After weeks of reading the high school level invective heaped on Hillary Clinton by people on the leftist blogs, it was a real pleasure to hear Barack Obama’s reaction to the equally foolish gaff by Geraldine Ferraro. In contrast to many of his supporters, his reaction was a model of class and maturity such as used to be fairly normal for the best of politicians.
If Hillary Clinton loses the nomination I think you can date the beginning of the end to what Bill Clinton said in South Carolina. And he wasn’t alone. There were others. But it was Bill Clinton’s statements about race then that changed the atmosphere and altered the polarity of the electorate. After that any statement made by Hillary’s campaign impinging on race would be pulled in a direction that would be dangerous.
Some might point to Hillary Clinton’s statement about the necessity of Lyndon Johnson being in office to get the Voting Rights Act and other parts of Martin Luther King’s agenda put into law as being a continuation of a strategy. I don’t believe that for a single second. What she said was obviously true, you have to hold the government to put anything into law. You wonder how anyone with the most vestigial knowledge of civics could fault the accuracy of what she said even if it might have been put more advantageously. But in the changed and charged atmosphere of her campaign it would have been better if it hadn’t been said at all.
Whatever happens, whoever wins the nomination, the friction between the Clinton campaign and one of the largest and most loyal parts of the Democratic coalition isn’t helpful at all. Just as bad is the sexist locker room talk from the supporters of Obama on the blogs and elsewhere. A lot of that is indistinguishable from the worst of what the Republican mouthpieces have been saying about her for going on two decades. Some of it is also reminiscent of the language used by the spoiled brats on the puritan left to talk about Nancy Pelosi. That also is offensive to another essential and reliable part of the Democratic coalition. It’s not as if we have enough of those parts to make any of them expendable. Winning the election is going to be hard enough as it is without the boys of the blogs trying to out do each other to come up with anti-Hillary spew.
I heard on the radio that both of our candidates for the nomination had an “intense”, private, three minute conversation between themselves on the Senate floor the other night. I hope that during that conversation it was agreed that which ever one of them got the nomination would have a hard time beating McCain and the entire force of the corporate system that will try to hand him a crown, just as they successfully have for a series of inept and criminal Republicans over the past thirty years.
You could suspect that they might have commiserated between themselves at how hard it is to keep their supporters from making their real work, winning the election, infinitely more difficult for them. Between the two of them and what they must have found out about the nearly impossible job of keeping your supporters from committing political suicide on your behalf it's a natural topic of conversation for these two smart grown ups. With what they’ve learned these past months, they could probably come up with an idea or two on the subject.