04/04/2008 02:21 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dumping Air America's Randi Rhodes Won't Cure Progressives Clinical Hillary Obsession

Air America yak jock should not have been suspended. She should have been canned. That will never happen though. After her moment kid slap, she'll be back on the Air America airwaves with more, albeit slightly toned down until the heats off, ritual diatribes against Hillary Clinton. Rhodes got the momentary bump from the microphone for obliterating the line of public decency by calling Clinton and Clinton backer Geraldine Ferraro every bleeped out word in the book in a public appearance on behalf of Air America.

Rhodes' Don Imus like foul mouthed rant is SOP for a core of so called progressive writers that post on the Huffington Post, and write for the Nation, Mother Jones, Daily Kos, the Underground Democrat, and a handful of other leftist sites. They have feasted at the hate Hillary trough. Their shrill diatribes, name calling, slanders, slurs, distortions and flat out lies should make the hard guys at Fox Network turn red faced. One time radical Jane Fonda kicked off the progressive's clinical obsession with Clinton bashing some months ago when reports surfaced in the Guardian and other on-line sites that Fonda called Clinton a ventriloquist for the patriarchy with a skirt and a vagina. Fonda hotly denied that she said anything of the sort.

But Fonda is a confirmed Obama supporter. And while we'll give her the benefit of the doubt on the Clinton slur, the fact remains that the invectives routinely hurled at Clinton by writers on the above mentioned sites and publications have come borderline close to repeating slurs as vile as what Fonda alleges that she didn't say.

The objection here is not that progressives shouldn't level a reasoned, principled, and critical dissection of Clinton positions. There are legitimate policy issues and positions to take her to task on. Unfortunately, that got tossed and Clinton's left side critics have found it much easier, and more fun, to engage in juvenile delinquent wolf ticket selling. They then pivot and froth, fume, and rail at Fox for doing the same thing. And Heaven forbid if anyone dare utter any criticism of Obama. That's deemed treasonous and the name calling kicks in with a vengeance against the offender.

The reasons for the juvenile delinquent name calling by Rhodes and company boil down to this. Clinton initially backed the Iraq war and refused to apologize for it or claims as Obama wrongly does that he was an outspoken anti-war guy from day one. Two, she supposedly is a back room, deal-making, opportunist Democrat who has been a shill for big money, corporate donors.

Her greatest sin, though, is that she pig headedly stands in the way of the coronation of Obama. A subtext to that is that by blocking the supposed inevitable, she, not Obama, is tearing the guts out of the Democratic Party and is making it that much harder for Obama to coast into the White House. Putting aside for a moment this wishful thinking fantasy land knock, nowhere, and I mean nowhere, have I seen the progressive Hillary baiters itemize exactly what they think they'll get out of an Obama White House that will be radically different than what they'll get from any other top Democrat who's backed by big money corporate interests, pockets money through the back door from corporate special interest lobbyists, is lauded by defense industry top brass, hailed by centrist Democratic Senators and governors, and fawned over by hard nosed GOP conservatives, headed by former Bush political strategist Karl Rove, as Obama is. Tell me?

Liberal Democrats and progressives rhapsodize that Obama is gutsier, visionary, progressive, and far less likely to wheel and deal in high Washington and corporate circles than Hillary. But again that's a delusion.

The ancient political truism for White House aspirants will, no has, kicked in with a fury with Obama. That is run to the right or left when you're on the outside looking in, then flee to the middle when you're on the inside and want to win.

The desperation of progressives to get someone in the White House who will quickly reverse the monumental damage of Bush's policies is understandable. If progressives would simply stick to challenging Obama and Clinton to speak out boldly and clearly about their stance on Supreme court appointments, criminal justice reform, immigration, failing public schools, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and a specific plan for ending the Iraq War, among other seldom heard discussed policy issues then there would be no argument that both need to be hammered for ducking and dodging these thorny issues. But that's far different than acting like 13 year olds and shouting out vile names at one candidate and only one candidate.

Rhodes did just that and got a mild rebuke. But she only engaged in the same silly name calling that her cut buddies on the left have elevated to a high art. Expect no change when Rhodes is quietly eased back in front of an Air America mic. In other words, dumping her won't cure the hateful, and very clinical, Hillary obsession of progressives.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February 2008).