Not that anyone especially needs to hear Johnny Leftist Pinko O’Radical to chime in on the Democratic race for President (as I’ve done for several years now) but things have become much clearer for me personally over the last few weeks. I was a huge Bill Clinton fan from way back in the spring of 1992, when he came to Chapel Hill and met some of us – ostensibly to talk politics, but he embarked on a brilliant rant about the lameness of the “designated hitter” rule in baseball, and it devolved from there. When he won later that year, we joyfully threw our Halloween pumpkins off the roof of the Purple House on McCauley Street, and I was ushered quickly into Adult Political Awareness™.
My affection for the man wavered not, even strengthening during the horseshit of the Monica year, and into the Y2K so-called “Clinton fatigue” peddled by a bored media whose news cycles demanded fresh meat. Y’see, when you spend what seems like your entire life living with Reagan and Bush I, you really appreciate someone from your side of the tracks. I think people forgot about that, which is why there was very little outrage when Bush II and the Supreme Court subverted the American electorate and disastrously changed the direction of history.
Fast-forward to 2005, when the Hillary presidential run began in quiet earnest. I prayed for her not to run, because of this: I don’t believe she can win, and if she does, it’ll be at the cost of one of the most mean-spirited and profane election battles since latter-day Rome. Even after a victory, her term will be marked by vicious attacks from a revved-up right-wing machine and a few particularly rotten members of the House and Senate. There will be no civility, and no partisanship.
I realize this is patently unfair, and pretty much every member of the media has gone out of their way to smear Hillary for eighteen years. She’s had to endure the kind of vitriol that would make the rest of us want to crawl under a rock and die, especially when she tried to do things like “give us all health insurance”. It has been misogynistic and fucking cruel.
That said, timing is everything, and this is not the time for another divisive figure leading our country, fair or not. I might have been able to overlook Hillary’s oft-pilloried polarizing nature, but she has been stunningly inconstant to her constituents on gay rights, and frankly, her votes on the Iraq war (and the Iran resolution) are the decisions of someone who doesn’t fucking speak for me.
It came to a head in New Hampshire, when, the day before the primary, she played the Al Qaeda card. I couldn’t believe she’d stooped that low. My reminisces of Bill notwithstanding, I was done. I would have loved a woman President – in fact, it’s shameful we haven’t had one already – but this (and her behavior in South Carolina) have sealed it for me.
I routinely kept my mouth shut during other disastrous Democratic nominees out of home-team spirit (Dukakis, Mondale, Kerry) and if Hillary is our nominee, I’ll bloody well pull the lever. No matter her flaws, she’s miles above the execrable, war-infatuated McCain. But just think of the true debate, the inspiration and grandeur, the opportunity we have to suture part of our country back together, if we were to choose someone else.