Jun 29, 2008

June 4, 2008: Enter the Wrangler, Nearing the End, Into That Long Night

Enter the Wrangler. Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), one of those who early-on urged Hillary to run for the Senate in New York and a mentor of sorts, had seen enough. Staring down the barrel of an open floor-fight, first to challenge the delegate apportionment of the Michigan and Florida delegations as decided over the Memorial Day weekend by the party, and then a full-fledged contest for the nomination itself, Rangel would have no more of it. With two months of pressuring Super Delegates to overturn the results of the long nominating process, and all the political intrigue and ‘horse-trading’ that would entail, the Congressman called together several of his colleagues for a conference call which, in effect, was the Democratic equivalent of that meeting Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott had with Nixon advising him to step down. Rangel, despite pressure from the black community to support Obama, had been a steadfast Clinton supporter, remaining loyal throughout what had become a bitter, hostile, and sometimes openly racist campaign. Today, he was on the phone with is protégé informing her that the end had come. Accordingly rumors began to circulate that the Clinton camp was beginning to negotiate the terms of capitulation.

On this date 40 years ago, Robert Kennedy won the California primary, besting Gene McCarthy. The New York Primary had yet to be held, but it was becoming clear that Kennedy was emerging from the primaries with a great deal of momentum. Chicago’s Richard Daley was about to jump ship and switch from support of the administration, now represented by Hubert Humphrey, to Robert Kennedy. Kennedy, speaking at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, made references to healing the divisions between black and white, rich and poor, young and old; of the need to end the war. Finally with the words, “And it’s on to Chicago and let’s win there,” he walked off into the long night.

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