I have lost faith.
For the longest time, as far as I can remember in my "political" life, I have defended the Clintons. When the vast right wing conspiracy went after Bill (and Hillary), using the repugnant Ken Starr, spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, looking for any kind of mud to stick, I supported my president to the end. Even when Bill had painted himself into a corner and lied under oath (and who wouldn't) about an affair - a stupid, cheap little affair - I stood by him because I could not believe or understand at the time, that although he violated the "rule of law", these repulsive troglodytes led by Newt Gingrich and the now deceased Henry Hyde would dare to impeach based on lying about something that insignificant. Finding out later that Gingrich himself was having an affair at the same time that he was crucifying the president for the same offense (or lying about it) only poured salt on the wounds, but it was a classic case of IOKIYAR.
I took solace in the fact that I was a Democrat, and we didn't stoop to such disgusting levels. That one day*, the pendulum would swingin the other direction, and that again we would find our way. And now the unthinkable has happened. In a desperate attempt for a long shot bid at the presidency, Hillary Clinton has used the same tactics that were used against her for all these years. Hillary broke out the Karl Rove playbook called "The Kitchen Sink."
We all knew it was coming. Hell, Hillary's campaign told us that was exactly what they were going to do in a last act of desperation. They even called it the "kitchen sink." So I thought I'd take a look to see what came out of the kitchen sink and list them in no particular order.
1 - Clinton compared Obama's foreign policy experience to George W. Bush: “We’ve seen the tragic result of having a president who had neither the experience nor the wisdom to manage our foreign policy and safeguard our national security. We can’t let that happen again.”
Considering that Bush never even visited another country before becoming president, I think that comparison is a little suspect.
2 - Clinton's "tested and ready" mantra was repeated over and over while portraying Obama as naive when it came to meeting foreign leaders if he believed “that mediation and meetings without preconditions will solve some of the world’s most intractable problems." Obama has never said that carefully preparing for meetings wasn't in his plans.
However, this is what he did say: "...I do think it is important precisely because the Bush administration has done so much damage to American foreign relations that the president take a more active role in diplomacy than might have been true 20 or 30 years ago.
Because the problem is, if we think that meeting with the president is a privilege that has to be earned, I think that reinforces the sense that we stand above the rest of the world at this point in time. And I think that it's important for us in undoing the damage that has been done over the last seven years, for the president to be willing to take that extra step."
Makes sense to me. Do we really think we're better than anyone else? If that's the case, then we're in more trouble than I thought.
Put on your hip waders, this is we're it turns ugly.
3 - Matt Drudge posts a photo of Obama in traditional Somali garb attributing it to the Clinton campaign. Whether or not Drudge is to be trusted as to the source, instead of denouncing it was a fear mongering tactic, the Clinton camp shrugs its shoulders.
4 - The Clinton camp accuses Barack Obama of plagiarism when using phrases borrowed from his own Committee chairman and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, that Patrick told Obama to use. In an interesting twist, Hillary Clinton's now famous "whatever happens, we're going to be fine" quote can be attributed to John Edwards during the December 13th debate, and the "hits I've taken every day..." line can be found almost verbatim in a Bill Clinton speech during his run for the presidency.
5 - Continuing with their fear tactics, the Clinton campaign puts out their "3am" or red phone ad. Vote for Hillary and your children will sleep safe at night. Ironically, the stock footage of the sleeping child was taken 8 years ago and that actress is an Obama supporter.
6 - NAFTA-Gate: Clinton accuses Obama of calling the Canadian Embassy to reassure the ambassador that all the NAFTA talk in their recent debates is just rhetoric. In fact Obama senior economic adviser Austan Goolsbee had been invited by someone at the consulate to visit and discuss trade. "The Canadian Embassy confirmed that he said everything I said on the campaign trail," Obama asserted. Then the kicker: it turns out that it was actualy someone on the Clinton staff had put out feelers to the Canadians and asking them to take the rhetoric with "a grain of salt."
Ah, the ol' political projection and transference.
7 - Clinton's 60 Minutes interview and her non-denial that Obama is a Muslim. "As far as I know" doesn't cut it when you are denying something. At first I took it lightly, but reporters close to the Clinton campaign categorize it as "not an accident."
8 - Clinton national co-chairman Bill Shaheen suggests that Obama was a drug dealer in his youth. From the Telegraph UK:
Obama has been open about youthful drug use (big deal) but no one has suggested he was a dealer. A Hillary spokesperson immediately disowned Shaheen by saying that “these comments were not authorised or condoned by the campaign in any way”. Too late. It came after a second Clinton campaign volunteer was forced to resigned for forwarding an Obama Muslim smear email and means another day of negative press coverage for Hillary.
9 - The"Obama is a Muslim" smear e-mail that has been circulating for over a year has been at least partly attributed to Clinton's former Iowa chairman, Ryan Callanan. Even if it did not originate with him, one little click of the "delete" button instead of the "forward" button and campaign disclosure of the receipt of the e-mail was all it could have taken to distance the Clinton campaign from any doubt.
10 through 13 - Hillary Clinton has questioned and compared not once, not twice but at least four times as of this writing, Obama's experience to lead as commander in chief to her experience and ...John McCain's experience! Does she really want to do the bidding of the Republican smear machine?
Hillary Clinton has crossed into the delusional threshold if she thinks that her eight years as first lady equals experience to be commander in chief. Her constant propping up of McCain to advance her dying campaign undoubtedly proves that she will burn the village down in order to save it... or save herself. If she loses the campaign, she's given McCain ammo against Obama. If for some reason she wins, McCain can attack her with the same twisted logic. He has much more experience than she does.
14 - Howard Wolfson compared Obama to Ken Starr when Obama suggested that Clinton disclose her tax records as he has done. Ken Starr? Really, Hillary? Is that where you want to take this thing? Double-edged swords can be mighty tricky. Do we want to delve into the nastiness that was Ken Starr and all that idiocy? Just release the tax records. What are you hiding? The fact that Bill Clinton's library was partially funded by the Saudis to the tune of $10 million? The fact that money was donated from the United Arab Emirates as well?
All these points combined with the ongoing positioning on superdelegates, claiming victory in Florida and Michigan when there was no contest and constantly moving the goalposts when primary defeat seemd imminent has soured me on Hillary for good. She has shown herself to truly be the establishment candidate despite her claims to the contrary.
I'm sure there's much more to come in the remaining six long weeks until the Pennsylvania primary on Aprill 22nd. Ultimately, if all pans out and there are no shenanigans, my theory is that Obama will win the nomination (do the delegate math) and Hillary's Rovian tactics will have damaged her so much in the process, she will lose the trust of the American people, her base and come 2012, her Senate seat will be up from grabs, hopefully by a better Democrat.
So no more defense of the Clintons for me. As my friend Armadillo Joe said to me the other day, their mistake is thinking that they are the Democratic party instead of realizing that they are just a small part of it.
*I thought that day happened on November 7th, 2006. We'd had enough of W. and his administration's incompetence. Finally, they would get their comeupance. Alas it was not to be, as the Democrats that overtook the majority in Congress (a razor thin majority in the Senate) wound up being the wrong Democrats - they would capitulate and give the lame duck president everything he'd want and more for fear of being conceived as soft on defense, and in the process became soft, period.