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Monday, June 02, 2008

It's All Over But The Complaining

It's a measure of how screwed up this whole thing has become that the result of the Democratic primaries depended on the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

Of course, it didn't really depend on the RBC -- that was merely Clinton pretense. If the Florida and Michigan delegations had been seated as is, Hillary would've still been behind. Both delegations were seated, but with half the voting power. It was the solution to Michigan which really set Clinton supporters off. Seating the Michigan delegation as is would've been an expectation that lied somewhere between pretty unrealistic and completely insane. For all their arguments about democracy and the sanctity of the vote, the Michigan primary as it stood would've been a damned crooked and undemocratic contest. Barack Obama wasn't even on the ballot. McClatchy Newspapers said Team Clinton were "enraged" by the solution.

To give you an idea of how enraged, here's Clinton supporter Harriet Christian, who was thrown out of the committee meeting Saturday (video courtesy of firedoglake). Golly, I wonder why?

After a more than vaguely racist rant, she says she'll vote for McCain. In a previous post, I've already explained what kind of a voter Harriet is -- she's a dumbass.

I should point out that what Harriet Christian and other Clintonistas like her are freaking out about are four delegates who represent two delegate votes. That's what Clinton lost in the Michigan solution. In fact, if she'd gotten everything with full votes, she'd still be behind. I don't know what voters like Harriet expected, but it wasn't anywhere near realistic. She complains that Hillary lost two delegate votes out of over two thousand needed to win -- a less than 0.2% setback -- and shrieks like the primaries were stolen. But Clinton's a lot more that 0.2% behind.

This would be a good time to point out that both solutions were in Hillary's favor. Neither state was going to be counted and now she gains votes from both. In terms of things worth complaining about, this is somewhere in the neighborhood of winning a Mercedes instead of a Porsche in a contest. She isn't out anything, because she never had it in the first place. That the RBC took something away from her is one more Clinton pretense.

But the new narrative that Team Clinton is trying to get rolling is that she's the victim of sexism. OK. I'll buy that -- to a degree. I've argued that coverage of Clinton -- among the punditry, at least -- has sucked on that point.

It's been asked whether the nation is ready for a black or female president. The first two primary contests say yes -- and that trend's likely to continue. The question is whether or not the media is ready for a black or female president. And the answer there is mixed. Black? Yes. Female? Clearly not. Despite either being or living with women all their damned lives, most of the press seems to have no idea how to cover a woman's campaign seriously.

So there.

But to go back to Harriet, how on Earth can you argue that Obama hasn't been the victim of racism in this campaign? The fact is that both candidates have suffered the slings and arrows cast by freakin' morons. For every Chris Matthews, there's a Rush Limbaugh. In fact, where Matthews apologized for saying that Clinton was a frontrunner because "her husband messed around." Limbaugh, for his part, seems positively proud of his "Barack the Magic Negro" bit. We won't even go into high profile Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro. Harriet's not saying anything new.

Newsweek contributing editor Eleanor Clift puts it this way; "Blaming gender bias may help some women vent about an outcome they didn't want, but there are more mundane reasons for what looks like a failed nomination fight. If Clinton had not voted for the resolution that gave President Bush the authority to wage war, the door would not have swung open for Obama to enter the race. His antiwar stance gave him a moral claim on which to stake his candidacy. Secondly, the Clinton campaign's decision to not aggressively contest the caucus states allowed Obama to build up a lead in delegates that Clinton was never able to overcome. Now Clinton supporters are arguing that caucuses are undemocratic, and if only the Democrats had the same system as the Republicans, winner-take-all in the big primary states, Hillary would be the nominee."

"The sense of grievance that permeates the Clinton campaign is out of proportion to reality," she writes. It's hard to see how she's wrong. Clinton went into this the presumptive nominee and her strategy seems to have been to coast to the nomination. It didn't work -- mostly because it was a bad strategy. What she thought would be a coronation became a bona fide contest; one she began competing in far too late. Clinton's loss is Clinton's fault, she can't point to an outside cause of defeat.

Clift also brings up another good point. "But highlighting sexism undercuts Clinton's argument that she is the more electable of the two candidates," she says. "How can she be more electable if sexism is this strong within the Democratic primaries? What would happen in November? If she's the candidate, would hordes of men see the light?"

Sexism is what it is, just as racism is what it is. There aren't many who are going to become enlightened between now and November -- the vast majority of racists and sexists are just as stubborn as they are stupid. The general election isn't going to be any different than the primaries have been. People who aren't going to vote for a woman still won't, just like those who wouldn't vote for a black aren't likely to change their minds. Sexism, like racism, is a lousy argument. Even if both campaigns were equally guilty (and I don't think they are), they aren't the only sexists or racists in the nation. There isn't some "bigot tap" that the opposing campaign can shut off. And, even if there was, expecting the GOP candidate to shut it off would be insane. The Republican party has hot and cold running racism and sexism in high-pressure hoses.

The fact is that this thing is over. It's been over for some time. There are only two primaries left and Barack Obama is expected to win both. Closing the distance is fantasy. Hillary Clinton, for all intents and purposes, has lost her race. It's over.

But don't tell her that. She's running an ad in South Dakota that argues she's ahead in the popular vote. The problem there is that she's not. Of course, this ad is targeted more toward superdelegates than voters. But the superdels know the facts. Clinton's hoping the remaining uncommitted are stupid. The problem there is that they're not.

In the end, I don't think Harriet Christian represents all Clinton voters -- certainly not in terms of racism. But I also don't think her threat to vote McCain is representative. Christian bothered to go to the RBC meeting and raise hell. The vast, vast majority of Clinton voters did not. Harriet Christian is a Clinton extremist and probably not even representative of Hillary herself.

Hillary Clinton won't be spending tomorrow night in Montana or South Dakota -- she'll be in New York.

Members of Hillary Clinton's advance staff received calls and emails this evening from headquarters summoning them to New York City Tuesday night, and telling them their roles on the campaign are ending, two Clinton staffers tell my colleague Amie Parnes.

The advance staffers — most of them now in Puerto Rico, South Dakota, and Montana — are being given the options of going to New York for a final day Tuesday, or going home, the aides said. The move is a sign that the campaign is beginning to shed — at least — some of its staff. The advance staff is responsible for arranging the candidate's events around the country.

What does this mean? You figure it out. I'm done reading tea leaves. The Clinton campaign has continued beyond all rationality and predicting the irrational is a fool's game. It might just mean they're losing staff they no longer need post-primary. The fact that Hillary's blowing money on ads in a primary isn't the best sign that reality's seeping through the barricade Team Clinton has erected.

One thing's for certain. No matter what happens tomorrow night, the Clinton extremists won't be happy about it.


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