02/25/08 — Graceful exits: Campaign hangers-on need to know when to fold ’em

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Graceful exits: Campaign hangers-on need to know when to fold ’em

This message is for Republican challenger Mike Huckabee and newly announced nomination spoiler Ralph Nader.

And it is something that someone should have taught them long ago.

The lesson is simple: You have to know when it is time to make a graceful exit.

For Huckabee, his intentions sound noble. He says he wants to influence the course of the Republican campaign for the nomination as long as he can. He also suggests that he owes something to his supporters.

Well, all that might be true, but in essence, the race is over and John McCain has captured the nomination. Now, all that remains is ironing out the details.

But rather than allow the GOP to start focusing on the next step, Huckabee is keeping the party mired in battlegrounds.

And while it might be nice for those states that have yet to cast primary ballots, in the end, the fat lady has sung.

So, now it seems like Huckabee needs the attention, seeks influence and craves stints on "The Tonight Show."

He would be better off working with his party’s leadership to influence the ideas the Republicans will bring to the table in November. That is a much more noble purpose.

And then there is Nader. How easy is it to swoop in at the end of a campaign and throw a monkey wrench into the voting. Where has he been since the campaign began? He just now figured out that both parties are too close to special interest groups and big business?

If you believe that, you don’t know much about Nader.

The truth is that it is easy to pop in, cause a windstorm and then pop out after the votes have been tallied. You look like a hero, without any real effort on your part.

Anyone who truly cares about the future of this nation will ignore Nader’s candidacy. It simply is not a legitimate commitment to becoming president.

In fact, when it all boils down to it, it smells a lot like a publicity stunt.

Now that the campaign for the Democratic and Republican nominations is so close to an end, it is really time to focus on those who have sustained a commitment to the process from the beginning.

Deciding who will lead this country requires focus and serious consideration of policies and job skills.

To do otherwise is to risk getting a slate that does not really reflect the needs or desires of the majority of the voters. And that, quite simply, is wrong.

Let’s get the nominees nailed down and get to work.

There will be a lot more talking and negotiations before the dealing is done.

Published in Editorials on February 25, 2008 11:00 AM