Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Ellis Weiner Headshot

Post Hoc Ergo Shut Up Hoc

Posted: Updated:

As we say in our latest book, How to Raise a Jewish Dog, "the argument that 'only Hillary can win the big states necessary to elect a Democrat' is entirely fallacious and absurd, and should be immediately shot in the head and then ushered off to an honorable retirement."

(Disclosure: We don't really say this in our latest book, How to Raise a Jewish Dog. This is my idea of product placement. But why not? We say other things, as funny if not funnier. Everyone who reads it loves it. Check it out! But first read the following.)

This, both in self-perpetuating, tedious discussions among tv commentators, and from the Hillary camp, is their argument: Hillary won Michigan, Ohio, and now Pennsylvania. These states are essential for Democrats to win if they hope to beat McCain. Obama "can't close the deal," Hillary says, meaning, he can't defeat her decisively in those states. And, since those states are essential to a Dem victory, "only" she can beat McCain. Thus, Democratic delegates--whose main priority should be winning, regardless of specific policy details--should see the light, flock to her, and elect her the Democratic candidate for prez.

But this argument is not so much "flawed" as it is "stoopid."

True, Obama "lost" Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania--against another Democrat. Obama lost in a race in which his universe of possible votes was, by definition, cut more or less in half. He wasn't running against McCain in Pennsylvania; he was running against Clinton. But Clinton, and the braying jackasses of the media (they know who they are--no, wait. They don't know who they are. We know who they are.) insist that this bag of apples is also, or is "really," a bag of oranges.

Saying that Obama can't win Pennsylvania in November because he lost to Hillary is like watching an intra-squad practice game among, say, the San Antonio Spurs, and concluding--after one team "loses"--that the Spurs can't possibly hope to compete in the playoffs. "A team consisting of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Brett Barry lost. How can they hope to prevail against Phoenix or Boston?"

So asketh the stupid son. To him you shall say, "Jesus Christ, are you a complete idiot? Or a tv pundit trying to invent something to talk about? That's only half the team. It lost to the other half. Both halves of the team will play together against someone completely else when they go into the playoffs."

Naturally, at this juncture, someone will point out that X percent of Obama voters and Y percent of Clinton voters have told pollsters that they will refuse to vote for the other side's candidate if she/he gets the nod, and will instead vote for McCain. Fine. Whatever. Let's say they really mean it--today.

Does anyone really think they'll all feel the same way after three months of hand-to-hand, hand-to-mouth, and foot-in-mouth combat in "the general"? When McCain, with all his history and tax cut switcheroos and lobbyist-infested staff and iffy wife and photo-of-him-hugging-Bush-with- his-eyes-lightly-closed and Iraq-for-a-hundred-years mischegoss and Sunni-Shia confusion, has finally been challenged and shamed by the Democrats, who have thus far been busy eviscerating each other? And when a single gaffe, scandal, "misspeaking," or revelation can torpedo a campaign overnight?

Sure, some Dems who want Hillary to win will vote for McCain rather than Obama. But how many? No one knows, because no one can know. Is that any basis upon which to demand delegate fealty--and in defiance of the popular vote? Obviously not, obviously.

Democrats of every stripe should, effective immediately, give this argument the back of their hand. And the more it is advanced, the more askance its advancer should be looked at. Harsh words, yes, but in this case not uncalled for. And every time Hillary asserts it--every time she says that beating Obama in Pennsylvania proves that only she can beat McCain in Pennsylvania--she should be identified either as a disingenuous, calculating sneak, or as someone who doesn't quite understand how primaries are different from general elections.

Which do you think she is?

Cross-posted at What HE Said