I got on board for Hillary Clinton a little late—and now that she’s lost, I wish I’d worked my tail off for her. I’ve only actually worked for candidates twice in my life—for Mario Cuomo’s second gubernatorial race, and Jesse Jackson’s bid for the Democratic presidential candidacy. I thought I didn’t like Hillary enough as a person to get behind her that enthusiastically, but as the campaign went on I liked her more and more, and now that she’s lost I’m sorrier than I thought I’d be. Maybe it’s just a form of post-campaign depression. If so, imagine what she must be going through. I heard historian Doris Kearns Goodwin on NPR talking about this, and it sounded even more intense than the post-performance letdown that comes when adrenalin stops pumping night and day. I only hope Hillary isn’t still in menopause.
Writing that last sentence, I pause to second-guess myself: am I being as offensive as the other jerks who covered her campaign with constant sexist jibes? When they started asking, a few days ago, What does Hillary want? I thought I’d lose my mind—although it is sort of poetic: if the fight to put a woman in the White House is seen as a microcosm of women’s struggle for equality, then the former is in the developmental stage we were in around the early 60s, when Freud’s famous question was on everyone’s lips.
Speaking of the struggle for equality, it’s been interesting to observe the battle between an interracial man and a woman through a historical lens of those two groups’ alliance. Back when both blacks and women were fighting for the vote, Frederick Douglass et al betrayed Elizabeth Cady Stanton et al by taking the advice of white politicians and jumping the women’s ship. Congress was ready, they told Douglass, to give the vote to black men, but not to women. Should we then be surprised at some of what occurred in this primary?
The bloggers who despise Hillary and feminism will probably jump on my comparison, claiming Hillary’s loss had nothing to do with gender—while at the same time hailing Obama’s win a racial victory. Sorry, people, you can’t have it both ways. More bloggers seemed to support Obama than Clinton, and towards the end of the race some got downright vicious. After awhile I had to stop reading them. Listen up, guys and gals: Obama has great respect for Clinton, and so should you. That goes for Clinton supporters as well: the 17% reputed to be planning to vote for McCain had better get with the program if they want anything different to happen in this country than what we’ve had for the past eight years. The movement to vote for McCain as revenge is self-destructive and completely out of line with everything Hillary Clinton represents. She would never, for instance, run as an independent–she’s no Ralph Nader. She’s going to get behind Obama’s candidacy and work her butt off for the Democratic party. The woman is, above all, loyal.
Of course, if she ends up on the ticket as Veep, the issue resolves itself. But all this buzz about what she’s going to do is just that, buzz; until it’s decided, it’s useless to analyze. Instead, I’ve been trying to imagine the candidates in terms of everyday life. I can’t bear to watch or listen to The Nitwit, so I turn the television or radio dial the minute his face or voice appears. Forgive me if what I say now seems superficial, but there is such a thing as a visceral reaction to people, and when I imagine an overabundance of McCain tv appearances, it’s not a pretty picture. As for Obama, his speechifying, while often eloquent and thrilling, can get tiresome. If he overdoes it, turning on the same high wattage for every speech and issue, it’ll grate on my nerves. Hillary (sigh) is a pleasure to watch…
Doris Kearns Goodwin thinks that no matter what Hillary chooses to do in the immediate future, in the long term she’ll always have her eye on the presidency. She pointed out that most presidents are reluctant to leave the White House, and since Hillary’s already lived there for eight years, lust for the place is in her blood. Did a desire to live in the White House fuel her campaign? It’s not so farfetched—as we’ve seen from the foreclosure crisis, people do lots of crazy things to get hold of their dream house.
Of course I’m being purposely facetious, about the house and about the tv appearances, covering the pain of loss with lame jokes. I just need to put a punctuation mark on Hillary’s campaign, and I don’t want it to be a period. Every ending is a beginning, and, since an editor once called me “the queen of colons and semi-colons,” I’ll just place a colon here: in anticipation of the next thing for Hillary Rodham Clinton, whatever it may be.
PS: The automatically generated “relevant posts” below are so far from the topic it’s laughable. For a more relevant, and fabulous, article, see Katha Pollit’s comment in The Nation.