The Clintons and political sadness
I don't want this to turn into a political blog, but I've always posted freely about American culture -- and the most dominant aspect of our culture at the moment is the recent behavior of both of the Clintons. Those who have spoken with me in the past few months about the election have heard me say that I like Hillary Clinton, that we need more people like her fighting for us, that it's important that America have a woman as president sooner than later, but that for various reasons I prefer Obama for the presidency. I usually then dive into those reasons, but I don't want to get into that here. What I do want to get into is that during the past week or so, I've felt the most political sadness since I realized that the Swift Boat attacks against John Kerry were sticking.
My sadness started when I was told by several Democrats at the Nevada caucus that they would not or might not vote for Obama because he's a crypto-Muslim. I knew that those emails have been going around, but to see people bring it up publicly underscored how widespread and widely believed the rumors are. That was a general sadness, not directed at any particular person.
But since then, my sadness has been transferred to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, whose behavior in the past week or so can only be described as "Rovian." First there was the technique of attacking and distorting one of Obama's strengths: his consistent position on the Iraq war. Lawrence Lessig of Stanford Law School describes it here, and is unafraid to call it "swiftboating." Then there's been the recent injection of Bill Clinton as the campaign attack dog, which even Robert Reich, who served as Clinton's Secretary of Labor, finds saddening. Recently, the Clinton campaign has been airing radio attack ads in South Carolina, which the Washington Post points out are deliberately misleading.
Some think that the Clinton's behavior will cause a backlash, and that Obama will benefit from all of this, as he did with Lorna Brett Howard, a former president of Chicago's chapter of NOW that switched to Obama after witnessing the Clinton campaign's distortion of Obama's record on abortion. I might have thought that a few months ago, but after what I witnessed at the caucus, I'm feeling much more pessimistic.
I think Clinton will win the nomination, and I will likely vote for her mostly for her Supreme Court nominations -- unless there's a viable 3rd party candidate that I like better -- although I question her ability to win the general election. But how Clinton's campaign is trying to get there really saddens me, and I wanted to get a bunch of links off my chest.
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