07 May 2008

Time to move forward

It’s hard for me to see how Hillary Clinton can possibly win the Democratic Party nomination for president, particularly given last night’s races in North Carolina and Indiana. Obama won handily in the first, and came within two points of tying up with her in the second. It was not the clear victory in Indiana Hillary was planning on. Her prediction of a “game changing” upset and win in North Carolina turned out to be a pipe-dream.

I liked Hillary during the years Bill was president. I liked her intelligence and chutzpah, I liked how she stood up to the arseholes who wanted her to sit down, shut up and be a good little wifey, and I liked her changing hair-styles. Knowing that she wasn’t satisfied with how she looked made her seem human, more like the rest of us. I even liked her assertion that “it takes a village to raise a child.” I know, she got blasted for being so idealistic, but I liked her for that, too.

There’s nothing wrong with idealism. The trouble is, most of us don’t have a village handy any more.

But I’m finding it harder and harder to like Hillary in her current incarnation. She tells lies – obvious, pathetic lies – for one thing. And she seems so desperate to win the nomination that she panders to everyone and uses Rovian attack strategies against her opponents. It’s ugly and she’s better than that, or at least, I thought she was. Hillary is rattling the war saber, too, as if we haven’t already had enough of that, or learned the tragic folly of unnecessary wars. She was a young woman during the Vietnam years. Hasn’t she learned anything? And after Bush made a fool of her and rest of Congress, duping them into giving him the go-ahead to wage his vanity war against Saddam and Iraq, doesn’t she see that he’s duping her again with Iran?

Today’s Hillary disturbs me. She worries me. Haven’t we had enough of this happy-crappy from BushCo?

Since the first rumors that Hillary was considering a run for the presidency, way back in 2000, I believed that she shouldn’t do it, at least not until 2012 or 2016. Why? Because it would take that long for the “baggage” she carries, with Bill, to lose its toxicity. And yes, I know that the baggage was never toxic in the first place, and none of the wrongdoing they were charged with was ever proven. (Well, except for Bill's nasty, stupid little affair with Monica, but I'd argue that whole mess should never have been prosecuted like it was. That's another post, though.)

But thanks to the Republicans, most Americans perceive the Clintons as sleazy and crooked. They’ve been smeared with synthetic skunk and, unfortunately, they still stink.

I felt that the stinky “baggage” would make Hillary a non-starter. She proved me wrong about that with her campaign for the nomination, though. She’s smart and savvy, and I admire her for her courage in going for it.

But the presidency is about more than Hillary getting her own back. It’s about more than a woman being elected president for the first time in American history, as fantastic and affirming that would be. Now that George W. Bush has trashed our country, ignored its laws, stomped on the Constitution and divided us as a people so decisively, we really need a leader who can bring us together to clean up the terrible, tragic mess he’s made and restore, to some degree, our standing in the world. Hillary, I’m afraid, just isn’t the right person for the job. She may be, someday. But she isn’t right now.

Why? There are huge changes coming – oil production is reaching its peak all over the world just as consumption is rising fourfold. Our economy, for so long underpinned by the housing industry, is starting to collapse as we realize that it was nothing but sand and hot-air-bubbles we were building on. The collapse is affecting the entire world. Food shortages are causing severe problems in the Third World and have even touched us here in the U.S., where stores like Costco have limited commercial purchases of rice and cooking oil.

The price of gasoline as production levels decline is already showing up in ever higher prices at the gas pumps and startlingly high prices in our grocery stores. Many thousands of Americans are losing their homes because of dodgy mortgages. Some of them knew better and don’t deserve a lot of sympathy, but I think many more did not. The crooked mortgage companies encouraged people who didn’t make enough money to afford a home to commit themselves anyway, telling them it would all work out just fine. They lied. They were shysters. And we’re all starting to pay the price for that massive folly now.

If Hillary didn’t come with all that stinking baggage, she might be able to lead our country through the very dark times facing us. The fact is, though, that she’s still loaded down with it. And if she is able to prevail against the Republican attack machine and win the presidency, that won’t mean they’ll stop attacking her. I’m afraid that Hillary will find herself spending most of her time dealing with and fending off those attacks as long as she’s in the White House, just when we most need her not to be distracted from the disaster around her. I think they’ll make sure she’s ineffectual. That makes me sad, but I see it as truth.

There’s also a very good chance that if Hillary gets the nomination, the Republicans will destroy her chances before November and John McCain will win. If that happens, we might as well say good bye to America.

And so what I want Hillary to do now is concede that her chances for winning the nomination are slim to none, and that she’d be much better throwing her considerable power, prestige, intellect and charisma behind Obama. I want her to do it so that as Americans we can come together to repair Bush’s damage and rebuild America’s reputation and standing in the world. At this point, all Hillary can do by continuing her run is to divide us even more.

Please, Hillary. Focus. This is not about you. This election is vital to America’s future. It’s vital to your future, to mine, and to ours, all of us, no matter whether we’re Democrats or Republicans. Please concede the race and work for us instead of yourself.

And to those Dems out there who say they won’t vote for Obama if he wins the nomination (and likewise those Obama supporters who say they won’t vote for Hillary)? Excuse me – wake up and grow up. It’s not all about you, either. Refusing to vote or voting for McCain is childish and will only make things much, much worse for all of us.

Please, America. Think.


dorki said...

Wren, very well put.

I am very disappointed in the raw lust for power that has driven her campaign. Our nation's only chance is someone looking to the future to rebuild the USA from the shreds that it is in now. Since both Clinton and McCain are quite 20th Century, that leaves only one.

Inspiring leadership will draw out the best that the nation has to offer - it is sorely needed.

MichaelBains said...

I've lost a lot of respect for her during this campaign, but it's all been along the lines of the doubts and disagreements I had about her character and with her political philosophy to begin with.

She's still enrapture by that same ol' nationalist, cheerleader enthusiasm for America's Superiority as has characterized the Shrub's entire tenure. Whether slamming Obama for being "weak" or refusing to acknowledge that American's have Got To Change our life-styles vis-a-vis our Consumerism, her act Needs to be left to History.

With or without particulars, Barack Obama's ideology is one of Hope and Growth and Change for the better. More than anything else, this country needs a Leader who will establish That atmosphere right now, for the decades to come. Otherwise, while it won't be the end of the world we'll be facing, it Will still the end of America's leadership world-wide. And, as with the Romans in the debauched hunger for power for nothing more than power's sake, it will be a boon to all but the top .01%.

robin andrea said...

I was ambivalent about Hillary's run to begin with. I was an Edward's supporter, but when he dropped out, I flirted with the idea of backing Hillary. But every time she opened her mouth, she said something so utterly full of sh*t, so bombastically stupid, so arrogantly presumptuous that she sent me screaming straight to support Obama. Now she needs to exit the stage as gracefully and as quickly as possible.

Bill Stankus said...

Good posting.

What I don't understand is after the damage done by Bush and a telephone book full of Repug scoundrels how anyone can have an ounce of hate for Hillary?

She's played the boy's club game fairly well and her rewards include being dumped upon. Sorry, I don't get it.

Obama seems like an OK person but I wonder if he's really prepared for the shitstorm a coming from the Repugs once he and McCain square off.

Larry Jones said...

Beautifully stated, and I can hear the twinge of pain you feel at having to tell Hillary to drop out. But you're right -- she seems to think it's all about her, and it's not.

Obama is an empty vessel. He may fail. But by stooping to politics as usual, in a sense Hillary already has failed, at least in my book, while Obama still has a chance to change the way the game is played. I'm a boy and I want NO MORE of the boy's game, no matter who plays it.

I'm not worried about McCain. The baggage he carries is called The Bush Legacy. Americans want no part of it, and they won't be buying the lies that the Republican party will try to feed them. Now that I think of it, John McCain is probably the one who should drop out, before he is humiliated.

Bubs said...

Great post. It's always worried me that Clinton has (with the exception of W) the highest negatives of any politician. It also worries me that, given 9/11, Iraq and all of the rest of it, we're on the verge of nominating a candidate with the middle name "Hussein".

The viral video and email campaign against Obama is going to be brutal. And it bothers me that Clinton has given them a head start against Obama by her campaign's tactics.

Lucy said...

This is one of the most well-written political commentaries I've read in a long time. As I was reading it, I found myself thinking "yep" the whole time. I used to like Hillary a lot more too, but I have to admit that I voted for Obama in Ohio's primary (it was, however, a hair split and I plan to fully back whichever Dem is on the ticket). Hillary just seems too manufactured to me anymore. And I like Obama even more after the Rev. Wright stuff (I'm a big fan of social radicalism).

Anyway Wren, great post. I was getting sick of politics, but you've re-energized me.