Tuesday, June 03, 2008
No Veep Spot for Hillary
We have a Democratic nominee (again).
Our national media has done the math and decided that Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois will have accumulated enough delegates to make him the Democratic Party's nominee for president at its August convention in Denver.
Of course Sen. Hillary Clinton has never let a media proclamation nor the hard math affect the perpetual motion machine she claims to be a presidential campaign.
Obama's speech was historic in every sense, riveting and emotional, but the long road to the stage in St. Paul, Minn., has not been pretty.
Watching Clinton run around the country beating up Obama while he tried to focus on the coming battle with Arizona's Sen. John McCain was truly frustrating and undeniably damaging.
It has not been pretty nor has it been good for the party as the Clintons, who seem to confuse their own fortunes with those of all Democrats, have suggested.
highwayscribery hates to say he told you so, but he told you so numerous times: this thing was over in February.
It was exciting, for a time, watching a woman and a black man vie for the party's top spot, but after a while grew unnerving.
Feminism and African-Americanism -- and all isms really --are very particular lenses through which those who adopt them choose to see the world.
Geraldine Ferraro was so drunk with her long-time job as standard bearer for all things feminine that she became blind to the travails of a black man.
Obama's camp shed some of its holier-than-thou aura by jumping all over Bill Clinton for making a fair comment about the Illinois senator having won a state (South Carolina) with a lot of black people just like the last serious African-American candidate had done.
Any white male of the kind that have dominated presidential politics since George Washington would have come in for similar skewerings had they inflated their Croatia visit to include sniper fire, or in-your-faced the religio-redneck crowd by calling them bitter.
They would not, however, have enjoyed the luxury of shifting blame for a job poorly done to their outward appearance.
As the hawker of literary wares in the marketplace of books for 15 years, the highway scribe can tell you the last thing you want to be is a college-educated white guy with his parts screwed on right, a family, and BMW.
the scribe has patiently bided his time through the Latina trend of the early '90s, the subcontinental saffron and mango tree rage of the late '90s, and the "my-life-is-fucked-up" confessional craze of the early 2000s with no daylight ahead for his particular demographic.
Life's unfair to most of us (except George W. Bush) and those people seeking the kind of power that's packed into the American presidency can expect a rough ride no matter what.
Of course, Clinton's South Carolina gaffe was less about racism or bruised black feelings than it was about Bill roaming off the statesman's pasture to join his wife in tag-teaming a decent man.
They seemed to meld with the FOX crowd just as it took up cudgels against the guy they were grounded enough to see would be the Democratic nominee.
Clinton, Bill that is, was a complete disaster this campaign season and should have known better than to get involved with the wife's effort, or, she should have known better than to pencil his name onto the line-up card.
Back in 2002, when his electoral fortunes took a turn for the worse, George Bush (I) asked James Baker to take control of his reelection campaign. Baker, who had spent the prior three years conducting American diplomacy, bristled at the assignment.
After all, he'd done the political plumber's dirty work in exchange for a post as Secretary of State and now papa Bush wanted him to get all oily again. He did so grudgingly.
But Bill Clinton did so willingly and he and his wife's rabid behavior once things turned Obama's way were not pretty, either.
It was actually quite devastating to be on the other end of their "never-say-die," "never-admit-a-mistake," "never-surrender" brand of politics, which were exhilarating when applied to Republicans, but cancerous when used in a Democratic family affair.
However gamely they fought, the Clintons appeared driven by a sense of entitlement rather than any inherent nobility, which they seemed to suggest was the other guy's weakness.
They blamed the press for their misfortunes, but the media were only too complicit in validating their claims that Texas and Ohio were "do or die," when they were already dead.
And that same media played ball with the whole Michigan and Florida thing; elevating the Clintons' arguments as worthy of debate when those claims were the height of cynicism.
Whipped when it came to ground organization, Ms. Clinton began to ply the superdelegate game, which was another new toy she passed onto a gleeful media that seemed woefully unschooled in the mechanics of party politics.
Irony of ironies, "Hillary" lost there, too, getting buried by the Super-Ds she'd expected to bail her out; even as she ran a nice skein of wins through the NASCAR belt.
Meanwhile, Obama sagely pulled big names out of his hat whenever it looked like some phony scandal or other would bring him down. He did it with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in the midst of all that ridiculous Rev. Wright hoo-ha and later with John Edwards after the campaign decided to take a dive in West Virginia.
But the unkindest cut of all has been Ms. Clinton's purposeful delusion of her followers; the silly insistence there was a candidacy to salvage when just the opposite was true.
And so for months idiots from both camps -- secure behind their computer screens in lonely rooms -- insulted each other with grim ferocity over the Internet.
For highwayscribery there has been nothing less discouraging than reviewing the "comments threads" unspooled beneath articles on the campaign, because of the way they discredited the value of vox populi and demeaned the idea of giving all people in democracy a voice.
Without fail these "debates" crumbled immediately into the name-calling antics of sixth graders.
Surely we can do better as a people. Surely we can understand each other and share a common project. It seemed that many went out of their way to trash Obama's request we come together if only to undermine his campaign, which is sort of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Clinton's graceless non-concession speech was both more of the same and the last straw.
She's "open" to the vice presidency?
Obama should go it alone and skip the ring kissing. Hillary's done such a number on him its doubtful her followers could bring themselves to join the Movement for Change in any case.
And it is change we are after here. Obama should go out and get more new folks and leave those who thought this election was a national referendum on gender behind. It's what the nominee's good at and, really, he doesn't need their sour grapes while trying to sell a sweeter blend of chocolate.