Hillary Clinton fought the Rules and Bylaws Committee and the committee won. Now what? Nothing. That’s what. Now who’s going to be the one to tell the nice lady that she’s D-E-A-D dead? That she’s in Bruce Willis territory. The Sixth Nonsense. And just like that protagonist, the surprise is going to be on her.
I’ve been following politics since I was about eight or nine-years-old. As a qualifier, I’ve been unaffected by anything since Michael Dukakis beat out Jesse Jackson for the Democratic nomination in ’88.
I was a little kid when Jackson ran in 1984 and didn’t make it. So when ’88 rolled around I was at the wise old age of 11. I had my heart set on a Jackson presidency and when that didn’t happen I was willing to settle for the dopey looking guy with the weird last name, but then the Ghost of Willie Horton and the timorous nature of Dukakis destroyed that.
Surviving the prepubescent heartbreak of that, it was difficult for me to get riled by Hillary Clinton and her own pugilistic, historic bid for the presidency. I’d followed her rise since Bill Clinton ran for the presidency in 1992. I followed their full eight years in the White House and voted for Clinton’s reelection in 1996. I continued to follow them when the former First Lady headed out for a political career of her own.
I’m unflappable in the face of the strum und drang of this latest political season. All the back-handed attacks, innuendos, fabrications and calculations are old hat for me. As I watched Clinton’s campaign fight against the dying light I wondered could this really be the person that has everyone so appalled? So ordinary in her appearance, manic laugh and resolute upward gaze in spite of her short stature. A mini-tator*.
Watching those embittered, terse faced people, mostly women, stare down DNC Chairman Howard Dean in a last ditch attempt to turn back the Obama tide was a demonstration in the last acts of a dying campaign. A last ditch effort of “bitches getting stuff done.”
First of all, not nearly as many protesters showed up as expected, a sign that even some of the most battle-hardened Clintonistas have accepted the inevitable. Then there was the death knell of both delegations in Florida and Michigan being seated with half a vote and Clinton receiving too few delegates to get her out of the woodshed.
But the latest knock on the door from the Grim Reaper did not stop Clinton from facing into the headwinds unrepentant.
‘I ask you to consider these questions – which candidate best represents the will of the people who voted in this historic (nationwide) primary?’ she appealed to the superdelegates in her victory speech.
‘And which candidate is best able to lead our nation as our president in the face of unprecedented challenges at home and abroad? I am in this race because I believe I am that candidate, and I will be that president,’ she said.
While this is distressing to some, I can only yawn. Everything has looked like reruns to me since late February.
Time wasn’t on Clinton’s side.
She couldn’t make up all those caucus states she neglected post Feb. 5th, the ones the Obama campaign targeted like a laser. She had no post Feb. 5th strategy. She burned through her cash brilliantly and bright as she began her Bataan Death March to Denver.
Despite these mortal errors, she’s been the indomitable, incredible, politicking Hillzilla. Afflicting the nightmarish imaginations of many, she sent hordes into fits of maddening rages. Her “fighter” persona became the stuff of legend. She was Michael Myers and Jason Voorhies. Glenn Close, Jennifer Jason Lee and Rebecca De Mornay combined, terrorizing superdelegates and trying steal babies, possibly eat them, then perhaps murder Bridget Fonda for winning the Carolinas.
I don’t know how many times you can kill something until it’s dead. Sen. Clinton has been the living dead for so long now I half expect her to announce that George Romero is her new campaign manager. I watched her campaign rapidly decompose Saturday at the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws meeting. I watched it flail about in the hope Puerto Rico would reanimate Dr. Frankenstein’s Rotting Reanimated Corpse of Political Monsters. I see it now, storming off into the night, threatening to spread like the plague in “28 Days,” infecting the convention in August with an army of pantsuit wearing zombies craving Obamamaniac brains.
But what the bloody hell for? How many wooden stakes can you sharpen for political vampires? It’s just so exhausting to care.
This is what happens when you become a pragmatic, political veteran at 19. Where you look at every candidate with a jaundiced eye and hope for the best while preparing for the worst. Plotting contingency plans in case this all spectacularly blows up in our faces, I prepare for the 50-50 chance of a John McCain presidency. I’m prepared for failure as I wonder what can be done to neuter what I don’t like and encourage what I do, calculating how to get to that magic number 60 in the senate in hope to restore some form of checks and balances in Washington.
On paper this should be the Democrats’ year, but, as expected, not matter how many of us begged them to “dear Lord, not fuck this up!” the Democrats remain a party that cannot be saved from itself.
As a young history buff I was fascinated with studying the United State’s “Indian Wars” from the perspectives of the chiefs and warriors who battled to save their dying way of life. My favorite battle was the last real success story of the Indian campaign, the Battle of Greasy Grass Creek, better known as the Battle of Little Bighorn, or “Custer’s Last Stand.” I lovingly studied this decisive victory for the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne warriors lead by legendary Sioux chief Crazy Horse and holy man Sitting Bull.
George Armstrong Custer was a Civil War veteran who overplayed his hand in the battle, making strategic errors that lead to his death and defeat. Depending on where you stood, Custer was either a tragic hero or a villain. And that’s where Clinton straddles, looming over that territory between feminist trailblazer and poisonous political femme fatale. A woman who made strategic errors leading to her campaign’s death and defeat, buckling under the weight of her own hubris.
I stand by my belief that the unfortunate racial shenanigans the Clintons engaged in against Barack Obama were tiddlywinks compared with the sort of ammo the opposition has unloaded on Democratic campaigns of the past. The present has a way of blurring the memory, but dropping a few Jesse Jacksons here and an “Obama can’t win working class white people” there aren’t exactly the same as the constant parade of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Greatest Hits that FOX News started drooling over more than a year ago.
The constant braying of Obama’s middle name as if it were an indictment of his character and the everlasting drumbeat of “who is he really,” “Weather Underground” and “Secret Muslim” are wearying. That’s not to say that Clinton hasn’t been a benefactor of this conjecture and distortion, but Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity don’t need Hillary Clinton for this. They do this freely out of the kindness of their shriveled little cynical hearts, without any prompting or treatises from the Clinton campaign.
Perhaps this is what she meant when she coined that oft repeated phrase “he hasn’t been vetted. I’ve been vetted. I’ve been tested.” Or as Clinton supporter and comedian Paul Rodriguez put it on Sunday, “Better the devil you know.”
This doesn’t mean the annoyance, frustration, even loathing of her is unjustified. Clinton believes she is the only person who can save America from making the grave error of nominating Barack Obama. Therefore she is willing to go that extra mile and piss everyone off in an effort to prevent such a horror from happening.
And in her unfortunate actions there is no floor. There is no ceiling. We just watch as she blows bricks and mortars up from the basement and launches missiles down from the sky, never finding the ground. In her worst laid plans she soldiers on, but likely for not much longer. It’s time to take her 1,900+ in chips and cash in whatever political fortunes she can gain.
If Romero taught us anything, the living dead can return to die another day.
Quite possibly a day in 2012.
*A mini-tator is my name for a “miniature dictator,” essentially someone who is bossy, but powerless and not-threatening.