In July of last year, I wrote a blog post about how I had just seen Barack Obama in Cincinnati, and how he had inspired me. In February of this year, I wrote another, very measured and careful blog post about why I was supporting Obama over Hillary Clinton.
In the 3 months since I wrote that last post, many things have happened in the Democratic primary process which have disgusted, disarmed, disappointed, and downright depressed me. Almost all of them have been perpetrated by Hillary Clinton and her campaign surrogates. I have sat by and watched, in disbelief, as Bill Clinton has insulted the African-Americans of this country; as Hillary has lied about avoiding sniper fire on a tarmac in Bosnia; and as the Clinton campaign has gone against its previous stance and urged for the inclusion of the Michigan and Florida primary delegates (despite the fact that Clinton advisor Harold Ickes voted for them to be excluded last year). These are stand-out events amid the daily sludge that her campaign has generated as she has gone from presumed candidate to a trite and sad version of the Senator that I thought we all knew. Gone are the days where we can be proud to say that we had a great woman running for president; we've entered a time where I can't listen to her or read anything she says without feeling embarrassed.
But what was really the last straw for me, and what led me to write this post, was recently finding out that Hillary compared the situation with the Michigan and Florida delegates to the recent fraudulent elections in Zimbabwe. ZIMBABWE. Which is to insinuate that the heinous dictator of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, who "refused to abide by the will of the people" as she put it, is in some way akin to Obama, who apparently is trying to keep the voters of Florida and Michigan down. Or something. Even if you don't draw that comparison from what she says, the situation is clear - Hillary Clinton is unhinged and will say or do anything it takes to take the nomination, and if that means stealing it, then so be it.
Nevermind that the polling numbers in Ohio and Florida, which show Hillary beating McCain but Obama losing to him, are being skewed by Hillary supporters who are so vindictive that they are claiming that they will vote for McCain if Hillary does not get the nomination. If, as Andrew Romano puts it eloquently in his article for Newsweek, you factor in even a small portion of those people who find their way back to voting for a Democrat in November, Obama will win both states. None of this seems to matter to the Clintons, who have shown how utterly unprincipled they are with their crusade to include the delegates from Michigan and Florida, after they voted to exclude them, and even when Obama's name was not on the ballot in Michigan.
And let's talk about Hillary's claim that the race has been infused with sexism (to her disadvantage) but not racism. Let's definitely talk about the fact that she's a woman, because if this is the way that our first viable female candidate for president is going to conduct herself, then I doubt we will have another viable female candidate any time soon. What of future elections....will people say, "oh she's a great candidate, but remember when Hillary went bat-shit crazy in 2008?" As a woman, I could not be more ashamed that she is representing us in this way, and I could not be more distraught that she is potentially damaging future female candidates' chances.
At this point the nomination is almost a done deal for Obama, but I fear for the weeks ahead, because we will finally see how low the Clintons are willing to stoop in their desperate attempt at power-grabbing. I used to think about Bill Clinton's presidency fondly but I can't even do that anymore without cringing - the Clinton legacy is now tarnished by their own petty and petulant actions when they simply were out-run - and it makes me really, really sad. Like Evan Handler writes in his blog, I would like to imagine a graceful exit by Senator Clinton where she uses her stature as a public figure to point out the historic nature of this year's campaign. I would like to imagine it, but instead, all I hear in my head are nails on a chalkboard.
Epilogue: Friday, May 23, 2008. In maddening desperation, Hillary Clinton says the following:
"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it.".....which, for all intents and purposes, means that Obama could be assassinated at any moment, which could mean her path to the nomination. I think Bob Cesca makes a good case for her as the worst person in the world at this point.
PS. I love Keith Olbermann!