frank rich and i on clinton

as if he hadn't already captured my heart with his eloquently persuasive indictment of bush and the iraq debacle, frank rich continues to say the right things about the US primaries season. in his op-ed in today's new york times, rich - in typical merciless fashion - sums up perfectly the flaws that have plagued hillary's run from 'day one', then suggests:

"Clinton fans don’t see their standard-bearer’s troubles this way. In their view, their highly substantive candidate was unfairly undone by a lightweight showboat who got a free ride from an often misogynist press and from naïve young people who lap up messianic language as if it were Jim Jones’s Kool-Aid. Or as Mrs. Clinton frames it, Senator Obama is all about empty words while she is all about action and hard work.

But it’s the Clinton strategists, not the Obama voters, who drank the Kool-Aid. The Obama campaign is not a vaporous cult; it’s a lean and mean political machine that gets the job done. The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidate’s message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating.

As for countering what she sees as the empty Obama brand of hope, she offers only a chilly void: Abandon hope all ye who enter here. This must be the first presidential candidate in history to devote so much energy to preaching against optimism, against inspiring language and — talk about bizarre — against democracy itself. No sooner does Mrs. Clinton lose a state than her campaign belittles its voters as unrepresentative of the country. "


like so many other ovaried observers, i've been hard on myself for choosing to support obama instead of the first viable female candidate for president of those shiny united states. but the fact remains, neither the candidate nor her campaign have ever felt viable to me. and as much as i'm a zealot for women's rights, i reserve the right to get excited about the right woman - my foremothers gave that to me. feminist dreams aside, the first woman to get this close to the oval office happens to come from and speak for the second wavers who have always left me feeling disconnected and unheard. hillary does have chutzpah though, let's give it to her, what with those early claims of inevitable victory and the increasing vitriol over the fact that the numbers and people just aren't doing her a solid.

the overarching problem, i believe, is that hillary represents - not just to my mind, but for countless respected, credible democratic activists - a kind of establishmenty muck, yesterday's flavour. it's not about the negligible policy differences between she and obama, or the thick versus thin resumé question. the era of clintonian politics is very likely over. no self-respecting or movement-participating progressive can possibly support hillary in good conscience at this point, and it has nothing to do with the girlie bits underneath her clothes. it's her last name and preferred peer group, not to mention that haunting record on iraq.

i'm actually quite sorry, hillary, that your lifetime of hard work on behalf of liberalism and social-democratism may not be enough to send the masses scrambling to hoist you up onto the throne. and i do genuinely acknowledge those years and those efforts. who's to say what kind of cosmic forces conspired so effectively as to make that charismatic illinois upstart the people's choice of this campaign, the stealer of your limelight, the tapper-inner to a nation's apathy towards electoral politics, the threat to your family's intended legacy, the taker of your 'turn'? not long now before we see whether he absconds with your cake or if you can eat it, too.

what i do know is that any number of exceptional, deserving, wholly progressive representatives of fresh feminism could have stood a better chance against said upstart. the better woman to be the first to ascend to the american presidency is fo-shiz out there. it's just too bad for us that she lacks the fees, trainers, pedigree, or inclination to even enter into the big race.

but i digress. for some levity during this mentally/intellectually/spiritually taxing race, slate came up with this hilarious video of hillary as embittered tracy flick and obama as paul 'cakewalk-to-victory' metzler (from the movie 'election'). what good are all these shenanigans if we can't laugh a little?


Blogger Audra Williams said...

Did you read this?

So good.

11:34 p.m.  
Blogger pamused said...

mmmm nice piece. uncharacteristically bearable for ariana.

3:20 a.m.  

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