Suggestion to Rush Limbaugh: Enough Operation Chaos

If Rush Limbaugh were to ask my opinion about his “Operation Chaos” in which he encouraged Republican voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in their states’ Democratic primaries (including changing their party registration if necessary), here’s what I’d say. It was certainly clever, and it’s certainly been effective. Now it’s time to know when to stop. Hillary Clinton’s continuation this far in the race has been great for those of us who (even if not big fans of John McCain) shudder at the idea of either President Hillary or President Barack. The two Democrats are raising each other’s “negatives” with their attacks and, just as importantly, are spending huge amounts of money while John McCain spends close to zero and stays above the fray. Maintaining a hint of possibility for Hillary to be nominated has been more than enough to keep her fighting as hard as she can, using every friend, trick, and debt she can, even surviving the incredible missteps of her husband. The key is maintaining enough of that hint of possibility without actually raising her chances substantially. If Hillary were to do exceptionally well in the remaining primaries, she still won’t catch Obama in pledged delegates, but she will have a very strong argument to make that she should be the party’s nominee because Obama is unelectable. Indeed, despite Obama’s apparent inevitability after Iowa, I believe (and polls suggest) that if the election were held today, he would have a more difficult time against McCain than Clinton would. At this point, it’s likely that Clinton will stay in until the convention. Sure, there’s a chance she’d get out if she lost Indiana, but I don’t think the Clinton ego, being this close to the brass ring, will drop out. Don’t forget, if Obama wins the presidency, Hillary almost certainly can’t challenge him in 2012 as an incumbent. So she’d have to wait until 2016, at which time she’d be 69 years old…certainly old enough that her age would be a liability in an election. So, Hillary’s best chance is either to get the nomination now or to hope that John McCain wins so she can try again in four years, during which time she’ll do everything she can to put herself in an “I told you so” position for the next campaign. Even if she’s fairly certain she won’t get the nomination, she probably has to stay in the race just to weaken Obama. The only team the Clintons play for is the Clinton team. Sure, if Obama doesn’t get the nomination, many blacks won’t vote, especially if he’s not on the ticket as VP. Conventional wisdom, and there certainly is truth to it, is that large numbers of blacks staying home could cost the Democrats one or more must-win states, like Ohio or Florida or possibly even Michigan (that’s a longshot for a Republican, but not impossible.) But more women vote than blacks, and if Hillary stormed back to get the nomination, no matter how unseemly the process might appear to the public, she would get an immense boost, as her husband did, as “The Second Comeback Kid”. Her momentum would help her fund-raising immensely and would inspire more women to make the effort to get to the polls…maybe even enough to offset the blacks who would stay home. So, Rush, Pat yourself on the back (as if you don’t already do that often enough) and now let the votes fall where they may, hopefully not strong enough for Hillary that she actually does get the nomination through convincing super-delegates of her electability. Operation Chaos has gone on long enough and it’s accomplished just what you set out to. Time to cut it off so that we don’t actually give Hillary a serious chance of getting the nomination. I’d much rather face a weakened Obama, peppered with images of a lapel without an American flag, not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem, and of course Jeremiah Wright, than face the sequel of the Comeback Kid. The current situation in the Democratic Party could hardly be better for Republicans. As Napoleon suggested (or at least it’s attributed to him), “never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake.” At this point, more of Operation Chaos would simply be an interruption.
  • joe harrington
    Comment from: joe harrington
    05/02/08 @ 01:51:53 am

    Ross I hope that Rush sees this. I wholeheartedly agree with you and believe that the risk of a "surge" of black turnout drawn from about 16% of the population is less than a risk of a surge of women turnout from their 53% of the population... about 300% less risk from Obama than from Clinton. Joe

  • Mike DePinto
    Comment from: Mike DePinto
    05/02/08 @ 04:09:19 pm

    No matter how you cut it, if Hillary gets the nod at this point with less delegates won and less popular votes, she will have stolen the nomination. Many liberals will have a hard time swallowing that one. It looks like the Dems are headed for another belly-flop.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    05/02/08 @ 04:16:13 pm

    If Hillary gets the nomination, she will not have been able to do it with fewer delegates, by definition. She might do it with fewer elected delegates, but those super-delegates are part of the rules...and part of the rules for a reason within that party, namely to make sure the experts can try to pick the best or most electable candidate if the elected delegate count is close. So while members of the public might think she "stole" it, if she gets it, and while I hope that's what they think if she gets it, in fact it will just have been playing the game better than the other guy. That said, I'd rather run against Obama at this point, which was the main thrust of my note about Operation Chaos.

  • susan boyer
    Comment from: susan boyer
    05/02/08 @ 04:29:59 pm

    Ross, I disagree. There's no way in Hell that the Dems will deny the nomination to Obama. But if they did she would lose to McCain. There's no way the American people want her or Bill near the White House again. I will vote Operation Chaos next Tues and wouldn't be surprised if Hillary eeks out a win in NC. Whoever wins the nomination will have high negatives and will lose the big one.