Here comes another one...

(Hi Shakers! I've been bloviating in comments long enough that most of you probably know me, but I'm glad to be on board!)

In what is rapidly becoming a cliché this campaign season, a primary win by Hillary Clinton is followed by calls by one douchebag or another for her to Take Her Boobs and Go Home. The latest entrant into the Douchebag Sweepstakes is none other than spectacularly failed presidential candidate George McGovern:
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Former Sen. George McGovern, an early supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton, urged her to drop out of the Democratic presidential race and endorsed her rival, Barack Obama.

After watching the returns from the North Carolina and Indiana primaries Tuesday night, McGovern said Wednesday it's virtually impossible for Clinton to win the nomination. The 1972 Democratic presidential nominee said he had a call in to former President Clinton to tell him of the decision, adding that he remains close friends with the Clintons.

"I will hold them in affection and admiration all of my days," he said of the Clintons.

McGovern's announcement comes a day before Clinton was scheduled to travel to South Dakota to campaign. The state holds its primary June 3 with 15 pledged delegates at stake.
Now, let's just leave aside for a moment the whole question of why Clinton would want to take campaigning advice from a guy who lost the 1972 presidential election in a landslide (taking only Massachusetts and DC; he could not even win his home state of South Dakota) when she's married to the Democrat who's won the most presidential campaigns since FDR.

Let's look at how he made his announcement known to Hillary Clinton: he "put in a call" to her husband and then had a press conference. Not to her, her husband. Does anyone think for a moment that if McGovern had been switching his endorsement from Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton that he would have notified Barack by "putting in a call" to Michelle?

Not on your life.

Granted, Bill's a little different than your average political spouse because he is the former president and there are probably some deference issues there. But that's a reason to call him as well as to call Hillary, not a reason to call him alone. A woman, as has been discussed here endlessly, is not the same person as her husband. And if she's the one running for office, you don't cut her out of the loop when you're announcing decisions like this and deal with her husband. It's insulting, and it perpetuates the idea that Hillary is merely Bill's appendage when she's quite simply her own person running her own campaign on her own record.

And of course, we also have the problem that all of these calls for Clinton to drop out when she's still winning primaries and the issues of Florida and Michigan are still unresolved (I will have a post on that later, with so many references to actual rules that you'll be begging me to stop with the pedantry already) are simply unprecedented in presidential politics. As Eric Boehlert reminds us, no other second place primary candidate has ever been pressured to get out of the race before he was good and ready to go. Even Gary Hart, who like Clinton was running neck and neck with his opponent all the way to the Convention and forced a decision by the superdelegates, was never pressured to get out for the good of the party.

Did George McGovern hold a press conference and publicly announce that Hart -- McGovern's campaign manager in 1972 -- should get out of the race because "by any practical test" Hart couldn't win, and that he should drop out so that Mondale could concentrate on going after Reagan? Nope. If he had any such opinions that he shared with Hart, he must have done so privately. Maybe he put in a call to Hart's wife, Lee.

Oh, and this "She's tearing the party apart! We have to unify!" business from him? If the party could survive the "Acid, Amnesty and Abortion" smear that an "unnamed* Democratic senator" spread against McGovern (with the assistance of Bob Novak, who seems to be catnip for smear merchants) during the 1972 Dem primary, or the BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA Osama bin Laden ad run against Howard Dean by a 527 with lots of ties to his Democratic rivals in 2004, it can survive a little democracy.

Because that's what this whole Take Your Boobs and Go Home thing is: an attempt to shut down the democratic process. Why are the Democrats so afraid of democracy?

* According to Novak, that "unnamed Democratic senator" was Thomas Eagleton. If that name sounds familiar, it's because he was the guy McGovern chose for VP at the last minute, only to have that choice sink his candidacy as it came out that Eagleton had failed to disclose that he had been hospitalized and given electroshock treatment for depression. The ensuing scandal, as well as Eagleton's refusal to take the hint and step aside and McGovern's mishandling of the issue, spelled doom for McGovern just as he was coming out strong from winning a number of challenges at the Democratic National Convention. For an excellent look at the campaign and especially of the maneuvering at the Convention and the unraveling after Eagleton, see Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72. So not only did Eagleton smear McGovern anonymously during the primary, he then accepted his offer of a VP slot knowing full well he had an explosive and disqualifying secret. Nice, huh?

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