Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Co-Dependent No More

Enough is enough is enough.

It all follows: The baby boomers -- the most self-indulgent generation in history -- made addiction and recovery, not mere aspects of the human condition, but a de facto lifestyle; in turn, they insured that all of those around them -- their parents and their children -- would inevitably become their codependents.

Having had a bit of experience of that in my own family, I hereby refuse to continue in such a role for uber-Boomers Hillary and Bill Clinton. Last week, I tried to give Hillary something close to the benefit of the doubt on her horrific RFK assassination comments. No more. As they say in the NFL, upon further review, I'm no longer going to delude myself. I refuse to be join in the willful ignorance of those who would defend the indefensible. And no one else should either.

Amazingly, Hillary has gotten people like Robert Kennedy Jr. and Paul Krugman to rush to her aid to "explain" her meaning -- or blame any broad misinterpretation of her words on the Obama campaign! RFK Jr, sadly, bought into the idea that it was the Kennedys who were supposed to be offended by the statement (like how, exactly, should they have been offended? It was news to them that RFK was murdered in '68?).

The funny thing is, if this were a Republican -- to be exact, if this were, say, Karl Rove -- Krugman would be very happy to assume the worst if one of them raised the specter of assassination in the context of an election contest.

Let's consider this: Hillary Clinton is a very smart woman. She knows campaign history. There are several reasons why using the "assassination" language is not just inappropriate, but so historically inaccurate that it is bizarre to the point of revolting. First, there are far stronger examples of primary contests going late than the RFK one. If Kennedy was in Hillary's mind because of Ted's recent illness, then how come she didn't talk about how Ted took the 1980 campaign all the way to the convention floor? That's a far more apt comparison than RFK, who only got into the race less than two months before he was assassinated. Oh, and how does she explain using the same language two months ago -- well, before Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer? Secondly, shouldn't Hubert Humphrey be the one Hillary refers to if she's talking about 1968? He was the eventual nominee -- not RFK (indeed, had RFK lived, Humphrey would probably have still won the nomination). Finally, my very liberal Democrat friend and colleague Max Gross (and occasional RT Comment-er) mentioned to me over the weekend, why does Hillary want to dig up 1968? As Max e-mailed me:
1968 was a HORRIBLE year for the Democrats. And one of the reasons the Democrats lost was because of a split that happened within the party between Humphrey and McCarthy.

If she was seriously using the 1968 campaign as a reason to stay in the race, then she's pretty dumb. If anything, the 1968 primary is the best argument for her getting out right away.
For those who have forgotten, in addition to RFK's death, the anti-Vietnam movement helped hound LBJ out of any hope for re-election; the convention turned into a riot; George Wallace bolted the party. And, yes, Democrats lost the White House. Not exactly, a nice trip down memory lane.

And, as the Times points out, Hillary's other example doesn't exactly hold up: Bill Clinton had basically beaten Jerry Brown well before June of 1992.

But, the biggest reason why all of this is so bogus is that Mrs. Clinton has conveniently ignored the fact that this primary season also began nearly a month before any previous one. The Iowa caucuses used to begin in early February -- not January 3rd, as they did this year! So, she's talking about being "pushed out" early when the campaign has already been going longer than ever before!

Making the assassination remark once is understandable. Twice, something darker (no pun intended for once) is going on. To believe this to be just a slip, one would have to ignore all the racial code (and non-code) words that the Clintons have been dropping throughout this campaign. Departing from her husband's "accomplishment," Hillary has been running as if she wants to be the "first (really) white president."

Someone who might do something to Barack Obama might not even be animated by racial hostility. As I noted Friday, John Hinckley created a fantasy world where he thought killing Ronald Reagan would make Jody Foster realize the depth of his love for her. A psycho doesn't have to have a "logical" reason to want to do something to make him (or her -- remember Squeaky Fromme and Sara Jane Moore?) try to kill a major political figure. Again, if Hillary Clinton doesn't understand this -- and the fact that she is trying to make this look like an offense to the Kennedys, instead of Obama, shows that she doesn't -- then this woman is too clueless to be president.


The cost of media-codependence of the Clintons has risen to a dangerous level. It needs to come to an end. I have been mildly complicit in this myself. Though I never "endorsed" anyone in the Democratic primary, I stated several times my belief that Hillary Clinton would be the eventual nominee -- leading some to believe that that was my hoped-for outcome. Allow me to say, categorically, that I hope Barack Obama becomes the Democratic nominee. No, this isn't more of Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos." This is my earnest belief that the American body politic is much better off without the Clintons continuing to play a significant role. Regardless of his policies, Barack Obama will ultimately be better both for his party and the broader political debate than will the continued presence of Bill and Hillary Clinton on the national stage.

Whether through venality or stupidity, Hillary Clinton's ambition has pushed the word "assassination" onto the primary stage -- just as her surrogates Bill Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro attempted to make Obama's campaign about race, even as he attempted to be a black candidate who attempted to talk about everything other than race (until Jeremiah Wright's words rose to the fore). If someone makes an attempt on Barack Obama's life -- whether for racial reasons or just plain deluded megalomania or similar mental illness -- Hillary Clinton must not be allowed to avoid some culpability for it coming to this point.

Furthermore, those of us in the press cannot avoid our responsibility either. For nearly two decades, we have enabled these deeply disturbing people to corrupt our politics and culture to a sickening level. We have said that their way of playing politics is just "hardball" of a different degree. No, this is politics of a different kind. Because the Clinton machine has an element of amour-propre that makes it something inhuman. There truly is nothing that these people will not do to gain and retain power.

I refuse to be party to this. The question is, who in the broader political and media class is willing to say "enough is enough"? Who of this era will say what needs to be said to the junior senator of New York -- can echo the words of Joseph Welch which, oddly, ring quite true to the current occasion:
"Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. ...Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"

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