Archive for May 31st, 2008

Obama’s Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Choice

May 31, 2008

C-SPAN is covering the DNC’s Rule and By-Laws Committee meeting, which will determine what to do with the troublesome FL and MI delegations.

On the facts, it couldn’t be clearer that the Clinton campaign and its supporters are engaging in what lawyers call “sharp pleading.” It’s clear that Sen. Clinton has, quite intentionally, dealt in bad faith on this issue from the get-go, starting all the way back last year, when this same DNC committee decided that FL and MI would get no delegates, and asked all the candidates to pledge not to participate in their elections; a pledge Sen. Clinton signed.

Watching the committee meeting, however, one can’t help but notice that Sen. Clinton made a much, MUCH, MUCH better choice of spokesman. Sen. Bill Nelson (FL), despite having all the facts against him, came across as calm, reasonable, and genuinely concerned for finding a way to both honor the votes from his state, and do so in a way that promoted party unity. He was, in a word, senatorial.

Obama chose Rep. Robert Wexler (FL), who shouted an abrasive, adversarial, stem-winder of a speech, and continued to be loud, abrasive, and adversarial during the Q&A period with the committee members. He managed, despite having all the facts on his side, to come off sounding like the unreasonable one; when asked sharp questions by Clinton supporters on the committee, rather than answering directly with the reasonable Obama position — that is, you don’t decide the winner of a contest under a different set of rules than the rules the contest was played under — he stuttered and became evasive. IOW, he spoke as if he were on the floor of the House of Representatives, not among friends.

However the committee vote comes out — and the smart money all seems to say it will not do what the Clinton campaign wants — choosing Wexler as his spokesman will have been a terrible decision by Obama. Wexler was a disaster. He hardened feelings among Clinton supporters, and managed to make it seem as if Obama were the one trying to pull a fast one. He made it seem it was Obama threatening to divide the party if he didn’t get his way, rather than Clinton.

One would have thought someone as rhetorically gifted and politically savvy as Obama would’ve known better. Even if you can’t find a better spokesman from FL than Wexler, how can you not have made it abundantly clear to the guy, on pain of death, what kind of tone he had to take?