Friday, August 22, 2008

A Brief Word Of Caution To Hilary Die-Hards

John McCain is sneaking past on Barack Obama in the latest still-too-early-to-mean-much polls. What is meaningful is that around 30% of former Clinton supporters are still declaring themselves as undecided or supporting McCain.

To those people, I have three words to think about as the convention convenes in Denver: Supreme Court appointments.

If you sit out this election or vote for McCain and he wins, he will appoint at least one and possibly two people to Supreme Court of the United States during his first term. Think about it: I guarantee you he won’t be nominating people like Hillary or Barack. Instead, picture another Alioto or Scalia or Roberts sitting up there on the First Monday in October. And for 10 or 20 years thereafter.

This means a lot to everyone, but it should have special meaning to women.

It will mean Roe v. Wade and a woman’s control over her own body will be gone, probably within two years.

It means that the growing backlog of lower court decisions on women’s rights in the workplace, especially those involving pay, promotion, discrimination and harassment will go against women in favor of corporate interests.

It means conservatives dominating the court will successfully dissemble the Bill of Rights as narrow minorities on the bench tried and failed to do – usually by one vote – in the Gitmo cases over the past two years.

Essentially, it means all of the gains in women’s rights over the past half-century will be at risk as a lop-sided, right wing court recasts the face of America into something not just you but your daughters and their daughters will be forced to live.

I understand you’re disappointed that your candidate lost, and sympathize with your angst; been there, done that myself. But more often than not, politics – like life itself – is disappointing. Had Hilary run a better campaign, had she better senior advisors, had Mark Penn not gone public with every internal dispute he was losing to Terry McAuliffe (and vice versa), if Penn and McCauliffe not suffered hubris and developed a post-Super Tuesday plan, if her staff with all of its pre-primary polling had understood that change trumped experience this time around, had she been a better candidate, had Bill stayed on message and not tossed out subtle racial smears, things might have been different.

Might-a. Could-a. Should-a.

Simply put, Obama was a better candidate with a better run, better organized, better funded campaign. Party insiders did not give Obama the nomination. Chris Mathews did not up-end Clinton. The news media did not have it in for her. It wasn’t sexism among voters; I promise you that people who would not vote for a woman would not vote for a black man, either.

I have covered state and national campaigns since Nixon beat Humphrey way back in 1968. I’ve learned in watching the best (and, more often, the worst) politicians is they remember the old saw about “politics makes strange bedfellows.” When they lose, they lick their wounds and then close ranks to win an election.

If you truly think John McCain would be better for America than Barack Obama, then vote for him. But if you’re voting for him out of spite, or not voting at all as an ill-advised and, frankly, churlish and petulant protest, keep another old adage in mind: Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

You won’t like explaining why you did that to your daughters and granddaughters and all the daughters after them.

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