With John McCain beating either Democrat in polls, and the prospect of months of exhausting Democratic Party infighting ahead, an intriguing idea was offered on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal today. It was proposed as a way for Hillary Clinton to save face, and for the party to regain ground lost to the bitter primary campaign. And the power to act lies entirely in the hands of Harry Reid:
The solution that is within his power is simpler, yet more profound than any of the extraordinary political events America has witnessed this election year. It requires only the rarest of things: an individual willing to set aside his own power and ambition for the good of his party and his country. It is this: Mr. Reid could step aside as leader of the Senate and hand the post to Mrs. Clinton. Only the proffer of this consolation prize would likely persuade Mrs. Clinton to drop her divisive, and now futile, quest for her party’s nomination.
Neither Sen. Reid nor Sen. Clinton is likely to actually listen to this advice, for a simple reason: The author of the piece is Richard N. Bond. Since he is a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, he is persona non grata to Democrats.
He would be persona non grata to me, too, as founder of the UnParty. But over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that former party chairs can be decents sorts. Look at Henry McMaster and Joe Erwin (and don’t look at Dick "Bad Boy" Harpootlian; that would spoil the picture). And besides, it’s an important UnParty tenet to be open to good ideas wherever they may come from.
Is this a good idea? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Read the whole piece, if the link allows you to, and let me know what you think.
An amusing aside (amusing to me, anyway, as a word guy). Mr. Bond is addressing himself to Democrats — sort of — yet he can’t help engaging in a linguistic tic that labels him immediately as a partisan Republican: He refers to "Democrat primaries," and "Democrat presidential hopefuls." What makes this stand out particularly is that he was actually trying to write in a neutral fashion, acknowledging the difference between a noun and an adjective. Elsewhere, he refers correctly to "a smashing Democratic win," "Democratic gains," "a dream Democratic year," and even, if you can believe it, "the Democratic Party!"
So he tried hard, but couldn’t quite carry it off. He reminds me of Gordon Jackson as Flight Lt. Sandy McDonald, "Big S" in "The Great Escape." Remember how he drilled prospective escapees in their German, and would trip them up by suddenly speaking English, causing them to speak English, and he’d lecture them on not falling for such a cheap trick? Then he fell for it himself during the actual escape. (I couldn’t find video of that scene, but as a consolation prize, here’s a clip of Steve McQueen’s legendary motorcycle chase scene.)
Habitual use or abuse of language carves deep ruts in the brain, and it’s hard to keep your tongue out of them, however hard you try.