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Hillary, You're Not TR!

Updated on February 12, 2009

Do The Right Thing Hillary

In 1912, former President Theodore Roosevelt ran for the presidency against William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson. Throughout his political life, including two terms as President (one elected and one filling out almost all of William McKinley's second term) Roosevelt had been a Republican. After hand-picking Taft as his successor, Taft had proven to be an abysmal failure, by Roosevelt's estimation, which prompted him to come out of retirement and try to unseat him. Now, Roosevelt was no fool. He knew how the game was played, and he knew that if he failed to secure the Republican nomination, he would stand no chance to regain the White House. In those days, the idea of having a Direct Primary, as many states do today, was a very new concept. In many states, delegates to the party's convention were chosen by political bosses, and most of those bosses lined up behind Taft. As a result, when Republicans met in convention in the summer of 1912, Taft had a steamroller ready to pummel Roosevelt, who had won the majority of delegates available in Direct Primaries, but had lost in the other states.

Roosevelt could have chosen to go away quietly, but he chose instead to press onward. Whether it was vindictiveness or vanity, I'll never know, but Roosevelt and his supporter bolted from the convention and convened elsewhere. The decision was made to form a new political party, known officially as the National Progressive Party. It came to be known as the Bull Moose Party after a reporter asked Roosevelt how he was feeling, and his response was "Bully as a Bull Moose."

By the fall of 1912, Roosevelt and Taft combined for more electoral votes and more popular votes than Wilson did, but neither could hope to win enough votes to overtake Wilson as long as the other was still in the race. Taft won the nomination under the rules that existed in that day and age, and as the incumbent, he had every right to remain in the race. If Roosevelt had merely stepped aside in 1912, Taft would have won that election, and Roosevelt would have been the odds on favorite to win the nomination and the election in 1916.

Instead, Roosevelt pressed onward, and he sunk Taft's reelection bid, putting himself at odds with the Republican base. Essentially, he torpedoed his own career and Taft's at the same time.

Now we're about 96 years in the future and we have a similar problem brewing. Barack Obama just made history tonight by securing enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination for President. You can say he did it by winning in states that Democrats have little or no chance of winning in November, while Hillary won the states Democrats have to win in order to have a fighting chance. But the fact remains, Senator Clinton, you lost. End of story. Now the question is, will you step aside gracefully and concede that under the rules that exist today, Barack Obama won the nomination?

She certainly didn't sound like that when she gave her speech tonight. Instead, she sounds like a candidate who really believes that she can win it all in November. If she lets her ego get in the way of good old fashioned common sense, she'll stick around as a thorn in Barack Obama's side until the convention, and when she's faced with the reality that Obama has the nomination in his pocket, she's going to have a decision to make.

Will she make the decision Roosevelt made and torpedo Obama's chances of winning the White House? If she does, she certainly will be torpedoing her own chances of winning the nomination in 4 or 8 years.

Do the right thing Hillary. Tell your supporters that we as Democrats ought to get along at least as well as we would with your average Republican. Get behind Barack Obama because it's the right thing to do for the country. If you do, almost certainly you will be rewarded with this prize you covet so sincerely. If you do not, America will suffer and your career will be over.

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    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 

      9 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Trust me, after ninety six years, the landscape and game has changed completely.

      There's a reason she is acting as she is, and it is totally backed by a lot of people you may never meet.

      I won't waste my time trying to convince anyone of anything, but if you've never heard of the Bilderberg Group, you're going to want to keep an eye on them.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrihttN0Fe8

      I only wish it wasn't a falsehood to believe they are powerless, or just meeting in secret to play poker.

      In Lightspeed,

      lxxy

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 

      10 years ago from Northern California

      I've actually heard that Republicans wanted Obama to run against McCain; on CNN, there were interviews with people who said they would never vote for Obama. And although he is very likely to win the Dem nomination, he still needs to be careful about what he says and does, or he may slip up and lose his "promised" superdelegates.

      A good hub, though. I love connecting things with the past, and who best than someone who did masters work on the topic... but I admit I'm a Clinton fan!

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Crash Interesting Hub. I see Hillary has finally given in to common sense and bowed out. An Obama Clinton ticket might be the best option for the Democrats. I am not sure of your election rules but an Obama Gore ticket could be very interesting!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 

      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Gee, crash, I thought you had all that historical info about Taft and TR tucked in a corner of your mind by virtue of being a concerned citizen and journalist. Thanks for sharing the background of your master's research. What a great article. How timely your research has become.

      Even though Hillary Clinton has finally, today, spoken her concession including a plea to support Obama, it remains to be seen how her delayed concession will play out in the general election.

      In that history repeats itself, and lessons from history are not always learned, I wonder what will happen 96 years from now?

      Great food for thought!

    • crashcromwell profile imageAUTHOR

      crashcromwell 

      10 years ago from Florida

      It's been quite a long time, but I did my master's research on the Presidential Election of 1912 (Roosevelt-Taft-Wilson). I completed my thesis during the 1992 election, so it was incredibly topical, and I tried to draw correlations between 1912 and 1992 for relevance. About the only relevance I found was that there were three major candidates in each race. Beyond that, nuthin.

    • CherylTheWriter profile image

      CherylTheWriter 

      10 years ago from Humble, Texas (the ultimate oxymoron)

      Really? I hadn't heard that. Well called, crash.

    • crashcromwell profile imageAUTHOR

      crashcromwell 

      10 years ago from Florida

      I didn't forget Ross Perot. Who ever could? The reason I didn't mention him is because he was not a party leader, more of a flash in the pan. Also, Perot's presence in the two Clinton elections really didn't have much of an effect on the outcome. The conventional logic among political scientists is that Perot actually took votes roughly equally from Bush and Clinton in 1992 and Dole and Clinton in 1996.

    • CherylTheWriter profile image

      CherylTheWriter 

      10 years ago from Humble, Texas (the ultimate oxymoron)

      You forgot to mention Ross Perot. If he had not split the Republican vote, it's possible Bill Clinton might not have ever entered the Oval Office.

    • crashcromwell profile imageAUTHOR

      crashcromwell 

      10 years ago from Florida

      That is very true. Rush Limbaugh was imploring his dittoheads to cross over to vote for Hillary for that reason. I believe it was called Operation Chaos.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 

      10 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Well said :) The sooner she realized that a lot of republicans voted for her in the primaries because they know McCain can beat her, the better.

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