Allrightythen, make it official. The 2008 presidential election has morphed completely into a really bad episode of “90210”.
Here’s the plotline: the handsome high-school quarterback dumps his head-cheerleader girlfriend for a pretty new exchange student, who will now be his prom date. Meanwhile, an earnest, popular fellow student of theirs wants to organize a killer “After-Prom Party” at Mom and Dad’s beach house, and invites everybody who’s anybody. However, the jilted cheerleader will be damned if she’ll spend one minute in the same house with that tramp from some faraway place she never heard of, and her sizable social circle looks like it may also stay away out of solidarity. The party organizer, panicked at the possibility of the event collapsing, tries to compromise by inviting other people famous for hating the quarterback’s new love, but it only offers the prospect of more awkwardness, and the cheerleader’s social circle is solidifying its boycott. The poor would-be host is left with few options but to cancel the party or disinvite everyone involved with this metastasizing spat.
This is the essential storyline of a political catfight involving Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and a scheduled rally on Monday in New York to protest Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the city to address the U.N. General Assembly.
Like sands in the hourglass, details are below the break.
Sen. Clinton was invited to appear at the nonpartisan rally as a featured speaker. After initially accepting, she abruptly withdrew after finding out she’d be on the same stage as Gov. Palin, who had also accepted an invitation to speak. (In the latest of a long line of Orwellian absurdities, her staff complained that the rally “was never billed as a partisan political event.” Well, congratulations, Senator, your withdrawal makes it one by default.) The organizers, the National Coalition to Stop Iran Now, were left with only half of a bipartisan billing.
It doesn’t end there. After Hillary bailed, NCSIN tried inviting Palin’s counterpart, Democratic veep nominee Joe Biden, who also declined, citing a “scheduling conflict” with an existing event before the National Guard in Maryland. According to Politico, the McCain campaign attempted to persuade Barack Obama to show up instead, to preserve the organizers’ intended theme of nonpartisanship (or at least bipartisanship). Obama demurred, but offered up Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), who most recently made news for having spread a baseless rumor that Gov. Palin was once a supporter of crypto-Nazi sympathizer Patrick Buchanan. Naturally that idea fell flat, and NCSIN faced holding the rally without a Democratic speaker.
Unfortunately, continues Politico, the possibility of Gov. Palin having the stage to herself, even by default, brought the rally organizers under severe pressure from Democrats to rescind Palin’s invitation, or lose the backing of a number of important supporters. Caught between a rock and a hard place, NCSIN issued an announcement that they would have “no American political personalities” in attendance at all (without specifically mentioning names), opting for the least embarrassing way of disinviting Palin.
Get out your book bags and letter jackets, folks. We’ve all regressed to high school.