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Friday, June 27, 2008

While Obama and Clinton Speak Of Unity, Democrats Stray From The Herd

(Photo- Democrats For McCain)

While Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaign for unity, some Democratic Activists come out in support....of John McCain.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made their first joint appearance at a Washington Hotel to promote unity in the Democratic party, some tensions remained.

Obama received a standing ovation when he addressed the issue of helping to take care of Hilary Clinton's campaign debts but both Clinton and Obama were asked questions about Hillary's future role in the Obama campaign, VP spot, campaign plane used for appearances, would she speak at the Democratic convention and one specific question that was mentioned in multiple media reports about the event was whether there would be a roll-call vote at the Denver convention.

A roll call vote is where each delegate at the convention would have to actually state who they are supporting and in answer to that question, it is said that Hillary and Obama exchanged looks and said that was still being "negotiated".

Some that spoke about the Washington event said it was successful, yet others described it as tense.

One major Clinton donor went as far as to say, "This felt like when your mom forces you to go visit your Aunt Ida and she has to pinch your cheeks and you're sitting there in an uncomfortable suit and you can't wait to leave."

Another Clinton-leaning person who was in the room said after the meeting wrapped up that there is still "a lot of anger" toward Obama among Clinton's wealthiest fans.

"It was pretty bad," this source said. He said donors were joking that the scene was like "an Irish wake" and that you "could cut the air with a knife" it was so tense in the room.

"He better go back to the internet," said one donor about the Democratic nominee’s fundraising tactics.

This tension brings up the ongoing tension and ambiguity that is felt toward Obama by members of the Democratic party, specifically Clinton supporters.

For example, following up on Debra Bartoshevich who is a Wisconsin convention delegate and an avid supporter of Hillary Clinton, announced in mid June that she would be supporting John McCain for president of the United States of America, stunning members of the Democratic party leadership.

It is reported today that the Wisconsin Democrats filed a formal credentials challenge against Bartoshevich yesterday, asking the Democratic National Committee to unseat to unseat her.

The state party argued that Bartoshevich:

• Violated party rules in expressing support for the other party’s presumptive nominee.

• Violated party rules requiring that delegates be “bona fide Democrats who are faithful to the interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party of the United States.”

• Failed to honor a pledge that delegates sign stating their intent to vote for the party’s presidential ticket in the fall.

The challenge also states that the "Democratic Party of Wisconsin and its members have been embarrassed in the local and national media by the decision of Ms. Bartoshevich to endorse Senator McCain.”

The DNC will wait for Bartoshevich to respond to the challenge before taking any action.

Bartoshevich is not the only one that is bucking the unity train though. It is also being announced by the NH Union Leader, Top of the Ticket and The Swamp, that a longtime Democrat, who was a former Clinton administration farm official in New Hampshire, James McConaha, and his Democratic activist wife, Valery Mitchell, have no intention of joining in with the unity platform and are, in fact, going to chair the "New Hampshire Democrats for McCain."

Picking up a story in the Nashua Telegraph, the couple have agreed to lead Democrats for John McCain. And that's not the only anti-Obama group out there comprising Clinton supporters. In fact, though polls show most of her backers moving to Obama, there is a large and vociferous crowd out there that refuses to go along.

McConaha's statement regarding the reasoning was "I think in general both of us felt that this is such an important position, perhaps the most important job in the world that it requires a person who has the experience and the competence to hold it. We just liked Senator McCain for a lot of reasons. In our minds, he is that person."

Mitchell was a member of Kerry's Steering Committee in 2004 and supported Dodd in 2008. She is a former organizer of the Democratic Network.

Mitchell's states in a press release, "It was not easy to step away from my party in the McCain-Obama race, but I want a president whose judgment we know and trust, and a leader who will do what is in the best interest of our country without regard to politics or ideology."

Jim McConaha and Valery Mitchell will serve as co-chairs for the "New Hampshire Democrats for McCain" and Independents Marcia Moran, of Concord, and David Lee will serve as the co-chairs of "New Hampshire Independents for McCain."

Many believed that despite threats to the contrary, once Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign that anger would die down, the party would unify and in large part it has, even those claiming there is tension are still planning to back Barack Obama as Clinton is asking them to.

There is a group though, at first it was very vocal supporters, that vowed to either sit the election out or more worrisome to Democratic leaders, vote for John McCain. Then Democratic politicians started questioning Obama's ability and/or ties, then reports of Bartoshevich's public support of McCain was announced and still we are seeing more layers of active longtime Democrats peeling away from the Democratic party and their message of uniting the party and healing the wounds.

As the people of Unity, New Hampshire prepare for Clinton and Obama to appear in their town, many make it clear that anger is not the problem that they are finding with Obama, it is experience as is mentioned by multiple people.

"I felt good about Hillary Clinton. I loved Bill Clinton. I thought he did a fantastic job," said Tammy Dowd, a secretary from Unity.

Her impression of Obama?

"Inexperience," she said.

In another part of the state, Andrea DeMars, a Manchester college student, had similar thoughts. "Clinton had the experience. Obama doesn't really have it," she said.

So while Hillary Clinton does what she believes is best for the party and stands side by side with Barack Obama to promote the unity of the party, the focus, which by any right should have shifted to be on Obama and Obama alone as he moves into the general election phase of the campaign, is still on Clinton.

Her shadow is being cast on Obama not be herself, but by her supporters and other members of the Democratic party.

For some, unity should have been thought about before the party pushed the Clinton supporters aside and to speak of it now is simply not enough.