If there is one thing that a Democrat knows about, it's how to screw up a good thing.
While the year is still young and the 2008 Presidential Election is still five months away, the Democratic Party has done almost everything it could to self-destruct this first half of the year. I grew up a Democrat, but turned in my card about a decade ago, and nearly everything that has happened in the last ten years has reinforced my decision. [Note: I'm not a Republican, in case you were wondering. If you know me personally, this is readily apparent.]
And while there are a lot of people who could be blamed for taking what appeared to be a slam-dunk Democratic win in November and turning it into more of a question mark, I blame one person, one remarkable lady.
I think you know who I'm talking about. Her husband's first name is the same as mine.
Hillary. Oh Hillary. Every shred of respect that I ever had for this woman has evaporated in the last 6 months. I have never been a Hillary hater. I voted for her in 2000 when she was running for Senator in my state. (Granted, she was running against Rick Lazio, a terrible Republican candidate.) I blamed much of the rancor and vitriol with which she was met during her First Lady years on partisan bile and veiled sexism. (I still blame much of that on her.)
But in the last several months, I have seen why so many people cannot stand her. Now before you start in on me, I am not bothered by the fact that she is a "strong woman." I have tons of strong women in my life -- ones that retain far more integrity than Ms. Clinton -- and am not bothered by her accomplishments.
What I find abhorrent about this woman is the same thing that I would find despicable about any other man: she will do anything to be President. She doesn't care about the country. She doesn't care about the Democratic Party. She doesn't care about being a good person. And if she does care one iota about any of these, they are dwarfed by her drive to become the first female president, and by her sense of entitlement.
Why does this have to be? Is this her way of completing her own "I Will Survive" story after being publicly cuckolded by her husband? Is it some sort of destiny she feels she's fulfilling? Does she just want to stick it to the Republicans?
Frankly, I don't give a shit.
What she has done is taken a once-in-a-lifetime presidential candidate (that would be the future HNIC Barack Obama) and pulled him from his lofty perch. She has used innuendo (that he could be a Muslim, who knows!), outright racism (using aging wackjob Geraldine Ferraro to make racist comment after racist comment, and ended up becoming a contributor to Faux News) and inauthentic outrage.
Hillary has made things so bad that her menopausal female constituency are now threatening to vote for John McCain rather than support Obama. (Any female Democrat who does this not only relinquishes their right to accuse blacks of playing the "race card," but should probably also have their future votes halved.)
I think the day I turned was when that picture of Obama in a silly sort of African garb came out, and came (as most sources have said) from Hillary's campaign. This implication that Obama was possibly a Muslim in the past is the worst kind of racist pandering. The fact that she said in a 60 Minutes interview (paraphrasing), "Obama is not a Muslim ... as far as I know," shows that she really, sincerely is nothing but politics-as-usual.
Just because you have a donkey instead of an elephant backing you doesn't mean that these tactics are any less stomach-churning. If Karl Rove had employed this exact same tactic against a Democratic candidate, Hillary would be the first person to condemn them. Yet she and her supporters tried to practice the same old Republican fear tactics that we've been hearing for the last 7 1/2 years.
I really did think Hillary was better than that, but it turns out that she become so myopic toward a presidential nomination that she lost her soul in the process. This kind of behavior would fit right into a Bush White House. It's shameful behavior.
I do have to say one thing about the female support base that Hillary has; it is remarkable how so many women have so blindly followed Hillary throughout the last few months. Is it because they just want a female president? Would it be some kind of vicarious victory for all women? Do these women really believe in Hillary and her underhanded tactics, or do they just "relate" to her? If Hillary had all the same qualities and "accomplishments" (35 or so years of it), but were a male, would these female voters still take to her? How much of this is a belief in Hillary herself as the nation's Chief Executive, and how much of it is a recognition of similar genitalia? In my opinion, this tunnel-vision by some female voters has been petty, and in my mind has really set the feminist movement back, because if these so-called feminists are so ready to overlook major ethical lapses (Hillary's campaign called it "the Kitchen Sink"), then how are we to believe that their movement itself is in support of what's right, rather than just being in support of A Woman.
The irony is that, although I previously thought the whole idea of "Superdelegates" was idiotic, it may have done its job in saving the Democratic party from itself by thwarting Hillary's runaway momentum. I think to those observers who saw both sides, they could see that Obama -- for his shortcomings -- is a man with far more integrity than his rival. While Hillary brags of her 35 years of "accomplishments," Obama had quietly made his own changes in this country, and not in hallowed political buildings with speeches and grandstanding, but in [gasp!] real life. I hold out a slight bit of hope for the Democrats that they could see through Hillary's monotonous facade and reject her Rovian political tricks.
The fact that Hillary plans to "fight on" rather than hand the torch over to Obama shows me that she is far more interested in her own victories than the victories of her party, or in the interests of the nation. I sincerely hope that Obama shuts her completely out of the Vice-Presidential "Veepstakes" in the coming months. Hillary should not be rewarded for being disingenuous at best, and dishonest at worst.