With Hillary Clinton’s victories Tuesday it is impossible to predict whether she or Barack Obama will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. It will be a tragedy for our nation if their slowly escalating attacks on each other continue. It will be no less of a tragedy if John McCain is included in the mudslinging.
None of the three remaining candidates are angels. There are skeletons in all of their closets. They are, after all, politicians operating in a corrupt system where money has far more influence than it should.
On the other hand, regardless of what Ann Coulter may say, none of the three remaining candidates are the Devil incarnate. They are all intelligent. They are all capable of leading our nation.
The best case scenario for John McCain is simple — Obama and Clinton go on doing a Karl Rove number on each other. That will give him the opportunity to keep his hands clean and usurp Obama’s once-cherished role as the candidate who is above going negative.
The best case scenario for the Democrats is for Clinton and Obama to agree that they will stop any and all attacks on each other immediately. If they want to give their party the best chance of winning in November, Obama and Clinton should agree right now that whoever loses the Democratic nomination will join the ticket as the vice-presidential nominee.
Let the super-delegates and the voters in the states that have yet to hold their primaries and caucuses decide who should head the ticket based on personality, charisma, audacity, experience, race, gender, voting records, or even the relatively minor differences between them on the issues. Ideally, Clinton and Obama should spend the next two or three months demonstrating their ability to head the ticket, and more importantly, to lead the nation, by taking a positive tone as they highlight the differences between their shared positions and those of McCain.
Voters are going to be offered a clear choice in November. While both parties may have been co-opted to some extent by corporate influences, anyone who claims there are no major differences between the Democrats and the Republicans is not paying attention. If McCain wins, we will not see any major reform of our health insurance system. If the Democrats win the White House and retain control of Congress, we will. If McCain wins, our troops will stay in Iraq. If either Clinton or Obama wins, most of our troops, but not all of them, will come home. If McCain wins and the Republicans manage to regain control of Congress, the Bush tax cuts will remain in place. If Clinton or Obama win, they will be allowed to expire.
What our country desperately needs right now is an election process focused on a civil and informative debate about the legitimate differences between the two major parties regarding how we should address the issues and problems facing our nation. If McCain, Obama, and Clinton are serious about changing the poisonous political climate this is the time to prove it.