May 31, 2008 Leave a comment
In the discussion of the rules committee decision about what to do with Michigan and Florida delegates on the morning shows today they said that Hillary's campaign had actually bussed in protesters from Florida. (Here's a nice story in the Post summarizing the whole nature and history of the dispute). This is just too much! though preferring Obama, I used to think that Hillary would make a good president– I think she has incredible policy smarts and underappreciated political skills. But this ridiculous fight for the Florida and Michigan delegates has really turned me off. I might not go as far as Jonathan Chait in his criticism, but maybe close:
Hillary Clinton's rhetoric today
about counting the results in Florida and Michigan is simply
incredible. Her speech compares discounting the Florida and Michigan
primaries to vote suppression and slavery:
Those people, she said ?refused to accept their assigned place as
second-class citizens. Men and women who saw America not as it was, but
as it could and should be, and committed themselves to extending the
frontiers of our democracy. The abolitionists and all who fought to end
slavery and ensure freedom came with the full right of citizenship. The
tenacious women and a few brave men who gathered at the Seneca Falls
convention back in 1848 to demand the right to vote.?
It's worth repeating: They supported this “disenfranchisement.” Here's a New York Times story from last fall, headlined, “Clinton, Obama and Edwards Join Pledge to Avoid Defiant States.”
Moreover, it's obviously true that Obama not campaigning,
organizing, or advertizing in those states hurt him, and helped the
more familiar candidate in Clinton. She decided to campaign to change
the rules only after it became her interest to do so.
This gambit by Clinton is simply an attempt to steal the nomination.
It's obviously not going to work, because Democratic superdelegates
don't want to commit suicide. But this episode is very revealing about
Clinton's character. I try not to make moralistic characterological
judgments about politicians, because all politicians compromise their
ideals in the pursuit of power. There are no angels in this business.
Clinton's gambit, however, truly is breathtaking.
If she's consciously lying, it's a shockingly cynical move. I don't
think she's lying. I think she's so convinced of her own morality and
historical importance that she can whip herself into a moralistic
fervor to support nearly any position that might benefit her, however
crass and sleazy. It's not just that she's convinced herself it's okay
to try to steal the nomination, she has also appropriated the most
sacred legacies of liberalism for her effort to do so. She is proving
herself temperamentally unfit for the presidency.
I think “steal” the nomination is a little strong, but she clearly has absolutely no compunction about situational ethics or breaking rules in pursuit of power. That bothers me. And, I think Chait wrote this post before Hillary outrageously started comparing this to Robert Mugabe's election stealing in Zimbabwe. Hillary's not going to win this fight, but she dramatically demeans herself by fighting it.