In the process of proving to the world that she is a “fighter,” Sen. Hillary Clinton also has demonstrated that she is an unprincipled politician determined to reach her goal at any cost and a woman without character.

She has made it clear down the stretch of this Democratic presidential campaign that she will do anything to prevent Sen. Barack Obama from depriving her of what she craves most: to be the first woman president of the United States. She readily concedes that he is more eloquent, and again and again, he has proven himself to be fairer, wiser, just as smart, if not smarter. And judging by his well-endowed campaign treasure chest compared to her $20 million plus campaign deficit, he also has proven to be a gifted organizer and long-range planner.

Alas, she has no choice but to play her trump card, no choice but to promote cleverly the unspoken phrase that she knows will draw a sizeable segment of “blue-collar” voters to her side. That phrase is: “I’m white and he’s not.”

Anything, she’ll do anything with no regrets.

She’s unperturbed because she apparently believes having double standards about race in America works in her favor, certainly not against her. She knows that after saying a few mea culpas, all would be forgiven, probably forgotten.

Imagine how upset the media and white America would be if they heard Sen. Obama trumpeting his success with the black vote. Contrast that with Sen. Clinton’s repeated proclamations that she not only has the women’s vote but the support of “hard-working” whites. Though the Democratic presidential nominee has won the black vote handily (at least 80%) since the civil rights era, if Obama repeatedly solicited the black vote, it’s unlikely that he would be ignored the way the media ignores Sen. Clinton’s appeal for gender and white support. Double standards, and more double standards.

No one bothered to question Sen. Clinton’s patriotism because of the absence of a flag in her lapel, yet the issue was front-and-center with Sen. Obama. The media seized immediately on Obama’s reference to some whites as “bitter,” and though he conceded that his choice of words was poor, his gaffe continues to pop-up as a hot-button issue. But the media already have moved on, regarding Sen. Clinton’s “hard-working whites” gaffe.

In Sen. Clinton’s world of politics, a moral compass has no value. If it did, she might have used it before deciding to demand that the Michigan and Florida delegates be seated even though she agreed before the primaries began that they would not. A moral compass might have given her reason to pause and reconsider before suggesting that pledged and super delegates don’t have to keep their promises to the candidate they have pledged to support. A moral compass might have helped her stand tall while campaigning for the “blue-collar” vote in West Virginia. It might have led her to say with passion and conviction: “I want your vote, but not if it’s cast in the evil spirit of racial bigotry, not if you can’t find it in your heart to love all Americans regardless or race, creed or color.”

Weeks from now, if she stands next to Obama while offering an endorsement steeped in racial harmony, it would be as suspect and empty as her self-serving primary blather. Politics should not be an excuse to lie, deceive or mislead, despite pronouncements from some pundits, who expect and condone disingenuousness. At this juncture in history, the politics of clear thinking, sound judgment and unity, not divisiveness, must prevail.

Like Sen. Clinton, President Bush considers himself a “fighter,” too. And he has shown similar character flaws as well. For more than six years, he has undermined some of our nation’s valued principles, regarding torture and wiretapping and fought against top civilian and military advisors and the will of the American people to keep this country bogged down in the Iraqi war. His defiant decisions have severely divided our country; led us into a recession and placed us on the verge of economic dysfunction. In personality and political instinct, Clinton might be closer to Bush than either would ever admit.

Sen. Obama hopes to guide us down a path to change that we can believe in. He’ll get to do that only if Sen. Clinton discards her wrecking ball before it obliterates the path to real change in America. She must muster the courage to do the right thing now and with dignity.