Monday, August 11, 2008

John Edwards' affair was a betrayal... of Hillary

You might have been thinking that John Edwards' affair was a betrayal primarily of his wife and children, and secondarily of the voters, supporters, and campaign staffers who believed in him.

You would have been wrong.

ABC News is reporting that the most aggrieved party in the Edwards infidelity scandal is none other than Hillary Clinton.

Sen. Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic presidential nominee if John Edwards had been caught in his lie about an extramarital affair and forced out of the race last year, insists a top Clinton campaign aide, making a charge that could exacerbate previously existing tensions between the camps of Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.

"I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," former Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson told
Oh, yes. Obama beat Clinton in Iowa by eight points, but according to Wolfson, if Edwards' affair had come to light sooner, she would have won the caucus, and then would have gone on to win the nomination. No question about it.

Wolfson's suggestion comes at a delicate time in negotiations between the Clinton and Obama camps, as the Obama campaign decides whether the convention later this month should feature a roll call vote allowing Clinton's delgates to voice their enthusiasm for their candidate. Many Clinton supporters are already resentful of Obama, whom they see as having only won the nomination with the support of a sexist media and democratic establishment. Wolfson's argument that these same players helped keep Edwards in the race, thus hurting Clinton -- a highly debatable contention -- will likely only fan the flames of Democratic division.

Wolfson's contention is not shared by the Obama campaign, whose officials never bought the argument that Clinton was the second choice of Edwards voters. Immediately after Edwards dropped out of the race at the end of January, Obama won eleven straight contests in a row.

And Clinton's steadfast refusal to say she regretted her vote to authorize use of force in Iraq -- unlike Obama, who always opposed the war, and Edwards, who said his vote for war was a mistake -- turned off many anti-wars liberals in Iowa, who make up a disprortionate number of caucus goers.
It is all about her.

Even now, two weeks from the convention, it is still all about her.

Obama won the nomination. He won more delegates, more states, and more votes than Hillary Clinton, but the dead-enders in the supposedly suspended Clinton campaign still cannot accept that reality. They're still arguing over the results in Iowa, of all things. They're still contriving scenarios under which Hillary actually won, rather than lost, the nomination.

The Clinton camp spent much of the primary race arguing that if the rules were only different, then Hillary would have been the winner. And they're still at it. If only the media had reported on rumors of John Edwards' affair, then Hillary would be the nominee today.

I wonder if Howard and Hillary feel the same way about all infidelity rumors involving prominent Democrats, especially those in which the rumored cheater has a public record of stepping out on his spouse. Does Hillary imagine that Iowa would have been a lock for her if those rumors had been fully explored in the press in late 2007 and January of 2008?

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