Tuesday, June 3, 2008

This is the End

After a bruising, exhilarating and unprecedented six months of Democratic primaries and caucuses, our neighbours to the south have finally run out of states. And despite what Terry McAuliffe is saying right now, it looks like sanity will prevail in Hillaryland and she will concede and move on rather than burn the party to the ground in her naked quest for power.

I feel kind of sorry for Clinton's supporters. Watching them weep and scream and tear their clothing in grief after the DNC's decision on Michigan and Florida, it seems to me that the Clinton campaign has done them a great disservice. They set up Hillary Clinton as a historic figure who represented the only hope for America to see a woman in the Whitehouse (thus casting their opponents as misogynists), and have worked her supporters into a frenzy based on a series of politically expedient lies.

They tell them that Clinton is leading the popular vote, even though that is both untrue and irrelevant. They go from supporting the exclusion of Michigan and Florida's delegates to invoking the nightmare of 2000 by painting the voters in those states as disenfranchised victims of a rigged system. And week after week, long after it became obvious that Obama was going to be the nominee, they continued to string these people along with the false hope that somehow Clinton could still win IF ONLY life was fair and wishes were horses and they all continued to support her to the bitter, bitter end.

Even now, as Clinton campaign workers are being told to get their affairs in order and donors and supporters are being called to New York for an important speech by Clinton - EVEN NOW her campaign chairman is calling up CNN to vigorously deny that Clinton plans to concede tonight and admit that the race is over.

Most of us can see this for what it is: a calculated, strategic effort to appear to go down fighting while positioning one's candidate for the best possible spot in the Obama administration. But to those poor women at the DNC meeting (and they were all women as far as I could tell), this all appears to be a sincere effort by Clinton to claim her rightful place in history despite all she has suffered at the hands of the male-dominated party establishment.

They sincerely believe everything the Clinton campaign has been telling them, even though Clinton obviously doesn't believe it herself.

They say that Democrats fall in love while Republicans fall in line, and to a large extent this sort of passion is one of the great strengths of the Democratic Party. But to continue to lie to these people, to continue to breed false hope and righteous fury among one's ardent supporters while using their dreams and passions as a political tool is not only damaging to the party - it's downright cruel.

Stop it. Stop it now.


  1. I agree with you that it's all over but the tears; however, there's one thing that puzzles me. As an Obama supporter perhaps you could answer my question?

    For several months now it has been apparent that Obama is very likely to win the nomination. In most cases that would provoke a move in his direction by most Democrats, especially primary voters.

    What we've seen is very puzzling. Obama got trounced in Puerto Rico in spite of the fact he was within a whisker of winning the nomination. Tonight there will be large numbers of Democrats voting for Hillary knowing full well that she can't win the nomination. They are, in fact, registering a protest vote against Obama.

    Does that trouble you? Shouldn't Obama have sailed to victory two months ago? Are those voters seeing something that you might be missing?

  2. "Trounced' is a rather strong word for a contest that inspired only a 19% turnout when it was expected to be as high as 65% - and from people who won't even get to vote in November. If anything, the extremely low turnout seems to indicate that the people of PR recognized that the race was a foregone conclusion.

    I also disagree with the conclusion you seem to be drawing from these late primaries. In most of them, Clinton was expected to do very well just from the states involved and the way the demographics have been falling out. In fact, she's been consistently doing worse than expected, especially recently. MT and SD will be going for Obama in large numbers, as expected.

    You are also assuming that when people are faced with a foregone conclusion in a race like this that they will just bow to the inevitable. Sometimes that happens, and it is happening with the superdelegates. But with emotions running as high as they have been, and with the divisive rhetoric that has been thrown around, it's not surprising that many of them are digging in their heels and fighting even harder when they know they've lost.

    (didn't I just say that? :)

  3. Hmmmm ....

    So I guess the bottom line is that it doesn't trouble you at all. You have plenty of excuses for why so many Democrats aren't voting for Obama.

    That troubles me ... :-)

  4. Maybe I just don't understand the point you are trying to make. It's a primary contest. There were two candidates still in the race. Some people voted for one, some for the other.

    What exactly do you find troubling about that?

    To put it in perspective, Ron Paul is still pulling in a respectable percentage of the Republican primary votes (17% in SD on Monday, 24% in Idaho last week) even though McCain has been the presumptive nominee for months. Hell, even Mike Huckabee continues to pull in 5-10% and he's not even running!

    It remains to be seen whether or not the animosity between the Clinton and Obama supporters continues, but I strongly suspect that things will cool down substantially, starting today.

    What REALLY troubles me is how many Americans are still, after all that's happened over the past 8 years, STILL planning to vote Republican. In the face of that, the whole Obama vs. Clinton deathmatch thing seems kind of stupid.