Why Couldn’t Someone Have Put It This Way Earlier?

As much as I would love to say that this is my last post on the Obama/Clinton race, we never know what awaits us around the bend. Still, my intentions are from now on to cover the Democratic primary in a minimal capacity.

I’ve been pretty rough on Hillary Clinton, it’s true. Some of it was definitely deserved, some of it maybe not so much. It really doesn’t matter. I think, with a few minor glitches, I’m at peace with the whole situation.

Even with her decision to continue on.

I once was a very ardent supporter of Clinton leaving the campaign trail any way possible; be it through getting pushed out, or by dropping out on her own accord. And then I backed off that, my stance being that she should be free to campaign as long as time and resources are available.

To be sure, this was more out of the hope of reconciliation above anything else. The high promised defection rate is not going to drop much if Obama supporters don’t start learning how to extend the olive branch, and start learning very soon.

But, as is pretty obvious, there have been lingering concerns in my mind. While I have pulled back from the crowd of voices calling for Clinton to quit, for instance, I have remained curious about the idea that calling for Clinton’s retirement from the race is misogynist behavior.

Have you ever had an idea, or concept that just kept escaping your grasp and then someone, somehow, managed to just rearrange the words just right, and everything clicked?

I got that today.

It came while I was reading Karen Tumulty’s article on the five things that Clinton did wrong on the campaign. As someone who has studied Clinton’s and Obama’s campaign intensely for the past year and change, I really didn’t get much out of Tumulty’s five things, but the true value I got out of the article came towards the end as she, and the rest of us I suppose, look towards the future.

Now, of course, the question seems not whether Clinton will exit the race but when. She continues to load her schedule with campaign stops, even as calls for her to concede grow louder. But the voice she is listening to now is the one inside her head, explains a longtime aide. Clinton’s calculation is as much about history as it is about politics. As the first woman to have come this far, Clinton has told those close to her, she wants people who invested their hopes in her to see that she has given it her best. And then? As she said in Indianapolis, “No matter what happens, I will work for the nominee of the Democratic Party because we must win in November.” When the task at hand is healing divisions in the Democratic Party, the loser can have as much influence as the winner.

It’s not the whole answer to my original question, mind you, but I think the part I bolded above provides the closest thing to a complete answer I think I could ever ask for. It most certainly takes it beyond the motivation of anyone who calls for Clinton’s ouster.

What I took away was not the idea that everyone who calls for Clinton to quit is being sexist; there are valid reasons to do so. But there is a very important aspect to not trying to keep her from crossing the finish line, win or lose.

At this point, it’s really not about her anymore. It’s not about her campaign staff and the multitude of miscues they have perpetrated. It’s about allowing the first woman with a real shot at the presidency to run the race to its end.

To push her out before she was willing to do so of her own accord goes beyond simply going after Clinton herself, but robs women of that unique moment where one of their own was given a chance to compete and compete in full.

Without finishing out all of the states, or at least leaving of her own volition, there can’t really be a “good game” at the end. There will continue to be question marks as to whether or not she could have pulled it off, or whether or not she had received fair treatment.

Indeed, in the minds of some, there will always be those question marks regardless of what happens, but those questions themselves defy a fair answering.

What can be done is to let her go. Let her run. Let her cross the finish line on her terms.

In that way, nomination or not, she will have done something no other woman has done. She may not have broken the glass ceiling, but she will have broken a glass ceiling, and that alone will send a powerful message to millions of girls, and women young and old alike.

That the glass ceiling is still there to be broken, but when it’s your turn to take a shot at it, you’ll have a fair shake. Someone paved the way for you, you just have to take it one step further.

I can respect that. I can admire that.

And so I’ll still post on the state of the race. I’ll still cover Super Delegate endorsements, and I’ll keep tabs on whatever happens with Michigan and Florida. But I think I’m done judging, I’m done hoping she’ll secede, and really I’m done with the animosity in general.

Let her run, and when she’s done, win or lose, there will be something of a victory in it.

Much more on Karen Tumulty’s piece at Memeorandum: The New Republic (adds that Clinton should have treated her Iraq vote better. In the greater scheme of things, I think this is true, but in a sense that we need to come to a new way of approaching politics where we don’t avoid admitting making mistakes, but instead contend that we have learned from them. I think in the end that will be easier, and more honest), Ben Smith’s Blogs, The Huffington Post, The Corner, The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room, Salon (I agree here, too. For all the acknowledgement the Clinton campaign said about its “excess baggage” they didn’t do much to combat it. This is an idea that I wrote about a while ago in that the Clinton campaign did a terrible job of introducing its candidate. While I still maintain that “inevitable” Hillary was Hillary at her best, a little humanity would have been nice as well), The Republic of T. (A hilarious, but honest and in the end kind of heartfelt take from the homosexual perspective), Wonkette (The pic alone is worth the price of admission. A lot of animosity is being expressed towards Mark Penn in a lot of these links. It’s well deserved), Spin Cycle, Donklephant (Makes a point I make a lot lately; Obama knew the game, that should help assuage fears of those hesitant to support him in the General Election. Obama’s style got him in the game, knowing the game inside and out allowed him to win), MSNBC, The Raw Story, American Spectator, TPM Election Central, Democracy in America, Dispassionate Liberal (Makes a hilarious, ironic, but true point. Mark Penn may get paid by the candidate who was most helped by his advice; Barack Obama), Althouse, Don Surber (Adds that Clinton staying married to Bill hurt her. I’m pretty sure this is a pretty ugly and disgusting summation. A marriage is private, folks, when are we going to get our noses out of other people’s), Obsidian Wings and marbury (Team Clinton as Milton from Officespace)

4 Responses to “Why Couldn’t Someone Have Put It This Way Earlier?”

  1. tas says:

    A thought crossed my mind today. How come nobody talked about a “glass ceiling” when Condo Rice was appointed Secretary of State?

  2. tas says:

    Still pondering this post…

    Without finishing out all of the states, or at least leaving of her own volition, there can’t really be a “good game” at the end. There will continue to be question marks as to whether or not she could have pulled it off, or whether or not she had received fair treatment.

    When Hillary eventually bows out of the campaign — which she has to at this point — her rabid supporters are still going to question it. They are going to complain of unfiar treatment, media bias, etc. I really don’t see an end for these people that they will like besides Hillary in the White House, but that’s not going to happen because her campaign didn’t get enough votes.

    I understand the glass ceiling and group feeling, how no woman has ever come this close, etc… But I don’t want Hillary to act like a woman candidate, I want her to act like a candidate.

    Honestly, I just don’t any hope of appeasing her rabid supporters. Regardless of whatever motivations drive their bias, these people just don’t recognize logic and reason.

  3. Well, I’m not looking at appeasing her rabid supporters, just the rest of them, you know? Despite me launching off on Jeralyn, I’m seriously looking at reconciliation at this point, and no, you’re not going to please those who won’t see logic, reason, or reality.

    But I also don’t think a Hillary supporter is a Hillary supporter is a Hillary supporter. I think a lot of them are just emotional because it’s an emotional contest. Hell, I know I got emotional as hell during some of the rough points, and I would expect some of them to do the same.

    And so taking my view, some will appreciate it immediately, I think some will look back after things have calmed down, and then they’ll appreciate it, and then the rabid ones, well, they just may be lost forever. Not much you can do but move on.

  4. DrGail says:

    You make a good point, about achieving closure for the sake of history by letting her finish out the race.

    History HAS been made, though. Throughout this campaign, I’ve heard everyone refer to a generic presidential candidate as “he/she”, whereas before it was always just “he”. I don’t see things changing back to “he”, either. As you noted, language is a very powerful thing.

    There’s a practical side as well: She is expected to win in KY and WV. If she bows out before those states, she will likely still win them and it will be an embarrassment for Obama. (We haven’t yet made much hay about McCain failing to net 80% of the GOP primary voters even after he had clinched the nomination, but it’s there for the picking.) If she stays in the race, at least through those states, it can be framed as a “victory lap for history” and “going out with a blaze of glory” for her without damaging Obama in any real way.

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