Democratic Convention 2008

Requiem for the Clintons

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I swear to God for a moment there tonight at the Pepsi Center, as the rockin' pre-speech montage to Hillary was showing on the video screens ("Are You Gonna Go My Way?" Inspired!) … my eyes welled up with something suspiciously close to a non-crocodile tear.

I've never hated Hillary–at least until this year, anyway–but I've also never understood for one second why anyone found her to be an especially smart or interesting human being. As in most things political, this has put me squarely in some micro-minority, of the studiously Hillary-indifferent.

And so it was with some surprise that I found myself borderline weepy at seeing pictures of lil' Hill juxtaposed with Tom Petty's "American Girl." After 16 years of a power couple who really did shape these United States, providing essential flavors and colors of the decade I love most, there was the poignant feeling that, senatorial job or no, the Clinton Era was finally coming to a close. Not a sad thing, surely, but kind of moving, in some cry-during-the-Oscars-when-they-show-the-dead-people kind of way. 

But then, thank God, Hillary started talking.

Consider the just monstrous condescension of this passage:

When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you—the American people, your lives, and your children's futures. […]

You taught me so much, you made me laugh, and … you even made me cry. You allowed me to become part of your lives. And you became part of mine.

Is there a word in the English language for massive egocentrism cloaked in paeans to you, the little people? Can we just call it Hillarity or Hillderdash from now on? Whatever the diagnosis, telltale symptoms include serial anecdotes of the single mother Iraqi soldier eating dog food because of the pharmaceutical windfalls, and exaggerated tales whose sole purpose is to remind us that She was listening, and She cared.

Hillary wants to "make college affordable again," since we, uh, have a higher-ed system that's the envy of the world, precisely because it offers so many community colleges and low-cost (and/or hyper-specialized) options that create a universe of opportunity and variety far removed from the also-envied quality of our elite schools. She wants to "make our government an instrument of the public good, not of private plunder," but what the hell does that even mean, aside from no-bid contracts in conflict zones? Does it count as "private plunder" when public sector unions twist the arm of labor-dependent government officials, such as representatives from a certain party that's having a political convention this week? When millionaire farming companies get still more federal subsidies–keeping the global impoverished down in the process–is that, too, "private plunder" in Hillary's world? Somehow I think not.

Let us consider this paragraph:

We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a President who understands that America can't compete in a global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators, while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a president who understands that we can't solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in new technologies that will build a green economy.

THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT "GIVE" WINDFALL PROFITS" TO OIL COMPANIES. Confusion or obfuscation over such a point is, shall we say, troubling, in our era of Late Capitalism.

Routine disclaimer: I am not the target audience for this stuff. Tonight, Hillary forcefully rallied her puzzled PUMAs, skillfully invoked Harriet Tubman as an American-aspirational story, and put the finishing touches on an evening that drilled home a few points that will likely do the Democrats good in November: John McCain is a rich old out-of-touch fool who wants to be Bush II, Democrats are the party that puts the "middle" in class, and Barack Obama is going to magically extrude "five million green jobs" from out his arse.

On all counts, such stuff should be successful. But Hillary's cloying, self-important, it-takes-a-government speech is one rich reminder that the Clinton Era, whatever its various non-low points, has drawn to a merciful close. Though I'm pretty sure Bill, god bless him, still hasn't gotten the memo.

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  1. Dammit, Matt, you got me in trouble, laughing my ass off at this and keeping the kids awake.

    You owe me a new wife — no, wait, that’s not it …

  2. Wow, under an Obama presidency the government is going to modify enough of the economy to create five million green jobs? That couldn’t possibly Have any unintended consequences.

  3. Is there a word in the English language for massive egocentrism cloaked in paeans to you, the little people?

    Politician.

  4. Hillderdash: a complex reaction combining, disgust, disbelief and cosmic astonishment when a politician reveals their underlying assumption of superiority by expressing gratitude to the little people for their dependence and subservient loyalty. This complex reaction can cause reflux, uncontrollable laughter and, sometimes, a barbaric yawp, especially among those who stubbornly resist being patronized, co-opted or hoodwinked.

  5. “Wow, under an Obama presidency the government is going to modify enough of the economy to create five million green jobs? That couldn’t possibly Have any unintended consequences.”

    Yeah I love that shell game they always play when they talk about “creating” jobs.

    Govermnent never “creates” anything. All it does is redistribute wealth that has already been created by somebody else.

    The wealth that government snatches to “create” green jobs simply means that wealth is no longer available to create and/or sustain jobs in the areas it otherwise would have absent government interference.

  6. Nothing will stop the media and the Republicans from continuing to push the PUMA line.

    Ex., Fox News Headline:

    WAS HILLARY CLINTON’S ENDORSEMENT OF OBAMA TAME?

  7. Meh. I was just happy she didn’t play the race card, though she did do the other 2 pillars of Democratic political philosophy:
    -class envy
    -trying to get something from nothing

  8. Is there a word in the English language for massive egocentrism cloaked in paeans to you, the little people?

    My impulse was “American Nero” but after a little Googling it seems that some people have applied that to Bush. I think my juxtaposition is better.

  9. What are the three pillars of the Republican Party, anon?

  10. If anon won’t take a shot I will:

    Law and Order
    Defense Contractors
    Jesus

  11. Oh fergawdsakes! The woman is only 60 or 61 years old. If Obama loses — and, you know, he just might! — Hillary will be back in 2012 like a maggot on rotting pork. Even a 2018 run is hardly out of the question. Hell, if McCain can run at his age and women live longer anyway and yadda, yadda, yadda… I can hear it now.

    Yes, her best shot has come and gone, but neither Hillary nor Bill are dead (even then we might need wooden stakes and cloves of garlic to make sure they’re really gone) and neither is out of the game for good by a long shot.

  12. There is a great chance Obama won’t win, and we have her back.

  13. Um, make that “even a 2016 run.” As the VW Sign, Then Drive ads say, “Even better.”

  14. there was the poignant feeling that, senatorial job or no, the Clinton Era was finally coming to a close.

    Dream on. If McCain wins this year, she will run in 2012. If Obama wins this year and doesn’t buy her off with a Cabinet post and Bill off with, I dunno, the UN (and maybe even if he does), she may well run against him in 2012. Regardless, she will run in 2016.

  15. I think Schweitzer is the favorite for 2012/2016 now, R C Dean.

    Democrats don’t tend to give their losers second chances like Republicans do. The sheen of invincibility is off Clinton.

  16. Naw, Hillary has shot her bolt, unless of course she manages a switcheroo during the roll call “catharsis.”

    Her premature aging (from eating all that bile) already shows through the makeup artistry and the corset, and by 2012 she will no longer be presentable to the public by her own standards. I feel, no I glory in the Clintons’ pain.

  17. I thought Warner was the 2012 favorite.

    Part of the issue with the Dems is that they already have frontrunners in case Obama loses…the Rs do not, and that presents at least the sheen of confidence.

  18. TAO-

    It’s between Warner and Schweitzer, but Schweitzer gave the better speech. That guy brought the house down.

    I think its a promising sign (I hope) that the two front runners are both NRA favorites on the Democratic side. Who would have thought that’s even possible eight years ago?

  19. Also, OTOH, Optimist, the Democrats have a lot of good red state politicians.

    How many good blue state Republican pols are left?

  20. I thought Warner was the 2012 favorite.

    He was…until last night. Warner was awful, and Sweitzer gave an incredible performance.

  21. What a sad sour person you are. You can find clouds on a sunny day.. what a sap..

  22. There’s no Democratic rule or tradition of not running failed candidates, witness Stevenson. Gore probably could have gotten the nomination a second time had he wanted it.

    Age may actually help Clinton, as attractiveness is no longer an issue and she develops enough (more) wrinkles to look sagacious and, dare I say it, Thatcheresque.

    Warner will win a Senate seat in Virginia against Gilmore come November, but I think he had a behind-closed doors deal with the Clintons from early on not to run and may still be in her camp. Still, now that the Dems all know Hillary is not invincible, I wouldn’t count him out in 2012.

  23. Stevenson was how long ago again?

    Democrats don’t run their losers like Republicans do (Nixon, Reagan, Dole).

  24. The Clinton-Obama rift is all a show. You watch, Clinton people will be everywhere in an Obama administration. Welch is a fool to think the era of the Clinton’s is over, and an even bigger fool to be sad about it.

  25. If the Scweitzer you’re referring to is the one currently Governor of Montana, I find it doubtful in the extreme he would even be recognized as an authentic* card-carrying “Democrat” in the majority of this country, much less nominated to be candidate for President.

    *Not, in my opinion, a bad thing,

  26. Democrats don’t tend to give their losers second chances like Republicans do.

    I don’t think Hillary is going to ask for a second chance. She has a formidable base that won’t go away (in four years; in eight years, who know), so she’ll be back. She may not win, but she’ll be back.

  27. Schweitzer, that would be.

    Gun-totin’ coal-pushin’ dog-lover of the West.

    stupid keyboard

  28. But then, thank God, Hillary started talking.

    I was desperately waiting for this punchline. The day I shed a tear watching political theater? Just shoot me.

  29. She may not win, but she’ll be back.

    Like a recurring rash.

  30. Oh, gee.

    Just Another yucky bratty bitter man-boy writing stupid bullshit drivel. Grow up.

  31. Obama has to make his own case. Can’t be propped up. When people say Hillary should have done more, they mean the man needs help. Well, now it is up to him and he has got to go it alone. Can’t blame her if he blows it. Not putting her on the ticket was a dumb move. It’s not like he’s above politics — Biden? He could have nailed it with her. Now, not so sure he can deliver. But she sure did.

  32. Just Another yucky bratty bitter man-boy writing stupid bullshit drivel. Grow up.

    Uh, Steve? Around here, you’re going to need to be a little more specific. Just who was that addressed to?

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