Billy Club

Well, Hillary Clinton’s getting it both ways again. First up, one of her leading campaign officials — Bill Shaheen from here in New Hampshire — gets to bring up Barack Obama’s drug past by saying that “you know the Republicans would if he were the nominee.” Then, after throwing that bit of mud, she gets to distance herself from the splashback by getting rid of Shaheen. It’s a standard move in dirty politics.

It seems that Hillary has a bit of a problem in maintaining ethical discipline among her supporters, both the paid and unpaid sort. She’s also had to sack two volunteers for helping spread the rumors that Obama is some kind of “secret Muslim” in the last couple of weeks.

But for those of us in New Hampshire, the drug thing could have more lasting consequences.

You see, Bill Shaheen has never held any sort of public or political office. But he’s a key advisor to someone who has held some very high positions — including three terms as governor.

His wife, Jeanne Shaheen.

Jeanne Shaheen, who narrowly lost her race for the US Senate in 2002 to John E. Sununu in an election tainted by the infamous phone jamming scandal, an incident that sent a couple of GOP leaders to the federal pen and cost the state Republican party big bucks in restitution to the Democrats. (Not enough people in prison, not enough time in prison, and nowhere near enough money, but that’s just my opinion.)

Well, Sununu’s first term is up next year, and the Democrats have been spoiling for a chance to take things back. A whole slew of candidates announced that they were going to challenge him.

And nearly every one of them changed their minds once Jeanne Shaheen announced she was going to go for a rematch.

Bill Shaheen has a long history of shooting from the lip. But this one could hurt his wife’s chances to claim the Senate seat so many believe was stolen from her. (Personally, I don’t think the phone-jamming made that much of a difference, but it STILL needs to be pounded intoo people’s heads that you do NOT ass around with elections in a free democracy. Just attempting to rig things needs to be hammered down.)

If Clinton wins the nomination, she won’t dare help Shaheen too much, because she will have to keep her distance. And if Obama gets it, he won’t be overly inclined to offer her much assistance after her husband’s cheap shot. So if either of the two leading Democrats gets the nod, Shaheen will have to run with very little national assistance.

Plus, there’s a good chunk of us New Hampshirites who don’t mind politics being a contact sport, but demand that they observe some rules of propriety and fairness. And what Bill Shaheen did crossed the line.

So, in the end, the real winner of this part of the Clinton smear campaign on Obama could be a first-term Senator from New Hampshire.

Don’t you just love the rule of unintended consequences?

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