In the meantime, one thing about this contest can be said with absolute surety: Everyone involved has lost their minds. For Clinton supporters, the race has taken on a meaning that transcends politics. One gets the sense that Hillary's campaign has become an idée fixe for any Democrat of a certain type who has ever been fucked around or disrespected or abused or disappointed. Far more than any policy position, it is Hillary's "fight to the finish" mantra that is reaching her supporters on some elemental level that is hard for outsiders to comprehend.
Her campaign has become a symbol of not giving in to those who would wish us to surrender, of defying the smug assessments of those who think they know better, of not letting someone else's diminished expectations for us — maybe those of a boss, maybe an ex-boyfriend or ex-wife, maybe a Madison Avenue ad world that tells us we have to look a certain way/age to be worth loving — rule the day. I would say that Hillary is the electoral incarnation of a Gloria Gaynor song, but Gloria Gaynor is too campy and even a little bit too black for this crowd; the vibe at Hillary events feels more like nostalgic white suburban angst, a numbing misery of a type that runs deep enough it can hear the same song over and over again in the car on the way to work for 20 consecutive years and yet still sing along to it, lips pursed defiantly in Billy Crystal's white-man's overbite, when it hears it twice, three times, even four times in the same hour. In other words, this Hillary campaign is basically Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" running for president.
If you're the kind of person who's ready to throw a chair through a window if you hear that fucking song even one more time, you're not going to get this Hillary thing. More to the point, you're not going to fit in with these crowds, which are full of featureless, angry faces, faces of the type that all us smug cleverati in the media think can be ignored, faces that have been going to boring-ass jobs every day and taking one crappy vacation a year to Puerto Vallarta and running a treadmill three times a week to help their spouses find sex with them more tolerable — you see, there we go, making jokes about them again! See, we can laugh all we want, but they won't . . . back . . . down! THEY WON'T! BACK! DOWWWWWWWN!
Somewhere in there is where you can find the emotional imperative underneath this campaign, and the reason why all the electoral math in the world doesn't mean shit to these people. Hillary calls them the "invisible Americans." There are a hell of a lot of them, and their anger is real. They don't want to hear about numbers, and they don't want to hear about Hillary bowing out for the good of the party. After Clinton's victory speech, I stop an elderly woman with orange hair who is wearing what looks like a white rayon sweater. I ask her if there would ever be a point at which she thinks Hillary should consider stepping d?
"Absolutely not!" she cries. "You never get out!"
I start to bring up the math, the delegate count?
"SHE IS GOING TO WIN!!!"
Monday, May 5, 2008
Hillary's Bitter Victory
Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone is dead on with this piece on how both sides -- Hillary Lovers and Obama Supporters -- have lost their minds and how the ongoing battle could threaten to tear the Democratic Party apart.