How Bo Diddley Can Teach Hillary a Note or Two

by Gloria Feldt on June 7th, 2008
in Election Watch, Women & Politics and tagged , , , , , , ,

It’s been a tough week.  The death of legendary rock n’ roller Bo Diddley and the demise of Hillary Clinton’s groundbreaking presidential campaign both hit me hard. I’m a cockeyed optimist, but these two events forced me to confront certain basic truths: dreams don’t always come true; hopes sometimes remain just that.

So the passing of the musical pioneer whose distinctive raw sounds [be sure to watch this video] made my bones dance of their own volition as a teenager of the 1950’s is as traumatic as the passing of the campaign of the first viable female presidential candidate is today to this mature woman, whose life’s work has been about advancing equality and justice for women.

I never paid attention to Diddley’s lyrics; I was simply moved by the rhythms. But now they seem quite relevant.

Well tell me, baby, what you see that’s wrong with me

People have been writing obituaries of Clinton’s campaign for months; it’s not my purpose to add to that chatter. And I know she’ll support Barack Obama as will I and most of her supporters—both because he’s a worthy candidate and the alternative is too frightening.

Instead, I’m looking at the lessons Bo Diddley’s life and music offer Hillary as she goes forward from the disappointment she feels for herself and for her many supporters.

Oh baby, I’m sorry

She shouldn’t be sorry at all. And she shouldn’t emulate Bo Diddley’s bitterness that big time musicians as diverse as Elvis Pressley, Buddy Holley, and Jimi Hendrix adopted his groundbreaking beat and distinctive gyrations without acknowledging his contributions.

But I hope she will continue, as Diddley did, to play her own music. Because even women who favored Obama, who shied away from “supporting a woman “just” because she’s a woman”, even Republican women who oppose everything Hillary stands for, owe her a huge debt of gratitude.

I walk 47 miles of barbed wire, I use a cobra snake for a necktie…

Never again will anyone be able to say that women just don’t want to compete in rough and tumble politics. Never again will anyone be able to say with a shred of credibility that women aren’t tough enough for the political fray. This woman kept on slogging forward even when her strongest supporters said it was over.

And men too have seen that leadership can come with cleavage, turquoise pantsuits, and a cackle. No man can ever again suggest women aren’t persistent enough to run the full length of the longest race, or smart enough to go toe-to-toe with any foreign power. As for those few poor misguided souls who still think 60 year-old women are swayed by their hormones, they had to come out from under their sexist, ageist rocks and get a few rays of nature’s best disinfectant.

You can’t judge a woman by looking at her man.

All along, the pundits tried to make it seem as though Clinton didn’t make it on her own, branding her as “the Clintons”.  MSNBC’s Chris Matthews alleged she was successful in politics only because her husband cheated on her, giving her the sympathy vote. Ironically, Bill Clinton—assumed to be her biggest asset–became one of her greatest liabilities. She should have packed him out of the country to find a cure for HIV/AIDS, allowing him to call home only to raise funds for her campaign.

In truth though, even more than Hillary was helped by Bill’s political history, she stood on the shoulders of pioneering political women like Jeanette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, Gerry Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Emily’s List founder Ellen Malcolm who built women’s political clout by teaching them the power of their money.

And let’s face it: the strategic mistakes made by her campaign, and there were plenty, were ultimately no one’s responsibility but hers.

Well now, bye-bye baby…

But not for long.

It doesn’t feel better to be right than president, just like it irked Diddley to have created the music and see others reap the rewards. But like the lightening-shattered oak tree whose acorns seed new forests, both the musician and the woman who might have become president seeded their legacies well.

Clinton earned roughly half of Democratic Party primary votes after all. And according to a June 3 CBS News poll, 76% of women now believe she opened the way for women to run for president, while 69% believe they’ll see a woman president in their lifetime.

Clinton should continue mobilizing supporters to advance her most passionate hopes and dreams: universal health care, economic growth and justice, a better life for all of America’s children.

Bo Diddley played his last concert at 78 and would have kept on going like that roadrunner he sang about had he not suffered a stroke. Hillary Clinton has not only taught America that women will hereafter be presidential contenders, but equally important, she’s shown that women are strong enough to lose the highest stakes race and keep on rocking to the beat.

(Cross posted on Huffington Post and Blogher)

Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

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20 Responses to How Bo Diddley Can Teach Hillary a Note or Two

  1. stacy says:

    Great post, Gloria- well said.

    I think Hillary’s political career is not anywhere near over and I am one of the many people that hopes she is on the ticket as VP. For all the bad Dick Cheney did, he did one positive thing which Hillary, were she to be on the ticket, could really use to her advantage- he turned the Office of VP into much more than simply ribbon-cutting at ceremonies and showing up at events the President would rather skip. Cheney was the most powerful VP in history- granted he wielded that power largely in secret and I think he used it to do a tremendous amount of harm, but imagine a person like Hillary in the Office of VP now- b/c she is someone who could use it to do a tremendous amount of good- not to mention it could set her up for another presidential run.

    Prior to Cheney, had Hillary tried to use the Vice Presidency as a vehicle for actually accomplishing something, she would have been criticized for trying to be a co-President, having a huge ego, being pushy or over-reaching or that she was trying to steal the spotlight from Obama ((of course no one has said any of that about Dick Cheney!)and there would be the inevitable comparisons to her tenure as first lady when her role in health care reform was widely criticized. But now with the precedent Cheney has set, the above criticisms would be easily exposed as resulting from bias more than anything else.

    I agree with what you said about her husband- While Bill Clinton certainly is part of the overall story of Hillary’s life and political aspirations, and while he arguably had both positive and negative effects on her campaign (which I think is valid for the media to point out and discuss), I am sick of hearing some people try to make a huge leap from that and claim that Hillary should not be President or VP because of Bill- either because he’s too controversial, or his ego is too big or because some people are sick of him- while some of those things are arguably true to some extent, the idea that that he should keep her out of the Presidency or Vice Presidency, is preposterous and I wrote about this on my blog b/c it annoyed me so much.

    I think the RNC and the media are doing a great job of destroying Hillary’s chances and being offered the VP slot- they have done nothing but focus on the negative aspects of her campaign and have been repeatedly claiming that Obama might look “weak” if he didn’t “stand up” to Hillary and her supporters and be “his own man” by picking someone else- this media narrative is BS and essentially a right wing talking point that does nothing but help McCain. I think the RNC is scared s***less of an Obama-Clinton ticket. I think it would be a very difficult ticket to beat, it would unite most in the democratic party and the historic nature of the campaign would be inspiring for all of us, regardless of ideology. I know that there are also potential negatives that have to be factored in, but all three candidate’s speeches [on the same night] last week showed that when it comes to articulating a message (not to mention actually *having* a message) and inspiring millions, McCain is no where near in the same league as Obama and Hillary.

    • Gloria Feldt says:

      Thanks, Stacy.Until very recently, I was really rooting for Hillary to be vp, but my instinct has shifted to thinking that she wouldn’t be happy even though she would be perfect for it in terms of her skills at understanding the legislative process and getting things done. Obama wouldn’t be able to or want to deal with Bill, I fear also. Someone suggested to me that she should be on the Supreme Court. What do you think about that? She’s certainly qualified and would do a great job. The stature is appropriate. It gets her out of any competition with Obama and gets Bill out of the picture.

      • stacy says:

        Gloria, the Supreme Court option is an interesting one that I really hadn’t thought of- I can’t help but wonder though if she might find the job stifling in a way- Hillary is an outstanding advocate for causes she believes in and she has the ability and power to not only promote those causes with good result but also to use her amazing advocacy skills and public persona to get her message out to millions of people and create and promote important political policies- from what I have heard she’s a policy wonk of the first order.

        As a result, I can’t help but wonder if some of her greatest strengths would not be put to their best use in the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court.

        Arguably, the job of a SCOTUS justice is less advocacy than academic interpretation (putting aside the conservative activism of the current Court). It is true that some justices (Thurgood Marshall and others on the Warren Court) have literally had HUGE life-altering, positive impacts on our society particularly with respect to civil rights and the rights of criminal defendants, but it seems like the job would be a total 360 from what she is used to.

        And lets be honest, Hillary (and Bill) have never shied away from the limelight and are used to getting a lot of publicity, both positive and negative, for things they have done both past and present- if a SCOTUS justice is really doing his or her job well(in my opinion), I think they shun publicity and go out of their way to not show any outward bias and historically, it was an unwritten rule that a sitting Justice should not take strong public positions on issues before the Court or likely to come before the Court and as a result, many Americans throughout history have had a surprising amount of confidence in the Court, with some notable exceptions of course.

        Even though you and I know every Justice has strong political views on issues, the best justices often make a point of trying to be as objective as possible and not overtly politicize the Court even though they may have a more liberal or conservative judicial philosophy which guides their interpretation. As you know, Justice Brennan was a devout Catholic who personally struggled with the issue of abortion due to his faith- but he was an outstanding Justice because he understood that his job was not to impose his morality by reading his personal faith into the Constitution, but rather to step back and as objectively as possible determine if the State had a right to claim in law that women had no right to terminate their pregnancy by abortion- and I don’t think Brennan gets enough credit for being able to keep some of his religious views in his home and in his Church while keeping it out of the SCOTUS. And that’s why I think Antonin Scalia’s behavior over the past several years is absolutely shameful and diminishes the position he occupies- the arrogant speeches he gives where he actually brags about his views on torture, abortion, the death penalty and executive power and how he criticizes and mocks people who disagree with him, exposes him for what he is- an ideological hack who uses his position on the Supreme Court to advance his own personal views and political agenda-he is almost a parody of a judicial activist- he has no respect for the Judicial Branch and he’s done irreparable damage to the credibility of the Court and the trust people have in it.

        My point being, I personally would prefer hillary be out there on the political front lines (as a Senator or Vice President) fighting the good fight, no matter how controversial and openly advocating for her (our) causes and worrying less about the appearance of ‘objectivity’ than ensuring she lends her considerable influence and political capital to help the most vulnerable members of society even though I know she is more than qualified to be on the Court.

        Gloria, I am wondering- don’t you think if Hillary were to be VP she could have tremendous influence on certain issues- women’s rights, children’s issues, etc., have an important, clearly defined, important policy role within the Obama administration (as Cheney clearly does without becoming a co-president) and she would be strategically placed to be the logical democratic nominee for President in 4-8 years? 8 years is a long time, but she’s not old and she certainly is not lacking in energy- I am surprised at how so many of the well-known Hillary die-hard supporters have snubbed the idea of her being Vice President- I know being second in command was never her goal and moving back into the White House as a VP would probably be very difficult in many ways, but the fact is, it may be in the best interest of the party as a whole and she could really have a huge impact on policy and continue to be a vocal public advocate for important issues. And of course, and perhaps most importantly, it puts her in a perfect position to run for President in 4-8 years (I include 4 because you never know, sometimes stuff happens).

        While I understand that Obama, among others, would rather not deal with Bill and his gigantic ego and all that entails, I feel like Hillary shouldn’t be punished for that- if I were Hillary and I was interested in being on the ticket as VP, I think I would sit down with Bill and have a heart to heart and let him know that things are different now- he’s no longer President and times have changes since he was.

        I would think Hillary might want to point out that if she were VP he would have no business getting in a power struggle with Obama and he should spend much of his time doing what he was doing before the election(minus the skirt-chasing and frat boy parties if the stories we’re hearing are true)-traveling the globe advancing his philanthropic interests, working on his library and continuing to use his tremendous influence to champion issues near and dear to him- working on behalf of people who are the most vulnerable and oppressed. Perhaps Obama could even offer him an ambassadorship to a place like Sudan where he could use his amazing diplomatic skills in a very troubled area (he always says he regrets not doing more to stop the genocide in Ruwanda when he was President), much like he did with England and Northern Ireland. And it would keep him out of Obama’s way. And for that matter, Hillarys. I would think that at some point, such a conversation between the two would be almost unavoidable under the current circumstances. It’s clear he loves and supports her unconditionally so you would think he would be willing to acknowledge how he could possibly undermine her ambitions going forward at this point.

  2. Arthur Waskow says:

    Why focus on what Senator Clinton herself should do? Why not focus on what her supporters and activists should be doing? Isn’;t that FAR more important than hether she gets to be VP? Should the lists of donors and activists be made into am new and immensely expanded network for action to pass health insurance, etc? Michelle Obama has been saying at ralies around the country that the grass-roots activism of this campaign must not end on Election Day or Inauguration Day. Why does this vision and intention not apply to the Clinton campaign? If it does, shouldn’t the conversation be focused on how to make that happen?

    • Gloria Feldt says:

      Arthur, as an activist I agree with you that the imperative of the moment is for all of us Clinton supporters to do what I always say movement should do–move! But I do not think it behooves us to hand all our support over without a serious conversation first to establish some expectations.

      We need to determine how best to apply our interests and voting power for the rest of the electoral cycle and beyond. That should include meetings with Obama and his key leadership team to make sure he has adequately heard and will advance an agenda consistent with our priorities. That would include for starters really universal health care, reproductive justice including the Freedom of Choice Act and the Prevention First Act, and several economic equity and justice initiatives.

      Barack Obama has two young daughters. I presume he wants them to have every opportunity to become whatever they want to be. So beyond what he says and does in to advance this agenda during the campaign, we must do what someone wiser than me said advocacy is designed to do: make it impossible for politicians not to do the right thing.

      All this said, Hillary made extraordinary efforts and won half the votes. She’s entitled to get some praise and some rewards for at least cracking the glass ceiling. Those of us who have supported her care about her as a human being, and those who didn’t support her should realize she isn’t going away so it is in their best interests to use her talents in ways that will support their candidate and contribute to the nation.

  3. Stout House says:

    I think the real lesson of Hillary Clinton’s failed bid for the nomination is that the road to the White House doesn’t necessarily have to run through scorched earth. Clinton consistently and unapologetically chose that route, while her Democratic opponent chose another, higher path, and took his supporters along for the ride.

    That’s why Obama can’t choose Hillary as his VP. Her own negative campaign, coupled with her vote to authorize the war in Iraq, virtually assures that she’s headed either back to the Senate or to a mid-level appointment in the Obama administration should he win in November.

    Obama is wise to call for cool heads while he vets potential running mates. That way his campaign can better gauge the mood of Hillary’s more mainstream supporters in the coming weeks – people who no doubt abhor Hillary’s more unreasonable supporters who think they can hold our party hostage or, worse, hand the presidency to John McCain if Obama doesn’t select Hillary as his running mate. I suspect that such infantile thinkers are in the minority, but only time will tell. Besides, their inflated sense of their own power is embarrassing. They’re a fringe group uninterested in advancing Democratic ideals, and they should be treated as such.

    As for those die-hards who would rather vote McCain than Obama as a way to retaliate for Clinton’s loss, I say good riddance. Defect to the right. Join the Republicans and share in their culpability for the bloodbath in Iraq. The moment these people cast their ballot for McCain is the moment the death of every American soldier and every innocent Iraqi caught in the crossfire is their own personal, unforgivable responsibility.

    To me, Clinton supporters who vote for McCain out of spite are no better than racists who won’t vote for Obama out of ignorance and hate. Different motivations but the same result: another four to eight years of mayhem and catastrophic loss of human life in Iraq, another step toward economic collapse at home, ongoing environmental destruction, a full-scale assault on a woman’s right to choose, and a once-great America further isolated and scorned by the truly peaceful nations of the world.

    • stacy says:

      Stout- I agree that the Hillary supporters who defect to McCain or even not vote altogether, are demonstrating less a principle to rally around, but more a bitter, self-defeating act which Hillary herself doesn’t seem to support. I wrote about it on my blog (http://cafepolitico.us/blog/2008/06/11/some-of-hillarys-supporters-defeating-themselves/) because while I am not sure just how large a group we’re talking about, I was stunned at how many people I work with and who supported Hillary, are refusing to vote for Obama and say they are voting for McCain- they even go so far as to gleefully proclaim that the RNC has a damning video of Michelle Obama saying controversial things which might tank his presidential bid- I’m not sure if any of that is true, but as a Hillary supporter myself, I was shocked at their venom.

      I think Hillary is going to have a huge role to play when it comes to convincing her more embittered, unreasonable supporters, to rally around Obama because they BOTH stand for many of the same principles (with some exceptions) and it’s absolutely necessary to protect against 4-8 more years of republican corruption, lies, corporate protectionism and unjust, illegal wars. I am not sure how the Clinton supporters currently saying they will vote McCain, are going to rationalize their decision when Justice John Paul Stevens leaves the Court and he is replaced with yet another anti-Roe Justice thus finally opening the door all the way for a complete reversal on Roe.

    • Gloria Feldt says:

      Stacy and Stout, I have encountered two categories of Clinton supporters who now say they will vote for McCain.

      The first is those who are basically Republicans or independents and they were able to move to the center to vote for Hillary either because of their joy about a woman president or because they are not happy with Bush’s policies. But when they are fundamentally on the more conservative side of the scale, they are almost certain to go back to pulling the lever for the Republican candidate. One such woman said to me recently (when I gave her the court argument) that her daughter could afford to go to Canada for an abortion, but under no circumstances could she move far enough left to vote for Obama.

      The second category is a small one, those who were so committed to Hillary that they can’t yet move to Obama. Most of them will end up voting for Obama, they just won’t work for him passionately a they did for Clinton. That is understandable and would be exactly the same thing in reverse had Clinton won the nomination. There are a few who are very bitter and they might not be moved, but that will be Obama’s real test of leadership. If he reaches out to them sincerely, these are the very women who could be among his greatest assets in the future.

      As for myself, I’ll be voting for Obama, but before I give him my enthusiastic and activist support, I will challenge him in every way available to me to advance a strong and specific women’s equality and pro-reproductive justice policy agenda. I include gay rights in the latter, by the way, Stacy.

      The courts alone aren’t enough any more. The Bush appointments have already turned Roe into a fragile shell, and made civil rights in general do a u-turn. We have to have a strong proactive agenda. I tried to persuade Gore and Kerry of this and they didn’t do it. But this is exactly the agenda that, if done right, can bring those independent and Republican women into Obama’s fold–or at least enough of them to swing the vote. And it would definitely energize Clinton supporters like me.

  4. Stout House says:

    Stacy and Gloria -
    Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi wrote a fascinating piece about Hillary’s stalwart army of Obama haters on his blog. It’s not long and is absolutely fascinating. The link is below. I’d be interested to hear your reaction to his analysis, which is among the best I’ve read so far in the post-primary season.

    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/15169

    • stacy says:

      Stout- that was an interesting and provocative analysis and I am a big fan of Taibbi.

      I think he’s right that in the coming months we will see what Hillary’s role in the future of the party will be and yes, she has some very difficult choices to make. I would hope that she will do exactly what she pledged to do in her sort-of concession speech earlier in the week- marshall all her forces and considerable political skill, to help get Obama elected. Of course, much of this could be nipped in the bud if Obama were to make her his VP candidate.

      As I was reading the article, I was thinking about something else I have noticed among very hard-core Hillary supporters- they seem to be against Hillary as his VP, which surprises me somewhat given that while there are some negatives to having her on the ticket, there are a whole host of positives- it would be an almost unstoppable ticket. And then I was thinking- all the Hillary supporters who claimed Obama was, by inference and sometimes outright, a weak-on-terrorism, inexperienced, sexist second-best candidate-do they hate him so much that they really want him to lose so that McCain wins and Hillary gets to run for President in four years instead of eight?

      As Taibbi pointed out, there are two ways to view her candidacy- as one which will ensure Roe remains good law, fight for the under-served and most vulnerable people in this country while keeping us safe- not by starting stupid, macho self-defeating wars, improving the economy and going after corporate cronyism, all the while showing at long last that yes, a woman President is long overdue.

      Or, Hillary and her most loyal, anti-Obama supporters could undermine Obama if she ultimately is not in the VP slot- millions of hillary supporters could vote for McCain and ensure that the feminist vision above never has a chance of taking place. That’s not to say that only hillary determines if Obama can beat McCain, but lets be honest- it will be difficult for a democratic candidate to win the general election without very strong support from the base of the party.

      I remember Hillary’s “it’s 3a.m and the phone rings” campaign ad which made my stomach turn and I remember thinking- this isn’t an ad you run against a democratic rival in the primaries but one you run against your republican opponent in the general election. Then I remember her saying that only she and John McCain had the experience to answer that call should disaster strike and again thought the same thing and thought “what the hell is she doing?”. And I am still not sure. Now of course the GOP will be able to use all those things against Obama and what is she going to say? She had to know what she was doing at the time- she’s too brilliant a politician.

      I guess we’ll have to wait and see how she decides to move forward.

  5. stacy says:

    Stout and Gloria- and so it begins. Check this out:
    http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=762052

  6. Gloria Feldt says:

    It will now be Obama’s task to reach out over and over to disaffected Democratic voters. He can do that in a number of ways. He or his campaign people can reach out personally to individuals such as this delegate, to ask for her support and listen to her concerns. He can initiate and talk about issues that move certain constituencies. More than talking, he can propose policy initiatives that are near and dear to their hearts. He can establish surrogate outreach groups to communicate on an ongoing basis with people in their locale, demographic, or interest group to bring them into the fold. of course, his advertising can also reach out, but nothing is as good as the personal touch.

    You can’t blame constituents for holding out the one power they have–their vote–in order to get a candidate to exhibit there preferred positions once elected. This is why in my “so what are you going to do about it?” talks and commentaries I try to make it clear that there is so much more to political engagement than voting, as important as that is.

    (Pardon, children and grandchildren just arrived for a week. Gotta go without rereading this to make sure makes sense.)

  7. Stout House says:

    Stacy -

    It’s astonishing how Bartoshevich has the temerity to quote Susan B. Anthony (“No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her”) in an argument for Republican John McCain, whose record against women in the workplace, the military, and with regard to their right to choose is 100% demonstrably misogynistic. Perhaps a personal phone call from someone like Gloria Feldt, who knows as much about such matters as anyone in the country, and possibly the world, would help to enlighten her.

    Bartoshevich also calls herself a “devoted Democrat,” who will be voting against her own core Democratic ideals because of Hillary Clinton’s destructive campaign – a predictable enough result that clear-headed Democrats foresaw and feared months ago when the political math became undeniable.

    Who is this ridiculous person anyway? In my view, just another face in the mob. I’m really beginning to think that, just like a driving test, a mandatory IQ and civics test should be administered to American voters before they’re allowed anywhere near a ballot box.

    The barbarians are no longer at the gate. They’re most definitely inside the walls.

  8. stacy says:

    Gloria said:
    “You can’t blame constituents for holding out the one power they have–their vote–in order to get a candidate to exhibit there preferred positions once elected.”

    Deja Vu- I remember when many progressive Democrats, including many feminists like Gloria Steinem and Nat’l organization for women, apparently did not agree with your above contention and did just that- blamed Nader and those who voted for him for taking the presidency away from Gore despite the fact that Nader was more progressive on almost every social issue. I voted for Gore, but I remember making almost the same argument you just made because I believed, and still do, that candidates have to *earn* their votes from the progressive community.

    Here is my question, though- are you saying that Obama has to prove to Hillary supporters that he, and not McCain, more closely represents their views on the issues? Last time I checked McCain was anti-choice, anti-gay, supports tax cuts and loopholes for the wealthiest individuals, changed his position on detainee rights and torture, has vowed to put conservative justices on the bench, sees healthcare reform as a means to make insurance companies even more money at the expense of American families and supports a “100 year war” in Iraq. I guess I just don’t see what about that platform is so appealing to Hillary supporters, given that it is basically the opposite of what BOTH Hillary and Barack stand for.

    I think for some Hillary supporters to claim to want to vote for McCain now because Obama is really a far-left wing candidate compared to Hillary, is disingenuous beyond belief- and I am saying that as someone who switched to the Hillary camp.

    I can’t help but wonder if some Hillary supporters are, as you suggest above, really just exercising an important fundamental right- the right to vote, or not, for a particular candidate, or are some of them more interested in punishing Obama for all the wrongs Hillary endured during the primary season? And if it’s the latter, what then?

    I also found it strange that so many of Hillary’s most vocal, loyal supporters do NOT want hillary on the ticket as VP- in no uncertain terms- and until I read the Taibbi article Stout linked-to above, I simply could not understand why they were so vehemently opposed to it (I’m 100% for it)- but if the most cynical, worst-case-scenario is true, perhaps some are hoping McCain beats Obama setting up Hillary to run against McCain in 4 years (instead of *possibly* eight if Obama won)- a scenario so self-defeating and selfish-serving that I don’t even like to believe it could even be a possibility.

    • Gloria Feldt says:

      First of all, as a genetically programmed proofreader but a very poor typist, I am mortified to have used the incorrect “there” rather than “their” in the quote Stacy pulled.

      But I appreciate the opportunity to clarify. By the time we get to the general election, the stakes are too high because the candidate pool is too small. At that point, not to go with the Democratic candidate is too dangerous, especially given the quirks of the electoral college. So, no, the Nader strategy isn’t wise, and as we have seen can be disastrous (though in my opinion, the Bushes would have found another way to steal Florida had Nader not been in the race, but that’s another issue.)

      What I am talking about is what my old friend, the late communications professor Dr.Bob Rothstein used to call “the hooker principle”: first, get paid. Sounds a little cynical to be sure, but in the real world of politics–yes, even the Obama world– many such power exchanges occur. So I do not give Obama my vote until I use whatever influence I have to try to persuade him on issues I particularly care about. For example, I want him to adopt a health plan more like Clinton’s. I want him to put the Prevention First Act into the platform he talks about and actively campaigns for, not just say he’ll sign it if it comes to his desk. This would be the time for Stacy to tell him what she wants him to do about the Defense of Marriage Act. So we organize ourselves and our friends to make noise, educate the candidate about our views, and deliver the message that “You need to earn our votes, and this is how.”

      I don’t know about you, but there is also a big difference between finding a candidate I can vote for and finding a candidate I can actively, enthusiastically work for. Candidates need for activists like us to be the latter, and they try to get us there by being attentive to our concerns.

      When a candidate is running for office, he/she is listening most carefully to the electorate. Ironically, our one vote might count for more before the election when the candidate is trying to win it. Once elected, the politicians start to think they have a mandate to do whatever they want to do. We the people have to keep reminding them otherwise.

      With apologies in advance for any spelling or grammar errors herein. Back to sleep, because I need it to keep up with the grandkids.

  9. stacy says:

    Stout-

    the thinking behind Bartoshevich’s position is lost on me, although I did touch on what I think might be some of the reasoning in my comment above. And the Matt Taibbi article you linked-to above provides some possible explanations, although if what he says about why some hillary supporters will continue to hold back support for Obama and boost McCain, comes to fruition, I will have made a huge mistake in supporting Clinton in the end of the primaries.

  10. stacy says:

    I understand your point about Hillary and her supporters using their leverage to obtain certain concessions or obtain favorable positions in the Obama campaign/cabinet or have him highlight issues important to Hillary. That said, as I watch some of the Hillary supporters continue to blast Obama and accuse him of everything under the sun including reverse racism and sexism, it seems less and less likely they are trying to use their political muscle as you suggest above and more like they are hoping to embolden his opposition. It seems a bit more like revenge than a well-thought-out political strategy. Where Hillary currently is in all of this, I have no idea.

    I was checking out the right wing blogs today and they are ecstatic at what is going on- because they know that a Democratic party that is not united, cannot win in ’08.

    If Hillary supporters, of which I am one, want to go around and blame Obama for everything bad that happened on the campaign, then they will hardly learn anything from the lessons of the past year. I would never support a candidate who I thought was sexist, anti-israel etc. but yet Hillary supporters seem intent on blaming Obama personally for the treatment Hillary received by the likes of Chris Mathews and others. Hillary supporters are busy demonizing Obama in the same way they claimed Hillary had been demonized, except when it was their candidate, it was unfair.

    And what if the roles were reversed? What if Hillary were the presumptive nominee? Anyone who knows the first thing about both Hillary and Bill’s political journey knows that they will do almost anything to win and were the situation reversed, does anyone really think that Hillary would have handed over the nomination to Barak despite having won the most delegates, simply because he seemed “more electable”?

    And lets not forget, both sides played hardball and at this point, some Hillary supporters are all too eager to ignore or diminish some of the more divisive aspects of her campaign as if they can just wish them away- whether it was Bill’s totally inappropriate ranting, her comments about having the support of hard working *white people*, following the advice of the ethically-challenged Mark Penn (an acolyte of Dick Morris) Geraldine Ferraro’s racist rant, not spending enough time in primary states and on and on and on. Not all of that was the fault of Obama and a characteristic I admire in a leader is an ability to take responsibility for mistakes and preferably to learn from them.

  11. Stout House says:

    Frank Rich wrote an interesting piece in the New York Times this weekend called “Angry Clinton Women ♥ McCain?” The polls he cites confirm a suspicion I’ve voiced elsewhere on these boards: Hillary supporters who have deluded themselves into thinking they can hold the Democratic party hostage or, worse, hand the election to John McCain in November, are clearly in the minority. The narrative of the enraged female Clinton supporter who plans to pull the lever for McCain has been amplified in the media echo chamber and allowed to gain traction:

    “New polls show Mr. Obama opening up a huge lead among female voters — beating Mr. McCain by 13 percentage points in the Gallup and Rasmussen polls and by 19 points in the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News survey. How huge is a 13- to 19-percentage-point lead? John Kerry won women by only 3 points, Al Gore by 11.”

    Rich goes on:

    “But as we know from our Groundhog Days of 2008, a fictional campaign narrative, once set in the concrete of Beltway bloviation, must be recited incessantly, especially on cable television, no matter what facts stand in the way. Only an earthquake — the Iowa results, for instance — could shatter such previously immutable story lines as the Clinton campaign’s invincibility and the innate hostility of white voters to a black candidate. . . . The fictional scenario of mobs of crazed women defecting to Mr. McCain is just one subplot of the master narrative that has consumed our politics for months. The larger plot has it that the Democratic Party is hopelessly divided, and that only a ticket containing Mrs. Clinton in either slot could retain the loyalty of white male bowlers and other constituencies who tended to prefer her to Mr. Obama in the primaries. This is reality turned upside down. It’s the Democrats who are largely united and the Republicans who are at one another’s throats.”

    This is welcome and encouraging news. Obama will only continue to widen his lead among female voters in the coming months, along with every other demographic group as well.

  12. Stout House says:

    Stacy -

    As ever, I appreciate your even-handed treatment of this whole issue. For every one thing the Clinton campaign did right, they seem to have done two or three things wrong. It’s refreshing to hear a Clinton supporter acknowledge as much.

    When you write, “Hillary supporters seem intent on blaming Obama personally for the treatment Hillary received by the likes of Chris Mathews and others,” I couldn’t agree more. That’s a key difference many Clinton supporters have conveniently overlooked throughout the primary season: Hillary Clinton herself was her campaign’s most vocal, and often most outrageously offensive, attack dog. Barack never got down in the mud like that, but even then Hillary supporters faulted him for staying above the fray, for talking of hope and change while Hillary mocked his so-called “empty rhetoric.” Even Gloria Feldt repeatedly and derisively referred to Obama as “Mr. Cool,” as if refusing to fight dirty was a liability instead of a virtue.

    Evidently you just can’t win with some people. Fight dirty and they start screaming. Fight fair and they do the same. Refuse at times to fight at all and they throw their hands up in despair and attack the man instead of the candidate. Attack, attack, attack. In the end it’s all Hillary Clinton had in her arsenal.

    Not surprisingly, though, sympathetic supporters now want to start re-writing history, claiming that Hillary’s fortitude in charging through every last primary after she’d already lost the nomination was an altruistic gesture, carried out for the sake of our Democracy. That she made Obama a better candidate by design, not by accident. That she gave hope to millions of women through her tenacity and grit, when in fact she appealed to our lowest impulses by emulating despicable men and then losing anyway. How depressing.

  13. stacy says:

    I agree that the media is once again creating the news with respect to its coverage of some Clinton supporters voting for McCain or not voting at all- I think the latter scenario may be a bigger problem than the former.

    With Obama’s hiring of Solis-Doyle as Chief of Staff to the VP, I guess my Obama-HRC dream ticket is never going to happen given that by all accounts, Hillary and Doyle have not spoken since she resigned (ie. was fired). I still think that that would be a difficult ticket for McCain to beat, even given some of the negatives.

    I have to say that for the life of me I cannot figure out why Obama chose Doyle for that role- Do presidential nominees usually pick the VP’s major staff for them? That seems a bit strange. Or perhaps he has already selected his VP but just not announced it.

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