On Feb. 12, in part 2 of our post on Randi's Succession, we wrote:
[Randi's] plan being to use a national forum [as AFT President] to help Hillary get elected. Ooops! Actually, if Obama is the candidate and loses to McCain, Hillary becomes very viable in 2012, so think long-term. Who do you think the Weingarten/Clinton forces will really be rooting for?) An Obama loss and AFT HQ becomes Hillary Central.
If Obama gets the nomination and loses to McCain, Hillary gets to say "I told you so" and becomes the instant candidate for 2012. At the time, I read the piece to my wife, upon which she, basically a Hillary supporter at the time, said "WHY? HOW COULD THEY WANT McCAIN?" I responded because for the Clintons and their supporters it is about them, not the party. I told her we would be watching the true level of enthusiasm Randi Weingarten and the AFT/UFT have for Obama – oh, there will be lots of surface stuff, but with Randi's star so hitched to Hillary, an Obama win, leaving Hillary in Siberia, would not be part of the plan.
Today, Maureen Dowd ("Hillary or Nobody") raises this same point (has she been reading my blog?):
Even some Clinton loyalists are wondering aloud if the win-at-all-costs strategy of Hillary and Bill — which continued Tuesday when Hillary tried to drag Rev. Wright back into the spotlight — is designed to rough up Obama so badly and leave the party so riven that Obama will lose in November to John McCain.
If McCain only served one term, Hillary would have one last shot. On Election Day in 2012, she’d be 65.
Why else would Hillary suggest that McCain would be a better commander in chief than Obama, and why else would Bill imply that Obama was less patriotic — and attended by more static — than McCain?
Why else would Phil Singer, a Hillary spokesman, say in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday that Obama was trying to disenfranchise the voters of Florida and Michigan. “When it comes to voting, Senator Obama has turned the audacity of hope into the audacity of nope,” he said, adding, “There’s a basic reality here, which is we could have avoided the entire George W. Bush presidency if we had counted votes in Florida.” So is Singer making the case that Obama is as anti-democratic as W. was when he snatched Florida from Al Gore?
Some top Democrats are increasingly worried that the Clintons’ divide-and-conquer strategy is nihilistic: Hillary or no democrat.
(Or, as one Democrat described it to ABC’s Jake Tapper: Hillary is going for “the Tonya Harding option” — if she can’t get the gold, kneecap her rival.)
A few days ago, David Brooks ("The Long Defeat") estimated Hillary's chances of getting the nomination as at best 5% and he wondered why she would be risking the party's chances by undermining Obama to such an extent he can't win.
When you step back and think about it, she is amazing. She possesses the audacity of hopelessness.
Why does she go on like this? Does Clinton privately believe that Obama is so incompetent that only she can deliver the policies they both support? Is she simply selfish, and willing to put her party through agony for the sake of her slender chance? Are leading Democrats so narcissistic that they would create bitter stagnation even if they were granted one-party rule?
We've speculated (here and here) on the lack of democracy in the way Randi Weingarten went about steamrollering the UFT into supporting Hillary Clinton (Are there NO Obama supporters in the UFT, in particular amongst Black UFT'ers and in particular Unity Caucus?) by not allowing the Delegate Assembly to even discuss the endorsement, denying Obama supporters at least the sense of fairness.
Unity Caucus discipline will take care of their Black members. It is hard to believe that not even one Unity Caucus Black member would not be for Obama, with polling numbers around the nation showing a massive drift of Black voters moving from Hillary to Obama.... But in the "democracy" in Unity Caucus, democratic centralism will suppress any sense of support for Obama.
It's all about how to manage the membership. The UFT payed [Hillary advisor] Howard Wolfson to advise them on how to use massive UFT resources in Hillary's campaign without having to go through an endorsement by the members or even hold a discussion where Obama supporters might get to raise a stink.
With the end-game approaching, let's see if members of Unity Caucus are freed to express their enthusiasm for Obama. Randi, hedging her bets as usual, did do some gentle trashing of Obama's positions on education at a recent DA. The UFT (it will take Randi a bit of time to turn over the top level of the AFT in her image) will make it look like they support Obama, while undermining him. This is where Weingarten is at her most brilliant. Feinting left while going right. Or is it feinting right and going left? Actually, it's both at the same time.
There is sure to be some resentment of Black members within Unity Caucus if the UFT slacks off. Mike Mulgrew, Michelle Bodden and other supposed Weingarten successors will have their work cut out for them avoiding cracks in the machine.
I will miss the daily obfuscation show in the UFT when she starts racing around the county this July after her election as AFT president campaigning for Hillary – in '12.