The stench from the smoking wreckage of the Hillary Clinton candidacy continues to sting our nostrils.
It's clear, from the full context of her Friday remarks to a South Dakota newspaper, that Clinton really did not intend to suggest that she's staying in the race just in case Barack Obama shares the fate of Bobby Kennedy. Such is the unfair shorthand that has ricocheted around the blogosphere over the past 36 hours.
What's clear is that she was trying to make the (specious) case for extending the '08 primary season into June. Her argument was that past Democratic campaigns have often lasted that long. It was in that context that she cited the RFK assassination, which occurred shortly after the results were announced in the June 4, 1968 California primary. (Indeed, she first cited Kennedy's June shooting during an interview two months ago.)
Here's the main problem with what she did: She offered a thoroughly tasteless example in support of a worthless argument. She was basically trying to say - and this is what her candidacy has been reduced to - that it's fine for her to extend her campaign into June, just because some past campaigns have gone into June.
-- DICK POLMAN
Can someone please tell me? Is there something in their water? In the air? Is it what they’re drinking — or smoking?
There seems to be an epidemic now of foot-in-mouth comments involving the once-taboo "a-word" (not the "a-word" people use to describe some politicians, but the "a-word" that describes what tragedy can befall politicians).
-- JOE GANDELMAN
People are writing about [Clinton] as though she were a bomb that needed to be expertly defused, as opposed to a person who can govern her own life, and is responsible for her own choices.
I am aware that it must be hard to face the fact that you've lost. But it became clear that she was not going to win the nomination months ago -- I would say after Wisconsin, but certainly after Texas. Moreover, this is not unprecedented. People lose the nomination every four years. Most of the time, they do not stay on until it is mathematically impossible for them to win; they leave when it has become clear that they will not win. They do not complain about disenfranchising all the states with later primaries, they do not threaten to keep their supporters home, and they certainly do not threaten "open civil war" if they don't get nominated for Vice President. On those rare occasions when some candidate does this in the absence of some truly monumental issue, we normally think that that candidate is a narcissistic and unprincipled person who has just shown why s/he should never, ever be President.
There is absolutely no reason not to apply these same standards to Hillary Clinton.
No disrespect to the other candidates, but if anyone else had been nominated we’d be toast.
-- Republican pollster GLEN BOLGER
Ohio is once again a swing state--perhaps the most important swing state. It's hard to envision either McCain or the Democratic nominee (presumably Barack Obama) winning in November without pocketing Ohio. And it's hard to envision McCain winning the state without the assistance of social conservative voters (often miscalled "values voters"). The Ohio Republican Party has been decimated in recent years by various scandals, and the state is now governed by a popular Democrat (Ted Strickland). It has become much tougher ground for GOPers. Which means that McCain truly needs those social conservatives to turn out for him.
[Reverend Rod] Parsley could have helped greatly in this regard. But now McCain has lost a shepherd who could lead tens of thousands of voters to the polls for the Arizona senator. Will these voters find the way on their own? Will they be angered that McCain betrayed a man they consider to be a conveyor belt for the word of God? (McCain as Judas?) With Parsley out of play for McCain in Ohio, McCain will have a tougher time winning this critical state.
-- DAVID CORN
There is more than one way for a university to receive national recognition. One is to employ a faculty member who receives a Nobel Prize for his discovery. The other is to be governed by a Chancellor who proposes a folly. The University of Colorado, has done both. It makes a citizen proud.
-- CHRISTOPHER R. BRAUCHLI
Cartoon by Pat Oliphant/Universal Press Syndicate