Has Worshipers, Too

Recently I received an email from a
friend and Hillary Clinton supporter. This post is based on my response.

Dear [],

Thanks for forwarding the Robin
piece. I’d already seen it. I understand it
reflects a certain sentiment, one I find so at odds with rational consideration
that I’m surprised you don’t recognize it as a species of the “cult
mania” etc. you deplore when it attaches to a candidate other than

The Clintons have lost me.
Utterly. Yes, they were subjected to outrageous attacks by the right-wing
machine. And now, like the children of abusive parents, they are abusers
themselves. Perhaps understandably, people who rose to protect them when
they were victims have trouble seeing that the victims are now victimizers.

The distortions
and demagoguery
I could dismiss with no more than disgust. Their maneuvering
on Florida and Michigan
, though, is unforgivable. And all, in
the end, for what? When the Clintons have lost the primary election, in
no small measure because of the viciousness and venality of their tactics, will
they then understand they have come to embody the worst of their enemies’
caricatures? That they have become what they profess to abhor?

Certainly Obama has shortcomings
(BTW, here’s an excellent piece — the most thorough and balanced I’ve yet seen
— in the current New Republic on the
candidates’ positions on Iraq
), and yes, people are wildly
enthusiastic about him anyway. The question is, why? Could it be
that as the campaign goes on, Obama is generating increasing excitement in
direct proportion to increasing horror at the thought of the Clintons back in
the White House? If so, it’s possible Obamania is at least as much
attributable to Obama’s strengths as to Hillary’s weaknesses.

Or the whole thing could be a
patriarchal conspiracy to prevent The Woman Who Deserves To Be President from
becoming the living fulfillment of feminist aspirations, as Morgan
suggests. For if we start with the premise that Hillary is unarguably,
substantively magnificent, for what other reasons could one oppose her other
than her gender? I deplore this viewpoint but I do understand it.
After all, someone who in her heart supports Hillary only because Hillary is a
woman will naturally conclude that someone else could oppose Hillary only for
precisely the same reason.

Speaking of substance: have
you seen this op-ed, “The
Clintons’ Terror Pardons
,” from the February 12 Wall Street
Journal? I checked Hillary’s
and haven’t found a response. I would like to know her
side of this important (and seemingly damning) story. And for someone who
has criticized
Obama for his “present” votes
in the Illinois Senate, how
could she fail
to show up last week
for any of the Senate’s votes approving
warrantless surveillance and offering amnesty to telecoms that illegally spied
on Americans
? Obama missed the final and I’m disappointed in
him for that. But Hillary missed them all.

There’s also the question of
electability. Polls
a McCain/Hillary race to be about a tie, and a McCain/Obama race
to be an Obama blowout. I can’t understand being so attached to one
primary candidate that I would vote for that candidate even at substantial risk
of losing the general election.

One day — and soon, I hope —
America will have a woman president. That will be an amazing,
inspirational milestone, and not just for America, but for the world.
Whoever she is, I hope she’ll run a more deserving campaign than the Clintons