Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Give Me A Hand

So much for unity in the Democratic Party. I don't think it's a particularly positive image for Barack Obama to turn his back on Hillary Clinton after last night's State of the Union address by the President. He is running a campaign built on bringing people together and bridging the gaps that exist in this country. He really should start by practicing what he preaches. I understand that the campaign has been contentious at times, but shaking hands with your rival is a clear signal that you understand the line that "The Godfather" made famous, "it's not personal, it's just business".

The Clintons have made it clear that they are ready to fight for this nomination and that they are willing to run an "ends justify the means" type of campaign. This may engender some bitter feelings, but if the Democrats have any hope of winning in the fall, then the loser of this campaign must throw their support wholeheartedly behind the winner. Turning your back on an opponent sends the wrong signal to your supports. It appears to be petty and will allow your supporters to act the same way. Obama's supporters, in particular, may be less inclined to vote for Clinton if she ends up with the nomination and he needs to make sure that he sends the right signals to them during the nomination battle. He needs to let them know that while this contest for the nomination may be hard fought, that at the end of the day, the Democratic party is united in it's efforts to recapture the White House.

This really was a mistake on his part. I know that his explanation will be something like, "Oh, I didn't even realize that she was there", or some such nonsense. He knew very well she was there (they were only four seats apart) and he clearly wanted to make a point, but it was the wrong place and time for that kind of grandstanding. It was strictly playground politics. It was childish and he should be above that kind of thing. Obama will be back out on the trail today with Ted Kennedy in tow and I'm sure he will continue selling his message of change and togetherness. Last night he lost a golden opportunity to show that he indeed does practice what he preaches.

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