When John Edwards' confession hit the MSM on Friday it knocked off the front pages Hillary's campaign appearance for Obama that afternoon in suburban Las Vegas. The Edwards/Rielle Hunter "news" -- ignored by the MSM which, as one journalist put it, would touch it only with "tongs" -- had a second ill-timed impact on Obama. With two weeks to the Democrats' convention in Denver, Obama did not need Howard Wolfson, Hillary's chief flack during the primaries, to speculate that had Edwards come clean before the Iowa caucus in January 2008, Hillary would have won the caucus -- she came in third behind Edwards -- and she, not the first-place winner, Obama, would be the nominee.
That scenario is highly debatable -- Obama, not Clinton was the voters' second choice -- but it still made the headlines and gave Hillary's dead-enders a double grievance (against Obama and, now also, against Edwards). Later in the day Wolfson backtracked, acknowledging exit polling "tells something different," but sticking to his "gut" feeling that had Edwards confessed in a timely manner, "we would have done better in Iowa."
As the Edwards scandal unfolded last Friday I was preparing to interview Simone DuBois, the Hillary devotee who videotaped the "Unity" event in Los Altos Hills, California that has since been seen around the world. In it, Hillary, standing on the steps leading to a supporter's patio and yard, seemed to encourage her backers to develop a "strategy" for the convention that could result in a roll-call vote. Hillary described the opportunity for them to express themselves at the convention as a "catharsis." (See my earlier post on the subject.)
DuBois, 44, grew up on a farm in Iowa, and lived around the country and in Europe before moving to Oakland, California not quite three years ago. A Hillary backer from the start of the nomination battle, she calls the Senator from New York the smartest, most prepared person to be president.
I first saw DuBois's video on August 2, and my post about it appeared the next day. DuBois was one of the hosts at the fundraiser (attended by both Obama and Clinton supporters) designed to retire some of Hillary's debt. When she saw Hillary that day, DuBois recalls, "I put my hand on my heart and said, `You absolutely inspire me. I hope that when you are feeling down and blue that you'll think of all of us out here that have worked on your behalf and still care about you very, very much.'"
DuBois can't seem to find anything positive to say about the presumptive nominee, Obama -- her second choice in the primaries was Joe Biden; "I love Biden." Early in our conversation, DuBois said she "leans" toward voting for John McCain, but was also leaving open the option of writing in Hillary's name.
That Hillary lost Iowa, DuBois says, was no surprise because it was easier for the younger Obama enthusiasts to make it to the caucuses. As evidence, she cites her 67-year-old mother whose Iowa house sits on a gravel road. She had just broken her wrist, but promised her daughter that she would caucus. Keeping that promise required her to drive 12 miles in the dark. On arrival she was directed to an entrance across an iced-over parking lot. DuBois has a list of other grievances that she believes were perpetrated by the Obama camp, aided by Howard Dean and his DNC. Working as a monitor for four precincts during the Texas caucuses, she says that packets went missing--taken, she implies, by the Obama people. A letter of complaint about the Texas caucus sent to Howard Dean by registered mail went unanswered, she adds, as did additional letters she and her compatriots sent him. On May 31, when the DNC's rules and bylaws committee met, she complains that delegates were unfairly allocated. "I think they absolutely handed it to Obama." She derides Obama as "selected" and "the anointed one."
Since her You Tube hit the charts, she has been bombarded with ugly email: "I'm a racist and everything else." Just after the primaries ended, in the front yard of the house she shares with her girlfriend -- who has not decided whether to write in Hillary's name or vote for McCain, but will definitely not vote for Obama -- she placed a McCain sign "right behind" her Clinton sign. She describes her neighborhood as "liberal," and says a neighbor left an unsigned, typewritten note on her doorstep complaining that "your lawn signs give the impression, anyone except a black man." The writer denounced McCain as anti-woman and pro-war. "Please reconsider this." She wrote him/her back: "You know nothing about the diversity in our families; this is our property and one of us at least has decided to support John McCain ... We're open to a discussion, a dialogue." No takers as yet. (DuBois went from "leaning" McCain to voting McCain by the conclusion of our hour-long conversation.)
DuBois, who describes her work as "sales," attributes her support of Hillary to time spent in Syracuse and seeing how hands-on the new Senator was in upstate New York. Hillary's performance during the debates closed the sale. "She was just so strong." She says that she concluded that Hillary "has one of the greatest minds that could really turn this country around."
Her personal interaction with Hillary, before the "Unity" event, consists of shaking her hand and exchanging a few sentences at rallies during the nomination battle. While visiting her family in Iowa, before the caucus there, she first met Hillary at a "sale barn."
"She has an energy ... she gives you that one-on-one focus, she just really pays attention, and she's just really smart and she's caring." That enthusiasm resulted in Dubois ringing doorbells for Hillary, hosting phone banking and letter writing to superdelegate parties at her home. DuBois campaigned outside BART stations, stood "for hours" on corners holding signs, raised money, cofounded a group called the East Bay Iron Angels
She plans another protest, this one in San Francisco, on August 17. Her protests in Denver a week later will be peaceful -- but the messages on protest signs will be strong: "Denounce Nobama's Coronation." She will not be moved by her critics. "I hear all the time, `Get over it, you guys lost, quit whining'; you should see the hate mail I get, just from the video ... Why ... not put my candidate's name in nomination. ....What would it hurt to have her name in nomination?"
If she could give Hillary advice it would be to concentrate on her work in the Senate, and not work for Obama. "Why should she? It'll only help him" She will be "ecstatic," she says, should Obama lose in November, and on election night her house would become "Hillary headquarters for Oakland, California ... I will just take it upon myself for the next four years to just start strategically saving money, tap into my friends to have them save money, and to make this happen in 2012."
In the meantime, she works for McCain -- hosting a barbeque at her house for her East bay Iron Angels. She invited s McCain surrogate, Michelle Gray, who had quickly tried to recruit DuBois, to speak. She gets email from McCain's people asking her to do phone banking. She'll probably go to Oregon to work for McCain "I hear that Oregon is getting close ... within three points."
She has told McCain's people that she hopes McCain, if elected in 2008, will be a one-term president, losing to Hillary in 2012. She says she has been straightforward about this and McCain's aides have responded, "We're happy to have you now."
DuBois says a vote for McCain would be the first time in her life she has voted Republican. Before she would look only at Democratic names; if her research found a Democrat coming up short, she would "leave it blank. I wouldn't even look at any other party." She is no longer a straight-ticket voter. "I have changed my entire outlook on political life."
She also has sworn off MSNBC, and she seems skeptical also of CNN, which used to be her home page. She admires FOX News, which she claims to have just started to watch this year, and Bill O'Reilly "I think [Obama's] uncomfortable with himself. Let me ask you this: he says he will go meet world leaders with no preconditions, then why can't he sit down with Bill O'Reilly....I think he's scared."
She says that she "discovered" Obama's church soon after the New Hampshire primary, "way before the story broke. ... I'm telling my friends, `You guys gotta go look at his church website, it is really racist; you have to check it out.'" She says she didn't think of bringing Trinity and Reverend Wright to the attention of Hillary's people. "Fox News covered it a year before; it just never got picked up. I mean Sean Hannity was covering this ... months before but it never got picked up by the MSM." She also suggests -- no evidence offered -- that John Edwards endorsed Obama because Obama's people knew about the affair and threatened him. Asked how it serves Obama that the story broke this week, she responds that Obama "doesn't want Edwards in his cabinet."
Of the people whose names remain on her email list, none will vote for Obama, she says happily. One-third will stay home, 1/3 will vote for McCain, 1/3 will write in Hillary's name.
As for Obama selecting Hillary as his VP, she hopes he doesn't. "What's in it for her? ... She only helps him." The possibility of Obama naming another woman as VP does nothing for DuBois. "I don't think there's anybody better qualified than Hillary. Why would you pick another woman, for what reason, to pander?" She seems not to see anything odd about the "Hillary or Bust" position; that only one female Democrat is qualified to be on the national ticket.
When asked if she worries that voting for McCain could result in the overturn of Roe v Wade, she answers, "I don't see it being overturned. I think the Republicans make way too much money on it. It's a cash cow for them ... Send out a letter with Roe v Wade in the first sentence and you got a couple of million."