copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert
Democrats are divided. Progressives once certain that they would support the Party nominee, are now, no longer sure that they can. People on the Left for the first time in their lives are looking to the “Right.” Staunch Liberals state they will vote Republican in 2008 if the candidate of their choice is not the Party’s nominee. Many Democrats say they will not vote at all. Much damage has been done. The political process has become a play for power or an attempt to create chaos.
Persons devout to the Grand Old Party purposely become “Democrats for a Day” just to alter the outcome in primary elections. Some individuals wear elephant and flag pins on their lapel; yet, they cast a vote for Hillary Clinton. These Conservatives think if the Senator from New York is selected to represent the Progressives in the general election, Republicans will be assured a win.
Prior to the primaries, Hillary Clinton was defined as polarizing. However, the former First Lady felt certain she could and had changed her image. Perhaps, for a time, this was thought to be true. Senator Clinton showed herself strong. She was a formidable force in Congress. Military leaders learned to trust that she could indeed be a hawk.
Women were elated. The thought that they might be able to elect someone they relate to, suited those who frequently felt oppressed in a male dominated culture just fine.
Persons of color, grateful for what seemed to be a more secure life, when husband Bill was President turned to candidate Hillary Clinton for reassurance. People, early on, believed the former First Lady was their last and best hope. As the Presidential aspirant often mused, “It did take a Clinton to clean (up) after the first Bush, and I think it might take a second one to clean up after the second Bush.” In January 2008, the Editors from the esteemed New York Times offered their endorsements. The prominent periodical proposed the Primary Choice: [was] Hillary Clinton
Yet, more recently, after weeks and weeks, months and months of mean and malicious statements from the candidate, her husband, and the entire Clinton Clan, some within the Progressive Party no longer think Senator Clinton sincere or suitable. Indeed, some say she would not be a superb Commander-In-Chief. Hillary may be too intent on conquest.
Many, among those who lean left, look, and see what they think wrong. This week, a top House Democrat denounced Clinton campaign tactics.
House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, of South Carolina and the highest ranking black in Congress, also said he has heard speculation that Clinton is staying in the race only to try to derail Obama and pave the way for her to make another White House run in 2012.
“I heard something, the first time yesterday (in South Carolina), and I heard it on the (House) floor today, which is telling me there are African Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can’t win this. But they’re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win” in November, Clyburn told Reuters in an interview.
Race is not the only issue that separates, or segregates supporters. Patriotism, patronage, and parishes are also seen as partitions. In this recent round of debates, candidate[s] and correspondents made it known if a flag pin was not worn on a man’s lapel, the gentleman would be classified as un-American. This standard apparently, does not apply to women who condemn the chaps. Guilt by association was also a reason to denounce and divide the electorate. Political advertisements delivered in Pennsylvania were full of venom directed at victims of circumstance. Any person who was casually, or closely connected to one candidate, was castigated, as though they were the Presidential hopeful, himself. The electorate was encouraged to take sides.
Americans witnessed what one woman and her advocates will do for a win. The stakes are high; the slams and damnation higher. Condemnation for the smallest slight caused a “bitter” feud. One candidate was intentionally crippled. Barack Obama was forced to defend a concept. Even a quote from the scriptures could not save a man who is not only of the Christian faith, but Christian in his actions.
The man of faith spoke of how the sacred passages in the Bible speak of the need to “cling” to what is good. Yet, in a climate of constant criticism from the Clinton Camp, Democrats seem to only cling to a fight.
Such brutal battles have spurred the Editors of The New York Times to question their own earlier call. The current stance of those in charge of the illustrious publication is New York Senator Clinton is not a superior choice for President. She has adopted The Low Road to Victory. Those charged to inform the broader community write . . .
The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.
Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party, and the 2008 election.
If nothing else, self-interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. . . .
On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad – torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook – evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.
If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”
By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy, and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.
The Washington Post also asked readers to call into question the posture of the Presidential candidate. Former contributors to the Clinton campaign offered testimonials and expressed trepidation for what Hillary Clinton and husband Bill think best.
More than 70 top Clinton donors wrote their first checks to Obama in March, campaign records show. Clinton’s lead among superdelegates, a collection of almost 800 party leaders and elected officials, has slipped from 106 in December to 23 now, according to an Associated Press tally. . . .
Campaign finance records released this week show that a growing number of Clinton’s early supporters migrated to Obama in March, after he achieved 11 straight victories. Of those who had previously made maximum contributions to Clinton, 73 wrote their first checks to Obama in March. The reverse was not true: Of those who had made large contributions to Obama last year, none wrote checks to Clinton in March.
“I think she is destroying the Democratic Party,” said New York lawyer Daniel Berger, who had backed Clinton with the maximum allowable donation of $2,300. “That there’s no way for her to win this election except by destroying [Obama], I just don’t like it. So in my own little way, I’m trying to send her a message.”
The message came in the form of a $2,300 contribution to Obama.
Donors are not the only ones who have made the leap. Gabriel Guerra-Mondragón served as an ambassador to Chile during Bill Clinton’s presidency, considered himself a close friend of Sen. Clinton, and became a “Hill-raiser” by bringing in about $500,000 for her presidential bid.
Yet, while many express distress and a desire to distance themselves from the Clinton Camp, a few think Hillary or her Health Care plan makes her the best choice. For months now, Americans have anxiously awaited word of an endorsement from the popular, populace, and once Presidential candidate, John Edwards and his beloved wife, Elizabeth. In interviews, Elizabeth Edwards expresses the Clinton Health Care Plan is her preferred “Choice.” Once heard, I personally felt a need to pen a letter to the lovely Elizabeth Edwards, a person I sincerely hold in high esteem.
Dear Reader, I invite your review, reflections, and perchance you may wish to write a correspondence of your own. Your communiqué may be to me, to Senator Clinton, to the Edwards family, I know not. I only trust that whatever we wish to say, it is vital we honor the words of a great philosopher.
For everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
I desire to write with reverence. My wish is that my words will be received as intended. Benevolence, I believe is beautiful. Empathy, I think, essential if we are ever to be universally insured or ensure that we care for our fellow man, woman, and child.
Dearest Elizabeth Edwards . . .
I hope you, your children, and John, are well. I know all too well how cancer can devastate a family. Weeks ago, I heard you speak of how the financial strain on a family without adequate medical coverage can lead to bankruptcy and death. Sadly, for too many, the lack of a comprehensive health care plan is the cause of economic, emotional, and perhaps physical heartbreak. Your words prompt me to write.
Now, as the nation turns to you and your neighborhood, as the primary in North Carolina approaches, I feel a need to share my distress.
Last August, in 2007, I attended the breakout session your husband John held at the Yearly Kos Convention. While I was fortunate to speak with him for a moment as he exited the room, I was among those who did not have an opportunity to offer a formal question. As John proposed, I submitted my query in electronic mail. The issue on my mind, then and now is the same subject you discussed, Health Care.
Elizabeth, I recall when you spoke of how Hillary Clinton’s plan was as John’s. At the time, you expressed much angst that the New York Senator delayed to present a proposal and then copied John’s program. While I have no argument with those contentions; nor do I quarrel with the notion that Barack Obama’s plan is deficient, I think an endorsement of Senator Clinton’s her Health Care Choice program is troublesome. I recall the words of your husband John. In November 2007, as a Presidential challenger john Edwards declared . . .
“Senator Clinton’s plan, which came out in September, is very similar to the plan I announced in February. But I haven’t seen any specifics about how her mandate would work or how she would enforce the mandate.
Time has not helped to enlighten the electorate. Hillary Clinton is consistently evasive. The former First Lady, who failed to secure a workable system near two decades ago, walks a fine line, for she has reason to fear if she slips the people may not place her into the Oval Office.
In Health Debate, Clinton Remains Vague on Penalties
By Kevin Sack
New York Times
February 1, 2008
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton inched closer Sunday to explaining how she would enforce her proposal that everyone have health insurance, but declined to specify – as she has throughout the campaign – how she would penalize those who refuse.
Mrs. Clinton, who did not answer Senator Barack Obama’s question on the topic in a debate, last Thursday, was pressed repeatedly to do so Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on the ABC program “This Week.” When Mr. Stephanopoulos asked a third time whether she would garnish people’s wages, Mrs. Clinton responded, “George, we will have an enforcement mechanism, whether it’s that or it’s some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments.”
The former First Lady has shown herself to be extremely disingenuous in the past, and the present. The future unfolds; and many individuals demonstrate that they do not feel there is reason to believe that her words will be less mendacious. Stories of how deceitful she can be fill the airwaves and the periodicals. The press, those who were close political affiliates of the Clinton’s, while polite, hint at how Hillary treats those who go against her. In very hushed tones, event organizers shared stories with me. While I was a strong Clinton supporter and active contributor in the 1990s, recent revelations, comments made by the Clinton’s, and the harsh rhetoric Hillary espoused leaves me beyond disillusioned.
The public, I believe has infinite reason to distrust the Presidential aspirant. I have no faith that she will follow through with worthy programs. As I assess her record in the Senate, I realize there is reason to doubt. We need only consider the change in her policy position on Iraq. When Senator Clinton thought she could safely say she would not commit to exit Iraq until after her first term, that was her stance. Only the threat that she might lose votes was the catalyst for other considerations.
Elizabeth, I think few, if any, can question the Clinton campaign is divisive. While some think this strategy is fine, I believe as your husband John voiced. We must be united and work together as one.
It is apparent to me; Hillary Clinton is flexible only when it suits her needs. I recall John wrote and spoke of how he hoped his health care proposal would, over time, give way to a Single Payer, Not For Profit Plan. Barack Obama has expressed a similar sentiment. Each, your husband, and Presidential hopeful Obama, has addressed the notion that their plans were but starting points.
When I did chat with your husband, I thanked him for his mention of how Hillary Clinton was indebted to Insurers and Pharmaceuticals. Elizabeth, months ago your husband gave us reason to believe that Hillary Clinton is well connected to those who profit off of our physical and financial loss when we are most in need. As a professional, well educated, white woman, who learned through experience that many Faculty Lecturer’s, at major Universities, are among the uninsured, I invite you to ponder the veracity, a position does not tell the full tale. The quality of a candidate is not necessarily evident in a Health Care plan.
Please, please, please consider Barack Obama has a life history of bringing people together for a common cause. Senator Obama uses his expertise as a community organizer to unite us, citizens of the United States of America. [You may have read the cover story, A New Hope, in the March 20, 2008, Rolling Stone.] Presidential aspirant, Obama is eager, and has demonstrated he does care about the American people. Barack Obama has helped many common folk understand that we the people make a difference. Change comes when the average American is part of the solution.
Senator Clinton may believe without Lyndon Johnson the Civil Rights Act 1964 would not have come into being. I recall those years. People were out on the streets in protest. The community concluded it was time for a change. The President merely signed the papers.
Personally, I prefer to support a President who believes and acts on the democratic principle that he represents me, and not her personal interests.
Elizabeth, I hope you and your husband John will be as profoundly reflective as I believe you both to be. America needs a person in the White House who is truly connected to the American experience. Barack Obama’s mother, ill with ovarian cancer, feared her financial obligation to pay for health care. Cancer can be the cause of bankruptcy even when people are insured. The issue is complex. A ten-point plan cannot begin to relate to the real life circumstances of millions; nor can a candidate who thinks more of her win than a unified Party.
I invite an endorsement for Barack Obama. I can only hope you will consider my heartfelt plea. Please extend this request to your husband John.
I thank you for your time, and for reading this reflection. Please take good care of you. I wish you and your family the best.
Sincerely . . .
Betsy L. Angert
References and Remedies . . .
- Democrats Divided 2006. NOW. Public Broadcasting Services. January 18, 2008
- If McCain vs. Obama, 28% of Clinton Backers Go for McCain Gallup Poll. March 26, 2008
- Republican Crossovers Fuel Record Democratic Voter Registration in Pennsylvania, By Keith Staskiewicz. ABC News. March 26, 2008
- Primary Choice: Hillary Clinton. Editorial. The New York Times. January 25, 2008
- pdf Primary Choice: Hillary Clinton. Editorial. The New York Times. January 25, 2008
- Clinton says she’ll clean up after Bush dynasty. Reuters. February 1, 2008
- Top House Democrat denounces Clinton campaign tactics. By Richard Cowan. Reuters. April 24, 2008
- James Clyburn United States Congress.
- Democrats cling to a fight. By Mike Dorning. Chicago Tribune. April 14, 2008
- The Low Road to Victory. Editorial. The New York Times. April 23, 2008
- pdf The Low Road to Victory. Editorial. The New York Times. April 23, 2008
- Party Fears Racial Divide, Attacks Could Do Lasting Harm, Democrats Say. By Jonathan Weisman and Matthew Mosk. Washington Post. Saturday, April 26, 2008; A01
- pdf Party Fears Racial Divide, Attacks Could Do Lasting Harm, Democrats Say. By Jonathan Weisman and Matthew Mosk. Washington Post. Saturday, April 26, 2008; A01
- Elizabeth Edwards Backs Clinton Health Care Plan. ABC News. April 8, 2008
- Elizabeth Edwards backs Clinton’s health care plan over Obama’s. Cable News Network. April 9, 2008
- Edwards Statement On How His Health Care Plan Differs From Those Of Obama And Clinton, By John Edwards. John Edwards ’08.
- Universal Health Care Through Shared Responsibility, By John Edwards. John Edwards ’08.
- In Health Debate, Clinton Remains Vague on Penalties, By Kevin Sack. The New York Times. February 4, 2008