A not so subtle series of statements by Hillary Clinton this week that she and John McCain had lifetimes of experience to bring to the presidency, but Barack Obama had only a single speech*; and, that she and John McCain passed the Commander-in-Chief test, but Barack Obama did not, signaled not only a shift in campaign tactics but also showed what this campaign for the heart of the Democratic Party is really all about.
By aligning herself in two critical areas with John McCain against Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton was sending this message: the "elite", the establishment, the military-industrial complex will ensure that the two major party candidates are in cahoots with them. Sure, they will each have their own different, but overlapping, networks and interest groups. But, the permanent two-party, elite establishment, speaking sweet words but really cutting very sweet deals for insiders, will prevail. And, with McCain echoing Hillary's attacks, she now gets a three-fer: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and John McCain going after Barack Obama. The Empire Strikes Back!
The Clinton campaign has flailed about looking for a message, a slogan, a reason for her candidacy. "Experience", "Change", "Experience to Bring Change", "Solutions", "Ready to Lead", almost every week there is a different slogan. But, the real message of "experience"is that she -- like McCain -- is part of the establishment and will defend it. That is what her alignment with McCain is all about.
Who takes more lobbyist money than any other candidate, Republican or Democrat? Hillary. Who has more lobbyists in positions of power in the campaign? McCain. Who defended paid lobbyists? Hillary (at the YearlyKos convention). Get the picture?
Here is the establishment's game: once Barack is out of the way, the battle is between two different parts of the establishment, two overlapping groups that, while they fight for ultimate power, are never very far out of it even when the other faction takes over. It is musical chairs where there are as many chairs as people.
All versus Obama. While the mainstream media focuses on whether Barack is nasty enough, or how he will pull off "bipartisanship", Barack's backing of Bill Foster provides a glimpse of how a peoples' president, with intelligence, a gift to inspire and modern technology can change the entire game on behalf of the American people.
Barack Obama -- not Hillary Clinton -- actively, with TV ads, supported Bill Foster's attempt to win Dennis Hastert's (former Speaker) seat in the House after Hastert's resignation. Supporting Foster so openly was a risk, as it could have (and we know, would have) been used by the Clintons to raise doubt about Obama's ability to rally support. After all, one thing Bill Clinton did not have was coattails -- he lost the House for the first time in 40 years, and it remained in Republican hands for 12 years.
Bill Foster won a seemingly unwinnable seat, in a very Republican district. It will only take 10-or so of those to start making Congress (Repubicans and Democrats) start serving the general welfare not the lobbyists. That is not bipartisanship in the old sense. It is creating new, supermajorities by breaking the hold of the establishment has on both party elites.
Nor is this even radical. President Eisenhower, a 5-star general, Republican, warned the country about the dangers of the military-industrial complex in his farewell address. Regrettably, the biggest danger most politicians responded to was the risk of being ousted for not playing along, not exactly what Ike had in mind.
One great example of a transformative potential is Earth Day. Twenty-million people came out of their homes to stand up for the planet. WIth that spontaneous show of support, the movement's leaders identified the "dirty-dozen" Congressmen that were biggest supporters of the polluters. Seven (7) were defeated. The remaining 5 got the message. Despite Nixon's opposition, the seminal environmental laws (Environmental Protection Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act) passed. That's why you and I can drink our water, and breathe our air.
And, that was before the internet, and the netroots, and Facebook, and MySpace, and YouTube!
That is what Obama vs. "McClinton" is really about.
*what is more insulting, to be called a "monster" by a campaign operative; or to have your Senatorial colleague and opponent herself state that your entire life's experience, all you are, is one speech?