Friday, May 2, 2008

Bottom of the Ninth

I generally dislike sports analogies. They tend to be simplistic, glossing over substantive issues to invoke an emotional response not particularly relevant on close examination.

I am growing increasingly irritated with the Democrats' current contest to select a nominee to run for president. The Clinton campaign has become increasingly simplistic, glossing over substantive issues to invoke an emotional response not particularly relevant on close examination.

Why is it necessary for fellow Democrats, acting on behalf and at the direction of the Clinton campaign, to repeatedly point to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's rhetoric as a measure of Senator Obama's qualifications? Why do those of us yearning to be rid of President Bush and those in his administration whose governance has been an unmitigated disaster stand by and watch our hopes for sweeping victory in November self-destruct?

Is our ability to reason so subverted to Hollywood's cultural influences that we blindly insist on the possibility of a Rocky-like triumph in every conflict we monitor? Do we HAVE to sit through the credits before leaving the theater?

Enough questions. Here's my simplistic, glossy, emotional sports analogy. If you like it, use it. No need for attribution. I don't want folks to think I'm really this shallow.

Think baseball. John McCain has won the National League Pennant. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continue to compete for the American League Pennant. Traditionally, the pennant championship series is a best of seven endeavor. This year, Senator Obama leads the series 3-2 and is playing Game 6 at home.

It's the bottom of the ninth inning.

The score in Game 6 is Barack 5, Hillary 4. When the Clinton team flied out swinging for the fences for the third time during its at bat in the top of the ninth inning, the Obama team thought they had the pennant won.

But, darn that persistent Hillary. She's refusing to concede and insists that Senator Obama come to bat yet again. She argues that if she can hold Senator Obama to within a run or so, the umpires ought to allow the series to continue until a clear winner is determined.

Moreover, she points to the runs she scored in two games that were called on account of weather in the third inning before they were official. Senator Clinton insists on including those runs in her total, even though the weather was so bad the Obama team adhered to the umpires' advice not to even take the field.

Unable to win under any scenario under the existing rules of Major League Baseball, Senator Clinton is, effectively, calling for the adoption of new rules. In so doing, she succeeds only in wearing down Senator Obama, making his forthcoming World Series appearance pitted against Senator McCain much more difficult.

It's time for Senator Clinton to find it within herself to concede the nomination to Senator Obama. The argument that "only she can win in November" is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy as Senator Clinton continues to blindly assail the character of her last remaining opponent. Her claim to likely victory is belied by the fact that she was unable to win even the nomination of her fellow Democrats, notwithstanding her vastly superior financial and organizational backing at the outset of the contest.

Democrats need to start the healing process necessitated by this spirited competition. The enthusiasm of the millions of new voters Senator Obama has brought into the process needs to be nurtured, not euthanized, as November approaches.