Thursday, June 5, 2008

Profiles in Petulance

The word last night was that Hillary Clinton would endorse Barack Obama on Friday, three days after he won the Democratic nomination. This morning, the news is that she’ll wait at least until Saturday and then only “suspend” her campaign, while expressing “support” for party unity and Obama. She’ll not endorse him. She’ll not release her delegates either. I guess their rendez-vous at the AIPAC Love Fest yesterday didn’t quite click. Poor Hillary was still, no doubt, in shock; and Barack must have been too busy thinking up ways to seem bellicose (towards Iran), unfeeling (towards the Palestinian victims of the endless Israeli occupation) and abject (towards the supporters of both). In other words, he must have been too busy stepping into Hillary’s shoes.

Is this the start of Obama’s predictable dash even farther rightward? Time will tell. His VP selection will be revealing. It looked bad for a while. The media was full of reports that Hillary wanted the job. That nightmarish prospect still reverberates. Even this morning on NPR, pop historian Doris Kearns Goodwin promoted the idea. But the danger seems to have passed. Hillary pissed too many Obamaniacs off, and she just keeps on going. Some clever Obomaniac had an inspired idea: insist on putting her better half, Slick Willy, through the vetting process. Evidently afraid of the dirt they’d uncover, Hillary had second thoughts. Meanwhile, Caroline Kennedy, who endorsed Obama, along with her uncle Ted, after decades of having nothing to do with the Democratic Party, is on the search committee. It’s a nice gesture to her family. Lets hope she and the other head hunters have their wits about them.

According to news reports, Feminist and Working Class Hero Hillary (yea, sure) has backed down to the extent she has because the rats deserting her sinking ship, her cronies in the Congress and Senate, finally got it together to tell her to back off. They were organized, it seems, by Clinton (not Obama) advisors. Apparently, Clinton loyalists don’t want their Leader to continue to exhaust all her political capital; after all, what’s the percentage in that (for them)? I think they’re right about this. That’s why I hope she doesn’t heed their advice any more than she already has. How much better it will be if her petulance, her sense of entitlement, her gift for denial – and, lets not forget, her husband – keep her going even beyond Saturday. Let her make trouble in Denver! The party, the country and the world need the Clintons to fall hard.

Meanwhile, Obama is being Mr. Gracious by giving Her Petulance all the space she needs. Maybe that makes him look presidential or at least kindly. But there’s really no need. Hillary is no AIPAC. She’s now begging for money (to wipe out her campaign debts), not throwing it around; and the Party Elders, no longer in the Clintons’ thrall, don’t need her anymore. In a word, there’s no reason to pander to her or Bill or to be so solicitous of their feelings. Given how much harm they’ve both done, it’s downright unseemly.

What about her petulant fans? Well, maybe, they do need a little pandering, though it isn’t clear how many of them there are -- how many of the eighteen million people who voted for Hillary in the primaries actually care that Obama beat her. John McCain is such a dodo that even benighted Bush voters won’t be able to abide him come November. It’s Obama’s race to lose, just as it was Al Gore’s and John Kerry’s. But this time around, it will take some doing. As their remaining clout dissipates into the ether, dissing the Clintons won’t be nearly enough.

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