Posted by David
on Apr 19, 2008 in Upside-down Hippo
| 0 comments
I wish I had something profound to say, but I just woke up from a mind-scrambling nap. That it is nine-twenty p.m. bodes ill for my somnia this night. I think what would put me right out is listening to myself go on and on about my continuing lack of sleep, but unfortunately no one has secretly recorded me doing so, unlike Senator Asshole Who Wants to Rule the World was recently secretly recorded saying she hates the activist base of her own political party. This would be the same activist base that created an organization—MoveOn—in the 1990s with the goal of getting Congress to move on to more important matters than her husband’s sex scandal, so one would think that she sort of owes it to them to not blatantly lie about their record and current actions.
Oh yay, there we go, I can talk about politics. Not profound or even original, but it fills the column inches. Content Challenge expects nothing less.
Here’s what’s funny: although I often found myself in the odd position of defending him and justifying his actions even to myself, I didn’t like Bill Clinton. Indeed, while he always seemed like a nice guy, I rather loathed him on a political level (although compared to the horror that is GWB, he might as well be Gandhi). But I always liked Hillary in sort of a tough sister sort of way. Even when she was transformed by ambition into a born-again center-right warhawk, and I claimed to start hating her, I could appreciate her positioning and triangulation as the only way a woman, and particularly this woman, could hope to be taken seriously as presidential material. So I still sorta liked the Inner Hillary, and even though I supported Dodd and Edwards in the early primaries, I thought she would probably make a good president and the world would not end if she were the nominee. In any case, I liked Obama even less, and when Dodd and Edwards both dropped out, I was genuinely conflicted in my ideological priorities.
And then Clinton ran a campaign that, over a few weeks’ time, managed the astonishing feat of transforming me into an Obama lover—at least, he is now the candidate I reflexively defend and justify, and Clinton is the candidate who makes me want to vomit up the spirulina protein smoothie I make for breakfast every day.
I am not one of those people who think that Clinton should drop out of the race before the primaries are over. While it’s clear she can’t win the number of votes she requires popularly, I am a democrat at heart and will even support the candidacy of Ralph Nader against popular attack. If someone thinks they can and should be president, he or she should be free to compete in the race to the extent that it is possible given its inherent structure. If the primaries are going to go on this long (a ridiculously stupid system, but it’s the system we have—at least until the Revolution), then a candidate has the right to compete in all of them.
I do think that if a member of a political party is going to stay in the race to the bitter end, however, he or she owes it to other members of his or her political party not to divide and/or destroy said party while thrashing through his or her death spiral. Some examples of this might be not to use the other party’s talking points against your loyal opponent, not to generate inaccurate or irrelevant new talking points that can be used by the other party against your loyal opponent, not to have your donors act like a crime bosses and threaten high-ranking members of your own party when they have the gall to voice their opinions, not to imply that your loyal opponent’s supporters (the very ones you will desperately need should a miracle happen and you become the nominee) are unpatriotic monsters, and other loathsome acts ripped from recent headlines. Lying is the expected default for presidential candidates, so while one might understandably be annoyed by exaggerated stories of coming under sniper fire, for example, at least that’s a misrepresentation of your own personal history. Misrepresenting someone else’s, in the wide-eyed, disingenuous tones of a professional concern troll, is more problematic. It’s like padding your own resume vs. sneaking into the H.R. office in the dead of night and smearing shit over those of your opponents until they are illegible.
Generating and prolonging false controversy about non-issues is also not the stuff of which finest hours are made. Then again, High-Road Hillary, who saw the light of day a few times earlier in the campaign, seems to have been a constructed personality anyway, discarded when inconvenient.
The conventional wisdom former about President Clinton is that he was the best Republican president we’ve ever had. If present trends advance only slightly, it seems as if Senator Clinton is going to be the worst Republican presidential candidate ever. Will I support her if she manages to assassinate Senator Obama? Certainly, because McCrypt-Keeper is an infinitely worse prospect, and I DO think that much of Hillary’s current nauseating behavior is based upon political calculation, and the old tough sister Hillary I used to admire is in there somewhere. But when she sweeps the corrupt, corporatist, Mafioso Democrats back into positions of power just because they passed some personal loyalty test, how is that any better than what George Bush did when he resurrected the criminals of Republican administrations past just because they pretended to like him? From my perspective, that only means we’ll be sold out by slightly more competent people.
I’m still not a big fan of BHO, and I don’t understand the mindless devotion he seems to generate in the wider electorate. While “empty suit” is an overused and inaccurate criticism, for the longest time, it really did seem as if there wasn’t a lot of “there” there. Maybe it’s only in contrast to his pterodactyl of an opponent that I am starting to see his appeal. I do know that while Hillary Clinton may not have lost this election yet, she has lost my respect forever.
As a reformed Naderite and a harsh critic of his disastrous campaign in 2000, there were years in which I never thought I’d say it, but where is Al Gore when you need him?