Pathologically Selfish

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.

19 thoughts on “Pathologically Selfish

  1. Great post.
    Someone should Olbermann that the Xcel Center is in St Paul, not Minneapolis.

  2. Thank you for expressing so well my feelings this morning. I have spent years defending the Clintons, now I find myself totally disgusted by Hillary’s behavior last night. She can only redeem herself by rallying behind Obama soon and enthusiastically.

  3. Thanks for the link to the web form. I just wrote a short note to Sen Clinton. I was appalled by her speech last night. You should check out the comments on her blog. They seem really unhinged. Maybe these are trolls spoofing us all, but…I dunno. She needs to show some leadership. Now.

  4. Clearly, she is cynically manipulating the emotions of her followers to wring some concession out of Obama or the Democratic Party.

    I don’t know if it’s goal-oriented anymore. I think being the object of hero-worship is a goal in itself. There’s no defeat. She and Bill have established a shadow Democratic Party with followers who worship her as a god.

    As a practical matter, I think they want Hillary to be on the ticket because then they can say they were responsible if Obama wins and Obama was responsible if he loses. I think they can’t bear the thought that he could win without them, so they have to make that outcome impossible — either by forcing HRC onto the ticket or by continuing to sabotage Obama’s campaign.

  5. The Clintons were energizer bunnies, always going, but the problem well put above is to what end? Bill kept fighting when he was president( personal fight) but won very little for the country. Hillary also has fought a personal fight but is doing the country little good in keeping it up. By letting the fight not only get personal but engaging in it on that level, they accomplish little.

  6. I noticed in her speech last night she brought up 9-11 (waxing poetic about lady liberty and the twin towers), she also said “stay the course” (is she a bushbot)? This woman has some evil shit up her sleeve. I know she is your senator Maha, but I feel she should be run out of public office and the democratic party ASAP. She is a disgrace, her husband is a disgrace, the only Clinton left with any dignity is Chelsea, and she won’t talk to the media?

    As far as her supporters are concerned, I really think many of them that post on blogs are wingnut trolls, nobody can be that unreasonable for real can they?

  7. She and Bill have established a shadow Democratic Party with followers who worship her as a god.

    I completely agree with that notion; at the same time, I’m completely horrified by it. WTF is wrong with her kool-aiders? Is it a mutation of “Clinton Derangement Syndrome” as manifested by the Right, and crossed with the bird flu from Tyson chickens?

  8. I read through a bunch of comments on the Clinton campaign blog. You read the same basic testimonial over and over again, something like “I never paid any attention to politics before I got involved in the Clinton campaign.”

    This is anecdotal evidence which is notoriously unreliable, but my impression is that a big chunk of her following are people who know very little about politics and what’s been going on with politics for the past several years. And maybe they are registered Democrats, or maybe they don’t even bother to vote most of the time. For some reason they’ve latched on to Clinton as their salvation, although from what is not entirely clear.

    These Clinton supporters remind me a lot of the people who fell in love with Ross Perot back in 1992. The Perot supporters I knew were remarkably uninformed about politics and often of how government actually works. For some reason, for a time they were seized by an absolute faith that Ross was The Guy. They got over it.

  9. I agree Maja that her, dare I say, rabid supporters seem fixated on Hillary the woman, not Hillary the politician. They somehow have a great need to see her as their road to liberation. Would any woman do? I suspect so if she took on the, let’s face it masculine persona of a Hillary. And of course Hillary gladly fuels their fire by presenting herself as, indeed, the only woman in America qualified to be president.

    By the way, did anyone else hear that bizarre rumor coming from the MSM that Obama was going to hire Bill to be his campaign manager? It apparently came from a Clinton insider. Must have been Ickes who seems even more unwrapped than the Clintons.

  10. I am appalled and horrified by the mere mention of a Hillary vice presidential possibility. Having her on the ticket and/or in the administration would amount to political suicide for Obama. Consider the damage that she could do to his presidency through her power as President of the Senate. Her words to the contrary, she would not be able to console herself with not being the President. And, of course, there is the matter of Bill Clinton, a former President. If you were president, would you want your predecessor hanging around commenting on your actions and your policies? I think not. As a former president, he already has the access to to do considerable damage, why make it easier for him to do that?

    Obama’s best course of action is to say thanks but no thanks to Hillary and any suggestion of her on the November ticket.

  11. I’m thinking she’s more Al Smith than Perot. He was a ground breaking candidate of moderately progressive mien. Sought the Democratic nomination in a year when the Dems were assured of victory, but lost to a more progressive, more charismatic, and more farsighted rival. Once blocked from the White House, he became bitter and opposed the New Deal. He endorsed Republicans in the next two elections, although I doubt he said anything about answering the phone at 3 A.M.

    Happily, he ended up being only a flea biting Roosevelt on the ass. This, I think, is what’s in store for Hillary–bitterness and marginality.

  12. Oh. just in case anybody missed it… Three U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq yesterday. I’m glad it was only three because large numbers of soldiers being killed in Iraq might cause the American people to become impatient with Bush’s Iraqi fiasco, and that could hamper McCain’s presidental bid with his intentions to continue our endless involvement in Iraq.

  13. Hillary had time to prepare for her loss. She should of handled it with dignity and respect for herself and Obama. Instead on Tuesday when the number of pledged delegates annoited Obama as the winner, she behaved like a scorned woman and refused to concede defeat. Mature adults don’t raise their children to behave that way when their kids compete in youth sports and lose. It would have been a proud moment in history for women, just as it was for African Americans. However she lost. It’s over she should deal with it instead of acting like a spoiled brat!!!

  14. Patrick — there were ways she could have thanked her supporters, suspended her campaign and noted Obama’s delegate count without either conceding or further criticizing Obama. But instead she unnecessarily criticized Obama and signaled her supporters they should continue to hope for a win (and give her money). Unbelievable.

  15. The Clintons gave our Democratic party eight years of Bush ,chaos, war, and misery, because of disrespect for the Oval office….had Hillary waved goodbye to Bill way back then she would in my opinion brought herself respect and dignity throughout the world. Why would we want her to be President when she cannot handle her own husband, her campaign managers, or her money?
    Hillary needs to return to the Senate…..send Bill packing…and tell Chelsea she is free to actually speak her mind . She has taught women not empowerment….but how to ignore infidelity, manipulate the masses, and use her husband’s power to get what she wants….
    ..hopefully Sen. Obama knows better than to continue the Clinton’s ambitions……we can only hope……

  16. Mimi — in defense of Hillary Clinton, I understand most women who find their husbands have been unfaithful choose to stay with them. Who can say why? It’s a personal decision. I don’t read anything political into it. Nor do I blame the Clintons for the Bush years. I think there was a tidal force of right-wing nonsense that had to play itself out before people woke up and got serious about government again.

  17. The Clintons are so slimy. Of course she wants to be Vice President! She thinks Bill’s thugs can “hand” her the Presidency. David Gergen was right when he said Obama would need a food taster if he put Hillary on the ticket with him!

  18. Going into the pimaries, I had respect and admiration for Hillary as well as admiration for Bill Clinton. There must be 1000 factors that lead someone to have the ambition to aspire for the Oval Office, but what has driven Hillary seems to have more to do with a delusional sense of entitlement and compared to a real concern for th direction of this country.

    I hope that President and Senator Clinton are able to overcome their personal ambition and selflessly support the Democratic nominee. It is not too late to ensure that our nation change course and regain the respect of the world(that the Bush Administration has squandered). It is not too late for the Clinton’s do their utmost for Obama, the Democratic party and the world. And the end of this story could still read that the “Grinch’s” heart began to grow and grow and she saved all the voters of Whoville and we lived happily ever after. The beginning

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