I coach young children in team sports.  I teach them that there are two important life lessons which you will learn playing sports.  One is the notion of “teamwork” – working with and depending on others.  The second lesson is that in each game there is a winning team and a losing team.   When you walk off the field or the court, act with grace and dignity whatever the outcome.

Maureen Dowd’s coach missed the second lesson.   Apparently, many of Senator Obama’s other surrogates seem to have missed out on this life lesson as well.

We all have our struggles in life.  We have good times and bad.  We do things that we later regret.  We make mistakes.

But there is one thing that cannot be forgiven – the hubris that comes along with being a sore winner.

I have been at a loss since Senator Clinton suspended her campaign.  I could not understand how Senator Obama and his surrogates could think that by belittling , degrading and bullying millions of Democratic men and women, that this would somehow unite the party?  I just could not grasp where they were coming from.

And the polls bore out the same.  When Senator Clinton first suspended her campaign, a CNN poll showed that 60% of her 18 million voters would move to Senator Obama.  A month later, in early July, that number had actually dropped to 54% – meaning that 46% of Senator Clinton’s voters were not planning to vote for Senator Obama – shocking?  Well, no.

Instead of reaching out and unifying the party, Senator Obama told us: “get over it.”  He acted aloof towards Senator Clinton’s donors in meetings.   At a house party in New York in late June, one of Senator Obama’s top female aides told a group of women:  “We’re not used to this drama.”  He selected Patty Solis Doyle to be chief of staff to his yet to be named vice president.  Salt and more salt in open wounds.

But the degradation did not stop there.  There was the letter from Don Fowler and Alice Germond in mid July about their “fatigue and irritation.”  There were the daily diatribes by Obama surrogates calling us:  “childish,”  “move on already,” “angry bunch of women.”

Hmmm.  I find myself still puzzled by this Obama Campaign strategy; but I continued to read the polls.

Senator Obama is the first Democratic candidate for president in 20 years that is actually BEHIND the Republican nominee with women over 40.  Typically, a Democratic candidate can count on a 10-15 point lead with this demographic; but Senator Obama is BEHIND Senator McCain by 4 points in a recent Fox Poll.  And in a Zogby Poll done in early August, among all women, Senator McCain closed 10 points on Senator Obama since early July.

But, okay.  Clearly the Obama Campaign knows something that I don’t.  They must have a strategy here.  Surely degrading, belittling and bullying voters will make them want to come aboard.  Right?

And now back to our gal Maureen Dowd, who this past Sunday came out with yet another of her blistering attacks on women.  This time rather than vilify Senator Clinton herself, we Clinton supporters got a turn to be the target.   The first sentence of her editorial reads:  “It is a truth universally acknowledged that Barack Obama must continue to grovel to Hillary Clinton’s dead-enders, some of whom mutter darkly that they will  not only not vote for him, they will never vote for a man again.”   First off, I would like to point out that Maureen copied the words “Clinton dead-enders” from a much younger and more talented writer, Michelle Goldberg of The New Republic who wrote an article in early June titled 3 A.M For Feminism:  Clinton dead-enders and the crisis of the women’s movement.  Michelle’s piece is thoughtful and insightful – not a sling full of mud.  Second, Barack Obama does not have to continue anything – he and his surrogates need to START acting with dignity and grace – not act like sore winners.  And lastly, we are hardly muttering that we will never vote for a man again.  We are ready, willing and able to vote for a qualified man.  We voted for Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry to name a few.  And, if Maureen et al continue to degrade us, belittle us, bully us, and act as sore winners, we will once again be voting for a man  – Senator McCain!