About a year ago, I was in a Starbucks in Beverly Hills (or as I like to call it, "America's Heartland"). You were directly behind me in line. While you fumbled around for one of those pre-packaged fruit and cheese plates, I handed the cashier my debit card and told her that I was buying whatever you were getting. You protested: "Aw, naw, man...c'mon." But I insisted. After all, it was an opportunity to do a stupid little something for a man who'd helped shape our country's future. You shook my hand (firmly yet delicately) and thanked me.
As we doctored our coffee side by side at the "Isle O'Fixins," you politely chatted me up about the Clinton fundraiser you'd just attended. You assured me (an ardent Hillary supporter at the time) that she'd have the "war chest" and the party support to win. After our brief encounter, I texted every like-minded Clinton-lover I could think of: "I just bought James Carville breakfast!" OK, a bit of a stretch -- but hyperbole is a natural byproduct of excitement.
For instance, when someone is all riled up and pissed off, he might -- oh, I don't know -- compare the governor of New Mexico to Judas Iscariot.
I didn't think anything of your comments over the weekend. Truth is, there's been so much bomb-throwing between the two Democrats that it's all started to sound like that tinny, temporary deafness Tom Hanks gets in Saving Private Ryan.
But on Monday's Situation Room, after you'd had the whole weekend to cool down, you sat in front of Wolf Blitzer's Wall from the Future and refused to back off the analogy. That's fine. Those are your principles. So let's have a discussion based on those principles:
You're sore at Mr. Richardson because he didn't sew his chevrons back on and "fall in line" (your words) like other Clinton apostles have. Is that really your position? That loyalty should trump judgment? Hmmm...loyalty trumping judgment. I know I've heard that somewh -- oh, that's right! Every day for the last seven years!
Is that really what the Clinton campaign has come to? "You owe us?" Is Hillary going to unveil her new "Shut Up and Pull the Lever" spots in Pennsylvania?
You also likened this primary season to a "forty-minute game" that was unfairly cut down to thirty-six minutes, since the delegates from Michigan and Florida aren't being counted. But there's one itsy bitsy flaw in that logic...
Your candidate agreed to a thirty-six minute game.
All of the democratic candidates did. They agreed that Michigan and Florida's delegates wouldn't be seated, since those states had violated party rules. No campaigning was supposed take place there. Senator Obama didn't even put his name on the ballot in Michigan. He followed the rules. If we're to run with your "forty-minute game" example, Hillary's now trying to get the commissioner to change the rules because she doesn't like the score in the forth quarter.
Sticking to your word is also a principle.
You're a brilliant man, Mr. Carville -- and in my own experience, a kind one. I admire the fact that you've chosen to sew those chevrons back on and defend the Clinton bunker to the last. But don't expect the rest of us to fall in lock step just because they used to be people we worked for or admired. Things change. Judgment trumps loyalty.
Next time, breakfast is on you.