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Michael Russnow

Michael Russnow

Posted: May 20, 2008 01:49 PM

Has Hillary Clinton Given Up: She's Placed No TV Ads Yet in Montana and South Dakota, Whereas Obama Appears on TV Every Few Minutes


I'm writing from Deadwood, South Dakota, where I've just spent a mostly eventful two weeks discovering the beauties of America at Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park and points in between in Montana and Wyoming.

I'll be writing about that later, but the point of this piece is to note the disappearance of Hillary Clinton in the upcoming Montana and South Dakota primaries, about which she has spoken so much in her determination to wage battle with Barack Obama to the bitter end.

In two weeks spent mostly in South Dakota and Montana, I've seen Barack Obama TV ads every few minutes and not a single one for Hillary Clinton. She made an appearance in Sioux Falls, and her husband was in Rapid City, and news reports talk about her candidacy.

But the overwhelming presence of Barack Obama in the broadcast media of these two states presupposes that she has given up any serious chance to win these two primaries. Even if her handlers have bought time backwards to appear in the last week or so of the campaign, by that time it will be too late with all the Barack Obama saturation voters will have been spoon fed.

As indicated in an earlier posting, I voted for Hillary Clinton in the California primary after my two preferred candidates John Edwards and Joe Biden had withdrawn. I've watched the race unfold since then, in particular her supporters dropping like flies after Barack Obama's overtouted early wins against her victories in much larger states. This in turn caused the pundits to declare her dead, even as many voters continue to put victory totals onto her scoreboard.

I mention this not to inflame Obama believers, but just to point out it's intriguing that while it appears all is lost, certain state voters are ignoring the obvious and continue to vote for her. Whether in Texas, Ohio, then Pennsylvania, Indiana and a large win in West Virginia. In the TV business, when a show is canceled, the ratings fall precipitously, as if to say that even those who watched no longer stick with a "loser."

Yet so many states continue to vote for Hillary Clinton, and she is expected to win in Kentucky today, while Obama will probably do so in Oregon.

So, the question is twofold: Why do so many people continue to vote for Clinton, who it now appears has no chance of winning the nomination? And more ominously, are they voting for her or against Obama? If the latter, then it may augur disaster in November.

Even if the economy and war issues presume the prediction of a sure winner for Democrats this year.

I am continuously amazed at how sharp, savvy political operatives prefer to jump on a bandwagon, just in case it coasts to victory. They just don't want to be left behind. Or are they hedging their bets citing the obvious, giving rah-rah cheers of "let's get behind the person in front" so that one or more might pick up the slack in 2012 if Obama becomes this year's Michael Dukakis (remember his 17 point convention lead?), or worse if Obama is this year's George McGovern or Al Smith.

Isn't it obvious that a sizable segment of voters in this country are not thrilled with Obama, and a portion of them may not vote for him in November? Are we really certain things are so bad that all Democrats and most Independents will rally around one of the candidates for change so that we can sort out the mess embroiling our nation?

Folks, time and again this has not proven to be the case, and if people keep voting regularly for a fallen star like Hillary Clinton, even as Obama maintains his lead and racks up more and more celebrity political endorsements, there must be a reason. Do we want to take a chance on electoral defeat or should we recognize that the almost split electoral apportionment between them means that voters are not extraordinarily happy with either one of them. Die hards will vote for Obama against McCain. I certainly would. But will it be enough?

Wouldn't it be more mature and practical to rally around someone both sides would happily embrace? Isn't that why the super delegate concept was conceived? To recognize something is seriously wrong with where we have currently found ourselves with a so-called winning candidate unable to close the deal as is pointed out so regularly.

It's not too late to seek creative solutions, which must be found to save us from possible disaster. And the one person who has the best chance to bring almost everyone together is Al Gore. Let's move beyond partisan hysterics and care more about victory in November. Let's be more concerned about improving the quality of life for all Americans and about securing civil rights with fair and forward thinking Supreme Court Justices yet to be appointed.

Obama and Clinton have time to build a more secure foothold on the political landscape. It's clear that a majority of Americans want neither of them. Al Gore has a much better shot to bring home the big prize, and though he has stated he is not interested and did not seek office this year, his sense of patriotism will surely respond to the calls of service, which should be presented to him before it's too late.