Full disclosure: I have been notably harsh towards Mrs. Clinton throughout the course of this campaign, knowing full well that she may end up being the Democratic nominee. And still, my criticisms of Hillary have always been personally honest, and in truth not particularly scrutiness.
I never repeated attacks that I didn’t personally believe nor that I felt were untrue. And I never went looking for dirt. You see, I have certain standards and while I have vehemently opposed Clinton’s nomination from early on, there’s too much “for the good of the party” blood running in my veins to open the floodgates and go into full-on scorched earth mode.
My fellow blogger, Matt, has also helped me in this regard; checking me sometimes at my most irrational and emotional and reminding me that she could be the nominee and bitterness aside, it would be better to have Clinton in the White House than John McCain.
But the dynamics have shifted some, and ultimately put me in a plight that I don’t necessarily know how to get out of. The thing is, I don’t think Hillary Clinton will be the nominee anymore; the only open path for her to that prize (employing Super Delegates to override the popular vote and pledged delegates) being one so destructive and dangerous to the Democratic party that the possibility of this happening is a far greater danger to a Democrat’s chance at the White House than any threat John McCain provides.
Further, her continued presence in the race will only result in more attacks against who I think will be the nominee; Barack Obama. Does he warrant more testing of his mettle? Most definitely, who doesn’t? But I’m wary of this process where Democrats canabalize themselves to the point where the eventual nominee gets nice and tenderized just in time to be served up as the Republican main course.
I have certain standards, this is true, but I also feel that with each passing day the urgency to settle the Democratic primary race grows and has already reached a level that we ignore at our own peril. I will in no way cease crying foul when I think Hillary has crossed the line, but I’m now faced with this singular question:
How far do I go?
One can tell the Obama campaign’s feathers are also ruffled, and they are willing to hit back; David Axelrod earlier today said in no uncertain terms that if the game the Clinton campaign wants to play is getting steeped in mud, be careful what you wish for.
I find myself perched precariously on the precipice that Hilzoy speaks of here:
I hope no one goes there. We don’t need to: Obama is very likely to win whatever Clinton does; besides, it would be needlessly divisive. I am not writing this to say: “Nice reputation you’ve got there, Senator Clinton. Shame if something happened to it …” I do not want this to happen, and I very much hope it doesn’t.
I do want to say: those stories are out there. I have heard some of them (not, for the record, from Obama supporters), and since I’m not particularly plugged in to these circles, if I’ve heard them, so have a lot of people. Obama can keep his people in check, but I don’t see how he, or anyone, could keep a lid on an unaffiliated party like John Aravosis once he decides to dish dirt. And there are a lot of potential Aravoses out there. I hope the Clintons and their advisors consider this when they decide what to do tonight or tomorrow.
Yes, it can get very ugly, and I can easily find myself taken in by John Arivosis’ sentiments here:
Well, come Wednesday, if Hillary doesn’t win 65% of the delegates in Ohio and Texas, and still insists on staying in the race and ripping our party in two, it will be time to start treating candidate Clinton with the same golden rule she is using for candidate Obama. Why? Not for revenge, but for the sake of our party and the fall election. Hillary and her campaign are in the process of turning Obama into damaged goods in the fall. They didn’t have to go there, but beating Obama became more important to them than beating John McCain. So, the first question for Hillary come Wednesday, should she decide to continue risking our chances of winning in the fall even though the math says it’s over, will be the question she’s asking Obama today: What negatives will the Republicans throw against you in the fall? And as I’ve noted repeatedly, there are some negatives out there that most of you don’t even know about – but everyone in Washington knows about them, in detail. That’s because even Democrats who don’t love Hillary, don’t go there, for the good of the party. On Wednesday, the good of the party may dictate that we do.
Add to this my own personal bristling at the continued insistance by Mrs. Clinton herself that she’s been “vetted”, an assertion I have always taken to be a direct insult to the intelligence of the electorate, as well as my own personally.
So here I am on the fence. Do I “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”, or do I continue to bite my tongue and hope the Democratic nominee makes it through this process without losing so much blood that he becomes a worn out punching bag by the time McCain has his turn?
What do you think?