- Politics and Social Issues
Hillary, You're Not TR!
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.