Primary post mortemMarch 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm | Posted in politics | 1 Comment
One of my mother’s best friends was a Wellesley classmate of Hillary Clinton’s. When Hillary was class president, my mother’s friend was editor of the school paper. When Bill was elected, my mom’s friend went to the inauguration. She’s a true Hillary supporter, and, living in Dallas, she had been working hard before yesterday’s primary. Last week she wrote my mother that she was feeling depressed about Hillary. I’m quoting my mother, now, and not her friend, so I don’t have the sentiments exactly right, but something along the lines of: she’s so smart, she’s worked so hard, and the country is abandoning the best person.
I voted for Hillary just one month ago. Yet, despite the outcome of yesterday’s primaries, I woke up this morning feeling slightly depressed myself. As much as I do think that Hillary could be the right person for the presidency right now — and would do an incredible job — I also wonder if we can let Barack Obama slip out of our national grasp. Over the past month I have become a teensy bit disillusioned with Hillary for the following reasons: (1) her insistence on counting the Michigan and Florida delegates (how could that ever be construed as fair? To me, following this path would be like a crazy Clintonian vendetta and would bring up all of the negative things associated with being a “Clinton” in the first place); (2) that strange, strange commercial with the sleeping kids and the ringing phone; and, most important (3) her terrible answer on 60 Minutes this past Sunday when she was asked whether she thought Obama was a Muslim and she said something like, “I have no reason to doubt his word.” She should have said, “I know he’s not, and anyway, who cares? What are you insinuating?” Her answer was slippery and disappointing.
But my disillusionment comes less from her gaffes than from the last month’s surging energy surrounding Obama. My babysitter wants to talk politics first thing in the morning. Two long-time family friends — men for whom the word “Democrat” has long been nothing short of an abomination — are, in their respective retirements, actually volunteering for Obama. Like, these retired, white male, corporate managers from suburban New Jersey are manning phone banks. And one of my close friend’s husbands — the son of the mother-in-law who sent checks to Rick Lazio from Ohio — wants to quit his job two months before his second child arrives to campaign for Obama full time. And he’s dead serious.
Hillary may turn out to be a phenomenal world leader — but will this energy and passion surrounding Obama ever reappear in my lifetime? Michelle Obama swears that this is the first and last campaign. Can we risk losing this?