Friday, July 18, 2008

Cleland, Disinvited

(image via chuckcurrie)

These are the times that try men's souls. Senator Obama's campaign, in the hour of the wolf, is daily making choices that are going to turn off large swaths of his purported big tent. He can not do otherwise; such is the nature of Presidential politics: Why do you think they all go gray in their first administration? As Presidential candidates run to the center (or to the left, or to the right), they are bound to turn off a sector of their party.

This time Team Obama is making a tough decision -- bound to be unpopular -- that distances itself from a Democrat Party hero that has taken fire from the right, most notably in his infamous Senate re-election campaign in Georgia, and also the 2004 Presidential race. He is the legendary Max Cleland, triple amputee and former Senator from a red state. From Ben Smith of Politico:

"Former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland was an icon of Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 campaign, a badly wounded war hero who lost his seat, Kerry deplored, after a television advertising campaign questioned his commitment to national security.

"But to the Obama campaign, Cleland has another qualification: Registered lobbyist.

"So Cleland — despite his iconic status — was abruptly disinvited from appearing with Obama in Atlanta July 8, three sources familiar with the incident said.

"'This was a hard decision regarding Senator Cleland,' said Obama's deputy campaign manager, Steve Hildebrand, in an email. He cited Obama's policy of banning lobbyists from participating in fundraising or giving money.

"'If we make exceptions, we will open ourselves to criticism,' he said."

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