This story was written by DI Board, The Daily Iowan
Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama and runner-up Hillary Rodham Clinton have plans to campaign together in Unity, N.H., on Friday. The location is no circumstance; their aim is to promote Democratic Party unity.
This is what Obama needs from his party - a public display of affection between one-time bitter rivals. After all, despite the far-reaching hopes of downtrodden Rodham Clinton backers, Obama has won. He has won the delegate count, the number of states, and the number of votes counted. Never mind that Hillary has made veiled references to holding out a sliver of hope until the Democratic National Convention is held in August; judging from her campaign suspension speech, shouldn't it be fully expected of her to "endorse and throw [her] full support behind" the man who has essentially won her party's nomination?
The answer is no. Some disgruntled stragglers in the Rodham Clinton Camp continue to attack Obama for being a "talker" and not a "doer," but now it seems that they are occupying this role. By refusing to declare defeat, a small, sad gaggle of Hillary-supporters are refusing to support Obama. For fear of alienating the larger mass of impassioned Rodham Clinton supporters, Obama has avoided most all opportunities to declare the race over, instead praising the New York senator as a formidable opponent. It is hard for a party to affirm unity when "opponents" remain after the battle has been fought. If a party is to emerge in unified strength, there can be no internal hindrances.
The Democratic Party needs to become gathered and focused if it hopes to avoid a major collapse before the general election. According to *The Week* (Volume 8, Issue 363), in Kentucky, where Rodham Clinton enjoyed success among working-class whites, a startling number of up to 80 percent of registered Democrats told pollsters that if Obama wins the nomination, they will stay home or even vote for John McCain. Last week on "Your World with Neil Cavuto," another of Rodham Clinton's disenchanted supporters, Cynthia Lowney, displayed similar feelings, emphatically proclaiming that she will not vote for Obama because he has misled people and isn't qualified. Lowney admittedly would cast a McCain vote in November, although she believed that Rodham Clinton could still win the nomination.
Lowney does have a somewhat valid point: the nomination is ultimately up to the superdelegates. Even though it is impossible for Rodham Clinton to overcome Obama's lead among pledged delegates, it is still possible for the superdelegates to go with Hillary if they have questions or concerns about Obama's electability. Rodham Clinton's most ardent followers feel that she should stick it out if only for this reason. However, in an April interview with George Stephanopoulos, Rodham Clinton admitted that Obama most certainly is able to beat McCain. Thus, even with Hillary foreseeing no electability issues, the question remains: Why do some of her supporters remain in opposition? Are these the same folks that have screamed for change these last seven years? Change, but only on their terms? On their terms, or else?
Democrats should hope that Rodham Clinton and all of her former supporters now throw their full weight behind Obama, not in August. The two politicians could be negotiating about fundraising or potential Cabinet spots, but certain Rodham Clinton supporters have distracted them from the real issues by entertaining unpopular running-mate strategies and bickering about hypothetical superdelegate scenarios. Obama needs to shift focus to his race with McCain, not on how to overcome negative publicity from intra-party squabbles among bummed-out former Rodham Clinton backers. At a time when the entire red and blue electoral map is up for grabs, a time when a conservative Republican cndidate is capable of attracting moderate Democrats, a time when a history-making Democratic candidate has energized independents, minorities, and the youth - at this time it would seem Obama has bigger fish to fry. If his own party won't unite and rally around him, how can Democrats expect the country to?