Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Energizer Bunny

She keeps running, and running, and running....

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton lost a lot more than she won yesterday.

What did she win? She won a short-term political victory. She vindicated herself and her campaign for the presidency, at least in her own mind. She won another state primary, by a respectable majority. She proved that win-at-any-cost can win--despite the cost. She proved that harsh words, the pretension of strength, negative attacks, distortions--plus a few outright lies--are still effective weapons in swaying the American electorate. More's the pity. Shame on us.

What did she lose? Sadly she lost what little affection may have been left for her (I speak for myself, of course, but I suspect for millions of others.) She sacrificed admiration, respect, and the trust of a preponderance of the American people. Worse, she lost them not only for herself, but also for the party she purports to represent. She reduced the level of discussion to scrappy trivia, personal attacks, and the vanity of one-upmanship. I do not buy the claim that she and her campaign campaign promulgate that Senator Obama has used these cheap strategies in the same way that she has.

Senator Clinton won a personal political battle yesterday. She can call that a victory. But she won it in a way that risks losing the larger and vastly more important war to redeem the American soul and repossess what once was a fine, generous-hearted country--a war that she could have helped us win by showing us her best qualities rather than her worst.

Don't call me a sore loser. I would have wanted to support the senator. I would have wanted to celebrate this victory, if it had been won without leaving so much destruction in its wake. I once liked her and respected her. It has been her choice to wallow in the mud of divisiveness and slander rather than to yield a single inch of ground. Too bad for all of us.


Jay Andrew Allen said...

I could see the difference in the two in the last debate. Obama has it right - Sen. Clinton seemed in her element, happily taking Obama to task on the Weathermen controversy, Rev. Wright, etc. She seemed to have no issue - during or after - spending 45 minutes of the debate on everything *except* real issues, like the war in Iraq.

It's well past time for Dems to rally behind Obama as the nominee. I'm hoping that, in two weeks, we can all do just that.

John Torcello said...

Learning from Pennsylvania...

My morning email note to Senator Obama:

Dear Senator Obama,

If the analysis of the news organizations is right. And, let's assume for a moment that there is a kernel of truth there...

I have been struggling with how some people can perceive your attempts to serve and help them as 'elitist'. I continue to face the same sort of criticism in my own life; sometimes expressed outwardly this way by others; but most often, not labeled, but felt by me, in reaction to, and as a result of my interactions, as I go about my day-to-day activities.

I have reaped many of the benefits and good fortune in my life that many aspire to. I am humbled to see and often discover that many others with far greater skills, experiences and accomplishments go unnoticed with little opportunity to 'shine'. I have decided to try to help these people in my life; it's not easy...

I think I understand the good nature in your attempts to try to reach out to these sort of people; people who are frustrated, feeling alone and seem to often find comfort in certain 'surrogates' in their lives; 'markers', I think, which they use as a replacement, in this case, for good, caring government.

You referred to some of these folks as 'clinging' to things like religion and guns as their 'crutch'; when all else seems to have failed them or ignored them.
The fact is, someone who 'clings' as a means of defense of their life and ego is not about to be open to analysis of their situation.

The problem comes, I think, when we fail to recognize their 'feelings', however unfounded or unrealistic; that their current state of being, their self-constructed 'egos' are built upon their compounded feelings of perceived failure, helplessness and ineffectiveness.

In their hearts and minds, they know they are valuable, smart and under-appreciated; that's what only adds to their feelings of 'bitterness'.

Yes, you have tried to speak to them, in your books, by your example, in your speeches, your work and your service...from a definition and perspective of positive strength and 'hope'. But, they are having difficulty in seeing it and hearing this message in these actions; let alone adopting them in their own lives. Can you blame them?

I would argue that much of your support from younger voters is coming, not only because they are 'idealistic', naive and politically excitable; but rather, because they haven't 'locked' their definition of their personal 'egos' yet...They are willing to continue to take the blows they face everyday; remaining 'hopeful'; as the number of opportunities available to them diminish; what else have they got?

I know this because I have a 22 year old son, a good boy, who has few options available to him...far fewer than I had at his age...and, it's not his fault...

So, how can you get the 'root' of the truth and compassion of your message and perspective out to these folks? Out to them in a fashion in which they don't label it and you as 'elitist' and 'out of touch'?

I think the answer comes from just continuing to talk to them honestly...reaching out, touching and talking; demonstrating the credibility of your ideas that come from your heart and gaining their trust...allowing this inherent real 'truth' of your message to soak in and permeate the ''hardness' of their protected, crusted egos; in the knowledge that if they can open up enough to accept again the notion of the reality of positive change - that, they can, at least to a limited degree, through their own personal commitment and action, have some affect on the kind of change they will face - positive change that can and will affect their lives and the lives of their children.

This is not the approach Senator Clinton or Senator McCain will take as they continue to campaign in this election. They will recognize what I've said above; and they will tell these people what they want to hear...stroking their damaged egos out of a maligned notion of 'respect' to these folks...and leaving us with, what I see as, a truly 'elitist' and 'more of the same' kind of 'out of touch' me, a government, not for, nor by, the People...

John Torcello

They call him James Ure said...

Yeah she won last night but he was behind by 20 points a few weeks ago and cut that down to 10. She is still behind by all measures.

They are still trying to count Michigan and Florida but in Michigan they both said that the vote wouldn't matter. She was the only major candidate on the ballot. So the chances of counting Michigan are slim.

As for Florida, he didn't campaign there and so her "victory" in Florida was like beating a boxer with one arm tied behind his back.

And even IF they count her 200,000 votes from Florida she would still be behind Obama's popular vote county by 300,000 votes. And that's just to TIE him in the pop. vote.

He's won more states too which shows that he can win all across the country and not just in Dem strongholds.

She's in this for herself I think. I have to think that because of the person that Obama is that he'd have bowed out of the race by now if he was in her position. For the good of the party and the country.

Cardozo said...

Here's a thought. If the contests were winner-take-all as on the GOP side, we'd surely have a nominee by now.

On the other hand, that nominee would have been Hillary!

So in a sense, the agony we are going through now is the painful (but worthwhile) trade off of a system that picked the better candidate.

robin andrea said...

I really like Cardoza's take on the moment. There is a sloppiness in how we Democrats do things. It's so messy and democratic. If we were razor sharp and deadly like the Republicans, we wouldn't be in this enviable position. I'm old enough to remember George McGovern, and to have cast my very first presidential vote for him. Those were tough times. Here we are in April and we don't have a nominee yet. That's okay. We'll get there. I'm hoping it's Barack Obama.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Hillary Clinton stands for nothing but election. She cares nothing for others, or for integrity, honesty and responsibility for her own words and actions.

You make too many good points in this post for me to mention, but I also long for America to become the fine, generous-hearted country it used to be and with the right leadership, could be again.

I fail to grasp how any voter, faced with a choice between Obama and Clinton, could choose her.

conceição said...

and i vote for hillary c.!obama is out!