Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hillary Clinton is once again demonstrating her greed and lack of taste. Her campaign is sending letters to donors asking them to place their $2300 donation given to her for the 2008 general election into her Senate election coffers for 2012. The form gives donors a choice of either assisting Mrs. Clinton in 2012 or receiving a refund. A donation made to a candidate’s general election fund cannot be used for other purposes without the permission of the donor.

The letter leaves some doubt as to whether Mrs. Clinton is requesting the money only for her re-election to the Senate, or whether she is implying the funds might be used for another presidential run: “I hereby verify that my 2008 general election contribution may be designated to the 2012 Senate election. I designate the entire amount to the 2012 primary election. However, if I already contributed to the 2012 primary, I designate any amount in excess of $2,300 to the 2012 general election.” In the latter part of the statement the reference to “primary” and “general” election is vague. Is this deliberately so? Is Mrs. Clinton attempting to tap into the residual emotions of disappointment among her supporters by implying that there might be another opportunity to launch a Clinton presidential run?

Mrs. Clinton’s action in asking donors to ponder 2012 while the current election is underway is the height of egocentricity. The Democrats are on the verge of a historic run: They hope to achieve a threefold victory by capturing the House, the Senate and the presidency. Mrs. Clinton ought to simply refund the money to her donors. If she wishes to make a heartfelt appeal for their continued support, she should ask them to send the money to other Democrats who are in need in the current general election. Her handwritten note states: ” I hope you’ll help me continue to fight for the issues and causes we believe in …” What better way to help advance the causes she champions than by helping the Democratic Party immediately?

Mrs. Clinton’s selfish act further reinforces the perception among many Americans that she is not a team player. Despite the Clintons’ recent gestures of reconciliation and unity with Mr. Obama’s supporters, there is residual bitterness among the camps of the two former rivals. This is especially manifest in negotiations over how Mrs. Clinton’s primary campaign debt in excess of $10 million should be paid. She loaned herself the money during the primaries after she mismanaged her campaign funds by spending too much in Iowa; she is now seeking assistance for repayment.

In both trying to get others to pay for her debt and in trying to hoard money for herself, Mrs. Clinton is demonstrating that she believes the Democratic Party is a vehicle for her self-interest rather than vice versa.

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