Monday, May 26, 2008

Why Is Clinton Being Encouraged to Withdraw

Over the last two months the cry from various Democrat operatives for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race has increased dramatically. Those who clamor for her to withdraw tend to be aligned with Obama or strong supporters of Howard Dean who argue that by her hanging around she is undermining Obama’s chance of winning the national election in November. On the surface their arguments seem solid, but in reality they are as solid as ice that is only an inch thick.

By remaining in the race Clinton’s team is forcing Obama’s team to hone their skills, strategies and messages. Obama and his team are gaining experience that will put them on more solid ground during the national campaign. By remaining in the race Clinton is keeping the national spotlight upon Obama and herself. If she dropped out, Obama would get a third to half of the media attention he is receiving now. Hence, his message penetrating further into the general public than it would have otherwise.

It is argued the Obama is having to spend money on the Democrat race rather than building the national war chest. That argument too is thin when one considers that the money being spent is getting the message out in States that would normally be neglected at this time. The message increases his profile and helps stir growing support well before Labor Day. The money being spent is putting in place local staff and volunteers that would not be in place at the same level for months. To put it into a sports analogy, Obama’s team and volunteers are undergoing a preseason conditioning program that again will serve them well in the months to come. Also, the national media attention is giving him free messaging that is worth more than he would spend at this time of year.

If those putting the pressure upon Clinton with withdraw know well much of the above, then what is going on? The growing pressure has more to do with Florida and Michigan. Howard Dean has made a series of major strategic error and misjudgment. Instead of looking forward and finding an equitable means to address the problem he created he keeps crying in Republican language, “adhering to the rules override everything.”

If Clinton drops out, Dean does not need to come up with a solution. He can breathe a sigh of relief by pronouncing that both States will be seated and able to vote. There is a meeting next Saturday to resolve the problem, but I doubt that anything will happen if Clinton is still in the race. They will announce that they have a good airing of issues and examination of options but will meet a week or two later to make a decision. In the meantime operatives will pressure Clinton to withdraw. If at the second meeting of the committee Clinton has not withdrawn, they will find a way to hold off making a decision until early July.

If Clinton withdraws, within two days Dean will be before the national cameras announcing a solution. The calls by various operatives has more to do with helping Dean and the party to save face rather than fixing a problem they have created than about Obama.

Dean has given the Republicans a major opportunity. The Republican message to both States will be simple, that the Republicans do not believe in disenfranchising them by disregarding their opinions and votes.

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