When the universe stops expanding and begins to contract, so they say, everything’s going to start to happen faster. By the time we’re on the verge of the Big Crunch – the reverse of the Big Bang – we’ll approach the point when everything happens at once.
We would appear to be on the verge, in the universe of the Democratic Primary, one of those pockets of reality where the conventional rules of physics no longer apply.
Those readers who were kinda upset about my suggestion that Hillary had somehow managed to slip the big C – cancer, grow up – to Obama supporter Ted Kennedy, now need to line up and apologise. Minutes, more or less, after I hit the send button, Hills was on the airwaves pointing out that one reason for her to stay in the race was that “Bobby Kennedy hadn’t been assassinated until June …”.
Wow. Contrary to earlier Hillary pseudo-gaffes – Obama is not a Muslim as far as I know, hard-working white people, John McCain and I have foreign policy experience, the hits just keep on coming – this one appears to have been genuinely accidental, if only because it is so appalling that everyone kinda gasps the first time they hear it. Somewhere in her tired, tangled brain, she was looking for an example of a primary race that weren’t over till it were over – and the only other example being Bill’s campaign 92 (too close to home, but she mentioned that too), and McGovern 72 (too awful to want to remember), she glommed on RFK, lost leader, icon.
Obama was quick to absolve her, saying that we all say things we don’t mean to on the road etc, etc, not because he is particularly magnanimous but because he just wanted to get out of the way and let the damage roll on.
Roll on it did. Hillary had to clarify her comments about three times, all without actually mentioning the literal smoking gun – that Obama was a real assassination risk, the only people wanting to whack Hillary being about six and half million registered Democrats.
There’s no real need to doubt that Hillary made a mistake, even if a part of it was a deep frustration at Obama’s inexorable rise, a mind-shaped gun firing at him from a fantasy book depository in her head. Nor, if this primary were not a dead zone as regards any sort of significant policy difference, would the remark have gained much traction. But it’s got real teen-movie at this stage of the game, and Hillary has put herself so far out there in terms of individual ambition over party solidarity that some extreme energies are coming from the lower depths.
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That energy is getting to a frenzy point as it becomes clear that, if Obama is to win, it is going to have to be all stops out by the whole party machine to get every stray vote, every new vote, every hitherto untouched sector. The supposition is that either Bush and McSame will be so on the nose come November that a victory will be easy – Obama takes all the trad blue states, plus Ohio and a couple more like Iowa and New Mexico – or it will be bloody hard because McCain will take white Reagan Democrats, and thus get Ohio, and hack into trad blue states, threatening New Hampshire or Michigan.
The perception is that Hillary may now have so exacerbated what was a preexisting split that it is now close to irreparable, and that a historic opportunity is being thrown away out of pique, hubris and envy.
That feeling is being reinforced by a renewed campaign regarding the alleged sexism of the contest to date, and even the formation of pro-Hillary groups who say they will urge a vote for McCain in November to punish Obama for his sexism.
What does that sexism amount to? Comments by Obama that Hillary is “likable enough”, that “she has her claws out” and that her gungho gun lobby stuff in Pennsylvania made her “Annie Oakley”. The most prominent figure selling this is Geraldine Ferraro, who has said she may switch party loyalties in which case, given her involvement with the disastrous 84 campaign, would make her one of the most counterproductive Democrat figures in history.
The accusations are nonsense of course – all of Obama’s remarks are either transferable, or mildly gendered, and one can’t help but feel there’s another agenda at work here. Is it connected to the alleged push to get Hillary up as a running mate? I have suggested more than a dozen times that I can’t believe Hillary would take such a position – another eight years being second fiddle in the White House, and coming out at the age of 70? Quite aside from the one life on earth thing, there is the question of whether it would be possible to launch a presidential campaign off that base – after eight years of a dynamic young black man setting the agenda and changing the culture.
Bill is apparently pushing for her to take it – which is the main reason why Obama would resist it. Can you imagine having Bill looking over your shoulder? Man that is so sitcom.
But time is tight, and there are weeks to go – until there is possibly months to go – an everything is happening at once. Any sensation you have that the world is coming to an end is just force in motion.