Monday, June 02, 2008

What Goes Around

When Hillary Clinton brought up Tony Rezco's loose association with Barack Obama, photos circulated of the alleged real estate scofflaw posing with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Controversy neutralized. When Hillary Clinton put the spotlight squarely on Obama's ex-preacher, photos circulated of that same ex-preachers holding court at a private function hosted by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Add to that Obama's historic speech on race in America, and the controversy was contained. Again and again, Hillary attacked Obama, again and again Obama thwarted or withstood those attacks.

Hillary's recent regular allusions to the 2000 Florida vote is another matter entirely. Considering 2000 remains an open wound, a sore point among all democrats, bringing it up is a lot like opening Pandora's Box: shoving those bad feelings back inside is pretty much impossible once they're unleashed. When they're out, they're out, like a roving storm cloud hanging over the party, constantly threatening rain.

I used to think this would hurt the democrats, but not anymore. I used to think this would hurt Barack Obama, but not any more. I'm still pretty confident he'll win in November. No, I think the person who will be hurt most by this nonsense is Hillary Clinton herself. In light of her semi-scorched earth campaign, cynicism and selfishness, I predict we'll see the grassroots left turn on Clinton, as they turned on proud spanner in the works Ralph Nader and turncoat Joe Lieberman (among others of the old guard). I predict, come the next NY senate race, that if she insists on not playing nice, an alternative candidate to Clinton will be put forth.

After all, why would one elect a senator all but certain to jump ship to some higher office at the earliest convenience? One who puts personal gain over party unity? One whose very name will come to stand for the same kind of stubbornness and divisiveness that's marked the Bush administration?

Maybe this is all an exaggeration, but I'm not so sure. The Clinton supporters threatening to stay home in November or even to vote for McCain seem like fair-weather friends. How could any democrat, let alone feminist, vote republican in good conscience? They can go. This group will fade in fervor and force. But the grassroots left holds grudges. That may appear to go against party unity, but I think putting smug, self-satisfied, egomaniacal pols like the Clintons out to pasture will go further toward achieving that than most people realize.

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