Breaking the Ice

Yesterday I laid out, in the clearest terms possibly (for me anyway), exactly how thin the ice on which Hillary Clinton is currently skating really is. She is dangerously close to acting as though she has impunity, that there can be no blowback to her actions, and that only her supporters are capable of the kind of outrage that could sink the Democrats’ bid for the White House this year.

And on virtually every count she is most assuredly wrong.

President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “That’s it. If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.” It was a profound statement, one of coming to grips with one’s own failings, as well as a testament to the integrity of the exalted newsman. But underneath the specific current events that led to the construction of that statement lies a deeper and more profound observation of social humanity.

We, all of us, are prone to slipping towards extremes. We, in fits of passion, lose our way and ability to be self aware. And when we are lucky, there are those who stand in the middle of the road like guideposts to tell us that we have gone off the path.

When the inarguably sane tell us we have gone insane, we are given a gift of insight into our own actions, and an opportunity to change course, even if it is too late. When those who don’t take sides start taking sides, we must reflect, and understand why.

There are no Walter Cronkites of this age. There is no newsperson so respected that his or her word is invariably trusted by the American public as a whole. No voice within the mainstream media that is so free of bitter partisanship, or journalistic hackery, that can serve as an ultimately guiding moral compass.

This is doubly true for “Blogsylvania” (credit: DrGail for that wonderful term). Here in the raging wilds of the internet’s political debate, blogs are notably, notoriously, partisan and opinionated, and wear such blatant bias on their sleeve like a badge of honor.

So there is no one guiding blog or blogger that stands as the weathervane for political decency.

But there are bloggers on individual issues that stand firm, that try not to take sides, and don’t make judgments. And when you have lost them, you have lost.

In this regard, when you start losing Joe Gandelman, you have lost. When you start losing Steve Benen, you have lost. When you start losing those bloggers who have decided not to stake a claim in this fight, that should come as a resounding signal that you have crossed the line.

Joe:

Unity, schmoonity…Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton today jumped the shark in her battle to get the Florida and Michigan delegations to the Democratic party convention seated — comparing the party’s decision to discount the disputed primaries there to slavery and voter suppression.

(…)

Clinton’s rhetorical technique is similar to another political figure’s: President George Bush’s. Bush often uses the “there are those who say” when “those” may not have said what he said at all.

Here, Clinton is telling the Democratic party apparatus, and superdelegates who may not have tilted towards her, that if they don’t agree with what she asks for now that she didn’t advocate when she and other candidates signed the agreements not to contest the states, then that means the party “won’t even listen” to Florida and Michigan at all.

Hot button politics? Yes.

And some Democrats will cheer her on and say this shows what she could do against McCain.

But the chiller for some voters will be: is this a sign of how she would govern if she wins the Oval Office?

The Moderate Voice has been prone to voices that have been, shall we say, less than moderate. But not Joe. Joe has been, for much of this primary, an even voice throughout, not judging, but reporting the facts on the ground as they were, and providing a cross section of internet opinion at the same time. He has been even handed, and has never been anything remotely close to an “Obamabot.”

Steve Benen:

Just yesterday, I defended Hillary Clinton and her rationale for prolonging the Democratic nominating fight. Given that her own campaign chairman recently said the race would wrap up in early June, and Clinton seemed to honoring a relative cease-fire, there was no real urgency about her withdrawing.

As Jay Jacobs, a New York superdelegate and top fundraiser for Clinton, told the NYT, “I think in the end, when South Dakota and Montana go last and have their final result, she will sit back and see whether a win can be achieved or not — and if not, she is a class act and will do the class thing and get on board with the Democratic ticket.”

By last night, Clinton had made my defense of her efforts look rather foolish. In fact, looking back, I’ve defended Clinton, more than once, when people said she was putting her own interests above those of the party and the nation.

But after seeing her tactics yesterday, I’m done defending Hillary Clinton.

And through it all, I’m still not going to go this far. I’m still not going to revert back to my anti-Clinton ways. But that day is soon coming. For now, my derangement syndrome remains with only those Clinton supporters who have descended into insanity.

But if Clinton truly intends to crystallize this animosity towards Obama, if she truly is willing to break the party in half rather than cede that she was beaten fair and square, we will know in the days following June 3rd.

As to Michigan and Florida, our political press has failed us. There has been much wailing and gnashing of the teeth when it comes to those two states and the efforts put forth to reseat their delegates, but an uproar in the blogosphere will do nothing. Pundits tossing the topic back and forth will do nothing.

Someone needs to ask Clinton point blank, “Why are you now trying to seat these delegates when you supported the original agreement to not seat them before the primaries? What do you have to say to accusations that you are only trying to have them seated because doing so is the only way for you to win? And how can you say an election is fair and valid when in neither state campaigning was allowed, in one state your opponent’s name wasn’t even on the ballot, and in both states you had a significant name recognition advantage?”

Why has no one asked her this? I can not support Clinton’s current bid until SHE HERSELF answers these questions. For all the talk about media bias, the fact that she has not been made to stand and be held accountable to these questions and her answers to them alone should be telling.

But back to June 3rd. If she does not step aside shortly thereafter, I think she will be very shocked to see the kind of backlash she will have created.

I know.

I intend to be a part of it.

3 Responses to “Breaking the Ice”

  1. DrGail says:

    I too was struck by the disgust shown by generally even-handed and even moderate voices in the blogosphere. It was like everyone had their “last straw” moment simultaneously.

    Fortunately for all of us, the news cycle has been dominated by McCain — with his own “pastor problem” and with his “double secret” release of his medical records (and I ask you, what is he hiding?) — and the grenades thrown (oops, bad metaphor) over the GI Bill. So Hillary has been relegated to the back burner where, quite frankly, she belongs at this stage of the game.

  2. Michael says:

    Her arguments at this point are now based on pure emotion. There are designed specifically to get her supporters to view the Obama nomination as illegitimate. There can be no other purpose. Even she knows that seating the Florida and Michigan delegations as they stand will not give her the nomination. I myself have tried to remain as neutral as possible (although my “come to Jesus” moment was her Commander in Chief threshold nonsense), but this has gone beyond the point of civility. She is trying to recreate the last stand of the Japanese in WWII. Even though the fight is lost, she wants everyone to go down with her. Because if she won’t be the nominee, she’s gonna make damn sure that Obama doesn’t win in November. Given her stance and the hardened positions of her most ardent supporters, there is now nothing she can say to make them vote for Obama in November and she knows it. Even with all of that, I would still vote for her if she were to somehow wrest the nomination away from Senator Obama. Defeating John McCain is the paramount objective. It’s just too bad that the Senator from my home state seems to have forgotten that.

  3. Fred F. says:

    The Democratic Party, the party of the poll tax legacy, now wants to disenfranchise two states of their vote. One that Obama pulled out voluntarily prior to the vote.

    Sad day.

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