Friday, May 23, 2008

Let's give her the benefit of the doubt

One of the most fascinating and most poignant "what might have been's" of my lifetime is, "What if Bobby had lived?" Would he have become President? If so, how many American soldiers would have come home from Viet Nam alive instead of in flag-draped coffins? As the standard-bearer of the Democratic party, how would this uber Catholic father of 11 have handled Roe v. Wade? What about the racial divide? Could he have continued to help heal it?

Today, in South Dakota, Hillary Clinton made a most unfortunate reference to Bobby Kennedy's 1968 campaign when making her argument about staying in the race: "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."

I take her at her word, that she was just thinking about how the primary contests in years gone by went on into the summer -- not that she wanted to hang in there, waiting in the wings, just in case the unspeakable happens again. Her almost immediate apology: "I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever." She is a candidate herself, the wife of a President, a woman who considered herself Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' friend. I simply don't believe she was using assassination as a bargaining chip to win delegates.

But oh, I've said it before and I'll say it again -- and I'll feel it again as we approach the 40th anniversary of Bobby's death -- some things leave deep and irreparable wounds.

I think she just lost her place on the ticket. I hope she comes to her senses, realizes and feels the full impact of her words, drops out of the campaign and goes home to Chappaqua for the month of June.