John Kerry better work VERY hard to ensure that his guy Obama wins the election. You see while the Clinton’s are all aboard the Obama campaign they have not forgotten those who have abandoned the Hillary Campaign early. Amongst the first three to to jump ship were the two Massachusetts Senators and the Governor (despite the fact that Clinton won the states primary). Ted Kennedy and Governor Patrick are very unlikely to face retribution from the Clinton forces, but John Kerry is very fair game:
George Barnes Barnestorming
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The wounds of a hard-fought campaign seem to have healed between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama after last week’s Democratic National Convention/Love Fest.
Clinton’s speech on Tuesday made it clear she was onboard with Obama. Her husband’s speech Wednesday sealed the deal and both pointed the way for Clinton supporters to put the primaries behind them. With all the compliments passed back and forth between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, it is likely most Clinton voters will support Obama in November, just as they did in Denver.
But there may still be some fallout from the contentious campaign and it may be seen in the Sept. 16 Massachusetts primary.
Clinton took Massachusetts in the presidential primary with 56.2 percent of the vote to Obama’s 40.8 percent, and she did it with both Massachusetts senators who serve with her in the U.S. Senate and the state’s governor supporting Obama.
That U.S. Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry went with Obama had to hurt Mrs. Clinton, and there is likely still some simmering resentment among her supporters.
But that resentment should not affect Kennedy or Gov. Deval L. Patrick. All Kennedys are pretty much bulletproof in Massachusetts. Most Clinton voters love Ted and always will. He has earned their respect over more than four decades as the leader of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and as a strong advocate for Massachusetts.
The governor is not likely to suffer any backlash, either, because of his support for Obama. He is considered something of a maverick. He was never a colleague of Hillary’s. He is relatively new to the scene, a governor who did not rise through the party machinery to get elected. He does not owe former President Bill Clinton any loyalty, but Kerry does. The former president stood side by side with Kerry on many issues. So did Mrs. Clinton.
Kerry may be The One if Clinton supporters are looking to vent their anger. Democrats are already disappointed in him. His inability to deal with attacks by the Swift Boat Veterans during the 2004 presidential campaign probably cost him, and the Democrats, the presidency. He was a featured part of the Democratic National Convention, but back home, Clinton supporters willing to get behind Obama may not be as willing to support him in the Sept. 16 state primary.
Kerry faces a legitimate challenge in the primary this year from Gloucester lawyer Edward J. O’Reilly, a former lobsterman and firefighter who is a long shot hoping to unseat the entrenched senator. He surprised many by getting more than 22 percent of the votes at the Democratic State Convention in Lowell to qualify as Kerry’s first primary challenger since 1984. In normal years, Mr. O’Brien would be viewed as not much more than sparring partner to toughen Kerry for the final campaign against Republican Jeffrey K. Beatty of Harwich.
This year is different. Clinton supporters are now ready to join Obama’s campaign for two reasons. First, they respect that both candidates did everything they could to win the nomination, no matter how bitter the contest became; that Obama wanted the nomination and he earned it. Democrats respect that. They want a candidate willing to fight to get elected. They did not see that in 2004 or 2000, when their nominees tried to remain above the fray and came out muddied, bloodied and losers, although many still contend Al Gore won his race against George W. Bush.
Many Clinton supporters also genuinely like Obama and liked him before he announced he was running against Clinton. He represents many of their beliefs.
But Kerry may no longer have that kind of respect among Clinton supporters, who are a majority of Massachusetts Democrats. Some view him as having chosen Obama because he was mad at Mrs. Clinton. The grievance is supposedly because he thought she and her husband did not support Kerry enough in the 2004 presidential race.
Hillary also criticized him when, in 2006, he made what he called a joke gone bad, indicating that if people did not do well in school, they could end up in Iraq. His target was President Bush, but many, including Mrs. Clinton, called on him to apologize for the implication that the troops serving overseas lacked intelligence.
Supporters of John McCain have made a lot of the supposed rift between Clinton and Obama and a rift between their supporters. They continue to try to spin it, but after the Democratic convention, they probably need to seek another tactic. To have the feud continue would be perfect for Republicans, but Democrats have seen what happened to their party when they did not all get behind their candidate. Lack of support for Hubert Humphrey led to the election of Richard Nixon. Lack of support for Jimmy Carter’s re-election led to eight years of Ronald Reagan.
Clinton supporters will vote for Obama. He represents much of what they believe in. Had Kerry stood back and not endorsed either candidate, if he just promised to support the nominee, there would have been no resentment. He took sides early and joined the winning team. But although he picked a winner, the choice may have consequences on Primary Day.