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This Associated Press article had me saying, “Eh?”

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton accused rival Sen. Barack Obama and his allies of trying to stop people from voting as some of his backers have called on her to drop out of the presidential race.

The Obama campaign rejected the charge, dismissing Clinton’s criticism as “completely laughable.”

Yeah, I don’t know that I have an opinion on this whole Obama/Clinton thing — I’m more disenchanted with Clinton, like most people, for the obvious reasosn, but I’m honestly dubious about the ability of anyone to change Washington, let alone America, with all the pressures and entrenched interests involved. But all that said, this move by Clinton smacks of , “He said I’m stupid!”

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

(Where it’s impossible to know who actually said what, and the only purpose of “tattling” is to get the other person in trouble because Hillary is herself.)

In a series of television interviews in states holding upcoming contests, Clinton vowed to press on with her campaign and suggested Obama and his supporters wanted to keep those states from playing a role in selecting the party’s presidential nominee.

Hearsay like this shouldn’t even be coming out of a presidential candidate’s mouth, and people in general should be bright enough to catch that immediately. But when I looked around, I saw mostly emotional responses, ranging from, “Yeah, see? That’s what teh Obama’s like! ANYONE BUT OBAMA IN ’08!!” to “Clinton sucks. Obama’s going to win! It’s Time For a Change!” to “Man, you all are missing the big picture. McCain’s gonna will all the Dem Defectors when Clinton’s out!” Plus a few people whinging over their lost chance with Ron Paul.

People are entitled to their preferences. But for heaven’s sake you’d think someone would ask Clinton, “Got any evidence? Any names you can name, of the people who’ve been sending official messages to your camp, from Obama himself? Or from his direct underlings? Because otherwise, what’s the point of whining about this on camera?” It should be damning to start throwing around accusations like this — to the accuser, that is, because, really, if someone is losing, and she’s desperate to stay in the game, she’s going to try to turn the whole underdog thing into a bonus — by, for example, implying that it’s not voters but her opponent who put her in that position. It looks so much like posturing that it’s amazing this wasn’t seen as a bad idea. (Then again, given the reactions I mentioned above, maybe I’m just overestimating the rational capacity of the average voter? Maybe it is all about emotional reactions for many, many people. Certainly, it is like that for the voting habits of many people I know. I suspect, for example, here in Korea it was mostly emotions — annoyance at the economy and frustration at Roh Mu Hyun’s general ineffectiveness — that put Lee Myung Bak in power.)

Obama’s publicly said he thinks she should stay in. Whatever messages came from where to whom — if any really did at all — isn’t that part of the game? And frankly, I’d be nervous about the length of this primary, too, if I were in it. Clinton wants to stay in and “keep fighting on,” even if it means splitting the vote between voters who supported her (and may not transfer their votes to Obama) and the other party. Strategically, it makes pretty good sense with the way things look for Obama to be asking the question, do we really want to prolong this? Even if Clinton’s desire to stay in us understandable, it may not be doing her party much service if it puts them out of the White House… and it would be doing the nation a tremendous disservice if it helps the Republicans to retain the White House another term, after the disaster that that has been most of the current decade. I’m not the only person who thinks so:

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy last week became the first leading Democrat to openly call on Clinton to step aside and cede the nomination to Obama. He said he worried the prolonged nominating battle was strengthening the chances of the Republican nominee in waiting, John McCain.

Since then, Obama and his supporters have said Clinton should stay in the race as long as she chooses while indicating a lengthy primary battle would not help the party’s position in the general election.

This might be the tragedy of the left. They cannot seem to organize. The right is usually quite organized in such matters — presenting a unified front. The left — not just the pro political left, but the left in general — is much more fragmented since they represent so many interests, including interests hostile or irreconcilable to one another. (Like how I’m a leftist but wasn’t all that gung-ho in my support for the TV writers’ strike, since I think TV in general is part of the problem that plagues the screwed-over masses.)

As for this:

Obama has been picking up superdelegates at a rapid clip while Clinton’s success with that group has slowed considerably.

“I don’t even keep track of it, I can’t even tell you that figure,” Clinton said when asked by Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA how many superdelegates had endorsed her in recent weeks.

As she spoke, her husband, former President Clinton, was in Oregon, lobbying uncommitted superdelegates.

Yeah, and there’s this bridge you were talking about selling me? I hardly believe that Clinton doesn’t know exactly how many superdelegates she has committed to her, or at least, how many she had at last count. Or, at least, that she couldn’t know within 5 seconds of asking any member of her staff. That’s an “I’m not going to answer that question,” but how can anyone see that as other than euphemism for “Not so many.”
Then again, this is in the political culture where her own husband had to lie about his experience smoking pot because teenaged rebellion (of a kind rather rampantly common during his youth) is too politically damning for the truth to be said. It’s so… silly.

Meanwhile, I’m kind of waiting for a colorized (groan) version of Birth of a Nation to start making the rounds in cinemas. If Obama is in, that’s one more SF trope out the window — happily, I’ll add: the “couldn’t happen today” image of a black President of the USA. Sadly, I fear, it still is SF for too many Americans. I suspect we’re going to see McCain. But I’ll be happy to be proven wrong.

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