Allow me to deviate from what is apparently the emerging consensus that the dust up between Obama and Clinton is a bad thing. First of all, nobody in the real world cares. People aren’t paying attention to the political machinations this far out ahead of time, no matter how much the media, the pols, and the political junkies like myself are. It has no impact on the general election.
But it has been a long time since the Democrats had a real fight for the nomination. In ’96 and ’00 we essentially had incumbent administrations running, and while Gore had something of a challenge from Bill Bradley it wasn’t very serious. But the argument can be made that Bradley forced Gore to be a little quicker on his feet. In 2003-4 we had less of a nomination process than a coronation. I fault myself for this as well, but the desire to knock out Bush was so strong, Dems thought the right path was to get the “silly” nomination thing over with as quickly as possible. To his political credit, Sen. Kerry got the wind to his back and kept on running. But by the summer of ’04 it became clear the Kerry team wasn’t ready to fight back in a modern campaign setting. He hadn’t really been tested in the primaries and caucuses so Bush just smashed us in the mouth and ran to the end zone.
Right now we’re seeing some friction between Obama, Clinton, and Edwards. Good. Make ’em fight. Make ’em rumble. Let’s see who’s going to have the right kind of operation to fight a Republican party that is not only going to be as strong as they were operationally in 2004, but cruising for a major fight after losing in 2006. They’re not going to roll over, and neither should our candidates. There will be lots of time for kumbaya moments. Hillary will join hands with Obama, whoever loses the nomination will endorse the eventual winner. We’ll have a candidate who could tough out the party nomination and will be ready to face the Republicans.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.