Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Defiant and Dangerous

Nobody expected Hillary Clinton to concede tonight (the end of the primary season) even as Barack Obama earned more than enough delegates to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for the 2008 Presidential election. Still, her speech after winning the South Dakota primary was startling and even unnerving.

Hillary Clinton opted not to do the honorable thing: to concede and to move on to help prepare the Democratic Party for the general elections in November. What Clinton did tonight was answer the question which has been lingering since her odds of winning her Party’s nomination virtually disappeared many weeks ago: What does Hillary Clinton want?

What she wants, evidently, is to remain relevant to the party. She stayed in the race not to win the nomination—but to broaden her base—to have a large enough number of voters to wield as a weapon. She has crafted a weapon from the votes of 18 million Americans and is using it to threaten her party. Hillary Clinton reminded her party that she can influence, if not determine the results of the November elections. She is using her supporters’ votes for political leverage, perhaps for a slot in the party’s ticket in November.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency ended tonight—not with dignity or with the slightest hint of reconciliation. It was bitter, sad, and ultimately counterproductive. She failed to seize the opportunity to unify democrats but instead chose to blackmail her party, agitate her supporters, and nurture the divisions that separate her supporters and Obama’s supporters.

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