Desperation leads to foolishness, and Hillary Clinton is not immune from that process. In a campaign appearance in Florida, Hillary tried to play into the anger that Democrats there feel over their exclusion from the Democratic National Convention by comparing their plight to Zimbabwe. If that wasn’t bad enough, she made a statement that Barack Obama supporters will likely find even more outrageous (via Memeorandum):
Desperate to get attention for her cause to seat Florida and Michigan delegates, Hillary Clinton compared the plight of Zimbabweans in their recent fraudulent election to the uncounted votes of Michigan and Florida voters saying it is wrong when “people go through the motions of an election only to have them discarded and disregarded.”
“We’re seeing that right now in Zimbabwe,” Clinton explained. “Tragically, an election was held, the president lost, they refused to abide by the will of the people,” Clinton told the crowd of senior citizens at a retirement community in south Florida.
Er, Zimbabwe? Did Democratic leadership send armed thugs to beat Hillary voters? We haven’t seen this kind of hysterical paranoia in politics since …. well, since Florida 2000. Either Hillary hasn’t got a foggy clue about what happened in Florida, or what is happening in Zimbabwe right now, or both. No one stole the election in Florida; the state did not follow the rules, and Howard Dean idiotically stripped the state of all its delegates, not half as the Republicans did.
Plus, I’d almost guarantee that some Obama supporters will argue today that the Zimbabwe reference was an intentional provocation regarding race. However, Team Obama won’t need to go that far in spiking the Outrage-o-Meter over Hillary’s commentary, if they choose to acknowledge her comments at all. Hillary practically invited her supporters to vote for John McCain if the DNC doesn’t seat delegates from Florida and Michigan:
In just one day, Clinton has used a variety of arguments to convince her party to seat Florida and Michigan delegates, going as far as comparing the struggles of the voters in Florida and Michigan to those of abolitionists, suffragists, to the plight of Zimbabweans. Clinton even warned that if a resolution is not reached, Democrats in these two states would feel abandoned and likely jump ship to Republican John McCain.
“I think people across Florida and Michigan are thinking to themselves, ‘Well if the Democrats don’t want my vote, maybe John McCain and the Republicans do?’ We can’t let that happen,” she told the small crowd .
Can Obama afford to let that pass? I doubt it. He needs to reach out to those voters when he wraps up the nomination, and Hillary’s wink-wink, nudge-nudge act and subtle threat to the Democrats presents a very large danger to his general-election chances. He will have to answer this, and in doing so Hillary can cast him in the role of an oppressor bent on disenfranchising voters — using her analogy, a Robert Mugabe, which is where the racial provocation appears, even though the problem is really Howard Dean.
Obama has a simple solution at hand: agree to seat the Florida and Michigan delegates, accepting the “uncommitted” delegates from Michigan. Even with that, Obama will still lead Hillary at the convention. It will take the steam out of Hillary’s campaign and make him look magnanimous. And maybe Obama should play the Who Resembles A Dictator game by playing the soundtrack from Evita whenever he mentions Hillary on the campaign trail.