I haven't cared that Hillary Clinton's last gasp of a campaign has gone on and on like a bad reality TV show. It was her democratic right to drag out the torment of her party, even if it was clearly not in the Democrats' best interest for her to continue the race. But I sincerely mean this: a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do -- which doesn't exclude the fact that the senator's blinding ambition won't let her or the rest of us rest. She has felt compelled to exhibit her death throes to the entire world as we all watch the now boring show.
As much as I'd like to believe Hilary Rosen's thesis that Hillary is "not going to take an unwinnable fight to the convention and spoil the party," I have a hunch Ms. Clinton also has wanted to damage Obama as much as she possibly can before she throws her "support" behind him, as she says she will. Hillary believes it's her right to be president, and she's willing to forego character and integrity to employ the basest political tactics to reach her goal, whether it's in 2008 or for 2012.
Scott McClellan calls putting politics above principle being in "campaign mode" in his riveting discussions about the Bush White House. This accurately describes Hillary's actions ever since she ran for the New York Senate. Will she change now?
Will Hillary have the class to end this herself, or will the super-delegates have to step in and do it for her? Or will they allow Hillary to continue her public self-destruction (and its attendant damage to Obama's excellent shot at the presidency) all the way until August? We'll find that out soon enough.
I once thought Hillary's poisonous campaign would decisively split the Democratic Party and that our party would suffer an injury that could be impossible from which to recover before November. I don't believe that now. I don't believe Obama can be stopped by Hillary or John McCain.
Some are calling the hard-core Hillary-ites rednecks and such. Here is an example from Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish on Sunday:
The sooner we all start including the "hicks" who were once part of the backbone of the Democratic party back into our Mother Tongue instead of as a slightly tasteless and tacky parlance the sooner they will feel at home with us again. The irony is, of course, that Hillary has about as much of a real connection with "hicks" as she does with the hip and cool. On the other hand, with hacks like Harold Ickes she's back to her real tribe. Her culture is no longer that of Illinois, Arkansas, or New York. She has bonded to the Land of Politics, of which the name of the game is winning at all costs.
A reader nails it:
After watching the RBC meeting come to a close, I can't help thinking that Hillary's slowly withering support has been whittled down to two main camps. From the nutty Clintonites in the crowd shouting "Denver! Denver!" to the disingenuous moral posturing of Harold Ickes, she's left with what she deserves:Hicks and Hacks.
Casting Obama as the elitist (which he is in only the best ways) while she's had a privileged life since she was born, has just come back to bite her in the butt. The Clinton international jet-setting lifestyle has just been documented in this well-written piece in Vanity Fair. Not that there's anything wrong with being a jet-setter. When you've made $109 million in the last eight years, it most decidedly puts you in that upper upper class. But don't act like you're a down and out hard-scrabbler.
Many people blame Hillary's campaign as her downfall. The campaign made its mistakes, but in the end, Hillary's fall has been the flaws of the candidate herself. For those who say she reinvented herself time after time as a good thing for her campaign, I say it showed she was trying to meet demands of the marketplace instead of revealing anything true about herself. One major quality voters want to see in a candidate is authenticity. That is a huge characteristic of which Hillary has shown none. She has been a chameleon, which might work for Madonna, but not for the President of the U.S.
For the Hillary believers out there, I might point out that there were once many more like me in the Democratic Party who once believed in the Clintons and defended them at every turn -- sometimes when we shouldn't have -- until it became apparent that Bill and Hill had crossed the line from deserving our support to commanding our disdain. Anyone who has known them well or long -- especially us Arkansans -- has seen them shaft loyal friends who get in their way. The easiest example of this is Bill Clinton pardoning people like Marc Rich (and Bill's own brother Roger), while looking over former Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker and former Bill and Hill best friend Webb Hubbell. Jim Guy and Webb paid their respective societal debt, but they weren't handing the Clintons huge chunks of money for Bill's Library and Hillary's new political career. Plus, a pardon for Webb and probably for Jim Guy would've eventually proved a political liability for Hillary's then-future run for the presidency. These old Arkansas friends were cut out.
As far as Hillary's claims of leadership and mythical 35 years of experience, this campaign is her real show ground and the most verdant display of the substance and style. She has led her cohort into the Bitter Brigade by running a campaign that makes fun of hope and enshrines fighting as the path to American and most specifically female enlightenment. Ergo, Hillary's Bitter Brigade has been whipped into what is probably in point of fact a stereotypical frenzy, which hasn't helped anyone, including feminists.
Ladies, who amongst us hasn't been on the receiving end of sexism, and if you're a black woman, racism as well? Yes, people are still racist and sexist and will always be. It has been engraved in our stone for what seems like eternity, and it will probably take that long to be rid of it. But sexism doesn't explain why Hillary lost and neither does the false accusation that the media preferred Obama as the Hillary-ites endlessly drone. (Read Ari Melber's column about the Pew/Harvard study that disputes that wrong notion here.) The pundits who are fanning the flames of the Hillary flash-fire among her supporters are only setting back their own best interests in women's issues.
We can thank Hillary for cracking the political glass ceiling, but she can blame no one but herself for losing this race. It would be nice to see her be accountable for her actions, behaviors, and votes. But that won't happen. Hillary is like George Bush and his White House. She is in perpetual campaign mode, in which accountability doesn't exist.
Editor's Note: the following comment from user "Unci" was published with an earlier, published version of this piece that was up only briefly -- we are including it here as it would otherwise be lost:
Well said! I am a retired Teacher and have been involved in teaching & writing curriculum for young leaders of today on Leadership. An attribute of leadership is team work and leading in a positive direction and having The ability to lead to minimize intolerance and to lead your followers with integrity and honor. I haven't seen this leadership portrayed by the Clinton Campaign, rather, they seemed to incite intolerance, especially from Harold Ickees. He was actually cussing , using the A-word and acting like a spoiled child who didn't get his way. At least the media didn't repeat his cussing. And he is the Clinton advisor, NO WONDER! A Tantrum before a National Audience. Shameful! Pride goeth before a fall!
Beth Arnold lives and writes in Paris. To see more of her work, check out www.betharnold.com.
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