Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Hillary-tanic finally capsizes

After nearly 18 months of campaigning, Hillary Clinton's quest for the American presidency has come to an end -- finally. To paraphrase Bob Dole, I know it, you know it, the American people know it, everyone knows it . . . except one person.

Hillary Clinton.

On a night when the Democratic party's eyes should have been on its presidential nominee, Hillary managed to turn enough attention on her to diminish Barack Obama's historic accomplishment. The party that gave birth to and supported, at a considerable electoral cost, the modern African-American civil rights movement -- a movement, by the way, that inspired women and other second-tier citizens to stand up for their rights against a Republican-dominated culture largely unsympathetic to their claims -- should have celebrated Obama's victory without distraction. Instead, Hillary, who lost this race three months ago, demanded that the cameras focus on her and her grievances. The right thing for Hillary to do would have been to concede the nomination to Obama, take responsibility for her own mistakes, reach out to the African-American community by apologizing for her deliberate injection of racial politics into the campaign and move forward by encouraging her supporters to work hard for the new nominee.

No, no, no . . . that would have been too much. Really, why would Hillary, who ran a campaign so personally degrading against a primary opponent that even the New York Times, which endorsed her in the primaries, admonished her to steer clear of the "low road" in campaigning against Obama, who repeatedly stated that her Republican opponent, John McCain, was more qualified to assume the presidency than her fellow Democrat, who lied repeatedly on the campaign trail about her "experience" and public record, who unnecessarily but not unintentionally introduced Robert Kennedy's tragic assassination 30 years ago as a reason for staying in the race, who manufactured so public personas over the last 4 months of her campaign that NIH scientists will probably have to name a new schizophrenia disorder after her, decide to take the high road, a road she couldn't find with Lewis and Clark at her side or a tour guide from AAA?

You know what? Let her supporters vote for John McCain. Let her supporters vote for a man who is a staunch opponent of reproductive rights. Let her opponents organize letter writing and email campaigns to put more justices like John Roberts and Sam Alito on the Supreme Court. Let her supporters for vote for a man who wants to continue the insane Bush doctrine of endless, unnecessary war. Let her supporters organize car pools so they can minimize their carbon footprint when driving their grandchildren down to register for the draft. Let her supporters vote for a man who will continue the Bush administration's policies of giving more money to the people who need it the least. Let her supporters vote for a man and party that has done little over the past 40 years to advance the cause of women's rights, whether in the workplace, the home or anywhere else. Let her supporters continue to blame everyone and everything but their candidate for losing a primary campaign she viewed as nothing more than a formality in January 2007, when announced she was "in to win." Let her campaign and professional staff continue to characterize Obama supporters as stupid, naive, uninformed and weak. Let those same people continue to insist that a candidate who could not win her own party's nomination is better positioned to defeat a Republican whose electoral base would no sooner crossover to her than spend an evening doing Crown Royal shots in a hunter's bar somewhere in rural Pennsylvania. Go ahead.

Better yet, take your campaign to Minneapolis and lobby Senator McCain to make Hillary his vice-presidential running mate. As the candidate of hard-working white people, Hillary could bring an important constituency into the McCain fold and effectively kill Obama's chances of persuading lower-income Americans that their best hope for a better future lies with the Democratic party. Rather than repair her relationship with African-Americans, a daunting task that Hillary, in my view, has no interest in undertaking, she could crossover to the Republican approach to "Big Tent" politics, which has plenty of room for black voters who are willing to subordinate their concerns about white race privilege and outright racism in America to the fairy-tale (oops! there's that phrase again) that all that stands between them and a materially prosperous life is a little hard work, elbow grease, "personal responsibility," sexual abstinence and a tuition voucher. Hillary Clinton is not going to be Barack Obama's vice-president, so let her take the consolation prize that give her supporters what they wish for -- a space on the ballot next to John McCain. They are a perfect match. McCain's bizarre reputation as a "maverick" is as much of a hoax as Hillary's "30 year record of experience and accomplishment" (Again, name one signature accomplishment of Hillary Clinton as a public citizen). This would be a different 2 for 1 than the inaugural Billary campaign of 1992. Two hoaxes for the price of one.

From this point forward, all that Hillary can do is continue to diminish the Democratic party cause by continuing to campaign for a nomination that voters, party elders, "superdelegates," . . . whomever, have told her they don't want her to have. Not because she's a woman, not because she's a victim but because she's Hillary Clinton.

* * * * * * * * * *

In January 2007, I predicted that Hillary Clinton would not win the Democratic nomination, even when she was 30 points ahead of her hypothetical competitors. You can read that post, "The Hillary-tanic sets sail," here.  You can read my posts on her low-road tactics on race here, here and here.


ADDED: Sure, I did get some parts of my prediction wrong on where Hillary's support would come from.  But I'm fairly certain that Hillary never imagined that she would become the candidate of the "white, working-class." Had she not had an African-American opponent, the odds are that she would have not manufactured her Blue Collar Mama act to find votes. 

1 comment:

tres_arboles said...

I'm pretty much with you all the way, Greg, albeit with a tad less scorn. The most refreshing candidate in my lifetime is poised to change more than we can possibly conceive, without making even a single policy pronouncement of any kind, and I am excited to vote for him.

Kudos on your Jan '07 prediction regarding Hilary's chances. I never saw her having a chance; just too polarizing and Repubs possessed of a decade of opposition research.

Is it worth pointing out the irony of what parts of your prediction you got wrong (those places that turned out to be her undoing and where she got her support from)?

David, Seattle