Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, June 4th, 2008.

Pathologically Selfish

Democratic Party

On the day after an African American became the presidential nominee of a major party, most of us are still griping about the loser. Yeah, me too. She’s turning into ripe road kill, which grabs your attention even as you wish it weren’t there.

Chris Suellentrop has a roundup of various reactions to Senator Clinton’s speech last night. Quotes range the gamut from “Outrageous, Delusional” (Noam Scheiber) to “utterly unconscionable” (Matt Yglesias). I will add to that Michael Tomasky:

Once again, it’s all about Hillary Clinton, who delivered the most abrasive, self-absorbed, selfish, delusional, emasculating and extortionate political speech I’ve heard in a long time. And I’ve left out some adjectives, just to be polite.

Last night I was listening to speeches with one ear while compiling a beginner’s guide to major Mahayana bodhisattvas. Talk about disorienting. I wanted to charge into the mess on the television screen waving the flaming vajra sword of righteous disgust.

Michael Crowley makes some good points in “In the Clinton Bunker.” The first is a point Keith Olbermann also made last night — [Crowley writes],

How fitting that, on the night Barack Obama finally claimed the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton delivered her non-concession speech from a concrete bunker. To reach the Baruch College gymnasium where Hillary spoke with such surprising defiance her supporters had to descend two flights below street level. The thick subterranean walls blocked out cell phone and BlackBerry signals, and no televisions were provided in the main event hall, thereby insulating Hillary’s cheering supporters (intentionally, some theorized) from the dispiriting events unfolding at the Xcel Center in Minneapolis.

That much insulation had to have been planned. The other point is one that occurred to me last night. She asked her supporters to go to her web site and tell her what to do next, to which I wearily responded, “She wants her groupies to go to her web site and beg her to keep fighting. Best interest of her party, my ass.” Michael Crowley writes,

And so Hillary is embarking on yet another listening tour. She is asking her determined followers—like the one here wearing a “REAL MEN vote Hillary” pin—what she should do next. The kabuki listening tour is a hoary old Clinton device. When Bill Clinton ran for re-election as governor in 1990, he promised Arkansans not to run for president before his term had ended. Two years later, he was touring the state, asking for their “permission” to break his pledge. As luck would have it, Bill got the answer he was looking for.

And so will Hillary. Attending an event like tonight’s helps to explain how Hillary carries on in the face of it all. She spends her days surrounded by people who believe in her passionately–who “grab my hand or grip my arm, to look me in my eyes and tell me, don’t quit, keep fighting,” as she put it in a campaign email tonight–and all the moreso the more hopeless her cause seems. These people will undoubtedly tell her to carry on. That much was clear from the chant of “Denver! Denver!” which came up tonight, and which drew no strong rebuke.

Clearly, she is cynically manipulating the emotions of her followers to wring some concession out of Obama or the Democratic Party. Whether she still thinks she can be the veep — snowball’s chance in hell, I say — or whether she wants someone to pay off the $20 million campaign debt I can’t say.

Anyway, I went to her web site this morning to send her a message to QUIT NOW. But of course the site is set up so that you can only tell her to keep fighting. If you fill in the web form you are endorsing a statement that says “I’m with you Hillary, and I am proud of everything we are fighting for” (to wreck the Democratic Party?). So she’s not asking for opinions. She is gathering endorsements. Not that her groupies will notice or appreciate this distinction (and they say we Obama supporters are culties?).

However, there’s another web form on her site that doesn’t involve an endorsement. You know what to do. No threats, please. Here’s what I wrote, in case you’re at a loss for words:

You’ve lost. Stop destroying the country, the Democratic party, and what’s left of your reputation. Endorse Obama and go back to the Senate.

You can also send faxes to her campaign headquarters: 703.962.8600.

Update: See the Unapologetic Mexican:

REGARDING HILLARY CLINTONs odd non-concession speech last night: I do understand that Hillary, as a woman, feels she must appear strong to the end. And as a fighter, myself, I do respect that idea. And I do get that she is angling for cash and for a position in Obama’s administration. But I also know that a strong person, when beat fairly, can admit that they were bested. All else follows that moment of honesty and respect. For someone who loses to act as if they have not lost and then use that denial to lever goods or resources their way is not “feisty” or “strong.” It simply shows a lack of respect for the values that give weight to a “win” or “loss” in the first place.

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