Friday, May 16, 2008
The race for the nomination continues despite the Obama camp projecting with increasing validity that they are so far ahead that Clinton should drop out of the race.
I support Clinton for the nomination and find this offensive. While there is still life in her campaign, and there is much, she will stay in. She has a strong case to make. She is winning the popular vote, if you count each and every primary vote in her favor and despite the seemingly constant flow of “super” delegates jumping ship to Obamaland (the super-delegates can change their mind) she has a strong delegate count.
The disenfranchised voters in Florida and Michigan deserve to be counted. They did not break any rules, the party did. If it were in Obama's favor to count those votes and the Democratic Party was hedging, you'd hear howls of racism and minority vote-blocking.
When Sen. Clinton said last week that she has demonstrated that she can deliver the white working class vote better than her opponent, it was attacked as a racist statement (if the truth hurts, cry bias). It was not. Grow up! Part of demographics is race. The Obama campaign has no trouble saying their candidate will carry the Afro-American vote. And even though Obama will carry 95% the African-American vote, that is only 16% of the voters. Hello? The white working class vote, especially in the swing states where Clinton is so strong, is much more consequential. That is not a racist statement, that is just the way it is.
Whether or not the disputed votes in Michigan and Florida are factored in or fractured in proportionately, Clinton's case is her experience, her record and the relationships she brings to the table.
Everyone is so sensitive to anything that can be even marginally race-related in this campaign. And of course we should be aware of racism, censure racism, ostracize racists. But branding Clinton, her campaign or her statements as racist is unthinkable, especially considering her civil rights record.
And of course, we are to simply ignore the sexism and misogyny that has been heaped on Hillary Clinton. That is a part of American culture that we should just endure. None of it, I have to say, comes (directly) from the Obama campaign; but in the press the pundits pour it on. An NBC commentator said "she'd never even have the chance to run for president if her husband hadn't slept around." On a national show..and nobody said peep. Her detractors jibe about her thighs, her age, her clothing, her husbands dalliances and her laugh. I mean, really. It does bother me. But it doesn't seem to bother her.
I and millions of others see how strong Clinton stands, how impervious to discouragement in the face of obstacles contrived and actual, how unfazed she appears, how unfaltering her persistence. Just what I want in a president's temperament.
Obama, young, attractive, oratorially magnificent, has a lot of appeal. I do like him very much. In no way do I diminish him. But can he pull off a productive progressive presidential administration? And more importantly, can he win the general election? I sincerely wonder about that. But I have no doubt that Clinton can. She's been making progress a lot longer than he has. And that is the margin, even more than the factor of identity politics (yes I do want a woman president, that woman) that wins me over.
The Democratic talent pool is impressive and inspiring. I just hope the embarrassment of riches doesn't turn into an embarrassment.
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