The baptism of Clovis (doesn't really have much to do with the primaries, but it's cool).
I think anyone who has read my blog at all over the past few months knows that I have been supporting Obama. So it will come as no surprise that I ask the gentle citizens of the great states of Indiana and North Carolina to vote for him in the primaries today.
A word about Hillary Clinton. The blogosphere has grown bitter with attacks from all sides against all the candidates. And yes, I count as one who has not always moderated his language when describing the junior senator from my state (I confess to having compared her to the devil in two posts -- I'm not sorry). I would like to explain my extremity of expression.
When the race for the Democratic nomination began (sometime in the fifth century, at least it seems that way to me), although I considered Hillary as intelligent and capable, I did not rush to support her. One reason was that I felt that dynasty politics are very bad for the country and that a continued Bush-Clinton alternation should be avoided. The other big question was, of course, the war. I was against the war from the beginning. I was one of those who shivered in the cold in the big February demonstration. I knew the accusations against the Hussein regime made no sense and I could see that an invasion would have horrible consequences. This war has been a massive disaster politically, diplomatically, and most importantly, morally. Of course, almost all Democratic politicians cravenly bowed to the administration's warlust, and Hillary is not the only one at fault. Yet her attitude towards the vote has been brazenly unapologetic. I have no idea whether John Edwards was sincere in his apology for voting for the war or not, but at this point at least a gesture is required. To tell the truth, until everyone who enabled this war -- from Bush and Cheney to Kerry and Clinton to Judith Miller and Rupert Murdoch -- engage in the equivalent of a barefoot pilgrimage to Jerusalem or Santiago, I will not be convinced that they are even aware of the enormity of the crime they have committed.
That said, at the beginning of the whole process I was uncomfortable with much of the criticism leveled at Hillary Clinton, especially from the right. Her "ambition" was constantly cited as a negative factor, as if anyone who was running for president were not ambitious. It seemed to me that what really motivated these attacks was blatant misogyny felt by those threatened by a strong women.
Of course, much of that was true, and the examples of sexism coming out of various pundits and talking heads during this campaign are legion. Still, I have become aware there are different kinds of ambition, and some are extremely destructive. Samantha Powers was forced to resign from the Obama campaign after calling Hillary "a monster" who "is stooping to anything," but at this point I have to agree with her. Of course, Hillary's senate record is not void of silly/nauseating pandering (the flag-burning amendment, the Kyle-Lieberman amendment), but hey, a politician's a politician. What she has done in this campaign, however, has been
toxic. I've already discussed this in earlier posts, so I won't go into detail, but the truth is that there is nothing her campaign hasn't sunk to -- race-baiting, lying, changing the rules mid-game, discounting a large portion of the electorate, threatening nuclear war, etc. It's unpleasant and destructive for her party.
In the end, it's destructive for the res publica on the whole. Hillary has used every Rovian tactic available -- the echo chamber of slander, the appeal to patriotism, the "with us or against us" accusation, the dismissal of her opponents as "elites." The gas tax holiday is really the last straw. Every economist, even the Hillary-worshiping Paul Krugman, have said that it's a bad idea. Many do not hesitate to use terms like "stupid." Clinton's response? She's for the common people, not those elite economists! Does this sound familiar at all? Think about George W. Bush and his rejection of elite scientists. Apart from whatever policy differences they have, Clinton, like Bush, depend on the dumbing down of the electorate to achieve and hold onto power. Clinton says things she knows aren't true hoping that we're stupid enough not to really check into them and rather rely on a complacent and lazy media more interested in sound-bites than in real information. She is using the tried and true GOP method to appeal to ignorance against knowledge. Whether or not the GOP and Hillary are right about the general electorate (and I pray they aren't, despite the evidence of the last eight years), they are insulting our intelligence. I'm sure Hillary really does believe she can do good things for the country and help people, but she comes from a political culture that sees the average citizen as nothing more but something to be manipulated and bamboozled at election time, and then thrust out of the way. Who is the true elitist here?
Come on Indiana and North Carolina, let's end this circus.
ADDENDUM: As usual, Jon Stewart explains it best: