Florida, 2008 = Sudetenland, 1939

 – By John Gannon 

This past summer, the Democratic National Committee struck their own Munich Agreement of sorts.  And much like the original was viewed by Hitler in 1939 as an inconsequential obstacle to his goal of world domination, Hilary Clinton seems content to ignore the dictates of her own party and to do whatever the hell she wants when it comes to her campaign.    

As you may remember, Florida and Michigan moved their primary dates up this year, in clear violation of DNC policy.  As punishment, the DNC ruled that they will not seat delegates from those states at the Democratic National Convention in August.  Furthermore, the candidates for the Democratic nomination made a pledge not to stump in Florida, which combined with the DNC lockout, would render the primary results of Florida and Michigan all but meaningless.  Or so they thought.    

This Tuesday Florida will hold its 2008 primaries.  The Republicans have been campaigning their tooshes off in the Sunshine State for the past week, and one Mr. Giuliani practically made the place his winter home.  And even though Democrats will still get to vote on Tuesday (the primary wasn’t canceled), the blue state in Florida was awful lonely.  Until now.    

We first heard murmurings about Dems campaigning in Florida last week, when the Clinton machine got to crying (“This is very personal for me, it’s not just political…”) about the Obama camp running an ad in the forbidden territory.  They conveniently forgot to mention, however, that the propaganda advertisement was part of a national ad package, and you can’t buy a national ad package without running the ad in all 50 states.  It’s automatic.    

And just like Adolf didn’t tell Neville outright he was going to invade Czechoslovakia anyway, it’s clear now that this complaint was nothing more than a pathetic attempt to legitimize a Florida foray for Hilary.  On Sunday, the former first lady held fundraisers in Miami and Sarasota, which while they don’t explicitly violate the candidates’ no-campaigning pact, epitomize the brand of grey-area gamesmanship at which the Clintons excel.  This Tuesday evening, Hilary is scheduled to “visit supporters” after the ballots are in, which pundits predict will tally up to a Clinton “win.”  After all, she wants “to make sure [the voters’] voices are heard.”  

So, it’s obvious that Hilary is campaigning in Florida anyway despite her promises (“screw the DNC!”), and it’s even more obvious that the Clinton team is hoping an unofficial Florida “victory” will give their candidate a much needed PR boost after her unconditional thrashing in South Carolina over the weekend.  As is always the case with the Clintons, however, there is another motive behind her pseudo-campaign in the Panhandle.  

Democratic strategists say it’s a sure thing that, come August, Clinton will cry/scream/stomp her political feet to get the DNC to acquiesce, and let the Florida delegates count anyways.  Even more disturbing, the political scientists predict it will actually work!  Of course, with Barack Obama giving her the fight of her life, it is entirely conceivable that the race will be a dead heat going into the convention, at which time pulling the Florida delegates out of her back pocket might be all Hilary needs to secure the nomination.  

Senator Obama has taken the high road in all of this, maintaining, “I will abide by the promise I made earlier that I will not campaign in Florida.”  He may be liberal, but at least he’s honest.  He’s kind of like Churchill to the DNC’s Chamberlain, to Hilary’s, well, you know.  

All in all, Hilary’s last-second audible into Florida is a bold move.  But then again, Hilary is a bold woman.  

Is bold the right word?   

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