding trust with the party and the nation. Three more weeks of aggressive campaigning will only further damage the Clinton brand, once much admired by the progressive community. Of course, Montana, South Dakota and Puerto Rico will not get to have their candidate visits, but perhaps Obama, Clinton and Edwards could make a victory lap to all three locations. Come to think of it, the beaches of Puerto Rico would be a good place for party leaders to plan for the November campaign. And maybe, patch up any left over hurt feelings.