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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hillary Clinton's "Alamo" Speech

Andy Martin outlines why Hillary Clinton should stay in presidential campaign, and how her valor in the face of defeat could even bring victory.

Executive Editor

“Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct”





(NEW YORK)(May 8, 2008) There aren't many people today who believe Hillary Clinton should stay in the presidential race. Maybe her. Probably Bill. And me. Here's why.

I am never impressed when someone complains of sex discrimination as a sop for losing a fair fight. But I also know that discrimination exists and it is real. Women are often held to a double standard. That is especially true in politics. And rather surprisingly for a columnist, I have had a small role in the history of breaking down sexual barriers and bringing equality to the workplace. Thirty-nine years ago I was a party to the FCC's landmark sex discrimination case involving AT&T (Docket No. 19801 for those who care). I was opposed to sexual or racial discrimination. I always have been; always will be.

Now why Clinton has to stay in the race.

National politics, and particularly Democratic Party politics, has been increasingly "feminized" in recent decades. There used to be rough-and-tumble battles for national nominations. Conventions were raucous places. And worse.

Today conventions have become sedate, desiccated. As a result they have lost their key role. Instead, midtown Manhattan TV news executives have become the mandarins of nominating politics. Candidates must be "positive," and avoid telling the truth about their opponents. They must fold their campaigns when ordered to do so by the media mavens. And women are permitted, but not welcome, to sit at the national table. Clinton faces all of these challenges.

One of the cable TV pundit complaints about Clinton has been that her campaign "moves the goal posts." That is, they change the metrics by which a campaign's viability can be measured. She is criticized for that. Because she's a woman. Obama was the one who said Indiana would be the "tie-breaker," and when Clinton broke the tie she was ruthlessly ridiculed and told to pack it in. How can it be "moving the goal posts" when Clinton does it, and be ignored when Barry O does the same? Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm said that the discrimination she faced as a woman was much worse than the discrimination she faced based on race. That may well be true.

The history of male conflict, and particularly male politics, is that men take their causes to the convention, and fight the good fight. Near as I can tell, Ron Paul is planning to do that in the Republican Party Convention in Minneapolis. Adlai Stevenson took his hopes for a third nomination to the 1960 Democratic Convention even though it was apparent Senator John F. Kennedy was leading. No one thought less of Stevenson. Or Lyndon Johnson. Goldwater and Rockefeller battled in 1964. No one is attacking Paul. It appears he will be seeking to have his name placed in nomination, and to speak to the convention, laying out his conservative agenda. Good for him.

Contrast, if you will, sports and politics today. What would happen if a football team, at any level of play from sand lot to professional, said at the end of the third quarter, "we can’t catch up" and forfeited a game? The rule of football is you play hard until the last play. In a legendary Illinois game, the Fighting Illini confronted a vastly more powerful Wisconsin team led by All-American Alan Ameche. An Illini player yelled, "Send Ameche at me" and stopped Wisconsin cold. Illinois won. These are the legends of sports. There are no teams that surrendered once the opposition had a lead.

Likewise, who in baseball would say "we can't win against the Yankees, so why bother. We will save the plane fare and just forfeit those games." No one would make such absurd statements. Ballplayers "run it out" until the last game of the season.

Politicians are the only ones who are two-faced. They tell us they believe in their causes, and then after promising to "take it all the way to the convention," collapse a few days later. Only in politics is such perfidiousness and inconstancy tolerated and encouraged.

So Hillary has a challenge, and she must meet it. If she really believes she is the best candidate, and I believe she does, she must deliver her "Alamo" speech. She should announce this week or next that indeed she will take her campaign "all the way to the convention." She will ask that her name be placed in nomination, and she will ask for a roll call vote. She should announce that she hopes her current supporters will stay true to the cause, or they are welcome to drop by the wayside.

Whether you want to call this strategy "Fixed bayonets," or the "300 Spartans," that is the way men who believe in their causes have traditionally fought throughout history. If Hillary wants to be equal, she must demonstrate equal passion and commitment. Her certitude and fortitude might even scare Obama partisans and make some of them defect. They will not be so cocky when they are warned in advance that they will have to fight until the last dog dies. Barry O may order double portions of arugula. And, as in the Saturday Night Live spoof, he might start smoking again.

If Hillary made such an advance commitment and a clear showing of strength, she would obviously lose some support on the fringes. Big names may even desert her. Feinstein and Schumer come to mind. But there will be an army of believers who will faithfully follow her to the convention floor. And into the history books. She will truly make history.

She will also short-circuit the pundits, and show them for what they are: hollow blowhards who have never been in the arena and panic at the slightest whiff of danger or unforeseen challenge.

Yes, Clinton may lose. The odds are against her. Teams and armies and organizations of men have been fighting and losing since the dawn of history. No one thinks less of them. Leonidas is enshrined as a Greek hero for his stand at Thermopolye. There is no shame in defeat. There is only dishonor in surrender. If her name is placed in nomination, and if she demands a roll call vote, there will be no discredit or deceit in saying at the end of the process, "I support the winner." That's what guys do every day.

Republican Karl Rove has a column in the Wall Street Journal today in which he notes that the endless primaries may have actually strengthened and energized the Democratic Party.

I agree. Decent opponents who fight for passionate views in an honorable manner have never left the battle field, and losing in a good fight is nothing to be afraid of. Ironically, the suspense of a convention floor fight and roll call vote could further energize the Democrats. Be careful what you pray for, Republicans. Karl Rove sees the risk.

The delegate totals for each candidate will be close. Super-delegates can change their mind up to the roll call. Nothing is set in stone. Yes, Obama has a lead. Good for him. I don't care much for him as a candidate but I very much respect what he has accomplished even if I disagree with him and his supporters. But in a close race, where only a hundred voters or so may separate two evenly-matched competitors, the decision should be made in a dramatic convention vote. Even if the outcome is known in advance, the vote itself will create an element of suspense that will draw huge TV audiences to the Democrats' activities in Denver.

If Clinton runs the good race, down to the convention floor, there will be no shame in defeat. She has every right to do what men since time immemorial have done: ask for a division of the house (vote).

And so, honey, that's how it has to be:

[1] Hillary, be a guy, a real guy. At the least, show the guys how it was once done, mano a mano on the floor of the convention

[2] In the style of the Alamo, draw the line in the sand. Tell your supporters that you believe in yourself and your cause, and let them exit if political expediency is what they prefer. There must be no hard feelings for those who abandon you. This drama will overwhelm the media and intimidate Obama. Barry is not a warrior.

[3] Announce your plans and strategy, now, early and openly, but be aware that once you lay out the battle plan, you must go through with it. No John Edwards-style announcing you are in to the end, and then surrendering a few days later.

[4] Craft a "fight/talk" message that is honorable but still throws tough punches at Obama for all of his obvious defects and limitations.

[5] Announce there will be no retreat, only defeat on the battlefield. Nothing spooks an enemy more than valor in the face of defeat. It has worked before. It could work for you.

And do all of this for every woman that ever looked up to you, or ever will. By demonstrating extreme bravery and self-confidence, you will find yourself remembered in the history books for honor and courage, and not for surrendering to a bunch of three martini expense account media jocks in midtown Manhattan. And if Obama loses, you will be an overwhelming favorite for 2012. The Democrats will know you have what it takes.

Do it for the girls. And take it to the convention.

We’re not always first because we are #1;
We are #1 because we're always first.
Andy Martin, Chicago's #1 Internet columnist, broadcaster and media critic, is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin covers regional, national and world events with more than forty years of experience. He is a chronicler of all things Midwestern and the authentic Voice of Middle America. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. He has been a candidate for U. S. Senator from Illinois. Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Columns also posted at; [Editing note: we make typos, and we can’t recall every posting or e-mail; but updated versions are usually found on our blogs and web site.]


Blogger julie dickson said...

Thank you, Andy. I circulate articles to a list of about 60 Hillary Clinton supporters every day. These last two days have been difficult for us. You have us pumped up again and we will do what we can to share your good words and enthusiasm. Many thanks, Julie

11:01 AM  
Blogger Jbrown said...

Great Job Andy, you need to check out this website.
Keep the truth about Obama and Hillary's chances alive.

6:26 AM  
Blogger rose said...

Thank you Andy
We have been commenting on this and when hillary talks about it they try to belittle her even more. As a group of women we speak out but if only more honest men who aren't threatened by a strong woman. you spoke of the MSNBC gang and their very sexist hateful violent comments that were dismissed as a figure of our imagination..than you so much. maybe you could put this out there where more peope could see it??

9:05 PM  

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