Deconstructing Hillary

By Greg Wallace

Aug 7, 2008 5:16pm

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign appears reluctant to have any sort of roll call vote at the Democratic convention this month. Why? They have no interest in highlighting the narrowness of his victory.

This would mean the first Democratic convention without a roll call vote since President Lyndon Johnson ran unopposed for reelection in 1964.

And Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, as ABC News’ David Chalian and Rick Klein point out,  is hedging on what she wants.

At a recent fundraiser in California captured on a videophone and posted on YouTube, Clinton noted that "if you look at recent history I have moved more quickly and done more on behalf of my opponent than comparable candidates have."

(Kind of interesting there that Sen. Clinton still refers to Sen. Obama as "my opponent." Last I checked, she withdrew from the race and said she was endorsing him two months ago.)

"You know, most of us didn’t endorse until the convention," Clinton continued, "you know, Teddy Kennedy or Gary Hart or Jerry Brown you know just a lot of people held out until the convention, kept their delegates, often waged platform rules or credential fights, and you know I’ve made it very clear that I am supporting Sen. Obama, we’re working cooperatively on a lot of different matters. But I think delegates can decide to do this on their own. They don’t need permission, they can decide under the rules of the DNC. So, I think it would be better if we had a plan that actually we put in place and everybody knew what it was, then we executed it because I think that would go more smoothly. So I hope that’s what we come  up with–some kind of a strategy."

A supporter asked Clinton "to please consider having your name put on the ballot….out of no disrespect to the future President Obama…Those of us who have lived through those campaigns and  know that’s what Democratic conventions and even Republican conventions were about. I don’t think a lot of the younger voters know that that’s not out of disrespect and that it is in fact a showing of unity."

Clinton said it’s an "obvious" question: "what will happen at the convention in respect to my putting my name into nomination, a roll call vote and the usual kind of process that occurs at conventions. We’re trying to work that out with the Obama campaign and with the DNC. “I happen to believe that we will come out stronger if people feel that their voices were heard and their views were respected. I think that is a very big part of how we actually come out unified."

Staying true to the California surroundings, Clinton said, "I know from, just what I’m hearing, that there’s incredible pent-up desire. And I think that people want to feel like, ‘OK, it’s a catharsis, we’re here, we did it, and then everybody get behind Sen. Obama.’ That is what most people believe is the best way to go. No decisions have been made. And so we are trying to work all this through with the DNC and with the Obama campaign."

A supporter asked her what would happen if there were a roll call vote and Clinton won.

"That is not going to happen," Clinton said, "not going to happen.  I mean, what we want to have happen is for Sen. Obama to be nominated by a unified convention of Democrats. And as I have said, the best way I think — and I could be wrong — but the best way I think to do that is to have a strategy so that my delegates feel like they have a role, and that their legitimacy has been validated. It’s as old as, you know, as Greek drama. You know, there is a catharsis. I mean, everybody comes and, you know, they want to yell and scream and have their opportunity, and I think that’s all to the good. Because then, you know, everybody can go, ‘OK, great, now let’s go out and win. And that’s what we want people to feel. We do not want any Democrat either in the hall or in the stadium or at home walking away saying, ‘Well, you know, I’m just not satisfied, I’m not happy.’ Because, I mean, that’s what I’m trying to avoid."

Kumbaya, my Lord. Kumbaya. Oh, Lord, Kumbaya.

-jpt

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