Primary Insideritis

Much ado about nothing. That's my take on the insider brouhaha surrounding Bill Shaheen's resignation as cochair of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Shaheen, married to former New Hampshire Gov. and would-be Sen. Jean Shaheen, made a dumb remark to a newspaper reporter about Sen. Barack Obama's drug use history. Clinton apologized to Obama about it. And then Washington insiders (aka pundits) kept yapping about it, so Shaheen stepped down.

The real problem here is Clinton's loss of front-runner status. She's now tied in the polls in the early states with rival Obama or trailing in some polls in Iowa. With Obama having stolen Clinton's thunder, it looked petty for Shaheen to tell the Washington Post that Obama's admitted cocaine use as a young man could be used against him by Republicans in the general election if Obama got the democratic nomination.

Now insiders are trying to keep the story alive by speculating about who knew Shaheen was going to talk to the Post and when did he/she know it? Was it a purposeful move made by people in the highest ranks of the Clinton campaign? Was Sen. Clinton herself involved in the decision? As to the first question, the answer is, of course. Shaheen was the campaign's co-chair, so of course high-ranking Clinton campaign staff was involved. Did Clinton herself tell Shaheen to "go negative" on Obama? We'll probably never know.

But my point is, how many primary voters are going to base their decisions on incidents such as these? Between zero and none, I would wager.

So insiders, please start obsessing about more relevant issues.

By Bonnie Erbe