Friday, September 28, 2007

Taking care of business by killing off the Freddy Krueger of California initiatives

Lord knows, like anyone who hates this war, I've long had issues with Hillary Clinton, and I hardly need to spell them out here. Not as if they aren't talked to death every day in the blogosphere. I've had my flirtations with other candidates for 2008. Mostly Edwards. A few nods in Richardson's direction. The occasional nostalgic pang of longing for "the real president," Al Gore, to step forward and (re)claim the White House.

But lately, I've been thinking that the only candidate that can possibly stand up to the likely Republican attempt to once again steal what they can't get from the voters is Hillary. She's tough enough. She's been there. She knows what these guys are like. And she doesn't take anything for granted. Ever since Edwards caved to right wing pressure to fire two women bloggers, Melissa McEwean and Amanda Marcotte, I've thought he was a babe in the woods who could never survive in next year's political jungle. And I don't see anyone else who could. (Richardson himself lost his job as Energy Secretary through the vast right wing conspiracy's assault on Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee, who turned out to be innocent of the charges lodged against him.) We can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We need a Democrat who can actually win the White House in reality, not just theory.

Take for example, the stealth attempt to throw half of California's electoral votes to the Republican candidate, pretty much dooming any Democratic chances in 2008. It sounds absurd, until you realize it's about as absurd as the Supreme Court throwing the election to Bush in 2008, and that if passed in a June, 2008 initiative, the measure would probably result in sending the 2008 election back to an even more conservative set of Supremes. But now the campaign has apparently died, according to Andrew Malcolm blogging for the LA Times, in part due to opposition from some of Hillary's supporters.
The initiative began in July with an air of mystery. Its text and paperwork were filed by a Republican law firm in Sacramento -- Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk -- but the actual identity of the backers was unknown. Observers noted the initiative would have helped independent candidates because its text specifically provided for third-party or independent candidates to win electoral votes by district.

Supporters said the initiative would increase California's role in presidential politics and better represent the state's diversity.

Opposition was led by Democratic consultant Chris Lehane who received financial backing from donors such as Stephen Bing, like Lehane a Hillary Clinton backer who saw any threat to keeping all of California's electoral votes as unacceptable.

"We want to to make sure this is not the Freddy Krueger of initiatives," Lehane said today, "that comes back to life. We'll continue to monitor it." Morain's full story is available here.
I was hoping Hillary would address this threat after she safely emerged from the primaries. Looks as if she decided it would be dangerous to let it drag on that long. Exactly the sort of attention to detail a strong, experienced political team can bring to the table -- and that's what we need.

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