Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hillary, please stop this. Now.

Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, John F Kennedy.

Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush.

Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Robert F Kennedy.

America has a long and distressing history involving the assassination and attempted assassination of presidents, presidential candidates and polarising political figures. To discuss this in terms of current political events or to revisit the spectre of political assassination in the US is pretty much taboo - especially in this year of ground-breaking (and some would say controversial and polarising) candidates.

You don't speak the unthinkable because - it's unthinkable. And dangerous (there are some pretty nutty people out there). Not to mention hurtful, insensitive, callous and stupid.

Clinton: This is the most important job in the world. It's the toughest job in the world. You should be willing to campaign for every vote. You should be willing to debate anytime, anywhere. I think it's an interesting juxtaposition where we find ourselves and you know, I have been willing to do all of that during the entire process and people have been trying to push me out of this ever since Iowa and I find it...

EB: Why? Why?

Clinton: I don't know I don't know I find it curious because it is unprecedented in history. I don't understand it and between my opponent and his camp and some in the media, there has been this urgency to end this and you know historically that makes no sense, so I find it a bit of a mystery.

EB: You don't buy the party unity argument?

Clinton: I don't, because again, I've been around long enough. You know my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere around the middle of June

EB: June

Clinton: We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. Um you know I just I don't understand it. There's lots of speculation about why it is.

It's been clear to me for a while now that the Clinton camp has been working on a number of Plan Bs once it became virtually impossible for her to win the most delegates. These have all involved keeping the campaign going - taking it as far as a bloody battle at the convention if they have to.

Until yesterday, the most recent - and in my mind most ridiculous - strategy has been the ongoing argument about seating the Florida and Michigan delegates - even though they broke the rules, knew the consequences, and even though Clinton and her advisers agreed to those rules at the time, and have only brought up the "disenfranchisement" argument since they realised they needed the numbers in order to even get close to Obama's totals.

Clinton's argument (especially when she started comparing Florida and Michigan to the Civil Rights movement, women's suffrage and - God help us all - Zimbabwe) showed a level of hypocrisy and a willingness to continually move the goalposts and change her position as and when it suited her to do so. Not a good attribute in a president.

The "hard working Americans - white Americans" argument has been another classic example - try and make people believe that Obama can't win the white working-class vote, in the vain hope that the undecided supers can be persuaded that Clinton's the best candidate. I mean, come on, she's got a point, hasn't she? Let's look at this AlJazeera report...

Nasty... let's send out a dog whistle to those people in the Appalachians who have a problem getting their heads around a black man becoming president, shall we? Personally, I wouldn't want a president who's willing to widen the racial divide to get there, even if it's only in a relatively small part of the country.

But this latest comment by Clinton is, in my opinion, the most egregious of all. Whether she meant it this way or not, it's easy to read her comment as "I'm staying in the race in case something really bad happens to Obama..."

And that's something you just.don't.say.

Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy. Four powerful, charismatic, polarising political figures who offered great hope to some, and the coming of the apocalypse to others. Four American political giants cut down in their prime by the assassin's bullet.

Listen. We know there are racists out there. We know there are crazy people out there. We know that Obama's had Secret Service protection since May 2007 - the earliest for any presidential candidate ever - because of death threats that arose as soon as he announced his candidacy. We know that the reason why Colin Powell didn't stand in 1996 was because his wife was afraid he'd be shot. We know that many people in the black community have quietly expressed the same fear in regards to Obama.

We know this. Clinton knows this.

I think this was a major, serious, and (hopefully) campaign-ending Freudian slip by Clinton.

It's been pretty clear for ages that's she's been hanging in there, slinging mud at every opportunity (Rev Wright, Bill Ayers, "he's not a Muslim... as far as I know", white working class voters, Bittergate etc etc), hoping that something - anything - would stick, or that Obama would slip up, and make a mistake so large that his support would be fatally damaged and she could step into the nomination that she appears to believe is hers by right...

But I don't know that anyone really thought that deep within her lay even the whisper of the thought that she needs to hang in there in case the same fate that befell RFK should befall Obama. Whether it was through tiredness, cold calculation, or a slip of the tongue, I think what Hillary revealed through that comment was a glimpse into her soul. And it ain't pretty.

It should also be, in my opinion, the final nail in the coffin that is the Clinton campaign.

Hillary, please stop this. Now. And if she won't stop, then the supers or the DNC, or someone needs to step in and stop her. This has gone too far.

I'll leave the final comment to the great Keith Olbermann. He says it best (and boy, is he angry!)

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Steve Ballmer said...

Given all of the things throughout history which have happened in June, Hellary mentions the assassination of Bobby Kennedy? An unusually close parallel to Obama or wishful thinking or maybe instructions to the wack job racist out there?

"You guys aren't doing your job!"
That's what I hear Hellary saying!
Maybe that's just me, .... we will find out at Barak's wake.