Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in the Business Mirror, May 28,2008 edition, p. A10.

“What one must lose in order to win is sometimes not worth the price of playing.” – The Rude Pundit

Hillary Clinton said she would stay in the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries all the way to the end. There’s nothing wrong with that. It ain’t over till it’s over and her supporters expect her to put up a good fight. Unfortunately, she’s fighting dirty in order to win.

After losing heavily in North Carolina and narrowly winning Indiana, Hillary claimed the two elections showed Obama did not have the support of  “working, hardworking Americans, white Americans.”

The Rude Pundit decoded that language for anyone too dense to understand its meaning.

He wrote: “Clinton’s final appeal for the Democratic nomination is this: ‘America is a racist nation. While there’s a lot of black people who will vote for me, there’s way more white people who won’t vote for Obama because they think he’s a Muslim nigger.’”

But putting aside her not-so-subtle appeal to racism, which, unfortunately, is still normal in any American electoral contest involving a white and a non-white, the big foul committed by Hillary, is trying to change the rules of the game after she pledged to abide by them.

Last year, the states of Florida and Michigan leapfrogged the Democratic electoral calendar by setting their primaries before the traditional opening contests of Iowa and New Hampshire.  The Democratic National Committee’s rules panel responded by declaring the Florida primary out of order and stripped the state of its delegates.  Michigan would suffer the same fate. (By the way, 12 of the 30 DNC committee members who voted to disenfranchise Florida’s voters belonged to Hillary.)

On September 1, 2007, a week after the DNC’s decision, all the major Democratic Party candidates signed a pledge not to campaign or participate in the Florida and Michigan primaries.

Hillary’s campaign issued the following statement:

“We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process. And we believe the DNC’s rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role. Thus, we will be signing the pledge to adhere to the DNC-approved nominating calendar.”

In October 2007, before the Michigan primary, Hillary said, “It’s clear this election they are having is not going to count for anything.”

Three months later, after “winning” the Florida and Michigan “primaries,” Hillary changed her mind.

She said, “I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan….I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention. I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this.”
By the last week of May, Hillary was arguing that the re-enfranchisement of the delegates of Florida and Michigan was a crusade to save what America is all about.

She told an audience in Boca Raton, Florida, “I am here today because I believe that the decision our party faces is not just about the fate of these votes and the outcome of these primaries. It is about whether we will uphold our most fundamental values as Democrats and Americans….

“Because here in America, unlike in many other nations, we are bound together, not by a single shared religion or cultural heritage, but by a shared set of ideas and ideals, a shared civic faith, that we are entitled to speak and worship freely, that we deserve equal justice under the law, that we have certain core rights that no government can abridge and these rights are rooted in and sustained by the principle that our founders set forth in the Declaration of Independence. That a just government derives its power from the consent of the governed, that each of us should have an equal voice in determining the destiny of our nation. A generation of patriots risked and sacrificed lives on the battlefield for that ideal….

“Now, I’ve heard some say that counting Florida and Michigan would be changing the rules. I say that not counting Florida and Michigan is changing a central governing rule of this country—that whenever we can understand the clear intent of the voters, their votes should be counted….The votes of 1.7 million people should not be cast aside because of a technicality. The people who voted did nothing wrong, and it would be wrong to punish you.”

Hillary Clinton reminds me of another female politician who reneged on a pledge.