Saturday, May 24, 2008

Has Hillary finally jumped the shark?

What were you thinking, Mrs. Clinton? It is just possible that you need a psychiatrist?

Since the Democratic race began in earnest last year, a lingering worry has been the spectre of 1968 when both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. It's been such a worry that Barack Obama has had a Secret Service detail since April 2007 -- the earliest a candidate has ever been so offered, after specific threats were received against the Senator from Illinois. Perhaps Hillary Clinton has not had to worry about this since she's had continual protection since the summer of 1992, several months before her husband's first election as President. She, like Bill, are entitled to it for the rest of their lives.

Yesterday, during a meeting with the editorial board of a newspaper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Clinton dropped this incredible statement:

My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it.

This isn't the first time she made the suggestion. She said it to Time back in March.

When the Obama campaign pounced on it, one of Clinton's aides actually said it was much ado about nothing. Later, Clinton herself attempted to clarify:

Earlier today, I was discussing the Democratic primary history and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns that both my husband and Sen. Kennedy waged in California in June in 1992 and 1968, and I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nominating primary contests that go into June. That's an historic fact.

The Kennedys have been much on my mind in the last days because of Sen. [Edward] Kennedy, and I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever.

That just doesn't cut it. "Regret if I offended anyone" is the classic non-apology apology. She isn't sorry. Not one bit. She finally revealed, in a Freudian slip not just once but twice, the way she really hopes she gets the nomination. She can't stand the idea of a black person running for President, so she wants someone to assassinate Barack Obama.

Does she remember her history about the horrors America went through after Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and William McKinley were murdered? That the world went through when John F. Kennedy was murdered? The uproar when Malcolm X was killed? The campaign turmoil that resulted from MLK's and RFK's murders? The close calls with Andrew Jackson, both Roosevelts, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan; and yes even Bill Clinton -- when someone flew a small plane into the White House basement windows?

And having campaigned for George McGovern way back in 1972, she obviously remembers when Arthur Bremer shot George Wallace. A then almost unknown Bob Woodward, a full month before the Watergate break-in, told America that Bremer was looking for any Presidential candidate to shoot -- not Wallace in particular. In fact, it was Wallace's being paralyzed that led Nixon to issue a standing order, still in effect today, that viable Presidential candidates received round the clock Secret Service protection for the duration of their respective candidacies.

Of course, the eyes of protective services can't be everywhere at once, and there has been a genuine fear for the safety of Clinton (because she's a woman), Obama (because he's half black) and McCain (because of his positions on the Middle East). Several times during the campaign, she made clear that Obama didn't meet the Presidential standard but that McCain did. She stuck to this position until less than a week before the Pennsylvania primary, long enough to show enough doubts in Appalachia where she has her base and to make sure that base, a large section of which is racist, stayed racist. Or if by kismet Obama did win, that he'd lose so badly she'd be all set for 2012.

She would go on to say in her non-apology that she's honoured to hold the Senate seat that RFK once held. Well, I have to reply that if I was living in the state of New York, barely 80 km to the east of where I live, I would be writing to her demanding her resignation. Resigning from the campaign, and resigning as a Senator. Because New York, and America, deserve better than a woman who has wished all along -- whether consciously or subconsciously -- nothing but ill for her colleague from Illinois.

If uncommitted superdelegates have been waiting for a reason to declare for Obama and put an end to the race, she's finally given it to them. America, and the world, deserves better than her. She's not fit to walk in the shoes of RFK. She's not even fit to untie the sandals of her brother, Edward, whose illness has been on our minds all this week.

As usual, although much quicker out of the gate than usual, Keith Olbermann pounced -- in fact I think this is a record turnaround for a "special comment," coming the same day as Clinton's bombshell comment:

I don't know how this Dawn Quixote looks herself in the mirror anymore. She's proven to be a megalomanical figure, and yesterday's subtle death wish against a man she calls her "friend" was the absolute last straw. For the record, and so I am not misunderstood, I don't have a problem with women running for office, just women -- and men -- with her kind of slash and burn politics.

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