Clinton best option for Democratic Party

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 25, 2008

In case you missed the three candidates words on WWW Smackdown, know this: The one you would not want to get in the ring with is Hillary Clinton. Clinton is tough, and I do not mean solid, or consistent, or persistent … I mean tough.

Now you could argue there is no way on earth she can win the nomination outright, and you would be correct. Neither can Barack Obama by the way. The Democratic superdelegates will make the final call.

Obama will be able to claim more state victories and more delegates. Hillary may be able to claim more total popular votes (with Florida and Michigan counted) and more big state wins.

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Yet many Democrats have called upon Hillary to withdraw. Her response?

Something about when someplace freezes over.

She is tough.

And if you think she has any intention of ending the kind of divisive attacks that have made this a brutal primary, well, you can forget that one too.

But maybe, just maybe Hillary has a point. Why can’t Barack close the deal? Isn’t every Democrat who wants to win in November honestly asking themselves that question? He is funded better than any candidate in history. The personal attacks on him have had no effect on his national polling in trial heats against Clinton or McCain.

His campaign appearances don’t just draw crowds, they create mega events. His rhetorical skills are among the finest we have seen in decades.

But in spite of all his positives, Obama can’t seem to stop Clinton, the candidate who just keeps on going no matter how many hits she takes, no matter how broke her campaign gets, no matter how often her husband gets in the news in non-helpful ways.

And I guarantee you if you lock Clinton and McCain in a room together he will come out bawling like a baby, torture background or not. Hillary Clinton is tough.

If you look into the voting details though you do find a troubling issue for Obama. He is not winning the votes of white males in large enough numbers to win the primaries in the big states and without those votes the Republican candidate suddenly looks stronger. Is it now time to ask the question: Are too many Americans unwilling to support an African American candidate?

It is the question we hate to consider. Is the nation still too much engaged in its awareness of race to be color blind on Election Day? Looking at the numbers one has to consider that Obama may have done everything right, but still not be able to win in November.

The Democratic candidate in November must be able to win in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Without these states the path to the White House is almost impossible. Now it is fair to say that, because of recent events in managing the state, it is more difficult for a Republican to win in Ohio or Pennsylvania

than for a giant to ride to victory in the Kentucky Derby this spring.

But Obama lost Pennsylvania to Clinton by almost 10 points after six weeks of door-to-door campaign combat and outspending Clinton two to one.

It seems there is only one solution to the Democratic candidate selection process. Since the voters will end up dividing their popular vote to a tiny fraction that will not decide the contest, the superdelegates must vote for the candidate most likely to win in November: Hillary Clinton.

Obama must, for the good of the country and his party, accept the vice presidential nomination.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Ironton Tribune.