Sunday, June 08, 2008

Yeah, I'm bitter

Hillary Clinton has conceded. She says she's supporting Barack Obama and that we should, too.

I knew she'd say that. I knew she'd do that. Because she is a party loyalist. She's a class act. I also knew she wouldn't back down while there was still a chance of victory. But the deck has been so thoroughly stacked against her from the beginning by both the media and the DNC that I can now see she didn't have a chance. Yet still she fought on - and still she won more support from a broader coalition of people than her detractors ever thought she could or indeed ever gave her credit for.

That isn't to say that she didn't make some mistakes along the way, some mistakes that cost her. Every candidate does.

I still believe that she's the better candidate. By far.


the invisible undercurrent to this entire primary season has been a sotto voce bitch . i think our national reaction to her campaign says much more about us, than it does about Hillary Clinton as a person and a woman politician. and frankly, it’s really disgusted me. you don’t have to be a Hillary supporter to feel outraged at the treatment she’s received. you don’t have to be a woman to be outraged at the treatment she’s received.

So says an Obama supporter. (Of course, I don't think the "BITCH" has been quite so sotto voce). If the vocal majority of Obama supporters even hinted at something like this then I'd be more inclined to vote for the guy. But they aren't. Many are largely implying that my electoral hesitation is fueled by racism.

Not so. Not so for me anyway. (I'm not saying that race isn't a factor in some people's votes.)

I've voted for a black man over a white woman in a primary race* in Tennessee. I voted for him again in the general election. Locally, I've voted for a man of color over a white woman that I know personally and like because I thought he was the better choice. And I'll campaign for him. But I wouldn't have voted for either of them if they'd taken advantage of sexism to win in the primary race quite so egregiously as Barack Obama has.

And there are other reasons why I hesitate to vote for Obama. Reasons I won't go into because some part of me still wants to support the presumptive Democratic nominee.

My vote could still be won, but if Obama and his supporters take Hillary Clinton's extended hand of support and friendship and kick her in the teeth... Then no, hell no.


Maybe Obama's charm and charisma will carry him to victory in November. I hope so. I think he'd make a better president than John McCain.

I worry particularly about McCain's nation-building aspirations in the Middle East. In many ways the neo-conservative agenda is an agenda of hope and global prosperity, but it's a doomed vision. Not everyone cleaves to democracy and trying to impose it on them won't make them the good liberal democrats that we'd like them to be. (And by liberal democrat I mean that in the classical sense - the sort of liberalism which allows a plurality of viewpoints rather than a leftist agenda necessarily) And trying to impose it seems to be leading to a kind of least best outcome - a stronger Iran, an angry and punitive OPEC, an Iraq ruled at the neighbourhood level by religious militia.

I worry, too about furthering a socially conservative agenda which is more about foisting someone else's dubious morals on me rather than maintaining decency and family life for the majority.
*Correction - I supported Ford in the primary race, but since I'm a little bit bad at voting in state level primaries from overseas and he was way ahead I may not have actually voted for him then. I definitely voted for him in the general.


Noble Savage said...

Good post.

While I'm perhaps not quite as dubious of Obama as you are, I *am* disappointed in those who are insinuating that race plays a major part in some Clinton supporters' hesitancy to throw their full weight behind him. If I had a dollar for every Obama supporter who outright denied the existence of sexism in this campaign and got all insulted if it was even implied that some people might not be voting for Hillary based on her gender, not her politics, I'd be very rich indeed. That they can't see the hypocrisy in this is almost amusing. At any rate, this ain't the oppression olympics and we have far bigger things to worry about than who suffered more prejudice than whom.

Just curious -- as a fellow HRC supporter, what role would you like to see her in now? VP? Cabinet member? Remain in the Senate and go for 2012?

Anglofille said...

I don't think Obama's supporters really understand how their actions have been perceived by Hillary's supporters and why there is so much resentment. They think that Hillary's supporters are just sore losers. I'm afraid they just don't get it at all.

BTW, I'd be very disappointed if Hillary took the VP slot.

Vol-in-Law said...

"I don't think Obama's supporters really understand how their actions have been perceived by Hillary's supporters and why there is so much resentment..."

That's my impression also. I think my opinion of Obama changed when his campaign called the Clintons racist in order to win South Carolina. It worked, but I don't think that's acceptable tactics in an election (ie, vs a Republican), never mind in a Primary. This sort of thing, and the relentless media pounding of Hillary, has aliented a good chunk of the Democratic party in a way I think is very damaging.

Vol Abroad said...

RE the VP slot. I know I'm not likely to vote in this election unless HRC is on the ticket.

Yet, I guess I'd feel an overwhelming sense of disappointment if she did take it. Plus, nothing in Barack Obama's behaviour has indicated that he's likely to work in an open and inclusive fashion. Nothing so far indicates to me that he has any respect for, I don't think it would be a very pleasant job for her.

Anonymous said...

So far all we know is that Obama cannot choose a VP from Illinois.

What should HRC do? If we assume BA is elected in Nov, but he crashes and burns in his first term, HRC would do well to stay off the ticket - twice.

If BA does well and is re-elected, HRC might - as if often the case - be seen as the heir apparent.

If the BA ticket loses in the fall (hey, it could happen) he's cooked . But she could still mount a campaign in 2012 or 16. She's 60 now, so...maybe 2-3 more cycles for her.

And if she is either not chosen or declines the VP slot, who then? Edwards? Swing-state governor?

I liked the idea of a Clinton-Obama ticket only because of its historic nature. Obama-Clinton is almost as interesting.


Vol-in-Law said...

I think there's a good chance Obama will pick Jim Webb.

Sam said...

I think you know how much I enjoy your blog and respect your opinions, views, and observations, but I can't comprehend why you can't or won't throw your support to the candidate that most closely represents your beliefs and ideals. As a matter of simple politics, Clinton on the ticket would represent a repudiation of the philosophy on which Obama ran and won.

If you want Ginsburg and Stevens replaced by a couple of Antonin Scalias, then sit out the election. If you want permanent military bases in Iraq and a carrier group on permanent anchor off the Straits of Hormuz, then sit it out. If you want Roe consigned to the dustbin of history, don't mail in that ballot. If you want to see universal healthcare remain a dream for us here back home, then keep your vote to yourself.

Perhaps I've misinterpreted your positions on these issues. If that's the case I'll read your posts more closely in future.

One last thing. I understand your resentment at the poor job the mainstream media did at acting as the disinterested observers of the campaign, but I hope you'll acknowledge the blatant "I won't vote for no colored Muslim boy" racism that chararcterized the attitudes of vast numbers of Clinton's voters in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and elsewhere around the country. I'd hoped you would've been equally outraged by that as the sexism.

I'm a guest here and don't want to overstay my welcome and if I've overstepped the line and turned in to a troll, I'll skedaddle.

Bangkok Expat Mama said...

Vol, are you talking about Harold Ford? I was at school with him in Washington, DC. He is a nice, smart, genuine guy. I heard about the Republican smear tactics used against him a few years ago (apparently a TV advert implied he had the temerity to schmooze with white ladies, God forbid?! The horror!).

I've been an Obama supporter from the beginning, based on pragmatism, because I think he has a better chance in November. The far-right attack machine for some reason despises the Clintons; they would froth at the mouth at a chance to dredge up Whitewater (which was nothing!!), Vince Foster (RIP), Monica You-know-who, etc, etc, again. Obama might have less baggage than the Clintons have been unfairly burdened with. (Of course, I banked on that before Rev. Wright showed up...) Anyway, I've always flinched when hearing people -- my fellow Dems, mind you -- knock Hillary Clinton as a b*tch or such like. She is an intelligent, strong person who happens to be a chick. Why is that so hard for so many people, men AND women, to deal with?!


Vol-in-Law said...

bangkok expat mama:
"Vol, are you talking about Harold Ford?"

Yes - as I recall the Vol's brother campaigned for him. The 'call me Harold' ad with the blonde floozy was pretty disgraceful I thought. And it was sad that this probably swayed enough votes to lose him the election, although Tennessee is not easy for any Democratic candidate.

Obama of course is not vulnerable to such tactics, he wrote in his autobiography that his white mother's attraction to black men physically disgusted him.

"I can't comprehend why you can't or won't throw your support to the candidate that most closely represents your beliefs and ideals. As a matter of simple politics, Clinton on the ticket would represent a repudiation of the philosophy on which Obama ran and won."

That sounds self-contradictory to me. From what I can tell, Obama's stated policy differences with Clinton are very small. On the other hand, if a white candidate had sought out and attended a white racist church for 20 years he wouldn't even be in contention. Obama first smeared black churches in general by claiming TUC was just a typical black church - when his pastor Wright had visited Colonel Gadaffi alongside Louis Farrakhan in the '80s, and recently TUC gave Farrakhan a Lifetime Achievement Award. When that became unsustainable he claimed he had no idea what TUC was about, despite writing about it approvingly and at length in his own autobiography!

I think you're right that a McCain election probably means more insane war-for-democracy; I don't think McCain will be investing any political capital in overturning Roe vs Wade though (remember that even GWB made no effort); he's far more interested in stamping out free speech (McCain-Feingold), amnesty for illegal immigrants (McCain-Kennedy) and neocon global democratic transformation as in Iraq.

Furrow said...

It's such a shame that what started out as a perceived win-win choice between two historic candidates turned into a choice between racism or misogyny. Could it have turned out differently? I will confess to being politically unsophisticated, which I suppose makes me representative of the masses.

Vol Abroad said...

Sam, I agree that this a terrible place for me to be in. I didn't think I'd be here. And I think Barack Obama is by far the better choice than John McCain. But for a variety of reasons at this point I just don't think I can vote for him.

I feel that my views, my positions and my values as well as my candidate have been bitch-slapped. I don't particularly feel inclined to offer my support right now. Other than this blog and its few readers in the big scheme of things I have no other voice than my vote. I want to send a message that it's not OK the way things went down. Unless there is some kind of real acknowledgment of what's happened, my vote would be a tacit approval of those kind of tactics (which is as far from a new kind of politics as I can possibly imagine).

I'm just sickened and saddened by the whole thing and I understand that this looks like sour grapes. But it's more than that.

vol-in-law said...

I'm not a big Hillary supporter, though I and a lot of other people have gained a newfound respect for her in this campaign, seeing her fight on despite the mainstream media's (ultimately successful) attempts to crush her candidacy once they'd latched on to Obama (they actually did the same thing to Romney on the right, in order to big up McCain - I don't like Romney anyway but he'd certainly be less worse than McCain). I have not seen the slightest shred of racism from the Clinton camp; whereas the misogyny from many Obama supporters has been breathtaking - I first noticed it coming from the BBC, of all people. I don't consider myself a feminist; I am not quick to jump on alleged sexism (I think Larry Summers said nothing wrong), and I certainly think there sometimes is anti-black racism in US politics, witness the Harold Ford ad above. But from the Clintons? There was never any 'there' there. The Obamas, I think it was Michelle, made a spurious accusation against Bill Clinton in order to secure the black vote and win the South Carolina primary. That was no better than 'Call Me Harold'.

Bangkok Expat Mama said...

Vol-in-Law, Obama himself sounds more hung up on race than I'd realised (I haven't read either of his books; I wish I'd devoted more time to researching the candidates!). I had no idea that he felt (feels?) put off by his mother's taste in men. Just as you mentioned how the chances would be (justifiably) nil for a white political candidate who had been attending a racist white church for 20 years, also one can only imagine the dim prospects of a candidate saying they felt physically disgusted by the thought of white women feeling attracted to black men.

Double *sigh*

What to do, what to do. In the year so many Dems have been waiting for since 2004, it looks as if we may have boned it again. I suspect McCain will win. McCain would be better than Bush -- ANYONE will be better than Bush -- but that is saying very little!

Vol-in-Law said...

"I wish I'd devoted more time to researching the candidates!"

You can hardly be blamed, since the mainstream media studiously ignored Obama's past until after he'd got the nomination virtually sewn up. His somewhat fictionalised autobiography is "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" about his quest to 'become black' despite having no grounding in black-American or black-African culture. His second book's title "The Audacity of Hope" is taken from the title of a sermon by Wright about how "White Folks' Greed Runs a World in Need".

I have a degree of sympathy for Obama; he didn't come to his views tabula rasa, he was psychologically screwed up by his mother and by his appalling communist grandfather Stanley (who named his daughter after himself); but his white grandmother did try to give him a decent upbringing, as did his Malaysian stepfather, and he seems to have rejected their lessons for the nasty worldview of his white grandfather - which also led later to him rejecting his Kenyan inlaws' attempts to drive some sense into him.

girl from the south said...

I wouldn't trust Obama as a property assessor in Hamilton County, which is why I'm supporting McCain.

However, I'm bitter about Hillary too. When it comes down to Hillary or McCain, I have to admit that I like Hillery better. At least she's entertaining. McCain is just, ugh.

Obama drives fear in my heart like no other. The man is an outright socialist, but I guess that's not a bad thing in the rest of the world. He's also extremely inexperienced and has no clue about global affairs. If he's elected, he'll be the Democratic version of Bush with better speaking skills. If the media gave Bush a pass during his first election, they've anointed Obama as a god.