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Every End A Beginning

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Hillary Clinton supporters two days ago–a picture worth a thousand words

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 Obamaand 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.

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4 responses »

  1. layne Winklebleck

    Hi Marcy,

    I voted for Hillary and I think she would make a fine, possibly a great President. But it was a very close call for me because I also think Barack would make a fine, possibly a great President. My vote had little or nothing to do with gender, feminism or race, notwithstanding that either a woman or a black president would be a long overdue milestone for this nation. My vote was based primarily on who I thought would have the best chance of winning in November, but since the California Democratic primary I have changed my mind. Here’s why: Team Obama proved shrewder than team Clinton throughout the primary season, strategically and tactically. And not only did the Obama strategists display superior understanding of street politics, financial decisions and the value of pre-organized caucus tactics, they also appear to have more team cohesion. On the basis of this view, I now think that Obama will be at least marginally a better candidate, with a better team of advisors to help him, than Clinton would have been in November. I still basically, in my heart, think they are both wonderful and I am one of those Democrats they talk about in the polls who would love to see Hillary as VP.

    Insightful perspective, Layne. I hope you’re right, and that Obama puts forth a good enough campaign to defeat McCain. I like him–but I thought HRC had a better shot, and would make a better President. Now, like her, I’ll fully support Obama–we gotta get the Republicans out and start repairing all the damage done the past eight years. Good hearing from you.–MS

  2. I believed in Hillary, not because she is a woman, but because I believe she would bring change. Now, most who believed in her universal health coverage are fearful there will be little if any change. Almost 50 million citizens are without healthcare coverage. If we continue on this path, all of us will continue to have to pay for complications of health related to those who have no insurance. We need to pay less up front and help all of us have the right to health care.

    Sorry, I got on my soap box and did not mean to do that. The DNC has done to the US population what their counterparts did to us during the Gore vs. Bush election. The dems screamed like crazy then. Now the Republicans are rejoicing. They got us again. Why? Because the disenchanted may go to McCain. God help us.

    Nancy–I’m not quite sure what you mean about “The DNC has done…what their counterparts did…”. Are you saying the 2004 Democratic candidates were bound to lose, and so are the 2008? If so, I hope you’re wrong.

    About health care: I have faith that Barack Obama will put forth some kind of program, but whether it will pass, or will be what we need, is anyone’s guess. I think we should throw the greedy insurance companies out of the business of health care altogether, and start talking about universal health CARE, not universal health INSURANCE. There’s a difference.–MS

  3. Just replying to MS to clarify. I meant the DNC manipulated the primaries and delegates to force the nominee that they wanted. I have no problem with Barack but his initial health initiative is not as strong as Hillary’s was. That could change. The bottom line is that we must come together for the future of the country.

    I think the media had a lot to do with it–they wanted the sexy excitement of a black man and a white woman running against one another, so they ignored all the other candidates–and so did the voters. If I had my druthers, the candidate would’ve been Jon Edwards.–MS

  4. Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker’s chief comment writer, offers some thoughtful words, unsurprisingly, about the lingering frustrations of Hillary supporters on his 6/18 blog that may be of interest:

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/hendrikhertzberg/?xrail

    Thanks for the pointer, Steve. I actually read that article yesterday; it’s good.–MS

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