Instead of being asleep last night, I was up until 1:30am listening to Dan Abrams and a rotating cast of reporters discuss the evening's events. Once I knew Rachel Maddow was going to be part of the team, I was automatically sucked in. Who better to make Tucker Carlson mind his P's and Q's -- just as Donna Brazile had done with Lou Dobbs earlier on CNN.
I definitely needed some help in sorting out what had transpired. I watched Hillary's speech. What started off with laudatory words exclaiming the honor to have been in the race with Obama and the statement, "I recognize him and his supporters for all they have accomplished," ended up on a totally different course. The path of, "I'm committed to uniting our party...with the best interests of our party and our country leading the way," morphed to "I will be making no decisions tonight; I will consult party leaders in days to come; and referencing the 18 million people who voted for her.
Then Obama spoke. He said, "Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign. I congratulate her on her victory in South Dakota, and on the race that she has run. Hillary will be central to the victory for universal health care... Our party and our country are better off because of Hillary Clinton."
The networks had declared Obama the presumptive nominee. Clinton had invited her supporters to e-mail and tell her what to do next (is this a plot for a new reality show?). Earlier in the day I had seen a YouTube clip of a woman screaming about how she was "being treated as a second class citizen" due to her gender, and that she wasn't going to shut up about it. She identified herself as being from Manhattan.
There was a quality to everything that felt like a cross between a Greek tragedy and a theater piece built on dysfunctional relationships, displacement of emotional issues, and murky psychology as its underpinnings.
From the beginning, women have been divided into two camps. Those who support Hillary, think it is time for a woman president, and are tired of being dissed by the patriarchy... and those who don't support Hillary, would like a woman president that reflects their sensibilities, and are tired of being undervalued by a male-dominated culture. And so it gets all mixed up.
There are a lot of "what-ifs." What if Hillary was Hillary Rodham and had never married Bill Clinton, coming to the public totally as her own entity, sans baggage? What if Hillary had been an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq from the beginning? What if Hillary could be steely and tough, without talking about "obliterating Iran" and knocking back shots of whiskey with beer chasers? What if women are aching for a female president, but just don't like who Hillary is?
There's so much anger. Passions are strong, tempers are short, and resentments run deep. While there was talk about how historic the night was, seeing as an African-American had won the nomination of his party, every comment was punctuated by the questions about Hillary. On CNN, Gloria Borges said that she had received an e-mail from a viewer writing, "This needed to be Hillary Clinton's night." Jeffrey Toobin's response was that it reflected "the deranged narcissism of the Clintons." Did Clinton put the spotlight on herself and miss an opportunity to advance the cause of party unity? Another talking head suggested, "This isn't the speech of a second fiddle. She's still talking about why she is the stronger candidate." It was noted that in her address to the crowd she spoke about women, but not African-Americans.
When I finally went to bed, the rumors where still flying. She wants to be Vice-President. She doesn't want to be Vice-President... but she doesn't want Obama to take another woman on the ticket. She's sending Bill back to his Harlem office to get him out of the way... she wants job appointments for both herself and Bill. The last word in was that the two candidates had finally connected by telephone.
Who knows what the next scenario (or is it news cycle) will be? Will it be a King Solomon situation, where one candidate suggests that the baby be cut in half, and the other gives the baby up in order to save its life? Too allegorical? Maybe I just didn't get enough sleep, and it's beginning to feel like the movie Groundhog Day.
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