June 03, 2008

What Now?

So Obama just scrapes in (sort of, anyway, or at least he's declared victory), while Clinton doesn't quite concede and threatens to keep dragging things out, and the whole bitter divisive and destructive Democratic primary season looks likely to keep going on and on and on with Clinton not-so-subtly threatening and blackmailing from behind all the way to Denver. I'm so alienated and tired of this race at this stage that I think I just want to scream (instead of celebrating two interesting and compelling-in-their-own-way candidates).

One of the most irritating things about this campaign has been the insinuation — and, often enough, outright accusation — by some pretty vocal Clinton supporters that the only reason potential and actual Democratic voters don't support Clinton is a mixture of rampant misogyny and denial of reality. It says a lot about the accusers, I think, that they can't imagine that it's possible to look at Clinton and see someone deeply flawed as both a politician and a candidate (more flawed than her opponents), a person who (for example) not only made a fatally-wrong decision on Iraq (which is somewhat forgivable, having been almost universal in this country, despite it being clearly wrong at the time), but who also subsequently dissembled and even appeared to lie about the decision and her reasons for it (which is unforgivable), and who took a deeply-unprincipled and hypocritical stance on the whole Michigan and Florida primary delegate issue. As someone who'd originally (it seems a long time ago now) been quietly positive about a Clinton candidacy, I found myself increasingly repelled by her cynicism and win-at-all-costs burn-the-bridges take-no-prisoners campaign, by the combative self-pity that she seemed to encourage so many of her supporters to wrap themselves in, and by her overwhelming sense of entitlement: almost everything about her campaign until the final months was premised on an arrogant assumption that she was the natural and rightful candidate, and that everyone out there really knew this deep down in their hearts (if only they wouldn't keep getting distracted by that biased media and flash-in-the-pan candidates like Obama).

Can Obama win the presidency? I don't know, but I'm deeply pessimistic (I'm always pessimistic about things like this, but I'm also often wrong about things like this). I originally pegged this as a Clinton vs. McCain race, with Clinton losing (the character thing would have weighed heavily in that race in McCain's favour); I really can't tell what'll happen this November, but elections rarely go my way (hell, it's rare that there's a candidate who comes anywhere near being even vaguely compatible with my politics in this country, but never mind, it's the thought that counts, right?).

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