We do not expect perfection from our candidates and we rarely seem to get it.
Hillary is no exception. Sometimes it seems she spends too much time around Bill Clinton and her good judgment leaves her. The other day she was caught conspiring with John Edwards to get rid of “second tier” candidates from future Democratic debates.
Did I say Democratic debates? Yep, that’s the political party that is supposed to be unlike the Republican party. The Dems are supposed to be open, fair, just, at least a little PC. Yes?
But Hillary and John forgot their roots and wanted Dodd out, Biden out, Richardson out, Kucinich out. Why? So we can listen to Obama, Clinton, and Edwards tear each other to pieces for 90 minutes? And that’s in Hillary’s best interest?
I think not.
The second tier candidates play an important dramatic role in debates. They take our attention away from the main characters, at least for a few moments. That break in exposure gives Hillary to regroup her thinking and her composure. It’s stressful up there! A few moments off-camera is helpful. It also give us, the audience watching this play, time to feel the dramatic suspense building as our favorites come back on camera.
Then there’s a little matter of fairness. Trust me, I find Dennis Kucinich the most boring speaker in US politics. How he can manage to take a passionate subject like the Iraq war and make it sound like he’s describing an oil change is beyond comprehension. He’s such an awful speaker, he makes Perot sound like Churchill.
Would I mind if Dennis were gone? I would not. Some of the rest of that second tier are also hardly worth listening to — Richardson possibly being an exception. But I would keep them in the debates. It is the fair thing to do. The rules were put into place, those candidates followed those rules, and voters deserve to hear what they have to say. There is nothing wrong if — collectively — 5% to 7% of Democratic voters get to hear their candidate and feel good for 90 minutes every month or so. And Hillary will need those Democrats when the real campaign begins. Nothing good will come from alienating them.
So, we are back to Hillary Clinton. She has shown bad judgment before — stonewalling reporters’ questions about Whitewater was another stupid decision and we said so at the time. Her excuse was that Whitewater was a partisan witch-hunt, and she was right. It was. But she still needed to answer the questions that most Americans were thinking about.
We’d like to think there was a good excuse this time. Actually, we think it was Edwards’ fault. In the first place, it was Edwards who proffered this debate conspiracy. Up on the stage, Hillary heard Edwards mumble something, she looked up, was temporarily blinded by his impeccably coiffed hair, felt a sinking pang of jealousy, and in a moment of sweet confusion just blurted out something to be agreeable. It was just bad luck that the mic happened to be on.
So, it was Edwards’ fault: his hair, actually. Hillary regrets her comments. She’ll find a new stylist. Let’s move on!