Thursday, August 14, 2008

Democrats United? Not Yet.

“Democrats want to fall in love. Republicans want to fall in line.”

That’s a quote from President Bill Clinton told to me via Paul Begala who once accepted a ride from me to Bush Intercontinental after speaking to Democrats in Missouri City, Texas.

The truth of that quote is astoundingly appealing. It explains so much.

It explains why, for instance, Republicans have grudgingly gotten behind John McCain, and will hold a coronation in St. Paul Minnesota in September, but Democrats will have at least two names put in nomination in Denver in two weeks.

Two names, despite the fact that only one of them has the majority of delegate votes.

We think.

Hilary Clinton wants her delegates to have their day in the sun. She wants them to have a cathartic experience. Well fine, I say. Have that cathartic experience. I had one of them once. It was very . . . cathartic.

But then stop all of the complaining, OK? And stop it with the “well Hillary would have been our nominee had Edwards not run.” That is a truth in alternative universe, and not ours.

“This is historic,” we are hearing. A woman is having her name put in nomination for President of the United States. We can’t NOT put Hillary Clinton’s name in nomination.

Well, actually, no it isn’t historic, and yes, you can. For history, we need only recall Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who was the real first woman to have her name put into nomination for President at the 1964 Republican convention (they lost that year). And recall Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm who had her name put in nomination at the 1972 Democratic convention (we lost that year).

Republicans, it seems, remember from their mistakes and have fallen in line like the good soldiers they are – for the most part – ever since. And they – for the most part – have won. Democrats, however, seem to want to make the same mistakes over and over again, and that’s because we Democrats want to fall in love.

Now make no mistake, I wouldn’t want to see we Democrats start behaving like our Republican automaton opponents, but when it seems that the outcome is all but certain, why do we try to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory time after time?

And make no mistake, had the tables been turned, and we were getting all set to nominate Hillary Clinton as our candidate, I would be making the same arguments here about Obama not trying to share the stage.

It’s all about unity. It’s all about “Are you in or are you out?”

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