Ambivalence

6 November 2008

(Cross-posted to my Tribe.net blog)

As I watched Barack Obama give his victory speech, I felt so proud of us, at least the 52% of us, who made this happen. His words made me hopeful for healing that can extend across the world. 

In the Frontline special The Choice: 2008, I learned Obama’s reasoning for one of my biggest complaints: This was Hillary’s time, wait your turn! You’re young, and there’s plenty of time for you to become experienced; why knock her out now? 

Interviews with former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle yielded this information: 

*** 

Q: In 2006 … he talks to you about the possibility of running for the presidency. What do you tell him? 

A: I tell him he should do it. We went to my favorite restaurant and took the kitchen table in the back where nobody could see us. We had a bottle of wine and a great meal and what was supposed to be a conversation that lasted about an hour I think went over three. 

And during that time I told him that I thought his lack of Washington experience was one of his greatest assets. And I argued that windows of opportunity for running for the presidency close quickly. And that he shouldn’t assume, if he passes up this window, that there will be another. I had that experience, and I wouldn’t want him to see the same thing happen to him. 

Q: Why the 2008 window for Obama? 

A: I think the window is important for a couple of reasons. One, it was an open opportunity — that is, he wasn’t running against an incumbent; and secondly, because the longer he’s in Washington, the more history he has, and the more history he has, the more he’s going to be explaining his votes and his actions and his statements and his positions that undermine his message. His message is one of change, his message is one of new direction, and it’s harder to do that after you’ve been in Washington for a long time. 

www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/f…aschle.html#2

*** 

Okay. Fair enough. Why didn’t anybody have this conversation with Hillary so that she could be free to decide not to spend millions upon millions of dollars on a campaign herself? Why didn’t anybody clue in Bill as to *why* Barack was the Anointed One by other party muckety-mucks? 

This still pisses me off. One of the anchors on one of the election-night TV programs spoke rather dismissively of those of us who thought that it was Hillary’s turn and that the Dems owed her, as though those arguments had been rendered obsolete by Obama’s victory. 

I’ve been branded irrelevant enough during my lifetime, thank you very much. I don’t need more of it from the political party that claims to be “democratic.” 

It’s still true, sez I, that the Dem party owes Hillary, and it’s still true that this should have been her time. 

I think Barack will do well. I think he will be a uniter, and I know that people all over the world are going to regain respect for the US because of him. 

But the fact is that he ditched in line in front of her, and that wasn’t fair. 

So I listened to Obama’s victory speech, and I wept with relief and with opportunity to release the eight years of dammed-up horror with which I’ve been living since that ghastly day when the Supreme Court anointed The Village Idiot instead of that fine man Al Gore.

But I thought, “Damn. That shoulda been Hillary.” 

Both the Clintons got a raw deal in this election: Too many citizens listened to Karl Rove’s minions and bought into the idea that Bill and his administration should be condemned for their strengths. And they blamed Hillary for it even though she was a victim of Bill’s weaknesses. It was fucked up from the git-go. 

At least there’s a chance that Hillary could become Senate Majority Leader… like Tom Daschle was… 

Again, I think good things will happen in this administration. Obama seems, by all accounts, to be an unequivocally fine man himself, and I have to admit, Daschle’s argument has merit, even though it was an awfully big gamble to take with my country. 

But I wonder, too—When will we get our Benazir Bhutto, our Indira Gandhi, our Golda Meir?

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