Obama's appearance on Fox News today is predictably giving the blogosphere fits. Personally, I don't really care. Fox News isn't going away. Anyone who thinks so is kidding themselves.
Nevertheless, we are seeing the typical bile from the HRC crowd. Exhibit one is Jerome Armstrong's typically bitter response to it. As always, his guiding principle is based on cynicism. "See. Your candidate panders just as much as ours does."
As I see it, there are about two lines of attack on Obama from HRC supporters.
First, and most recently, there has been the argument that Hillary is more electable than Obama. This is comical to me. Only six months ago, we were all afraid that if McCain ran against Hillary, he would kill her in the General Election. Now suddenly, HRC supporters are convinced that Hillary is going to pull all those white working class swing voters--all six of them--away from from McCain. Aside from the fact that the white working class has been voting GOP since Reagan, Hillary is going to bring over all these independent swing voters. The problem with this analysis is that in primary after primary, Hillary wins the democratic base, while Obama wins independents. So the obvious assumption would be that these base voters will stay with the party if Obama is the nominee, while Obama's independents will almost certainly be more likely to shift to McCain or sit out the election. But even granting all this is not somehow the case, Clinton would at best be only marginally more electable than Obama is the best case scenario, but that's before the current democratic coalition is torn to pieces by the superdelagates' decision to hand the nomination to the pledged delegate loser, who will almost certainly be Clinton. Black voters would desert the party en masse, while the growing growing democratic trend among young voters would be harmed for the foreseeable future. Considering the uproar that would ensue, how can anyone think Clinton would be more electable come labor day after the devastation of a full blown convention war which is her only path to victory?
But I don't think that's the point for Clinton people. I think there is a deep cynicism that pervades their worldview. They think Obama is either a charlatan or a unrealistic idealist. They think think his supporters are just as unrealistic and dreamy. They support Clinton--a known and unrepentant panderer (Iraq War supporter--hello?)--because they think of themselves as hard nosed realists, who know that the only way to get anything done in Washington is by duking it out with the GOP.
Now this is a very strange line of reasoning to me--particularly for Clinton, who in her militant phase was an abject failure, but who when she went to the Senate, engaged in all sorts of the nasty bi-partisanship she and her supporters claim Obama is so unrealistic for talking about and supporting. Even more strangely, she actually got quite a bit accomplished this way. So the lines are drawn essentially like this: Obama wants to win by changing our political discourse for the better. Clinton thinks you have to embrace it in all its ugliness and winning at it. Call it what you want, but its not very hopeful or idealistic. Its in fact very, very cynical.
And all of this contributes to their mean-spiritedness. Political cynicism. Hopelessness. Bitterness over past political wars. Not to mention a shrewd political calculation that the only way their candidate wins is if they can collectively batter their opponent into unelectability. Its a strange strategy to embrace, since it is certainly doing serious damage to the party in the fall, but nevertheless there it is. Battlelines have been drawn. Obama must lose even if it costs us the presidency in the fall.
Do I really believe Obama is this world historic leader HRC supporters claim we Obama supporters believe him to be? To tell the truth, I don't really care. That's never been what this was about. What I do think what Obama can do is convey the values of people of the left in a way very few people have been able to do up to this point. Democrats have won the policy arguments in America, but lost the battle for the hearts of America. We've failed to explain why a liberal culture of openness and responsiveness is better than the conservative/fascist culture offered by the GOP. I think Obama supporters understand this--its what they have in mind when they embrace Obama's calls for hope and change and participatory democracy.
So to Hillary supporters here's the point. Your support for this divisive candidate and her arch-cynic of a husband is doing serious damage to the Democratic Party and can only end badly. Its time to drop the cynicism and embrace a hope for a better time when our values predominate the political discourse, rather than those of prejudice and anger and cynicism which the Fascists of the right have won with for so long.