Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hillary Has Worshipers, Too

Recently I received an email from a friend and Hillary Clinton supporter. This post is based on my response.

Dear [],

Thanks for forwarding the Robin Morgan piece. I'd already seen it. I understand it reflects a certain sentiment, one I find so at odds with rational consideration that I'm surprised you don't recognize it as a species of the "cult mania" etc. you deplore when it attaches to a candidate other than Hillary.

The Clintons have lost me. Utterly. Yes, they were subjected to outrageous attacks by the right-wing machine. And now, like the children of abusive parents, they are abusers themselves. Perhaps understandably, people who rose to protect them when they were victims have trouble seeing that the victims are now victimizers.

The distortions and demagoguery I could dismiss with no more than disgust. Their maneuvering on Florida and Michigan, though, is unforgivable. And all, in the end, for what? When the Clintons have lost the primary election, in no small measure because of the viciousness and venality of their tactics, will they then understand they have come to embody the worst of their enemies' caricatures? That they have become what they profess to abhor?

Certainly Obama has shortcomings (BTW, here's an excellent piece -- the most thorough and balanced I've yet seen -- in the current New Republic on the candidates' positions on Iraq), and yes, people are wildly enthusiastic about him anyway. The question is, why? Could it be that as the campaign goes on, Obama is generating increasing excitement in direct proportion to increasing horror at the thought of the Clintons back in the White House? If so, it's possible Obamania is at least as much attributable to Obama's strengths as to Hillary's weaknesses.

Or the whole thing could be a patriarchal conspiracy to prevent The Woman Who Deserves To Be President from becoming the living fulfillment of feminist aspirations, as Morgan suggests. For if we start with the premise that Hillary is unarguably, substantively magnificent, for what reasons could one oppose her other than her gender? I deplore this viewpoint but I do understand it. After all, someone who in her heart supports Hillary only because Hillary is a woman will naturally conclude that someone else could oppose Hillary only for precisely the same reason.

Speaking of substance: have you seen this op-ed, "The Clintons' Terror Pardons," from the February 12 Wall Street Journal? I checked Hillary's website and haven't found a response. I would like to know her side of this important (and seemingly damning) story. And for someone who has criticized Obama for his "present" votes in the Illinois Senate, how could she fail to show up last week for any of the Senate's votes approving warrantless surveillance and offering amnesty to telecoms that illegally spied on Americans? Obama missed the final and I'm disappointed in him for that. But Hillary missed them all.

There's also the question of electability. Polls show a McCain/Hillary race to be about a tie, and a McCain/Obama race to be an Obama blowout. I can't understand being so attached to one primary candidate that I would vote for that candidate even at substantial risk of losing the general election.

One day -- and soon, I hope -- America will have a woman president. That will be an amazing, inspirational milestone, and not just for America, but for the world. Whoever she is, I hope she'll run a more deserving campaign than the Clintons have.



There really ought to be a "where you stand depends on where you sit" award. Whose campaign do you think this is from?

“Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election. If it were, every nominee would win because every nominee wins Democratic primaries.”

If you guessed it was Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's pollster and chief strategist, you were right...

Update 2

This is one of the most hilarious -- and damning -- posts I've ever read on the Clinton campaign. Even if you're a Hillary supporter, you might enjoy it.


Anonymous said...


Bailey Stewart said...

So, as a woman, what would be my excuse for not voting for Hillary? I would love to see a woman president, but I'm not going to vote for her just because of her gender. I used to be a big Clinton supporter (in the Clinton White House days), but I've now taken my stand for Obama. I think he's just what this country needs right now. And who says a woman president must come before an African-American president? BTW, I'm not African-American, I'm a Southern White woman, so I don't go along with that "you must vote for your own kind" propaganda. You're right, someday a woman will step into the presidency, the right woman.

KSR said...


Good letter. My support for Hillary as a candidate was emotionally based. It had to do with a nostalgia for Bill, a possible first woman in the oval office, and wanting to stick it to the right wing pundit machine.

But the Clinton's (as this is definitely a tag team event) continue to shoot themselves in their feet. I can no longer support them...for the reason you espouse and a few others that are more personal.

Obama, you're my candidate.


Barry Eisler said...

I couldn't resist posting this offline exchange because it nicely, albeit unintentionally, embodies what my post is about:

"We now [sic] that Obama is attacking Hillary by saying she blew National Health before. What an asshole. We always thought it was great that a national politician stood up for it back then. That's why we're backing her. She has a plan, he doesn't. He's just a political gas bag calling for change without a plan."


"[], I understand you have strong feelings about the subject, but what was your aim in sending this to me? Is it a response to my latest blog post? If so, you've unintentionally proven my point.

"Perhaps it would be more productive if we just agreed to disagree and stuck to other topics?"



"No, I haven't. That's absolute nonsense. That's Obama speak. Words filled with no substance."

Oh, well...

Spy Scribbler said...

At some point, I've just become deadened to how a candidate runs their campaign. I expect it'll get messy and ugly. Frankly, I just don't care how they run their campaign, and I hardly even care what they say during their campaign, anymore.

Running a campaign and running a country are two different things, mostly.

I just can't wait for Mad King George to be out of office. Although I'd prefer Clinton's experience and health care plan to Obama's, the question of electability is a big factor I can't ignore.

Mike 'Bwana' Blackgrave said...

Just remember folks..a Clinton presidency means same old same old with a snow balls chance in hell of change, that is if she can even get that far. Clinton vs. McCain is a republican dream come true. What is she going to debate him on, on what differences? Exactly, not a damn thing she voted dang near identical to him on all the issues that will be shoved onto the platter for such a debate. If Senator Obama is the nominee then a change will come. McCain and the republicans loathe that match up, they know where he stands and how the mere fact of he (Obama) not voting for the war will throw there game plan of a rhetorical debate into a tail spin that makes a hurricane look like a breeze.

Vote how you will but remember if she becomes the next prez. we will be in for another 4 years of two family politics running the rock, and that my friends means for the last 20 and the next 4 we will have two political machines in charge. NO THANKS!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Senator Obama has the experience(yet) to lead this country out of the quagmire we're in. It bothers me that in his first term as US Senator from the state of Illinois, he's spent a good deal of time running for President.I'm struck by his reference to "great personal sacrifice" being needed to affect change. There are many Americans who might feel they've already experienced that sacrifice in the loss of their son(s) or daughter(s). I worry that in spite of his mention of sacrifice, many young voters are more carried away by his rhetoric than by listening to his actual words. Too many times I feel there will be disillusionment when change does not come in a flash of white light. I think Hillary has the thankless task of reminding this country that while there is hope for change, it will not be an overnight event and the road will not be smooth. Of course, I'd like 'smooth', who wouldn't? But I've been around long enough to know better, and I've also seen what can happen to a leader little more than gubernatorial experience when the sh*t hits the fan as it did at the US Embassy in Iran. These are not just my worries; they belong to my friends and some of my family as well. Most of the men served in VietNam or the Gulf War. Some have offspring overseas at the moment.Others just want life to return to some semblance of normal.
I supported John Edwards and voted for him on Super Tuesday, yes, after he withdrew. I needed to make a statement, and I knew Obama would carry his hopme state. It is my home state as well. One thing I do know is that I will not vote for John McCain. That he's a Republican matters not. I have seen him change from a maverick with ideas of his own to a toe-the-line party man, waffling from side to side along the way. That said, whoever wins the democratic nomination gets all my efforts, and my hopes that he or she chooses wisely in running mate as well as in advisors.
Is it as simple as pragmatism vs optimism?
Just my humble opinion of course.

PJ Parrish said...

The fact that Clinton's people did not understand beforehand how the process of allotting delegates in Texas is done is yet another example of how they have mishandled this campaign. First, she runs out of money too early; second, she ignores the impact of the internet for fund-raising; third, she fires several key campaign managers; fourth, she is forced to spend valuable time fund-raising rather than stumping in states where she needs votes.(Texas is her "firewall" but where is she today? In New York trying to raise money).

If she can't find competent staff to run a campaign, how can she be trusted to surround herself with good advisers in the White House?

If this is "experience," give me the alternative any day.

Joshua James said...

I can attest that, as a New Yorker, it doesn't seem to me that H. Clinton has done much during her 8 years as our Senator other than prepare to run for President.

She certainly hasn't done much in opposition to the current administration.

David Terrenoire said...

I think Hillary would govern well. But Obama will lead.

That's the difference.

No one person can fix all the crap that our Boy King has broken. But we all can fix it if we have someone who can lead.

Yes we can.

Anonymous said...

There is a BIG difference in Leadership and Management. Hillary is a prime example of management. She is awesome at supporting the work efforts of others and taking full credit for it. A true leader is one who emphasizes charismatic and transformational leadership approaches, and various aspects of vision related to them. Also, this type of leadership changes and transforms individuals and organizations in order to induce high performance. In the days ahead, America does not need a President who sits back and allows her previous constituency to run the Country…We just went through eight years of this type of Administration.

We need a transformational leader who can broaden and elevate American and stir up the three branches of government. We need a government that can look beyond their own interests and take heed to the interest of the American people.

Obama has demonstrated this type of leadership thus far and has not wavered…..