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The Tentacle


January 22, 2008

All Over But...

Roy Meachum

Marylanders' primary vote in three weeks could mean bupkus (less than nothing). Nothing will probably matter after a whole passel of states square off the week before, February 5. It looks to me like the traditional Democratic bosses want Bill Clinton's former first lady. After the Iowa surprise, that's what we have seen. They took over in New Hampshire and Nevada.

Despite the presence in Maryland of a considerable number of African Americans, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will probably walk away with the bulk of the state's delegates to the national convention. It could be the flood of new Democratic voter registrations in record numbers bode well for the campaign's freshest face.

But remnants of Baltimore's formerly all-powerful machines, combined with other "safely" Democratic counties, figure to deliver for the lady who boasts endorsements from all the political figures that still really matter. Unfortunately for the party's movers-and-shakers, there's no way from denying Sen. Barack Obama a number of delegates. The question remains how many?

And there's the rub.

All Democrats not hooked to the present bumbling infrastructure instinctively understand electing the senator from New York means more of the same: the management that brought us Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, George Dukakis and John Kerry whose name belongs on the list because he flopped as a political in-fighter.

Nominating Mrs. Clinton guarantees significant votes for any GOP candidate who delineates his 180 degree difference from the incumbent president. The senator from New York can not make that claim. To get along with the Washington establishment, she's gone along like the party hack she is.

Principles obviously mean less to her than playing the political game. She notoriously carried George W. Bush's spear in the war, while Senator Obama has not. Mud thrown at the African American upstart promises to revive Mr. Clinton's old title "Slick Willy:" His heavily sarcastic "Give me a break" when faced with the new Illinois's senator's firm opposition to the U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Frederick Congressman Roscoe Bartlett told me and others that he thought the invasion was a bad mistake, while going along with his Republican Party to support funds for the troops. But Mr. Bartlett is a Republican, after all. Furthermore, he counted noses; his nay vote would have made no difference.

Mrs. Clinton belongs to the opposition; she faced no threats and penalties if she had branded the administration's misadventure a big mistake. Even with a strong majority of voters wanting to leave Iraqis to solve their own problems, the New York senator talks of years before she could sponsor a total withdrawal.

She shares with the White House blame for continuing American casualties; they go right along with thousands of Iraqi woman, children and men dying because of the turmoil created by U.S. interference in that part of the world. I don't want to hear about the number of casualties that might have happened had our soldiers stayed home.

Any talk of changing Washington strikes at the core that the Clintons count on; they know how to operate the system. And any thought about the ex-president leaving his wife alone in the Oval Office prompts his current expression: "Give me a break!"

Readers not familiar with my record could assume I'm one of those male chauvinists who insist on putting down women. But reading my past columns will show that I've backed a slew of candidates from the opposite gender, beginning with former commissioner and delegate Anita Stup.

Beverly Byron, Fran Baker and Sue Hecht earned all my support. Ex-mayor Jennifer Dougherty ran for City Hall the first time with my column solidly in her corner, even though she was another carpetbagger from Washington.

She traveled up initially to attend Mount St. Mary's and then whistled up the family. Her father-lawyer brought heavy pockets; he financed the purchase of Manyunk's, reborn as Jennifer's. She lost elections before triumphing over Jim Grimes, and the rest of her clan went to town.

As I've written, Ms. Dougherty's entry into the scramble to unseat Rep. Roscoe Bartlett divides local Democrats precisely when they should be together. She spurned the local party and jumped in against favorite Andrew Duck whose 2006 campaign for the congressional seat at least earned him to right to try again.

In both Hillary Rodham Clinton's and Jennifer Dougherty's instances their gender would normally count as a plus to me. As far as both ladies are concerned, their membership in the opposite sex gets shoved aside because of the negatives I know about them.

For Ms. Dougherty, losing three times would seem a reflection of her screaming lack of acceptance by the electorate. For Mrs. Clinton, I object to her ambition and her tactics; her husband once enjoyed my intellectual respect but his down and dirty politics have lost me.

Still, as I conceded at the top, the ex-president and his establishment cronies appear to be in position to turn back Barack Obama's attempted revolution. That's the country's loss. As well as mine.



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