Apologies notwithstanding, there are some things you just do not say in a Presidential campaign. It doesn’t matter how hard you work; how tired you are or what is on your mind. There are some things that demonstrate conclusively that the speech you are engaging in is in bad taste, is improper and at the best can be called poor judgment. The kind of poor judgment that indicates you are not really and truly qualified to be President of The United States.
Hillary Clinton said just such a thing today while in South Dakota, meeting with the Editorial Board of the Argus Leader newspaper, in advance of the June 2d primary in South Dakota. She was defending her position to stay in the race until June, possibly until the time of the convention, when she stated history was on her side as evidence of past nominating time periods not wrapping up until June, “My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary, somewhere in the middle of June, right?" Clinton said in an interview with the Argus Leader newspaper editorial board.
"We all remember, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California, I don't understand it," Clinton said.
The remarks can be read to say that Mrs. Clinton is remaining in the race, just in case someone assassinates Barack Obama, and that history shows that it is possible to obtain the parties nomination as late as June for that reason, even if you are behind. Remarks of this type do not belong in a Presidential campaign. Whether she meant to or not, this sounds like the kind of wishful thinking that has caused our country to lose great men in the past. Whether she meant to or not, this is the kind of statement that can jar the imagination of persons less than stable. This shows bad judgment at a time when we need our political leaders’ best judgment. This raised a question about her fitness to lead, her political judgment, her ability to answer that 3 am call; to be ready to lead on day 1. Or any other day for that matter. This points out why she is called “the most divisive figure in American history”. In this campaign, she has try to divide the country by race, by sex and by class to obtain what she seems to feel is an office that she is entitled to. She has misstated her popular vote figures, her delegate figures, and the actual figures need to win the nomination. There has been a constant threat to drag out the process through the convention, and the Rules Committee to obtain what she wants. There have been made statements from the Clinton camp acting as pressure points to accept her as the Vice Presidential nominee. You cannot help but form the impression that she and her campaign, her husband and Mr. Harold Ickes, will stop at nothing to achieve their objective of moving back into the White House in 2009.
But this time she went too far. The Obama campaign was quick to respond, “"Senator Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign."
This is not the first time she has made similar remarks during this campaign. After the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, she stated, “"Sometimes you gotta calm people down a little bit. But if you look at successful presidential campaigns, my husband did not get the nomination until June of 1992. I remember tragically when Senator Kennedy won California near the end of that process."
In fact, the assassination/nomination idea was first raised in this campaign on January 8, when a Clinton introducer, a retired teacher from New Hampshire, brought it up before Clinton spoke. "If you look back, some people have been comparing one of the other candidates to JFK, and he was a wonderful leader. He gave us a lot of hope," the retired teacher said. "But he was assassinated, and Lyndon Baines Johnson actually did all of his work and got both the Republicans and Democrats to pass those measures."
Do we really want a President or a Vice President who thinks in such terms? All of the angles include succession by assassination, so that why I opposed to people trying to ‘push me out of the race?’
In fairness, Mrs. Clinton did issue an apology, “"I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever. My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to and I'm honored to hold Sen. Kennedy's seat in the United States Senate in the state of New York, and have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family."
This is too little, too late. A small sampling of the response to her remarks by the general public can be found on MSNBC’s website. Here is just an example:
“This is unreal. Hand the nomination to me, even though I can't win, because you know the black guy's going to get shot.The Clintons have done and said enough insulting things throughout this campaign to keep me from ever supporting any member of their family in any political endeavor for the rest of my life. This is abhorrent. The supers need to shove her out of this race, now.”
Or how about this one,
“Every time I think she can't stoop any lower, I am proven wrong. Hillary Clinton is despicable. The Super Delegates new to quit being such cowards and endorse Obama now. If this doesn't shut up all those people claiming an Obama/Hillary ticket is a "dream ticket" then nothing will. It is absolutely disgusting that Hillary would try to use the assassination of RFK to advance her already pathetic arguments, likely requiring a response from the Kennedy family, especially in light of what they are already going through. She is either a truly vile human being, or she needs mental help.”
To use the assassination of man who may have been one of the greatest leaders in American history as an example of a reason to stay in a race, where mathematically, you cannot win is one of the poorest justifications of all time. Another great, insightful man who could bring about badly needed change to our nation is poised to take the nomination. Barack Obama has consistently exercised good judgment, and has demonstrated the intellect and temperament consistent with the office of President. Hillary Clinton is not worthy of your vote, and she is not worthy of holding either the office of President or Vice President. Bill wants her to be one heartbeat away from obtaining the office? Who thinks like this? What conversations has she had with her husband and campaign staff that connects the thoughts, she make a good Vice President and let’s see if he makes it to Denver? Expect the undecided Super Delegates to become Obama supporters very soon. And Hillary, while you are issuing apologies, how about one to Barack and his family? Or didn’t you think that far ahead?