It's hip today to step back and allow Senator Clinton some breathing space in order to proceed through the various stages of whatever on her way to eventually -- some day -- conceding this nomination process to Presumptive Nominee Barack Obama. And I'm not exactly sure why the Clintons deserve such latitude -- especially this year and at this dangerous time in our national saga. After all, there's a gigantic OxyContin-buzzed Republican crap-bot bearing down on our presumptive nominee, and yet we're being forced to sit here and wait for Senator Clinton to finally step off.
"What does Hillary want? What does she want?" Senator Clinton asked last night. What does she want? Seriously? This misguided and self-centered attitude is what ultimately doomed her campaign.
It should never have been about what she wants -- or, now, what she's demanding as ransom in exchange for releasing her supporters. Senator Clinton is effectively holding up the works and delaying the big show even though she has spent too many weeks inexplicably bolstering Senator McCain's chances over Senator Obama in November -- even though every second she's remained in this race, despite the mathematical reality, she has forced Senator Obama to keep his army divided, when it ought to have been raging forward in a unified, fist-pumping head-first frontal assault against the nefarious Bush Republican political machine.
But she's Senator Clinton and she gets to do and demand whatever she wants for some reason. Even if it means diminishing the nominee and boosting the Republicans. Even if it means a victory for Senator McCain. Even if it means the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Even if it means 100 more years (or whatever McCain is saying today) in Iraq. Even if it means, as Thom Hartmann said yesterday, "More death."
This is one of several reasons why the Clinton campaign ultimately lost: because the Clinton campaign was all about Senator Clinton when, in the hearts and minds of a majority of Democrats, this nomination process was never about Senator Clinton and her ambitions and her famous name and her famous husband and her 3AM phone calls and her war stories and her scars. To wit: "Yes she will." Not only did her actual message fade away in lieu of her campaign's embarrassing attempt to mock Senator Obama's message, but her hackish spoof version of the Obama slogan was configured to be all about her (the Obama message is grounded in the collective "we"). Yes she will. Fortunately for us, Senator McCain has started to do the same thing -- mocking Senator Obama's far-superior branding. And, thankfully, Senator McCain looks a thousand times slimier doing it.
The Clinton campaign should never have been about her. This election, even before anyone officially declared, has always been about the evolution of the modern liberal movement and, more importantly, a newly evolved modern liberal movement gathering the required ammunition necessary to roll back the destructive and often criminal policies of the last 28 years -- and to do so in a way that might actually stick to the wall. And here in June 2008, while Senator Clinton dawdles around the stage doing her best to muscle the presumptive nominee while talking about what she wants, the horrible prospect of a McCain presidency hisses its way towards the zero barrier and the dismantling of American democracy nears the point of no return.
Senator Obama (or even if it had been Senator Clinton) needs a mandate in November. He needs an overwhelming electoral victory in order to have the political capital required to rebuild the nation in the aftermath of the terrible psychobombs George Bush and Dick Cheney have been detonating throughout this decade. And yet, here we sit. Talking about Senator Clinton and what she wants.
What happens if she isn't offered the vice presidential slot? Will she continue to stomp her feet and draw attention away from the nominee? Yes she will. Will she carry her campaign (in name and support only) to the convention? Yes she will. Will she continue to distract attention away from challenging Senator McCain's awfulness? Yes she will. So should she be offered the vice presidential slot, then? No she shouldn't.
Because a would-be Obama-Clinton campaign would end up being entirely about the Clintons. What they said; what they're doing; who's in control; do they get along; is she undermining him from within. Me, me, me. And besides, if she really wanted to be on the ticket, she wouldn't have engaged in this infuriating slash-burn-point-clap strategy in the first place -- a strategy which, by the way, continued through last night's speech.
But even after Senator Obama surpassed the original threshold of 2,025; even after he agreed to allowing the reinstatement of the Michigan and Florida delegates despite the previously and unanimously accepted sanctions; even after he surpassed the new threshold of 2,118 and also nears the bogus 2,209 number that the Clintons made up last month, Senator Clinton and her supporters continue to paint the Obama victory as somehow illegitimate. And Senator Clinton refuses to accept the notion that she is holding back the larger campaign -- the most important campaign of our time -- a campaign that isn't about her or even about Senator Obama. It's a campaign about turning the tide on 28 years of Reaganomics and environmental destruction and foreign policy blowback.
It's not so difficult, Senator. And even though I honestly believe that he's a crazy squirrel-munching hooplehead, here's Mike Huckabee's concession, for example:
Ladies and gentlemen, I called Senator McCain a few moments ago. It looks pretty apparent tonight that he will, in fact, achieve 1,191 delegates to become the Republican nominee for our party.
I extended to him not only my congratulations, but my commitment to him and to the party to do everything possible to unite our party, but more importantly to unite our country, so that we can be the best nation we can be, not for ourselves, but for the future generations to whom we owe everything, just as we owe previous generations all that they have done for us.
That's about right (even though it's in the name of a screwy, failed conservative movement).
We have an insanely challenging task ahead of us. Not just in defeating super-crazies like Mike Huckabee and Senator McCain, but also in confronting and debunking the corporate media's ridiculousness (i.e. "What's Obama's problem? Why can't he connect with the racist whites?"). And that's before November. If he manages to overcome the race-baiting 527 ads and all of the sinister e-mail whisper campaigns and the dubious voting machines, Senator Obama will have to achieve more in his first 100 days than most presidents have achieved in two full terms.
And yet, here we sit. Waiting for Senator Clinton to decide what she wants. This routine -- be it Senator Clinton's defiance, or the party's deferential behavior toward her -- illustrates exactly why this party, and liberalism with it, must change. And while we wait here in some kind of twisted Pollyanna limbo, Senator McCain is measuring the White House Residence to see if his Craftmatic adjustable bed will fit through the door.
UPDATE 7:26PM EDT: ABC News is reporting that Senator Clinton will suspend her campaign and endorse Senator Obama on Friday. Congressman Rangel and 23 other members of Congress called her today and told her that it was time. Rangel, a Clinton supporter, in particular was "angry" and thought Senator Clinton's speech was "rude," according to NBC's Andrea Mitchell just now on MSNBC.