It's the last straw. I am truly, deeply concerned at what's happening among Democrats in the presidential primary race. Daily, we are finding out more disturbing qualities of Barack Obama, his surrogates and advisers, and the kind of support he generates among his followers. That support resembles nothing so much as the Bush/Cheney/Rove lovers, a "you're with us or you're against us" mentality, accompanied by threats of violence at the convention if Obama doesn't win the nomination (shades of the Florida recount). The unsupported, vitriolic attacks against Hillary Clinton and anyone who favors her as the nominee that abound through the so-called progressive blogs and the mainstream media, the race-baiting among those same outlets, has reached a point that I feel a frisson of fear that half the Democratic electorate have truly lost their minds and adapted the tactics and mindset of the enemy.
I have read and admired Josh Marshall daily for years now, but he's a good example of what I'm talking about. His recent post blaming Hillary for Obama's pastor problem is beyond nuts:
If Obama's the nominee, we will see no end of this kind of stuff. And there's probably some small benefit of getting a preview. But the simple fact is that we wouldn't be seeing this stuff now if it weren't for the fact that this is the kind of campaign Hillary Clinton's campaign has decided to wage -- often directly and at other times indirectly by not reining it in in her supporters when it crops up on its own.
Is he kidding? Hillary is responsible for the fact of Obama's close, 20-year relationship with a flaming racist pastor who has often, and repeatedly, expressed from the pulpit his hatred for whites, his conviction that America deserved 9/11, has cried "God d--n America" and many, many more exclusionary screeds aimed at dividing us? She's to be blamed for Jeremiah Wright's associations with Gaddafi and Farrakhan, and Obama's relationship with domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn? I suppose it's also her fault that Obama spoke one thing to Ohio Democrats about NAFTA and then channeled an opposite message to Canada. But that's the situation we're faced with. The Obama rules have been accepted and advanced.
It's not good enough, for me, for Obama to say he doesn't agree with all of Jeremiah Wright's opinions. I was raised a Southern Baptist -- my husband even attended Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary -- and devoutly believe basic Baptist theology. But we left that church because we could not sit in the sanctuary and listen to pastors who decried the humanity and rights of homosexuals, who praised Bush's war policies. It would have been, in my mind, tantamount to a declaration of agreement with or tolerance of those views. When I go to church I go to receive spiritual guidance and Bible teaching -- and I reject that kind of guidance. There are other churches, and pastors, that preach the love of Christ, and that's where I find a home.
For Obama and his supporters to suggest that he could sit in the pew week after week for 20 years and listen to the most divisive kind of rhetoric, yet stand for "unity" and "hope" is, at the least, questionable.
But to get back to my original subject.
The language of the Obama campaign, suggesting that Hillary Clinton is running a racist campaign and denying her very real contributions to human rights and dignity, the use of Limbaugh/Hannity talking points against her, the irrational hatred of all things Clinton, the sexist and superficial slurs against her and, for that matter, all women, that has exposed the essential misogyny of the media and the progressive movement, has turned my stomach. I can't sustain the kind of anger and sorrow that has characterized my days for the past couple of months without suffering physical and emotional consequences. But I don't know how to get past it, and maybe I shouldn't.
I don't fit the usual demographic ascribed to Hillary supporters. I'm a college-educated, executive woman (though white and over 50). I don't ascribe to identity politics -- I fervently supported John Edwards until he dropped out of the race.
I spent several months being SO proud of our candidates, all of them, as I compared the Democratic debates to the Republican. How the race has degenerated into such a miasma, I don't exactly know. What I do know is that as a diligent observer of politics, I cannot ascribe it to Hillary. Rather, I believe it is a result of a credulous media and progressives who have repeated the mistakes of the 2000 presidential race -- accepting the specious claims of a relatively unvetted, un-Clinton-related candidate, to "a new kind of politics, "a gentler, kinder" rhetoric, a Reaganesque character who talks about "hope" and "unity" while practicing the very same brand of political machinations we decried in Richard Daley's Chicago machine and Lee Atwater and Karl Rove.
As a veteran civil rights activist from way back in the '60s when it was both dangerous and unpopular for a white teenager in the South, I was both delighted and inspired by the notion that we could have a viable black candidate for the presidency, so don't throw any charges of racism at me. I have written repeatedly on this blog that if Obama won the nomination, I'd not only vote for him but support him in every way possible. But I've concluded in recent days, as have so many others, that if Obama is the Democratic presidential nominee I will sit this race out. I will never vote for John McCain, but I will also not vote for Obama. Nothing that I have learned so far gives me confidence that an Obama presidency would be superior. So I'll vote for every Democrat possible on the down slate, but I won't endorse a movement so wrong-headed and wrong-hearted.
My heart is breaking. I truly thought that after two terms of the Bush administration, that Democrats were ready to lead the nation in another, better direction. I feel lost among my own party. But I'm a patriot above all, and I don't like what I see happening. God help us.