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Okay, I've keep my peace on this particular subject long enough. I'll start with the caveat that yes, if you believe most of the negativity coming from the Clinton camp, I've drunk the Kool-Aide. I've sipped from the waters of the Lethe and forgotten why I didn't like Mr. Obama when this campaign started. I'm supporting Obama in his bid for the Democratic nomination, but here's the thing: I think either candidate would be a great choice and help put this country back on track.

My first inclination was to believe that Senator Obama wasn't necessarily the best choice. Sure he could give a great speech. Sure he could be inspiring. So what? Oratory skills alone do not a President make. But then something occurred to me in the middle of one of his speeches. Senator Obama actually _believes_ what he's saying. He believes that he can make a change. He believes that hope isn't a four-letter word. (It is, but let's skip the semantics, okay?) And the best part of all this? He makes others believe it as well.

The last time we've had someone like that, well, we compared the White House to a fairy tale where knights gathered in the round to make the country better.

I'm a cynical man. I don't like being told, "It's all okay," when it's obvious that things are far from okay. But he's got me believing. As I said, I drank the Kool-Aide.

But if he doesn't win, I won't take it personally. I won't vote for McCain simply to spite the party. I won't hate Hillary Clinton. She's a strong woman, and you know, the country could use a strong woman as President.

So why is it that so many people are engaging in rhetoric that is so destructive to our party? Why are so many people swearing up one side and down the other about BOTH camps? Neither camp is completely innocent here--although I do believe that Camp Clinton has engaged in a few more disingenuous tactics than the Obama camp--and both have said things and done things that made me shake my head. I understand from where the Clinton camp is coming. The political arena is a tough sandbox in which to play, and the Clinton team is very good at the political game. But there's been an air of desperation lately, causing them to cross some lines that I think even they will look back on and regret.

Obama's camp isn't much better (but I do believe it IS better) and the game that's being played on that side isn't about destroying the credibility of your opponents, but in letting your staff do it for you and appearing to be, "above such old style politics." Feh. Wasn't born yesterday, Senator. A game is a game is a game. I appreciate you taking aim at those advisors who've crossed the line, but c'mon now. Tell me you aren't happy that it also appears to make you look like a strong leader, taking responsibility and dismissing anyone under your command who differs from your campaign's position. Even if it's completely one-hundred percent genuine, you can't tell me that it doesn't work in your favor.

And Hillary, stop it. Just stop it. You can't state that, ". . .there are only two of the three candidates remaining for President that are qualified to be Commander-in-Chief," one week and then float the idea of making Mr. Obama your running mate the next. You can't say, "He's not qualified," in one breath and, "He is capable of being a heartbeat away," in the next without either appearing as untruthful or self-serving.

One more thing: (And yeah, I'm going to get beat up bad for this one . . .) If Hillary loses, it's not going to be a repudiation of the right of women to be counted as equals. I'm sick and tired of watching Geraldine Ferraro make the most outrageous claims, almost as if it's worse to be a woman in this country than it is to be a different minority. That type of claim isn't just wrong, it's beneath you, Ms. Ferraro. Do I really have to point out the number of women in Congress compared to the number of other minorities? (Both senators from Washington and its Governor are all women, by the way.) The numbers don't add up to your statements, and it makes you and your side look more than just a little desperate. And that's the last thing our Party needs right now. Mrs. Clinton would make a great President, but let's start having the conversation on the basis of merit instead of playing both the gender card and the race card (Yes Mr. Obama, say, "Hoodwinked," one more time and I'll call bullshit on you as well.)

Let's clear the road and leave the guns in their holsters until we face off against the Republicans, what do you say?

Okay, let loose in the comments section. I can take it.

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of the Abyss.

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