Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Losing Without Style or Grace

After the appalling and shameful events of last night, it's becoming more and more difficult to escape the conclusion that Hillary Clinton is determined to destroy the Democratic party. If she can't win the nomination, then no one can. Don't take my word for it - when people like Hugh Hewitt start posting Clinton clips as a means to boost McCain, you know you've got a real problem on your hands.

It's all very pathetic, not to mention frustrating. There's plenty of vitriol directed at her this morning on "the Internets," all of it deserved.

I'm not a huge fan of Maureen Dowd, but when she's on, she's on. Key graf:

For months, Hillary has been trying to emasculate Obama with the sort of words and themes she has chosen, stirring up feminist anger by promoting the idea that the men were unfairly taking it away from the women, and covering up her own campaign mistakes with cries of sexism. Even his ability to finally clinch the historic nomination did not stop her in that pursuit. She did not bat her eyelashes at him and proclaim him Rhett Butler instead of Ashley Wilkes.

And Brendan Loy is definitely in fine form this morning.

Hillary's claim that she wants the party to be united is, at this point, an utter and obvious lie. Her speech last night was sheer demagoguery, deliberately using rhetoric -- about the "popular vote," about Michigan and Florida, about electability, and so forth -- that will keep her supporters in a frenzy of anger and/or denial about the outcome of the election.

I said beforehand that it would be unforgivable if she made these sorts of arguments last night, and she made them, and it is indeed unforgivable. Absolutely unforgivable. On the very night when the party should have begun coalescing once and for all around its presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton continued to stoke the fires of intraparty civil war, instead of beginning of the process of standing down and backing off.

I'm not saying she needed to concede last night, but she needed to be gracious and conciliatory and valedictory, not combative and defiant and demagogic. She needed to explicitly attack McCain's candidacy, not implicitly attack Obama's legitimacy. She needed to speak the language of unity, not merely pay lip-service to it. She failed -- she deliberately chose to fail -- on all counts.

This notion out there that we should "respect" Hillary by not acknowledging the repugnance of last night's speech, and of her recent campaign tactics generally, is completely back-asswards. It's disrespectful to be anything other than repulsed, because such a reaction requires a belief that Hillary doesn't know perfectly well what she is doing. To give Hillary a pass is to assume she's a witless child, which she most certainly is not. She knows precisely what she's doing -- and it is the exact opposite of "uniting the party." She is willfully undermining her party's nominee.

There's a lot more out there, but if I read any more right now I may start breaking something. But if anyone is listening, if anyone cares, you can add my voice to those who just want Clinton to go away, quietly into the night.

I'm not holding my breath.

1 comment:

CB said...

Please, please, please be wrong about this! I am proud. I am invincible, and I am an Obama supporter. To say that I am heartsick about the ugly turn that the Democratic presidential primary race has taken is a vast understatement. I once admired Hillary; I agonized over my vote in the California primary before deciding that Obama represented the future of the party and following my children's examples (ages 21 and 23). That, obviously, was months ago. Now I'd hate to see her on the ticket. Sigh and double sigh. In the space of six months, our former First Couple has done what a decade of rabid Clinton-haters had failed to do: Make me sick of the Clintons. Here's a tiny glint of optimism to temper the bleakness of Mr. Vaca's analysis: Today, at the Moxie hair salon in an gritty West Sacramento retail mall off Jefferson, a middle-aged woman dropped her octogenarian mother off to get her hair done. Both were European Americans; the older woman proudly displayed an Obama sticker on her walker. "This is a great day for America and the world," her daugher smiled. If the Democrats can't get it together to win the White House this fall, we can't get it together to do anything!