Bob Franken

Expensive Tickets

February 7, 2008
Expensive Tickets (Bob Franken)
@ 12:55 pm

One thing about Hillary Clinton’s $5 million loan to her own campaign: At least we know who the donor is this time.

It’s mind-boggling that the money is even necessary. She has raised a gazillion dollars, just like Barack Obama. They’ve been spending like drunken sailors, though, and all they’ve bought so far is a virtual tie. The game was supposed to be over when Super Tuesday finished, but now it’s going into overtime. A lot of people are making some mighty big bucks.

They’re not the only ones who are benefiting. For us political reporters and commentators, this continues to be a bonanza. We still have an interested audience. How cool is that?

Pity the poor candidates. They now have to continue their long, exhausting slog. It’s a particular drag on the Clinton campaign, what with the constant strain of proving that experience matters and that she more of it.

All Obama has to do each day is exclaim “change!!” and “new generation!!,” and remember what city he’s in so he can shout “HELLLOOOO (FILL IN THE CITY)!!!”. It’s not a bad gig, but rock concerts cost lots of money, what with all the roadies you have to pay.

What if this isn’t resolved by convention time? That is a dream for all political reporters and I don’t need to tell you what kind of dream. The Democrats might actually present a spectacle that’s not the usual pre-produced dog-and-pony-show.

Omigod!! Backroom dirty-dealing, intrigue. The prospect causes one to quiver with excitement — QUIVER!!

Even the Republicans might not be marching in their usual lockstep. Let’s face it, John McCain would never win the GOP’s Mr. Congeniality contest.

Along the way, he has managed to piss off everyone. And that’s in his own party. At the very least, as Desi used to say to Lucy, he “has some ‘splainin’ to do.” Of course that was from a time when gentle humor about immigrants was acceptable. These days, among Republicans, immigration is no laughing matter. How’s that for understatement?

Assuming McCain is the nominee, his choice for Vice President is huge! He could opt for Mike Huckabee to protect the party’s religious fundamentalist base, or he could go for someone who would assuage the economic fundamentalists. As for the immigration fundamentalists, he could always opt for someone from the Minuteman organization to balance the ticket.

Democrats would have to walk the same high wire. Forget about it, Bill Clinton cannot be Hillary’s running mate, at least not officially. The Constitution doesn’t allow it. So where does either Clinton or Obama turn?

The obvious speculation is about them: Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton. But that’s more delicate than one might think.

First of all, a ticket like that would ignite every racist and misogynist in our country, which may be a majority bloc.

Secondly for women and African-Americans who view this campaign as the march from oppression to the highest office, number two might be a bitter pill to swallow.

In the meantime Hillary and Barack will be going to dinner together. Weellllll, not really together. While it is true they actually spoke to each other and even laughed on the floor of the Senate yesterday (they were probably both lost), they will be traveling separately this Saturday to the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond. Did I mention that Virginia votes Tuesday, along with Maryland and D.C.? Who knew that anyone would actually care about this “Beltway Primary”? But hey, when you’re scrounging for delegates, you’ll go anywhere.

Back to the Republicans: We’ll get an early look at their contortions at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference. It should be a great preview of coming attractions featuring not only Romney and Huckabee, but McCain trying to convince those in attendance he’s not Satan.

All this means the candidates will have to continue scrounging for money, even their own. Entertainment like this doesn’t come cheap.

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