Artorius Castus

10 reasons why Hillary should stay

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on May 1, 2008

May 01, 2008 04:30 AM
Bob Hepburn

Over the last month, Hillary Clinton has come under growing pressure to drop out of what is now a bitter fight with Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Those who want her to quit argue that she can’t win the nomination without a nasty convention battle, that her prolonged presence in the race hurts Obama’s chances in the general election, and that Obama – not Clinton – represents real political change for America.

This assault on Hillary is not limited to Americans. Many Canadians are hooked on the U.S. race, finding it far more intriguing than anything going on in Ottawa.

Clearly, Hillary sparks passion, particularly among women. “I hate her,” a Toronto woman told me forcefully this week. “She’s a liar. She made a mess of health-care legislation. She should quit now.”

But Hillary vows she won’t quit the race before it’s over. She compares herself to Rocky Balboa, of the famous film about an underdog boxer. “When it comes to finishing the fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common,” she said recently. “I never quit. I never give up.”

And she shouldn’t.

Indeed, here are 10 reasons why Hillary should stay in the race:

1. She has strong, well-thought-out positions on topics from health care to Iraq and the environment. If anything, she has a wonk-like obsession with policy.

2. She is smart, has outstanding academic credentials, and was her husband Bill Clinton’s most trusted White House adviser.

3. She has a strong personality, enthusiasm, determination. She has never been afraid to fight for what she believes in.

4. She has a strong team of advisers who could form the backbone of a Hillary White House.

5. She is still winning primaries, and has won almost all the big states, including New York and California, that the Democrats must win in November to gain the White House. While Hillary trails slightly in elected delegates, she is virtually tied with Obama in popular votes. Polls show they are in a dead heat in Indiana while Obama leads in North Carolina, two states with primaries next Tuesday.

6. She is the beneficiary of the political damage inflicted upon Obama by the controversial comments by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who was Obama’s pastor for 16 years. Obama is outraged by the latest assertion by Wright that criticism of his incendiary sermons is an attack on the black church, but polls show his support slips every time Wright opens his mouth.

7. She fares better in polls against Republican nominee John McCain than does Obama. In a USA Today poll taken April 18 to 20, Clinton led McCain 50-44 per cent while Obama led him by 47-44 per cent.

8. She is ahead of Obama in winning support of “super delegates,” who are party officials and elected politicians. This is important because neither she nor Obama will have the 2,024 pledged delegates needed to win before the convention starts. Eighty per cent of those delegates are awarded through primaries; the other 20 per cent are super delegates, who can vote any way they want at the convention.

9. What is so wrong about a “contested” convention? They are rare in the U.S., the last one being in 1952 when Adlai Stevenson won the Democratic nomination. In Canada, though, we see them every time a party holds a leadership race. Here, emotions run high, bitter words are spoken, but no one argues that every candidate except the front-runner should drop out before the actual balloting begins. There will be lots of time after the convention to heal party rifts and focus on beating McCain on Nov. 4.

10. She is carrying the hopes and dreams of millions of women.

Of all the reasons she should stay in the race, this is the one most troublesome for Hillary. Like it or not, she is a trailblazer, the woman with the best chance ever to be the world’s most powerful leader.

“Even women who dislike Hillary and those of us who are ambivalent about her do not want her to throw in the towel now,” said one Toronto woman who is fascinated with the Obama-Clinton contest.

“I want her to prove something for women – that we can fight with everything in us for what we want and play by our own rules, that 40 years of the feminist movement has given us that right. Let’s at least show that this woman has what it takes to go the distance.

“The harder she fights the more I think: `You go girl.'”

Given Hillary’s tenacity, she might just well fight harder – and for longer.

Bob Hepburn’s column appears every Thursday. bhepburn@thestar

Paying Candian journalists for campaign ads is stooping low, this barfer reads like a press release…

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