Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Political Blog From The Entertainment Critic: My Mother Could Settle This Hillary Thing


When I was a little boy, my mother would play board games with me during the day to pass the time, or so I thought. What she was really doing was trying to teach me right from wrong. Before we’d play any game of “Sorry” or “Candy Land”, or “Hooks and Ladders,” she would explain the rules of the game to me. She would explain that we had to agree that the game would be played by these rules, and once the game started, the rules would not be changed. She would tell me to play my best, but more importantly, to be a good sport, so I would learn to work and play well with other children who would play games with me in the future. My mother was spending time with me, it was something to, and so I readily agreed. What I had forgotten about was that my mother was older than me, smarter than me, and she had probably played the game before; maybe with her sister, my Aunt Mary, when they were little girls.

Invariably, about midway through the game, I realized not only was I loosing badly, but that the outcome had been decided and there was no way I could win. I had been shut out, whipped, beaten, demolished, and destroyed. That is unless the rules of the game could be changed, so that I could have an advantage to catch up or even to pass her. I mean after all, I’m 3 years old, I’m just a kid, isn’t she supposed to let me win? Aren’t I entitled to victory? What’s up with this “let’s clobber the little guy” stuff? I tried everything. I protested, pouted, stick my lip out, sobbed, screamed, and in general lobbied as hard as I could for a rule change, a break, something, anything to help me get back into the game. But my mother was a stickler for the rules; “rules are rules” she’d say. The result was the unavoidable, embarrassing loss. The crocodile tears would come and I would answer her, “no fair.” That is what I genuinely felt. I sure did not have an abiding affection for the rules.

She would use a handkerchief, and wipe my tears away, and she lower her face and look at me eyeball to eyeball the way mothers do, and she’d say to me, “Jimmy, nobody likes a poor looser. You agreed to play by the rules. You play by the rules. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe next time you’ll win. I want you to learn to play nice with your friends, and to follow the rules. You do your best. It is not whether you win or loose, but how you play the game. You have to learn to be a good sport.”

It was one of the largest epiphanies of my young life. This was not the end of the world. I’d get another chance, another time. I’m not entitled to win all the time. It’s not whether you win or loose. It really is how you play the game. Doing my best within the rules was really the best I could do. I was not better than anyone else, they could win, too. And that is not only ok, but expected.

On August 31st, 2007, Howard Dean, The Chairman of the Democratic National Committee send a letter to all of the candidates indicating that only 4 states would be permitted to hold their primary elections prior to February 5th, 2008: Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. (Rules). If a state other than the 4 held a primary before that date, the penalty was that the state’s delegates would not be seated, or counted toward the total necessary to nominate the Democratic Party’s nominee. Florida and Michigan did not comply with the rules, and moved their primaries up before that date. The penalty came into effect and they lost all of their delegates.

On September 1, 2007, the Clinton Campaign agreed with the rules spelled out in the letter; Florida and Michigan had moved up their primary. They lost their delegates. Those delegates would not count towards that nominating total for the Democratic nominee. At that time, Senator Clinton was “a prohibitive favorite” thought to be entitled to the nomination simply because she had stuck by Bill Clinton through all his messes while he was President. Bill “owed her.” America “owed her.” It was “her turn.” As you will remember there were a lot of other candidates at the start of the process, including a young, upstart, junior Senator from Illinois who gave a whale of a speech at the last Democratic Convention. Although he was a player in the game, and as I learned as a child, all players start out equal, and anyone can and will win, no one gave Barack Obama much of a chance. But as the game progressed, he played very well and he surprised a lot of people. Suddenly, Mrs. Clinton was the underdog and no longer the favorite. Barack was closing in on victory.

In February of 2008, when the pledge to agree to the rules did not favor Mrs. Clinton any more, she wanted to change the rules in the middle of the game. She now wanted the delegates seated and their votes should count. She was loosing. She was entitled. Rules should not disenfranchise so many voters, particularly when she needs those votes to win. Rules were made to be broken. Michigan and Florida should have a say, even when they broke the rules, even after both the Clinton camps and the Obama camps agreed before the game started to abide by the rules. This is despite the fact that neither camp campaigned in those states and in Michigan, Mr. Obama was not even on the ballot. How can the game be fair if one player follows the rules and on the verge of winning, the other player calls time out and changes the rules? This has nothing to do with race, or sex, or gender, or disenfranchisement. This is not people trying to push Hillary out. Everyone can still vote in the general election. This has to do with playing fairly, and not changing the game, just because you are loosing. This is one of those, “I learned everything I need to know about life when I was in kindergarten” type situations.

I lost my mother a few years ago, but I bet if she was here, she’d take Hillary aside, and she’d tell her, “Hillary, nobody likes a poor looser. You agreed to play by the rules. You play by the rules. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe next time you’ll win. I want you to learn to play nice with your friends, and to follow the rules. You do your best. It is not whether you win or loose, but how you play the game. You have to learn to be a good sport.”

Remember, this was wise advice when I was three because if I did not play by the rules of the game, that was like cheating and then no one else would want to play with me, ever again. Check out this link on MSNBC, ( where because of this Florida vote, Hillary is now comparing herself to Al Gore, stating she has won the “popular vote” but due to procedures may be deprived of the nomination. There is blow back against her. Here is an example:

“We in Florida were told that our votes would not count so majority of my friends and neighbors didn't vote. For her to say we didn't count back then and now we do has turned off all of voters here. People have come to realize that she is a farce. Barak has a huge rally on Friday and we will be attending, cause we believe he has a plan for this country. Go Obama 08.”

The permanent loss of credibility whether you are 3 or 53 is a tough thing to face. The Democratic Party will be united and vote as one in November. The people of Florida and Michigan will vote and be counted in the general election, and in all likelihood be seated at the convention in Denver. Will anyone take Hillary Clinton seriously again as their candidate for President? One other thing about this cheating thing my mother taught me; Cheaters never prosper.

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